If you’re studying hard and playing hard but not getting results, the issue might not be in your technical poker game. Rather, there might be leaks in your mental game.
This is something that François Hamel (who goes by Frank) knows a thing or two about. After several years as a poker pro, Hamel began to look inward in a bid to overcome the issues he faced at the tables. The journey of discovery he went on resulted in him wanting to help others to do the same.
He decided to go back to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Laval University, followed by a masters degree in mental performance at the University of Ottowa.
Hamel is now BBZPoker’s very own performance coach and the team couldn’t be more thrilled to release his new Mental Game Bundle, a course you need to build the psychological foundation of your poker game. With more than 14 hours of content, this bundle will force you to rethink your approach to the game and help you develop the discipline and consistency to take action. You’ll create your own performance philosophy, re-frame how your emotions influence your performance and build a new mindset to understand the science and psychology behind Mental Performance.
Let’s hear from the brains behind the bundle, Francois Hamel! pic.twitter.com/QKyLXokgbB
— BBZ Poker (@BBZPoker) October 15, 2021
We sat down for a chat with Hamel to find out more about the bundle’s contents, the journey he has been on, and how impactful the mental game is on poker players. Check it out.
BBZ Blog: Hey Frank, congratulations on the release of the Mental Game Bundle!
Frank Hamel: Thanks! I’m really excited right now. I think I put even more time into the topics than I’d planned and I think the end product is awesome. I expected to write a book at some point, but now I’ve put everything into this bundle.
What can the BBZ community expect from your content?
The first part of the bundle is about finding the foundation of your performance. We’ll figure out why you want to be a professional poker player, what you’re willing to sacrifice, and what will guide your macro-decisions. I think it will help players build principles in their lives so they can pursue this passion and career in poker, and build the foundations so that when you get into a downswing, you know what you need to do. You don’t feel clueless or lost. You actually know what the next steps are and you know you’re going in the right direction.
How long has this been in the works?
I’ve been thinking about the mental game for the past seven years, trying to find those answers and build those frameworks. I’ve never stopped thinking about it, moving from a player to a mental game coach.
What has your journey been like, transitioning from a player to a mental game coach?
I always had a natural inclination for everything related to mathematics, logic, thinking, problem-solving, those kinds of things. I was studying business at university and I felt like I was going nowhere, but I found this opportunity in poker where I believed it could be something I do professionally, so I decided to make the jump.
When I chose to play poker full time, I found a coach who helped me with the technical side of poker. I worked on my technical skills for three years and never really had a breakthrough. I then realised that what wasn’t working in my game was something in my mental game. My mental game was slowing down my progress and my growth.
How did you overcome that?
I underestimated the amount of sacrifice and discipline required to play poker for a living. Some people will have a poker career where they smoothly navigate the poker journey, but some people get to a point where you have to ask those questions and realise that if you really want it badly enough, you have to make sacrifices and put in more effort.
My first three years, yeah I was working hard, yeah I was studying, but I was lacking the last five or 10% which makes the entire difference.
I had this time of reflection when I was thinking about myself and my performance. I asked myself, why do I want to be a poker player? Do I want it badly enough? What do I want to sacrifice? How can I find the discipline, the motivation, the resilience to keep going? I tried to find those answers.
What happened after you made those changes?
My fourth year as a poker player (2016) is where I had the most success. From January that year, I had a calendar where every week I was writing down the number of hours I was studying and the number of hours I was playing. I was taking notes on my mental game, how I felt physically and mentally. I had certain principles I wanted to live by. All of these things I repeated every week.
A lot of players just sit down at the computer and either study or play, but they lack this clarity in the direction and foundation of their game.
I won the Sunday Million for $162K in July of that year. It’s no surprise I had my best year at that moment because I was doing all of the things necessary to be successful.
Why is having a strong mental game so important for poker players?
I think one of the toughest things about poker is to continue to perform when you don’t get positive feedback or rewards. You play, you feel like you’re making good decisions, but you don’t have the confirmation at the end that tells you you’re winning money. It can be harsh and difficult at times.
I don’t think the mental game is different to the technical game. They come together. If you have a weak mental game you won’t be able to play your best technical game at the tables.