Inhale, Exhale: How Your Breathing Can Help You Deal with Poker Stakes
Getting better at playing poker requires determination. Focus. And the ability to clear your mind. To achieve the right state of mind to be able to raise poker stakes, there is one simple thing you should do: just breathe.
And while that sounds easy enough, as breathing is an automatic action – one which we don't pay much attention to - things are a bit more complicated.
Is there a right way to breathe when you play poker? How can breathing affect your focus and stress levels? Learn all about the way you should be breathing as you place bets, raise the stakes, and take risks while playing online poker.
What is the Right Way to Breathe When Trying to Relax?
Hold up: is there even such a thing as a wrong way to breathe? Well, technically not, as you get oxygen into your system one way or another. But there are some tips that can help you optimize your breathing to help you relax and gain control over your faculties.
The secret is to focus on your breathing and pay attention to your body as you inhale and exhale. Here is what you need to do:
- Find a quiet room where you can do the breathing exercises without interruption. Try to listen to your body and be focused mainly on your breathing, while blocking out your surroundings.
- Get situated, make sure you're completely comfortable, and allow your body to relax.
- Exhale slowly, get all the air out of your lungs before you take a deep breath.
- Inhale through your nose. Use your diaphragm to take the deepest breath you possibly can, and try to prolong your intake of air as much as possible.
- Let the air out slowly and steadily.
- Repeat the exercise until you're relaxed and focused.
By following those simple steps, you will be able to affect your mind, your body, and your ability to play poker.
How Can Breathing Affect Your Poker Skills?
Now that we've answered the "how" let's take a look at the "why": why should you pay so much attention to your breathing before you place bets?
In general, studies believe that diaphragmatic breathing can benefit your physical and mental health in many ways – all of which can boost your poker career.
First of all, breathing exercises can improve your sustained attention, aka your ability to focus on an activity for a long period of time. When it comes to poker, you have to practice and place bets for hours on end if you want to see any results, and being able to remain focused is crucial if you want to have a positive experience.
In addition to that, studies proved that diaphragmatic breathing might help you reduce cortisol levels – which is the main stress hormone in your body. And controlling your stress levels will allow you to be more levelheaded and less panicky if you find yourself in a tight spot at the poker table.
And once you improve your attention span and get your stress levels under control, you will be able to make smarter decisions at the poker table, without letting your emotions and tiredness affect your poker abilities.
Deep breathing is somewhat similar to meditation, and it allows you to reach a serene state of mind that is highly important if you want to master poker. So, take a deep breath, place your bets, and do your best to win your next poker match!