One of the best things about the rise of online gaming is that it has taken players out of the confines of the stuffy casino floor and into the comfort of their own homes. Now, you can launch into a game of poker while settled into your favourite spot on the couch or even when you are trying to while away time on your commute home.
However, every player is different, and this more mobile set-up might not be the optimal one for all players out there. For some, playing poker in a home setting can be more difficult because of the sheer volume of distractions available. In the age of digital distraction, there are more things than ever vying for your attention. Be it your social media notifications or the music you are listening to, it has become increasingly difficult to stay focused. Here are some simple tips you can implement immediately to help you keep focused when you are playing a game of poker.
Put your phone away
One of the biggest culprits in this age of digital distraction is the mobile phone. You’ve all made the same mistake before – some of you multiple times in the space of a few minutes – where you pick up your phone to check the time and before you know it, you get sucked into an internet wormhole and 10 minutes have passed. This is incredibly common behaviour, and mobile phone apps are designed to promote this type of behaviour. Small, micro distractions, such as quickly looking at your phone to check the time, often become more frequent when you are under stress during pivotal moments of a poker game. Unfortunately, this is precisely when you need to be at your most focused.
Thankfully, the solution to this is incredibly simple – put your phone away! However, this is easier said than done, and it might take a little bit of time before you harden your self-discipline completely. A good first step towards this goal is to simply keep your phone in another room while you are playing a game of poker, which should force you to build up the willpower initially. Learning to keep focused while playing a game of poker is crucial if you hope to learn the game properly and to have any long-term success playing it. If your mobile phone addiction is preventing you from doing this, it’s time to get this habit under control.
Control what you listen to
One of the best things about playing poker at home instead of in a land-based casino is that you have complete control over what music you listen to. Gone are the days of having to suffer through a seemingly endless array of generic-sounding ‘elevator music’ on the casino floor. Thanks to the rise of online casino gaming, you now have complete control over what you listen to while you enjoy a game. Whether you prefer rocking out to heavy metal or getting groovy with some jazz, the choice is yours.
However, when it comes to keeping focused, not all musical genres are created equal. While you might love the lyric-heavy, deep bass sounds of rap and hip-hop, this might not be conducive to cultivating a deep focus while you are playing poker. In fact, the complex rhythms and lyrics might actually distract you. If you want to truly ‘get in the zone’, something like some mellow jazz, classical music or ambient house music is much better to help you keep focused. These musical genres strike the right balance between keeping you focused by drowning out distracting background noise without being so engaging they cause you to lose your focus. For this reason, if you want to improve your in-game concentration, you need to control your audible environment closely.
Get strategic with your breaks
When you are deep into a long game of poker, taking a short break can be a useful way to keep the mental fatigue of playing a game from taking its toll on you. There is genuine science behind this, and studies have shown that taking a short walk or simply getting some fresh air increases creative problem-solving abilities. However, there is a limit to this, and if the break goes on for too long, you might find it hard to get motivated to go back to the table and carry on your game. Therefore, you need to be strategic about how you use your breaks. The general rule is that you should take shorter breaks more frequently rather than taking one long break. This will keep you feeling more energetic, improve your focus and, hopefully, give you better chances of winning a hand.
Use meditation to strengthen your mental concentration
If you have tried implementing the above tips and are still struggling to stay focused on a game of online poker, you might simply have poor concentration. This is quite common, particularly in the age of digital distraction. However, all is not lost, and just like a physical muscle, you can train your concentration as a way of improving its overall function. The mental equivalent of going to the gym is meditation. Although it is an age-old practice, meditation has grown in popularity in the West in recent years. Everyone from professional poker players, CEOs and professional athletes use it to increase their focus and ability to resist distraction.
In the context of a poker game, this form of mental exercise will help you to keep focused on the game and to prevent others from clouding your decision-making ability. As an added benefit, regular meditation has been shown to decrease stress levels, anxiety and improved circulation – all of which will help you perform better in a game.
Putting the plan into action
If you are having trouble staying focused during your at-home games of poker, try implementing the above tips and seeing what effect they have on your game. With a free-to-play demo account on Bitcasino, this is easy to do, and you can try out these new tips and strategies in a risk-free environment.
Words: Sean McNulty