Another Look at How to Prepare for Poker
Recently, Juicy Stakes Poker Australia published an article on how to prepare for playing poker. As it turns out, the idea of preparing for poker is bigger than we thought! We spoke about mental and physical preparation. But there’s more! So, here is part two on preparing for poker.
What Did Juicy Stakes Emphasize in the First Article?
In that article, we spoke about six ways to prepare for poker:
- Training yourself to keep your emotions at bay and to avoid tilt.
- Setting time limits on your play at the outset so you don’t take on too much too fast.
- To be honest with yourself. This avoids making excuses for mistakes.
- We spoke about the importance of observing every hand. This includes watching the cards carefully and watching the players equally carefully.
- Staying physically healthy in all ways from sleep, to diet, to hydration, to exercise.
- Finally, we spoke about what you might have to give up in order to learn how to excel at poker.
The Power of Observation
It’s easy to tell people to observe but it’s a lot more difficult to explain how to teach oneself to be more observant. Here are a few tried and true methods to enhance your powers of observation.
Play Sudoku and Other Games that Require Close Observation
Sudoku comes in many forms and varieties. We have all found ourselves in the middle of a Sudoku game and we are stuck! In order to get unstuck in Sudoku, we have to look more carefully at the grid. The clue that solves the entire puzzle is there; we just have to see it.
We can’t see it by “just looking” at it. We have to look closely.
Sudoku, of course, is far from the only game we can play that challenges us to be more observant. A fast moving game such as SET also tests our ability to observe and can be even more useful in poker than Sudoku. That’s because SET requires quick observation. In poker, you will have the chance to think but the clues that tell you WHAT to think are fast and ephemeral!
A lot of poker players, especially newer players, play far beyond the point of boredom. Poker can be boring since we fold so often. But when the boredom becomes a truly negative feeling, it is time to find something else to do!
If poker brings on a feeling of boredom very quickly after you sit down to play, it is often a sign that you need to look for a different game altogether. Boredom in poker means that the player will not pay close attention and paying close attention on every hand is the key to success. So, avoid boredom!
When you are playing and feeling bored, simply leave the game. This, of course, points to the great superiority of poker online at Juicy Stakes Poker and other poker rooms. When you have spent time and money getting to a land based poker room, players are much more likely to play too long!
Learn from Every Mistake
Your opponents are trying to trick you so accept the fact that you will be tricked from time to time. Accepting your opponents’ desire to trick you will help you “see” the next trick for what it is!
You need to use all of your senses. It isn’t enough to look and listen. Watch how your opponents look at their cards. This is one observation you can make only at a land based poker room. When you play online, you need to sharpen your hearing since that is really the only sense you can use!
But in real life, you can use all five senses. The more developed your senses become, the more able you will be to observe your opponents.
Make Real Life a Great Teacher
We mentioned that in real life you should use all of your senses. In fact, real life is an even better “teacher” than poker itself!
Watch People and Ascribe Facts to Them
A lot of people enjoy “people watching”. It actually helps to ascribe fictional characteristics and facts to the people you see. This is a lot more fun to do with a special friend but you can also do it alone!
Appreciate Everything around You
In the great book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the narrator, a writing instructor at a college in Montana had given an assignment and one woman was unable to find anything to say. The teacher said that “you’re not looking” and he told her to sit in the restaurant across from the Town Hall and start writing from a single brick. A few days later she showed up with a very long essay and had no idea where all the thoughts had come from.
That is the power of observation of every detail and letting those details wash over you!
The small details that you can’t see with the naked eye are often quite visible with binoculars. The classic use of binoculars is to watch birds or to watch wildlife in nature but from a safe distance.
The creative use of binoculars will make you a much better observer.
In a similar vein, we suggest that you look at the view from where you are sitting and create images in the leaves or branches or cloud formations. Making up odd shapes in the everyday things we can look at will increase our power of imagination at the poker table.
Make Creative Use of Distractions
Life is full of distractions. We encourage poker players to eliminate distraction when they are playing poker. This, of course, is another reason why online poker has many advantages over land based poker.
Still, since we all experience distractions, we can make creative use of them! Some people call certain distractions their hobby. Others like to relax watching sports on television, hiking, swimming, bicycle riding, playing card games other than poker and a myriad other “distractions”.
When you let the distractions lead you in a positive way, you will be better suited mentally for a session of poker where there must be NO distractions!
Juicy Stakes Poker Has Many Games to Choose From
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