How to Play the Poker Mind Game
Poker is a mind game. Poker players have to keep their own minds healthy and also to get into their opponents’ mindset. Easier said than done on both counts! In this Juicy Stakes Poker review, we talk about ways that poker players can stay helpfully mindful without math!
First, a Word about our Bodies
There really isn’t a disconnect between mind and body. Healthy minds and healthy bodies are synergistically connected. So, to play the poker mind game we also have to play the poker body game.
This involves eating right and exercising right. The problem is that there is no real agreement on what eating right is and on what exercising right is. There were recently two consecutive clips on YouTube about the proper way to combat diabetes that contradicted each other!
To Eat the Fat or to Not Eat the Fat
The two speakers might just as well have been talking about healthy eating for everyone, not just diabetics. The one clip was by Dr. Sarah Hallberg who espoused a high fat keto diet for her diabetic patients.
The next one was by Dr. Neal Barnard who spoke about a low fat and low protein regimen for diabetics.
The point here is that no one really knows what the perfect eating and exercise program might be for everyone. The follow up insight is that everyone has to find out what works best for them.
It takes time to find out which eating plan works best for you. It also takes time to find out what types of exercises work best for you. As serious poker players, it is vitally important that you do so.
We will speak positively about some activities. If they don’t work for you, don’t do them. But if they do work for you, they will work wonders for you in general and especially as a poker player!
When to Drink and What to Drink
It seems that we talk about alcohol at least once a week! When you play at home, you can avoid alcohol while playing. It is a lot harder for many people to avoid free alcohol at land based poker rooms.
In general, it is best to drink water. It is also good to “eat water”. By this we mean to eat foods that are high in water content. Here, too, we need to learn as much as we can about ourselves. For example, watermelon is primarily water! As a way to eat water it is almost the perfect food. But some people can’t eat watermelon! And, it is always possible to eat too much!
Start the Day with Breathing Exercises
After sleeping for six to eight hours in the same position much of the time, you need to get a lot of oxygen into your lungs and from there to your bloodstream. Better than eating right away, doing breathing exercises will invigorate you in mind and body.
A lot of people aren’t hungry in the morning. Most people still think that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Is it? Is it the most important meal of the day for you?
If you don’t really need to eat as soon as you wake up, breathing exercises are a perfect way to be calm. Poker players are always exhorted to avoid tilt. Tit is the bane of good poker play. The calm taht will pervade your consciousness when you do simple yet effective breathing exercise will go a long way to helping you avoid the destructive impulses of tilt.
Start the Day with Quiet Activity
If breathing exercises aren’t your thing, may we suggest other ways to start the day in a way that will bring calm and repose to your day?
- Meditation works wonders for many people. The internet is full of meditative exercises. Find the one that is best for you!
- Go for a walk. A teacher once defined hiking as “walking in nature”. This is often true. If you live near a park or nature preserve, a “hike” in nature might be the best way to start the day. If you live in a highly urbanized environment, a walk in town might suffice.
- Avoid the “noise” of social media, the morning news, the morning newspaper, and the general cacophony of modern life. We tend to look down upon people who “just talk” but Robert Pirsig in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” spoke about how important it is to “just talk”.
- If you have a good morning regimen, it will help you sleep better. That is one of the ways the mind and body work together.
- Movement in general is very important. Take time to stretch and to move about often during the day. Movement helps your blood circulate which means that your cells and internal organs are all getting the oxygen they need to function properly.
Spend Money on the Really Important Things
For example, if you choose to go for a walk in the morning, you really do need to put out a few extra dollars on the walking or hiking shoes that fit your feet best and give you the most comfort and support while waking.
If you choose to relax by cooking, invest a few extra dollars in good cooking utensils.
Spend extra money on the most comfortable clothes. Buy the best mattress you can afford. Any chair you sit on for hours every day should be perfect for your back, your spinal column, your long muscles, and your neck and shoulder area.
Comfort cannot be over-estimated. Discomfort leads to self-induced tension and pressure.
We all know that writers write about people. Poker players “play” about people. The first person you need to get to know well is yourself. Getting to know you should be a form of discovery. When you learn a lot about yourself, you will be able to begin to learn as much as you can about other people.
Reading is a great way to get into the mindsets of other people. It isn’t just the author’s mindset that you want to get to know. A good writer will give you enough information that you will be able to get into the characters’ mindsets as well.
Poker is so much about understanding how your opponents are thinking!
Poker players know that there will be bad beats along the road to stardom! A lot of poker players may know the math of poker inside out but still are not yet ready to fully accept reality.
Poker math knowledge flies out the window when unrealistic thoughts and emotions fly in!
In the context of poker a to do list is bets when you are learning the math of poker
William F. Buckley was an arch-conservative who was not the most popular person to many Americans! Yet, he wrote a short book called “On Gratitude” in which he spoke about the great importance of simple gratitude.
Most of the time at the poker table, you will have poor hands! Impatience is a leading cause of premature poker exhaustion. Wait...your super hand will come.
If we respect our opponents we will also be able to respect ourselves. Self-respect in many ways is even more important than self-confidence. No less an authority than Michael Jordan spoke about the respect he had for the game.
When Jordan was trying to play baseball professionally, he discovered that most of the minor league players he was playing with knew that they would never have a career in the major leagues but that they had great respect for baseball.
Have respect for poker and for all other poker players.
We will conclude by extolling the manifest virtues of having fun! There are many ways to have fun. Just because you are playing poker with real money does not mean that suddenly it is not fun! Poker should be as much fun as any other game you play exclusively for fun.
We at Juicy Stakes Poker hope you have a great time playing poker at our site. Join NOW for great poker all the time!