When online poker – and especially Texas Hold’em – boomed in the early noughties, winning was relatively easy for anyone with a small amount of skill or courage. In today’s online poker world, things are different. Thanks to strategy books, training apps and video lessons, players across the board are better. For any player anteing up online today, things aren’t as simple as aggressively clicking the bet button and winning enough to buy a house. To get ahead in online poker today, you not only need to master the basics but think outside the box. Based on this, here are some tips on how to be successful in online poker.
Keep Comfy (But Not Too Comfy) to Improve your Poker Game
Did you know that everything from the temperature of the room we’re in to the chair we’re sitting on can affect our performance? When you start to delve into the literature, it becomes apparent that making your environment as comfortable as possible is crucial.
Take, for example, research carried out by Cornell University. In a study involving workers at an insurance company in Florida, researchers found that more mistakes are made when a room is too cold. Taking 25 degrees Celsius as the optimal temperature, the study showed that bad decisions increased by 44% when the temperature dropped to 20 degrees Celsius. The same is true for heat. If the room becomes too hot, the brain starts to lose focus. So, if we apply this to poker, you need to think about setting the thermostat to 25 degrees Celsius before you play in order to achieve peak performance.
Once you’ve done that, think about the chair you’re sitting in. Online poker sessions can last for a while, so you don’t want to feel like you’re sitting on a rock. Gaming chairs are a great option for anyone wanting to play online with any serious intent. Products such as the Secretlab Titan or the Ewin Flash XL series are both soft and sturdy. What’s more, the shape and settings are ergonomically tailored, so you can sit in an upright but supported position at all times. For any online poker, a proper chair should be seen as an investment, not an expense.
Our final tip to ensure you stay comfortable is lighting. Don’t sit in a dimly light room or, conversely, one that’s too bright. Additionally, put a filter over your screen if possible. As we’ve said, online poker sessions can go on for hours and straining your eyes because of poor lighting will only serve to distract and annoy you.
Avoid Distractions to Improve your Poker Game
With so much going on in today’s world, it can be hard to concentrate and that can make online poker tough. In fact, when you add mobile poker to the mix and you head out into the real world, keeping your mind on the job can be even tougher. However, if you want to survive in the game, focus is essential. A case in point is SNAP poker at 888poker. To understand the mechanics of these games, you only have to look at the tagline: “fast-fold poker, no more waiting.” Put simply, when you join at SNAP table at 888poker, you get moved to a new table each time you fold. The end result is a lot more hands per hour. Naturally, when you’re seeing more hands, it becomes even more important to avoid distractions. But this is equally important when playing other variants online too, such as Omaha, 7 Card Stud or the classic Texas Hold’em.
To keep your eye on the prize, play in bursts. According to a report from Microsoft Canada (with data from Statistic Brain), the average attention span is 12 seconds. It’s also commonly accepted that 20 minutes is about all we can handle in one burst. So, to improve in poker, play for 20 minutes, take a break and then get back to it.
Another way to avoid distractions is to turn off social media. Even though you can’t technically hit the off switch, you can close it off in your mind. According to Common Sense Media, we can spend up to nine hours per day on the most visited sites in the world, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Actively force yourself to not do this and your results will improve.
A final way to improve concentration is to have a plan. When you can see a goal in this distance, it’s easier make the right moves to get there. Whether it’s winning a certain amount of money or getting to a set number of hands these goals can help you avoid distractions.
Stay Hydrated to Improve Your Poker Game
Harvard Medical School asserts that the average human needs between 30 to 50 ounces of fluid per day to stay hydrated. The reason for this is that a drop in our internal fluid levels will not only lead to muscle cramps and put a strain on our heart, it affects your concentration. More importantly than this, dehydration can make us more irritable and angry. As any poker player will know, anger is a killer at the tables. Anytime you go on tilt (i.e. getting annoyed and playing badly), you start to lose money.
Unfortunately, in today’s poker world, it’s easy to get annoyed. If you take a standard six-max game of Texas Hold’em online, you’ll probably see 50-70 hands per hour. Take advantage of multi-tabling features and you can add more games and increase that figure. The compound effect of this is that you’ll suffer more bad beats which, in turn, can put you on tilt. Although you can’t control this, you can stay hydrated and stop any unnecessary reasons to get angry.
In the first instance, keep the 30 to 50 ounces figures in your mind. Fill up a beaker and have it by your computer as you play to ensure you hit these targets.
Another great way to stay hydrated is to drink coconut water as it contains electrolytes and tastes better. As an alternative, water with a hint of lemon juice is fantastic.
Don’t forget about fruit. Everything from apples and oranges to bananas and dates not only contains water but also electrolytes and vital nutrients such as potassium that help you stay hydrated.
Our final tip for combating stress is to have fun. At its core, poker is extremely entertaining. Aside from forcing you to think about numbers, personalities and more, there’s a strong social aspect to the game. Regardless of whether you win or lose, you shouldn’t forget this. In fact, if you’re not having fun, you won’t win because you’ll be too annoyed to make rational decisions. So, whatever level you play at, just remember to smile. Online poker isn’t as easy as it once was, so getting an edge any way you can is crucial. The tips we’ve outlined should help you improve your performance and stay ahead of the curve.