How not to lose your poker face after a long journey
For many players, live poker rooms can mean a long time on the road. Those based in the U.S.- who don’t live in either Las Vegas or Atlantic City, often have to undergo long drives to take a seat at the closest game.
Professionals who have enjoyed success in poker have become used to the need for travel without it affecting their performance. That doesn’t mean that amateurs required to take a long trip can’t compete at the highest level, however. Here are a few tips on how to play poker after a long-distance drive.
Assess your travel situation
Playing your best poker after a lengthy journey isn’t easy, as there are numerous factors working against you. Firstly, the rush of adrenaline that can come with the excitement of playing the game can be numbed after a four-hour drive. No amount of advanced planning or countless hours of strategizing can make up for four hours on the road after dodging speeding 18-wheelers and distracted drivers. Making the journey from your car to the poker table can be a difficult transition, indeed.
Further, your game after a long journey can turn out to be shorter due to a delayed adrenaline rush. Typically, after thinking about the game the night before and imagining yourself walking away as the winner, you can’t wait to take the table the next day. After a long journey, however, it can be tempting to contest pots early and often, due to a greater need for excitement and just to mix things up. This early impatience can cause you to make poor decisions and head home early, back out on the road.
Back to basics
As long journeys can be overwhelming, it can often be a good idea to go back to the basics of the game. That way, you can be confident that you won’t make a fundamental error at the table just because you’re slightly tired. Often, there’ll be a new style of poker for you to try your hand at and you really would need to go back to basics to learn the game from scratch. You may need to learn pai gow poker, for example; a game that is becoming increasingly popular, especially online. The inventor of the game failed to patent it and has thus missed out on an estimated $100 million in royalties. You don’t want to lose out on winnings for mistakes that could come after a long journey.
For those of you who are faced with regular journeys to the table after being on the road, here are a few tips to help you remains focused on your game.
Avoid stimulants when driving
Avoid stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks. Using such drinks to keep your energy up when driving may seem like a good idea. However, when the “crash” comes, and your concentration and mental resilience are reduced, being at risk with just a few hundred dollars of chips in play can lead to disaster. Instead, ensure that you eat a nutritious breakfast so that you won’t feel run down or tired on your journey.
See the scene ahead of time
If you have experience of playing at the casino where you’re headed, envision the very scene that awaits you. Recall games you’ve played in the past there and think what you might have done differently.
After hours of being cooped up on your car, the glitz and glamor of a casino could justifiably get you excited. However, the last thing you want to do is abandon your game plan just because you’re anxiously looking for a buzz. Have a cool-down period when you arrive to calm your nerves and regain your focus and ability to concentrate.
If you often have to travel to play poker, decide on whether or not making that extra effort to the table is compromising your game. If so, take these tips into account to ensure that you have prepared both mind and body for the challenge. You will need to make clear decisions when sat at the table and real money is at stake.