Phil Galfond Profile picture
Feb 7 13 tweets 3 min read
There was a time when I was a tired and frustrated poker player.

Few people know this story...

Feeling unlucky is something most players experience.

Here’s how I encountered and overcame that: ⬇️
The feeling of being lucky (or unlucky) can have a big impact on your performance at the poker table.

Let me take you back to 2011.

I moved to Vancouver to play online Poker.
I lived with a poker-playing friend for the first time.

We played from the same room, with our setups on opposite ends of a long table.

Prior to this, I never really reacted to “losses” at the poker table.

But that was soon about to change…
One day my friend complained about a bad beat.

Then he did it again.

It didn’t take long until I started developing the same habit.

Every time either of us lost, we would complain about our luck.

All of the sudden, I was a complainer.
Rather than this being cathartic, I noticed a clear decline in my mood.

Now every time I took a bad beat, I was thrown off my game faster.

It’s a cycle:

Bad beat -> worse play -> more losses-> even worse play
Most humans already deal with "negativity bias."

It’s basically when negative moments stick out in our memory more than positive ones.

By whining, I drew even more of my attention to the negative.

This negativity bias is not just exclusive to poker, it's everywhere...
“Of COURSE traffic stops moving in this lane as soon as I switch.”
“Bad weather on the ONE day I needed it not to be. Just my luck!”

When all goes “as planned,” we don’t think about our positive luck.

But when something goes wrong unexpectedly, we remember it for a long time.
This can lead to a “bad things happen to me” mindset, which is detrimental to our mental and emotional well-being.

To combat this, I did these three things (and still do them today):
1. I acknowledge the good

Instead of complaining about the bad things, I make it a point to acknowledge when good things happen to me.

I still don't magically forget my bad luck but, because of this, I remember a lot of my “lucky” moments as well.
2. I call myself a lucky person.

This helps me to be more positive & emotionally stable when things don’t go my way.

To be clear: I know I’m objectively fortunate.

But so are most people reading this. It doesn’t stop some of them from saying, “With MY luck, this will fail."
3. I uncover gratitude

Whether expressing it to others or simply acknowledging things in my life that I’m grateful for, actively acknowledging gratitude can work wonders on your mood.
All 3 of these practices remind me of all my good fortune, which is easier to take for granted & forget than the moments of bad luck.

This improves my ability to weather the storm, at and away from the poker table.

Complaining did the exact opposite.
I hope these suggestions can help you make the same improvements I did in my mental game!

Follow me @PhilGalfond as I’m gonna keep working on these threads!

If you found this helpful & think your poker friends might too, share by retweeting the 1st tweet of the thread:

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More from @PhilGalfond

Jan 30
How Poker Sites Aim to Profit By Removing Heads-Up Tables: A Breakdown 🧵
Why do so many poker sites remove Heads-Up tables?

As a heads-up player who's spent time on the operator's side of things, I can sympathize with both sides of the debate.

Here's a quick overview of why many sites opt to remove HU tables and where I stand on the topic:
1/ What's wrong with HU?

The reasoning is simple:

Weaker players, on average, lose faster at Heads-Up tables.

And only to one opponent.

This means:

a) Less time per $ lost for recreational players.
b) Less rake generated by their losses for the operator.

A clear lose-lose.
Read 11 tweets
Jan 27
7 study methods that will help you win more consistently at the poker table ⬇️:
There are many ways to improve your poker game. Here are 7:

• Solvers & Solver-tools
• Stats
• Online hands
• Live poker hands
• Training videos
• Free Content - Twitch, YouTube (
• Playing!

Now, let's discuss the pros & cons of each...
1. Use Solvers or Solver-Tools

Piosolver, Monkersolver, or simplified solver tools (my preference)

• More or less a requirement for high-level play
• Great for exploring any spot

• Easy to learn the wrong things if you’re not an expert
• Very mentally draining
Read 13 tweets
Jan 24
Want to outsmart your opponents and master bluffing?

I've distilled my 18 years and $1b+ bluffed to these 8 tips ⬇️
1. Attack flops that miss their range
2. Be careful when draws miss
3. Know what you are representing
4. When to focus on their hand
5. When to focus on your range
6. Know your opponent
7. Understand the stakes for them
8. Use leverage

Let’s dive into each point in more detail…
1. Attack boards that miss their range

If your opponent’s range is high card heavy, they won't love the 6♠️ 4♠️ 3❤️ flop.

If stacks are deep enough that they can’t just rip it in with KK, consider lots of small semi-bluff raises with gutshots, flush draws & even pairs.
Read 12 tweets
Jan 16
Today is my 38th birthday.

If you don't know me, I dropped out of college at 21 to pursue poker full-time.

Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned about poker, business, and life: PG Bracelet #3
Here’s my quick story:

1. Dropped out of college at 21 to play poker full-time.
2. Have been playing poker against the best in the world since 22.
3. Continued with high-stakes poker the last 16 years while also creating businesses and a family.

Now, let’s get to the lessons…
1. Don’t rely on opportunity remaining constant.

Things change
• Games stop running.
• Venues shut down.
• Entire countries ban online poker.

Your bread & butter may vanish
• Be ready to start over.
• New opportunities will arise, but you have to be willing to adapt.
Read 13 tweets
Jan 5
Have you gone on a downswing that crushed your bankroll, forcing you to move down in stakes?

Odds are, you did it wrong.

Moving down long before you “have to” can earn you a LOT of extra money.

My hope is that these 6 reasons combined will change your perspective entirely: 🧵
1) Moving down reduces your exposure when you're likely off of your A-Game.
2) Moving down serves as an insurance policy against you overestimating your edge in your current games.

If you're an underdog and don't know it, moving down routinely prevents you from hemorrhaging a ton of EV.

This is especially true given point #1.
Read 8 tweets
Dec 21, 2022
If you're closer than your opponent to executing optimal strategy, you're a favorite, right?


Here is a simple breakdown of why that is and what it means for you. 🧵

Player 1 (Mr. Fold) folds 100% of rivers to a pot bet.

Player 2 (Miss Optimal) folds 50%, which is optimal.

Player 3 (Joe) is bluffing 20% of the time when he pots river (optimal=33%).

In these spots, P2 is closest to optimal. P1 is furthest.

Some quick math: 1/8
What happens if Joe bets $10 into a $10 pot 100 times against Miss Optimal?

50 times, Miss O folds. Result = $0
50 times, Miss O calls.

Of those 50 times, Miss O wins $20 10 times (Joe's 20% bluffs) and loses $10 40 times.

Net result: $400-$200=-$200

What about Mr. Fold? 2/8
Read 9 tweets

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