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Online Distractions When Playing Poker

Posted by David Cowell on April 20, 2011 at 12:57 BST

Playing online poker requires the same amount of discipline and focus as if you were playing in a live event. Even the best online poker players will have bad sessions when they approach a game or tournament with the wrong attitude, and having too many distractions while playing online poker could do your bankroll more harm than the guy you allow to limp into a pot, who busts you out with a slow-played set because you were not paying attention to his previous betting actions.

One thing we are all guilty of is playing the mini casino while trying to focus on our poker. If you want to spin the wheel or play blackjack it’s always best to play these casino games another time when you aren’t trying to pay attention to your poker.

While trying so hard to do everything “right” in order to finish your online poker session in profit, it is equally important to eliminate the things that you may be doing wrong without even noticing, so:-

Close down your email, instant messaging and social network software

Some professional poker players have set a bad example by “playing” with their mobile phones during poker tournaments and tweeting their progress around the globe. Inasmuch as their success and failures can be fascinating to follow, by focusing on keeping their followers informed, they are sidetracking some of that focus away from the game.

Even when you are not involved in a hand, you should still pay attention to the action around the table. Just one piece of information might make all the difference between a profitable conclusion to your game and busting out because you have missed vital plays, tells or bluffs from your opponents.

Don`t let other people interrupt

Imagine yourself playing at the final table of the WSOP Main Event against the likes of Negreanu, Ivey and Helmut, and your partner interrupts to tell you that the rubbish needs taking out or s/he cannot get the TV remote to work! It would not happen in Las Vegas and you should not allow it to happen when you are playing poker at home.

When you are going to play poker, try to ensure that everything you need to have done is out of the way and that any people that you live with know that you should not be disturbed. Big tournaments may go on for many hours, and it is important that other occupants of your home respect this and allow you the opportunity to perform to you best potential.

Choose your music with care

A lot of people like listening to music when playing poker. During live events having music playing through headphones or your iPhone might be a calming influence, but sombre music or heavy rock will influence your mood and therefore influence the way you play. If you feel you play better poker when listening to music, find something that is pretty nondescript.

It should go without saying that trying to play poker while watching the TV is a non-starter. You can hardly expect to focus on the betting tendencies of other players when trying to keep up with the plot of a film or watching a soccer match! If you keep your computer in the same room as your TV, resist the temptation to switch it on, or buy a laptop (from your winnings) and play somewhere else in the house.

It is okay to regard poker just a pastime, but acknowledge that if you are to do it well you need to be focused on what you are doing without the distractions of answering emails, taking the dog for a walk or giving yourself a headache from too much headbanging. Consider each tournament that you play in to be the most important one you have played to date, and make sure that you have the space and time to play it well.