Thursday, April 16, 2009

Playing Your Best Poker

Aside from having or acquiring poker knowledge there are several things unrelated to poker that can be done to help you play your best.

Here's a list of things I do in no particular order:

Eat right. Ideally I eat five small meals a day (it doesn't always work out this way). I try to avoid sugar and soft drinks.

Stay hydrated. If I'm playing a session, I drink about a glass of water every hour I'm playing. It helps me stay alert and concentrate.

Exercise. I try to get some form of exercise every day whether it be walking outdoors or using the eliptical machine. I believe 30 minutes is ideal and that's usually what I do.

Sleep. I try to sleep at least 8 hours every night and lately it has been about 9.

Eliminate distractions. This used to be a problem for me. I would be watching tv., making sports bets, talking to people, and even playing video games when I was playing. I do none of this anymore. I can't even begin to imagine how much those things cost me.

Listen to music. This always seems to help my frame of mind when playing and also gets me through those 4 and 5 hour sessions where I'd otherwise get bored. It also helps me concentrate and stay focused. I either listen to playlists in ITunes, AOL Radio, or Pandora.

Shut off my chat. I've always found the chat box to be detrimental and a distraction while playing. Yes, there's the occasional piece of information like ****** *****, that might lead you to believe your opponent is tilting but I'd much prefer to concentrate on how that person is playing before I draw conclusions about their emotional state. Besides, the vast majority of the chat on poker sites is, "You lucky mf fish, you *** ****", "You're the worst player I've ever seen", "You suck", etc. etc. It's an unfortunate reality that I'd rather not be a part of.

Take breaks. Any time I don't feel I'm playing my best I quit. This can be from a lack of concentration, fatigue, not thinking clearly, being upset about losing, etc. This has been one of the difficult things about having to play ~2200 hands a day. There are some days where I just don't feel right and I end up forcing myself to play because I need to put the hands in. I try to avoid doing this if it all possible though. I usually break up my sessions and take at least two breaks throughout the day. If I'm having a really bad day, I might take 3 or 4 breaks.

That's all I can think of right now.

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