Just like a runner stretches their legs or a singer starts with some arpeggios, poker players also need to take a moment to warm-up in order to achieve peak performance. By taking ten minutes to warm-up before you sit down at the table, you’ll bring a stronger mental game and increase your win-rate.
While we’re all different, there are some easy principles that you can apply to your routine.
Poker requires intense focus. That’s why the first part of your warm-up should be eliminating distractions. Start with your physical needs.
Go to the bathroom, grab a nutritious snack, and fill up a water bottle. You don’t want to rush through a hand because you’re eager to get to the toilet. Plus, hydration and nutrition are key to mental acuity.
Second, eliminate social distractions, especially those from social media. Log out of Facebook, sign off Skype, and maybe even turn off your phone. You want to be dialed into the action, not browsing your newsfeed.
If you’re playing online, you should also make sure that your partner, spouse, or roommates leave you alone while you’re in a session. This can be as simple as putting a sign on the door.
Reflect on Your Learning
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about poker. Rather than just jumping into the hand, however, you should spend a few minutes reflecting on your studies.
Run through some example hands that highlight your most recent focus areas. This will give you a great foundation that you can take into the game. As you play, you’ll start seeing spots where you can apply your learning and make better plays.
Steady Your Mind
Now it’s time to go from preparation mode to performance mode. Steady your mind. First, think about how you’re feeling. The last thing that you want is to let emotions rule your game, especially since poker is already so emotionally taxing.
Take some time to listen to music or meditate. Whether you’re feeling upset or excited, this will help you to enter a more neutral mindset. Poker is, above all, a game of mathematics, so you’ll want to be a cool and logical as possible if you want to win.
These are just a few of the general principles that you can use to develop your own warm-up routine. Experiment with it and find what works for you. Either way, warming up is a crucial step to taking your poker game to the next level.