Preparing your body and mind is a key attribute that can add to small edges and increase your win rate in big ways. Here are some things to consider before firing up your computer to play poker.
One aspect of online poker that many people take for granted is preparing for your upcoming session. They might think, what do I need to prepare for? I am just sitting in a chair for a few hours. But preparing your body and mind is a key attribute that can add to small edges and increase your win rate in big ways. Here are some things to consider before firing up your computer to play poker.
I have lost more money on days when I was hungover than all other days combined. Fortunately, during the last few years, I have almost quit entirely playing hungover, but in the pre-Black Friday era I was unable to realize the effect that it had on me. When your brain is cloudy, you miss key moments of the match where that information could have helped you make a better decision down the line. Not only might you make bad decisions during the game, but my biggest leak was post game. I would often use poor game selection after losing which would cause me to play above my bankroll and this made me go broke many times. Plugging this leak was one of the biggest monetary and motivating factors to eventually turning pro.
Play or the Right Reasons
Another thing that causes loss of money for many players is playing for the wrong reasons. If you are playing for fun, it is a different story, but if you are trying to make money one of the worst things you can do is play because you are bored. You should go into each session with a clear head, ready to make good decisions for many hours to come. Remember, even if you only miss a couple things at the table per hour, those couple things add up and after a full day session, those intangible things you missed were actually value.
Get Your Sleep
Sleep is very, very important. I have 2 toddlers, one who doesn’t always sleep through the night. If I am too tired, I find that a 30-60 minute nap will refresh me in a big way. Missing the first hour of a tournament is not nearly as bad as playing the entire tournament while exhausted. Caffeine can be helpful, for a while, but there is no substitute for actually being rested. Coffee only lasts for so long and drinking too much of it is not good for your body. And taking care of your body is just as important as taking care of your mind.
Which leads me to proper eating and exercise. If you watch poker videos from the 80s and 90s, you will notice that many of the best players were overweight. The reason for that is, back then it was much harder to master the game. You could only play live and there was very little information on the subject, so to get good, you had to spend most of your time sitting in a smoke filled casino, eating greasy casino food. Then the internet came along and people could suddenly play more hands in a hour than live players could in a week. They not only had more time to study poker, they could study health as well. They realized that poker could be equated to athletics, in that if you treated your body well, it would treat you well during a 14+ hour session. Suddenly, the players you saw winning the most had healthy and fit bodies. They learned that heavy and greasy foods actually killed your energy and eating things like fast food and carbs, though tasty, could actually make them worse players. Working out is important as well, because it trains your body to handle those marathon sessions. Turns out sitting there is more work than we ever could have thought.
All of these tips can help you make better decisions on the felt, which will guarantee you higher profit in the long run. You still have to study and put in the hours to improve your game, but if you combine all of these self-improvement tips, you will increase your expected value. And probably your life. So next time you are about to sit down for a session, ask yourself if you are truly prepared. If not, do what it takes to get there and watch your bankroll go up!
250 Thank You Freeroll
I am giving out three 250 Guaranteed freeroll tickets to people who comment below. What do you do to prepare yourself for a poker session? Winners will also be entered in Sunday’s Tipsy Chips last longer contest to play me heads up for 25 chips. Entries must be received by Wednesday at 9AM EST to qualify.