If you suffer from tilt, have a hard time hitting hand/hours goals in your sessions or are just in the poker doldrums, then I recommend incorporating a Poker Warm-up into your sessions, along with recording Game Tape for your review.
Check out this Game Tape video where I included my pre-session warm-up. And below are some further details on poker warm-ups and using game tape in your studies.
Every sport and many professions require warm-ups for peak in-game performance, and poker is no different. Soccer players run the field and practice passing and shots. Singers warm-up their vocal cords and actors practice dialogue before a scene. As poker players, there's much we can do to get in the right mindset and set ourselves up for A-game success:
- Review your current strategy focus to keep it top of mind during your session
- Realize that negative variance exists and put strategies in place to deal with it
- Ditch the distractions (Skype, cell phone, television or YouTube, etc)
- Get physically ready to put in 1-2 hour sessions with a break in between (use the bathroom, get a water/coffee, etc.)
- Are you in the right mindset for A-game play? (not mentally distracted, tired/sleepy, have clear thoughts)
- Know your session goals? (1-2 hours, 1,000 hands, 20 SNG's, etc)
There are many other things you can do as part of an effective warm-up. For more warm-up strategy, check out this post on 5 Steps to a Simple and Effective Poker Warm-up.
Along with adding a warm-up to your repertoire, incorporating game tape can take you to the next level.
Poker Game Tape
Have you ever done a hand history review and found a hand like A8s on the BTN, folded around to you and you mucked it with two nits in the blinds? Why'd you do that? That's not a common play for you. Well, the answer could be something that you can't see in a normal hand history review. That's why I incorporated poker game tapes into my studies.
If you haven't tried recording your sessions yet for later review, then you're missing out. There's nothing like seeing your play “in the moment” to catch the things you're missing. Maybe while dealt the A8s you had an underpair in a 3bet pot on another table, a pair+gs on a second and pocket A's on a third table. You've got your hands full already, so you quickly muck a good starting hand b/c you're mind is on more pressing matters. Totally understandable, but something you'd kick yourself for during a one table at a time hand history review.
Poker Game Tape is where you record at least 30 minutes of your play for later review. You'd treat this like a football coach uses game tape of his team and that of his opponents. You're looking for mistakes you make, and you're looking for weaknesses in your opponent's play. Are you in control and thinking soundly at 4 tables, but start to get flustered and spewey at 6 tables? Do you find yourself not stealing in obvious spots because you're too preoccupied with what's going on at other tables? Do you find yourself focusing on that AA hand that you lose sight of other tables in hopes of a big payoff with the aces?
Poker Game Tape can answer a lot of questions for you and give you great insight into how you play when in the thick of things.
I wrote an entire post dedicated to incorporating Poker Game Tape into your studies, and you can read it here: 5 Steps to Improve Your Skills with Poker Game Tape.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them for me below and I'll be sure to get back to you.
Make your next session the best one yet!
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