Our mindset and performance are built on our own thoughts and behavior. The less control we have over our environment, the more reason to focus inward and learn to control ourselves. Naturally, this is something that’s super important for poker players. With these 10 simple tricks, you can feel more productive and fulfilled in these crazy times.
1. Organize your workspace
I recommend this to every professional poker player I coach. Your online poker ‘grind station’ is your office; it has to be treated with some sort of respect. Towards yourself, but also towards your craft. You can’t be sitting in your underpants, behind a messy desk using a sticky mouse and expect to perform like a high-level professional. Organizing your desk can also organize your thoughts and give you more clarity while playing.
2. Keep a food journal
Generally speaking, exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are great. We should all aim to work out and watch our caloric intake. This is a piece of practical advice for people who are looking to start their journey, but don’t know what the first step should look like. Food journals are great, not just because they help you keep track of your calories and other macros but also because it helps raise awareness. We should try to be conscious of the things we’re putting into our bodies. Food, especially, is a huge factor when it comes to mental performance. So, write down your meals and practice awareness!
As a business owner myself, I can somewhat relate to the difficulties of having a strict structure. I work with clients all over the world in different time zones and it’s hard to commit to a consistent schedule. Thus, we need to focus on what we CAN control instead of focusing on what we can’t control. We probably have control over our mornings and bedtime routines, so start there. Schedule your mornings and evenings into some 30-minute chunks, which is plenty of time to incorporate some healthy habits. Make the most use of that and you’ll most likely feel a lot better during the rest of your day.
4. Experiment with studying
Studying anything can become tedious and repetitive. Often, we fall into the trap of studying ‘just to be studying.’ We forget the reasons behind studying, not just to learn something and increase our winrate, but also to increase enjoyment at the tables. Take this period of time, during lockdown, to experiment with your study time, methods, different poker training sites, and coaches. Make the most of your time behind the books.
5. Engage in coaching/mentorship
As a coach myself, I am of course going to vouch for coaching. But this is not the only way you can engage in self-improvement. What about coaching someone else? What about trying personal training, a nutritionist, meditation, or yoga? Coaching can drastically improve the quality of your life and therefore your performance at the tables. Now is an opportunity to perhaps give one of these ideas a try to see how it helps your mood and overall mindset.
6. Focused reading
Reading can be tricky. These days, there is just so much content competing for our attention. Our Smartphones are constantly pinging and beeping. Reading can help you reclaim some of that attention and practice your own creativity while gaining new knowledge. I recommend starting with some light fiction if you’re not used to reading and maybe later transition into self-improvement and psychology. Of course, you can also choose to grab a poker book for some entertainment or for additional study.
7. Challenge yourself
Poker, especially cash game poker, is not a structured game with leagues or medals. We have to find ways to create structure and also celebrate our own process. A good way to measure our growth and focus our energy is by a challenge. I would recommend setting a challenge that is within your control; so no monetary goals but an effort-oriented challenge. For example “I want to play 15k hands this month,” or “I want to practice and master one specific skill this week.”
8. Learn a skill
Poker players tell me all the time: ‘I really only play poker.’ They often don’t realize that this singular focus is actually hurting their performance. We SHOULD focus on learning many different skills, as every new skill we gather in our life will empower us at the poker tables. It helps us to gain confidence from more sources than just our winrate.
9. Document your journey
We hear many coaches talk about this. Journaling is indeed a great tool for self-reflection. But there are other ways to document our journey. We can find a support group on Discord, start a YouTube channel, or start streaming on Twitch. Documenting your journey is a powerful method to hold yourself accountable and stay focused.
10. Practice deep focus
Focusing is a skill and it’s something we can learn. Being distracted by your cellphone or opening up internet tabs while grinding online are common challenges among poker players. We don’t learn this skill while we’re playing poker, so we should practice this. Mental studying. Try to study without distractions or read without grabbing your phone. Set a timeslot a commit to your task until the time is over.
I hope these tips will help you be productive during these crazy times. This is not easy, as there is a lot of uncertainty and chaos around us. We should also be sure to practice gratefulness for what we have, patience with what we don’t have, and kindness towards who we are.
If you want to have a chat with me, please reach out to on my website or social media and I would love to have a chat with you. Every new client gets a free 30-minute coaching session if they sign up.
Hope to talk to you soon and good luck.
This article was submitted by Bahman Zarghami. As a High Intelligence coach since 2012, Bahman is no stranger to high-stress environments where people often question their resolve and ability to overcome intimidating obstacles. He has struggled with high intelligence, high sensitivity, and has fallen into all the traps that he could possibly walk into. His story is saddening, inspiring but above all, it’s a story of resilience. You can read more about his story, his work as a High Intelligence Coach and his coaching programs ‘Master Your Intelligence’ on www.coachbahman.com, and follow him on @CoachBahman on Twitter and Instagram.
About Robbie StrazynskiRobbie founded Cardplayer Lifestyle in 2009.
Having quite literally learned how to play poker around the kitchen table as a child, "living a Cardplayer Lifestyle" is something that he's always aspired to. After having worked as a copywriter and marketing professional in the online gaming industry for a number of years, Robbie transitioned to become self-employed in the poker media industry in March 2017.
Robbie translated Pulling The Trigger: The Autobiography of Poker Pro Eli Elezra, from Hebrew into English. He is also the host of the Twitch.tv/poker roundtable panel show The Orbit, the CardsChat Podcast, and creator of the Poker Notes Live mobile app.
Robbie received the 2018 Global Poker Award for Charitable Initiative of the Year and in 2019 he was recognized by the Women's Poker Association with their Excellence Award as Media Support Person of the Year.
Connect with Robbie on Twitter @cardplayerlife, or via email: email@example.com.
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