2021 is here and that means New Year’s resolutions for many – poker players included. Generally, players chase wins, number of hands played, or financial goals.
According to Forbes, 80% of people fail in their resolutions. Sitting down and mapping out simple ideas will help someone reach goals more efficiently. Making an achievable plan and creating a course of action will increase the odds of success.
Reaching goals, especially in online poker, can be tough – taking a toll on a player’s mind and body after a while. Grinding for endless hours can easily deteriorate a player’s mental sharpness and physical shape.
1 – Drink more water
The body is made of two-thirds water and so is the brain. Dehydration is one of the fastest ways to lose an edge in a high-stakes game.
Drinks with heavy amounts of sodium, caffeine, or sugar can also cause a player to crash mid-session. Water helps maintain energy levels and can offset fatigue and headaches.
2 – Exercise and improve posture
If the plan is to grind a certain number of hours weekly, then a similar plan must be created for exercise. It’s no coincidence that top-notch players are also generally in good shape. Exercise lowers stress and increases mental strength.
Find an exercise that fits the daily routine and try to work it in. Try walking more or lifting weights. Punching bags can work great for handling those bad beats.
Posture is also sitting correctly can help improve your focus and avoid long-term back problems.
Dr. Rick Carlson is the owner of Optimal Health Chiropractic and Physical Therapy in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. He’s no stranger to back pain and has a few recommendations for online poker players.
“I constantly see people that come into my office with back pain, especially people that sit at a desk each day,” he says. “I highly recommend an external lumbar pillow for your desk chair and to stand up every 30 minutes to stretch toward the sky.”
3 – Three-bet more
Alex Fitzgerald is a top online coach at Advanced Poker Training and has spent countless hours analyzing data. He’s written two poker strategy books and does a weekly podcast series offering tips on beating the game. The top advice Fitzgerald gives is to three-bet more.
“If some guy is opening all his Broadways, his suited aces, 7-8-suited plus, and his small pairs, then three-bet him,” he advises.
Focus on the table and identify a loose player who can be exploited by three-bets. This can make the difference between a winning and losing session.
4 – Sleep better and meditate
Getting on a set sleep schedule may be difficult for tournament grinders playing late into the night. However, improving sleep can help a player in the long run.
Dark shades, white noise, and turning off phone interruptions help reach deep sleep mode. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is where players can regain the mental energy needed to constantly put in long hours. Eight hours is generally recommended nightly to reach top performance.
Another helpful daily ritual is embracing meditation. A few minutes of deep thought before a game can focus the mind on the task at hand.
“The research shows that people who meditate regularly enjoy improved attention and concentration, enhanced emotional regulation, lower levels of impulsivity, improved risk-based decision making, and clearer thinking that’s less likely to be influenced by cognitive biases.”
5 – Manage the bankroll better
Bankroll management means different things to different people. But devising a plan to keep effective tracking of wins versus losses is a start.
Generally 100 to 200 buy-ins for online multi-table tournaments is standard. Look for games with overlays and inferior players where you have an edge. Treating a gaming bankroll like an investment fund will greatly help increase a player’s odds of winning.
6 – Add some eyewear
Constantly staring at a computer screen can be grueling especially if a player wears lenses. Research varies about the damage blue light can have on a person’s eyes.
Use a pair of computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses to block blue light. This can help ease eye strain by increasing contrast. These lenses are sold in prescription and non prescription versions.
7 – Play more hands in position
Playing in position is one of the simplest concepts in the game. Yet players constantly play hands out of position in spots that have them crushed.
The goal of the game is to get chips, not give them away. The easiest way to start to achieve that is to play more hands later in position.
Tighten up early position hands and stop playing junk from under the gun (UTG) and UTG+1. Players should analyze positions from which they are consistently losing money.
The first thing players may notice is that small blind or early position hands tend to be the biggest leaks. The easiest fix is simply to play fewer hands out of position.
8 – Make time to study
Listening to podcasts or spending time reading poker books can help improve a player’s game significantly. Training sites and YouTube videos make it easier than ever before to improve.
Players looking for a small edge that can generate long term profits should set time aside each week for:
- reviewing hands
- processing online data
- reviewing charts
9 – Prepare better meals and take some supplements
Setting up weekly pre-made meals can not only help a player keep a balanced diet, but save time and money. Players generally only get five-minute breaks each hour during an online tournament. Having meals ready to go can help stay fueled for a long session.
Using free apps like MyFitnessPal allow players to create personalized weekly menus while controlling their calorie intake.
Online players don’t always have the best eating habits. Pizza, soda, and fries don’t always provide the nutrients a player needs. Some good vitamins to include in a balanced diet to improve mental and physical capabilities include:
- Daily multivitamin – These include many different vitamins and minerals to make up the nutrients the body needs daily.
- B12 – Helps form red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system.
- Fish oil – Contains the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which help brain clarity and developmental functions.
- Vitamin E – An antioxidant geared to help with brain well-being by reducing stress.
10 – Pick up some hobbies and get away from the keyboard
Spend quality time with family and friends to get perspective and balance outside of the daily grind. This helps a player’s mind reset and gives something to look forward to each week.