When it comes to improving your poker game, many of us assume the best way to do it is to just keep on playing. While this will definitely yield great results for the first few years of your hobby, progress starts to slow down after a while.
Some professionals swear by just practice, practice, practice, but others have a few different tricks up their sleeves.
If you're looking to take your Texas Hold’em game to the next level, then here are some tactics that can really help you succeed if you put your mind to it.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Keeping your body healthy might not be a top priority for some amateur poker players. But when you start getting to bigger tournaments, it becomes really important.
Some players swear by taking breaks between games to stretch out with five minutes of yoga; so much so that there are even routines designed specifically for poker players.
Playing hunched over a table can wreak havoc on your lumbar spine while sitting on a computer chair for hours on end can cause huge tension in your neck.
Taking a leaf out of the professionals' books and making time for a stretch at least once every hour can help avoid these problems. This isn’t too demanding at all and will do wonders for your overall health and stamina.
Time Management is Everything
Although many of us feel like we're putting in as much time at the table as possible, we might not be using that time very productively.
But, if you spend all day every weekend sat at your computer playing poker, then how could you possibly not be using that time effectively?
The answer is simple. All of that time spent at the computer isn't spent concentrating 100% on the game. During that time, you might have gotten up to make lunch and then brought it back to eat while playing.
Perhaps you scrolled through social media on your phone for a bit, or maybe had a chat with someone in your family for half an hour.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with taking the time out of your day to do these things. However, you need to make sure to do it properly. When you're logged on and playing, that should be the only thing you're concentrating on. Similarly, while you're chatting to your family, take the time out to concentrate on that.
Doing two things at once generally leads to neither of those things being done properly. This can be a cause of frustration as you’ll feel that you’re putting in all these hours but not achieving the results you expect.
A good way to build proper time management into your daily life is by using a journal. You can get poker-specific journals to help you work in the training time building up to tournaments. Alternatively, you can use an everyday journal to help you figure out when you can afford to spend time playing and when it would be better used elsewhere.
Knowing what's coming up in your day can alleviate anxiety and help you perform better, both at the tables and doing other stuff.
Figuring out how to go about planning and managing your time properly will take some effort. This doesn't just come naturally, and you'll actually have to push yourself to do it. But once you get the routine down, you'll be happy you did it.
Keeping Stress at Bay
Carefully planning your time will not only ensure that you use it effectively, but it could also help you feel more relaxed knowing that everything is taken care of.
Ensuring that you arrive at the poker table feeling totally stress-free is absolutely key to improving your results.
Some of the decisions we have to make in a big poker game can be stressful enough without any outside influences added to the mix. Everyone will have different ways that work for them to ensure they arrive feeling calm and relaxed. That said, a good one to start with is a basic mindfulness practice.
Many poker players have ‘busy brains' that don’t get along with traditional meditation, but there are other ways of achieving the same effects.
If you too find that you can't sit still and empty your mind, then taking a walk could help. Mindfulness walks involve taking a walk, preferably outside, and taking note of each of your senses in turn.
Perhaps you can smell the damp from a shower earlier in the day or feel a gentle breeze on your skin. Maybe you can hear your own breathing or even birds chirping.
Techniques that help you to concentrate on your senses are incredibly grounding. If you can fit in a mindfulness walk before a big tournament, that's fantastic. If not, you can even apply some of the techniques during periods of the game that you find stressful.
Summary: Winning Poker Isn’t Just About Numbers
There is no denying that popular poker variations today, like Hold’em and Omaha, are games revolving around math and numbers. However, to become a successful player in the long run, you’ll need to go beyond that.
Even if poker is just a hobby you take seriously, you probably want to do well at the tables. Even if money is not a big factor, it’s much more fun to play the game when you’re actually good at it.
Tips from this article should go a long way in helping you realize that goal. Managing your time, avoiding stress, and staying healthy are just as important, if not more, as learning various poker tricks and strategies.
So, whether you’re an amateur playing primarily for the competition or someone trying to play poker for a living, try to take this advice to heart and incorporate it into your daily routine. You’re guaranteed to see your results improve over time.