How can you consistently bring your A-game to the table? What are the characteristics of a top poker player? How can you maximize your wins when you’re playing? What are the skills that you should develop to secure a winner’s mindset?
With these mindset hacks in mind, you can very well be on your way to poker stardom. Keep reading through these 5 habits to develop for poker success.
Tip #1: Be present.
Once you take your seat at the table, you have to fully be at the table.
This means that you should shift all of your focus to the goal at hand: playing to win.
Had a tiff with your partner before the game? Think about that later. Not sure whether you watered the plants this morning? Go back to that thought later. a song stuck in your head, but you can’t recall the lyrics? That can be dealt with later.
The point here is that, with poker, you must be 100% present. With high stakes games as this, there should be no other thought occupying your head other than what is before you–the chips, your cards, and your opponents. This will make sure that you are at full capacity to make the best possible decision, at the best possible moment.
Tip #2: feel positive about yourself.
Now is not the time for self-deprecating thoughts nor self-doubt. When you’re at a poker table, you should always maintain a healthy dialogue with yourself.
Mindfulness is key to poker success. Why? We can think of a dozen reasons for this. First (as ironic as this sounds), when you’re mindful, your mind is quieter. There are no streams of negative talk in your head. Second, when you’re mindful of your thoughts, you can shift the focus on others.
For example, you can track a nervous tick from your opponent. You can notice that the person across the table from you just hitched his breath. All these will be made more visible to you when your mind is quiet.
Of course, a healthy relationship with yourself isn’t just limited to a healthy mental state. Your diet and your daily exercise regimen matter too. To make sure that you’re level-headed every time you play poker, make sure that your body is as properly nourished as your mind.
Some of our recommendations:
- Cut back on sugar and carbonated drinks. These can cause physical and mental sluggishness.
- Exercise and move your body daily.
- Get a good night’s rest for optimum mental alertness.
Tip #3: Remind yourself of your goal.
Sure, poker is fun enough in itself–but have you stopped to ask yourself what the end goal of playing is?
To win? Yes. That’s your goal, and probably the goal of the person next to you. But dig deeper? Do you play to earn more money? Do you play for the exhilarating feeling? Whatever it is, it’s always a good idea to go back to this goal and visualize it as you’re preparing for the game.
This mindset is also a useful reminder during less profitable games. Instead of beating yourself up for making a wrong decision during the game, focus on the lesson that you have learned. Think about how you can apply this new knowledge in the long run instead.
Tip #4: Get your life in order outside of the poker table.
Let’s circle back to the first tip. As much as you might want to give your 100% focus on the game, life really has a way of catching up on us. To make sure that it doesn’t, it will help if you get your life outside the poker table in order.
What does this mean? This means that you should get most of your work, your errands, your other dealings done by the time you sit down and play.
This is where proper scheduling comes into play. When you’ve put all your other dealings aside, you can finally get the optimum clarity of mind that you need.
There’s no player more zen that one who doesn’t need to rush off to the next errand. But of course, you don’t want to get work done just so you can get back to the poker table as soon as you can too. The quality of life that you lead outside your poker games is also a big variable to the quality of your game.
So, as a final note on this: no, it won’t come off as obsessive if you pencil in your poker time in your daily planner. In fact, that is actually a pretty good idea. This way, you can spend quality hours just simply focusing on the game at hand.
Tip #5: Don’t get too attached to the results.
If we haven’t made it clear enough yet, playing poker requires you to be in the now. Not yesterday, not tomorrow–NOW.
By thinking about the results, you’re already thinking ahead. By thinking about your previous wins and losses, you’re thinking about the past.
Attachment to these things, in general, only serves as a distraction from what is currently happening at the table. Smart visualization is what you need instead. This means that you should have a healthy and attainable goal without getting too attached to it.