Some days ago I was surfing around on the net and I found this picture… As a recent professional Poker player I’m always trying to improve my game and I thought that meant read as much books and articles as I can. I also belive that but I guess there is much more I can do to improve me, my game and the aproach I take to this profession.
Starting with “Focus“, I guess surfing on the web while playing is one of the common mistakes of a young player (mine too -.- ), “Come on!!! If I can play 12 tables at the same time I can play 9 and surf on the web at the same time”… Yes, maybe you can but you’ll miss some very profitable spots that you can only identify if you are really paying attention to the flow of the game, and besides that, when your’re surfing on the web, without even notice your game will become more and more robotic and more and more predictable, so PAY ATENTION TO THE F#$%&ING GAME!!!! or just don’t start to play at all…
Listening to music is also a common practice among players, I do it too. In my opinion this is a subject that depends from person to person… In my case it helps me to feel more confortable during my long online sessions; suckouts hurt less and I feel less lonely in my room, so I think it’s a good thing for me!
Moving on to “Self Control“, start a session drunk is just ridiculous for me because I think normal people don’t go to work drunk, so… And for me poker is a real job so I will never start a session drunk. Tiredness is another thing… I’m always starting sessions tired and I really think it’s one of my bigest leaks… When you’re tired you lack of focus, patience, logical thinking and some more important characteristics to play your A-Game, so just don’t play tired, rest a bit more, use your time to review a session, to read your poker book, to see a tv cash game, whatever, but don’t go to the tables give your money away. It’s true, you’ll rake less, you lose the opportunity to clean some wale’s money but at the same time you’ll prevent yourself to just become a easy target to the other good regulars. So, if your are no drunk, hangover, of tired there is no motive not to be at your top level, your A Game, and you can just play and play… lol… I wish it was that easy 😉 After 3 or 4 suckouts it starts to bother you, maybe you tilt a bit, maybe you loose your focus and your confidence so your really should stop a bit, put it all together and maybe start again. It’s a thin line the one that puts your A and B Games apart, so be aware of how you feel during your sessions!
Moving on to “Fitness“: good sleep, regular exercise, and healthy eating should be rule not only for poker, but also for life. But if you have a demanding activitie it becomes even more important. Your good sleeping patterns, your balanced meals and the 1h run you do every day will massively help you to stay focus and fit during your sessions! So don’t be a sick degenerate…at least not always 😉
Poker is a people’s game played with cards and because every player thinks at least a little bit diferent from the one next to him the game is always evolving and new ways of thinking/playing are always showing up. It’s hard to keep up, to follow the new trends and to be on the top of the wave so, you need to work. Review your sessions, read books, skype with your friends to discuss some hands, think about the game, get a coach, use the forums, etc., but always try to improve and to fix your leaks, that way you’ll be able to fight back when dificult times arrive and the variance eats up your bankroll. Variance is for me one of the most dificult things to deal with in Poker, it’s just mentaly tuff to take the right decision and loose a hand, but I think that if the EV line is moving in the right direction you have nothing to worrie about! Just put enough volume of hands and you’ll be able to surpass every downswing.
So, just to finish this analysis: Poker is a demanding game, and achieving your A Game it’s not easy, but with some work in diferent areas you’ll be able to put yourself in a very good spot to succeed. Don’t expect success will show up overnight but keep yoursel sharp and good things will start to happen!