The power of suggestion is a very useful tool in life and extremely handy in live poker games and a handy step in how to improve your poker skills. Also known as suggestive language or auto-suggestive language, you can learn to use particular techniques to become a better poker player. Auto-suggestive language is defined as the process by which a person uses language to induce self-acceptance of an opinion, belief, or plan of action. If taught properly, practiced and executed to perfection, you can use this for yourself and even against your opponents when needed.
A very basic example, is a comment like "good fold" when a player mucks their cards. Done consistently and repetitively, the player will start to feel confidence in their good lay downs and is likely to trigger certain feelings and emotions when done right.
Think about it this way, sometimes you hear a particular song that triggers a certain thought, emotion or memory. At these times, hearing the song instantly transports you to a time associated with that song, you feel, see and hear things as though you were back in that moment
So in live poker, if you have been anchoring the phrase "good fold", when the timing is right and you have that opponent in a hand you want them to fold, a comment such as "it would be a good fold for you this hand" may trigger an emotion which suggests to your opponent's subconscious that they should fold. When done correctly, just hearing the phrase, "good fold" will make them feel like it is the right thing to do. This may be considered a low level of hypnotism and a handy poker tip to improve your poker skills.
I have often asked myself, how do I become a better poker player and I have found that many live poker players use these techniques and strategies, even though some don't realize the power of them. They don't learn to execute them properly and make comments purely because they heard someone else say them. Some don't even realize why these comments are being made. Or they heard a commentator use them on TV.
The better poker players are generally aware of what and how they say things at the table and if you want to learn how to improve your poker skills you need to learn the techniques of the power of suggestion too. Table talk is a tool which can be used wisely to gain extra chips. Remember these techniques are simple, but not necessarily easy. They take plenty of practice and I would suggest learning them properly before relying on them in big pots. Please don't believe you can make a comment once and expect it to be embedded into your opponent's subconscious, it may take hours, maybe longer, but if you're looking at a 12 hour session in a big tournament, don't you think you have time on your side?
I am certain you have heard players make comments like "I love playing K9" or "I always lose when I get pocket aces". Once you start embedding these commands on your psyche, you start to play the cards in your hand rather than the table. A simple mistake like having a favorite hand can become a hindrance when you stay in a hand just because you like what you hold. Similarly, you are likely to make costly errors when you hang onto cards you feel you don't regularly win with.
Now I try and get out once a week to a local free tournament, whether it's APL, NPL or whatever. I manage to slip in a few beers, but my main aim is to observe, learn and practice new and existing techniques on unsuspecting opponents. Last week was no different, other than to my amazement, finding a particular opponent who had fallen in to the trap of placing suggestive language on himself. My amazement wasn't in that he had done it, it was the degree to which the hands he suggested he wanted to play.
He commented on the last time he played he noted that every time he folded a King, he would have won the hand. Or so he remembers, this is called selective memory. He probably only remembers the times he folded that King and would have won. His sub-conscious has the ability to block out the folds he would have lost. This is an important point to remember as he chose to use that selective memory to dictate his actions for the future.
Over the next period he was caught playing Kings and rags - only once pulling off a decent pot on the river. His demise was short coming as the better poker players picked up on this and took a fair chunk of his chips.
He also said he always seem to lose hands with an Ace with a mid to high kicker. So, to add salt to his wound, looking very disgruntled, he finally pushed all in pre-flop. And you guessed it, a single caller watched him turn over A10 suited... need I say more? His fate was sealed for he had already mentally decided he was going to lose. He soon headed for the door.
Believe it or not, this is a very common occurrence. We know the cards will fall the way they do, sometimes you're lucky, and sometimes you're not. But placing values on certain hands in your subconscious will make it harder for you to learn how to improve your poker skills. Remember, you want to learn how to use suggestive language to become a better poker player, not hold you back.
Another way to influence people through the power of suggestion is to suggest an outcome to increase your chances of a better result. I was taught about open ended questions in one of the first sales jobs I worked in. Open ended questions are questions that don't require a YES/NO answer? And when asked right, you can actually steer a question or conversation in the direction you want. For example, which sales rep do you think would make more sales?
Rep A asks customer:
"Would you like to buy that shirt?"
Rep B asks customer:
"Would you prefer to purchase that shirt in red or blue?"
So as you can see, there is power in using suggestive language in live poker, your job, relationships and any form of communication. If you are interested in learning how to become a better poker player you need to learn about suggestive language to improve your poker skills. You have the power to make choices and change the way you develop your poker skills
Remember, the Power is in Your Hands... not your cards.
Good luck on your river,