How to Stay Focused When Playing Poker Online
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Playing poker on the internet instead of the live felt has plenty of pros and cons. One of the biggest downsides of playing online is the fact that maintaining focus can often be a challenge.
Over the years, many upcoming online poker players have failed at this exact challenge and either busted their bankrolls or simply gave up on the game because staying focused was too big of a challenge for them.
The mental game is such a big part of the game that several poker books have been written on the topic. If you want to become a professional poker player, thinking about your mental game and focus should be high up on your list of priorities.
In this article, I will explore the top ways to stay focused while playing online poker and how you can use them to increase your profits and advance through the ranks faster in the online poker world.
Remove the Distractions
One of the biggest dangers to your focus when playing online poker is the countless potential distractions present all around you.
While playing online, you will have easy access to the internet, which means music, YouTube videos, and plenty of other virtual content will be available on your computer.
What’s more, if you keep your phone around, you may be tempted to text people, scroll through your Instagram feed, or get immersed in various other distractions that the mobile tech has to offer.
My advice is to stay away from all of these while playing poker. If you want this to be your job, you need to treat it as such. That means putting your phone away and only opening the necessary apps on your computer.
Music is the one distraction you may consider using through the long sessions. Some genres of music can actually help keep you focused.
That said, I don't recommend listening to music the entire time you are playing. I would highly recommend trying to focus on playing your poker hands as much as possible. Try to keep all other distractions to the minimum.
A common distraction for many players is also looking back at recently played hands or trying to analyze past hands during gameplay. Make sure to leave all analysis for after the session and do your review sessions at a separate time.
Use Your Breaks
You should make the most out of your breaks and use them to recharge and get back in the right mindset. Meditation can be a great way to achieve this, and using tools like PrimedMind will help you regain your focus quickly and with almost no effort.
If you are playing tournament poker, you should get a 5-minute break every hour or so. These breaks can be used to take care of your physiological needs but also to regain your focus and put your mind back in the game.
If you prefer playing cash games, it is important to also take breaks. Online tables let you sit out at any time. You should definitely take a break every couple of hours to get your thoughts together and regain the focus you may be losing.
When playing cash games, a good time to take a break is probably after losing a big pot.
This is when a lot of players tend to tilt and not play their best game.
Instead of struggling with making the right play on the next hand, take a ten-minute break, forget about the hand that went the wrong way, and come back playing your A-game once more.
If there is one thing many poker players like to do while playing online, it is popping open a beer or two or drinking alcohol in general.
While this may seem like something fun to do, I highly recommend not drinking alcohol or using any mind-altering substances while playing.
Even too much coffee or energy drinks is something I would not recommend during your online poker sessions. Alcohol and drugs should be completely off the table.
Regardless of how much you think you can drink before you get drunk, even small amounts of alcohol can play with your mind and make your reasoning less than perfect.
If you want to keep your focus up and play your best game at all times, you should stay sober while playing. If you like to have a few beers, do it once your session is done and your bankroll is safe and out of reach.
Train Your Mind
Staying focused is not something only poker players struggle with. It’s rather a general issue that many people encounter with their work.
Many methods have been invented to fight the lack of focus, including meditating, sleeping on a regular schedule, maintaining a healthy diet, and more.
Poker players looking to improve their mental game can use the PrimedMind app, which is designed to help users unlock their full mental potential.
By using this app and generally applying healthy lifestyle choices, you can gradually train your mind and get to a point where staying focused on the task at hand will be a lot easier and bring you more satisfaction.
Online poker is very fast-paced, especially if you play on many tables at the same time, which is what most players do.
When you are getting dealt hundreds of hands per hour, it is easy to fall into the trap of not thinking about your decisions but rather just clicking buttons. Poker players often refer to this as playing on autopilot.
You want to avoid playing on autopilot as much as possible. Thinking about hands and making conscious plays will increase your productivity and your win rate, whether you play Texas Hold’em or any other variation.
You should make sure to keep this in the back of your head throughout the session and keep asking yourself, am I really playing my best game right now?
If the answer is no and you find that you have been playing on autopilot, taking a break should help you recover the lost focus and come back playing your best game.
If you train yourself to constantly ask this question, you will be able to maintain focus for much longer, as you will consciously avoid the autopilot mode at all times.