One of the great advantages of online poker is the freedom it affords players. Games run around the clock, with another cash game or tournament always available 24/7. Players can play whenever they want and for however long they want. The poker “room” is always open.
Of course, such freedom can lead to problems, too. Having no restrictions on when or how long you play can encourage bad habits, including playing poker online when you are tired or otherwise not at the top of your game.
In fact, online tournaments do require some scheduling. Tournament players who exert some time management and plan ahead generally perform better than those who do not.
Whenever you hop into another tourney, you always want to be aware how long the tournament might last should you go deep. Particularly when playing in tournament series that feature multi-day events, you should make sure you can play subsequent days should you survive.
Some online poker tournaments are more significant than others. Say you have satellited your way into one of the upcoming Winter Series events and are gearing up to play a tournament for which the buy-in is a little bigger than you are used to playing. The prizes are bigger, too, giving you added reason to want to do as well as you possibly can.
Whether you are a recreational player who has carved out a few days during your holiday vacation to play tournaments or a grinder who regularly plays a certain number of hours each day, it is important not just to have a strategy at the tables, but also to be strategic about how you prepare yourself to play your “A” game when you do sit down.
Such preparation can involve a number of different away-from-the-table activities designed to keep you both mentally and physically sharp.
Obviously you want to give yourself time to sleep well. Being fully rested when playing can be very important. While some people can function on only a few hours a night, most of us require at least 7-8 hours to avoid experiencing fatigue during our waking hours.
Some regular players emphasize exercise as well as a way to improve not just your physical well being, but your mental ability as well. Even just 20-30 minutes of vigorous walking can have a significant impact.
It can be easy sometimes when playing online poker to allow several hours to pass without moving anything other than your thumb and index finger as you click your way through your time at the tables.
With online tournaments you generally can’t take more than the hourly five-minute break, so that means you should get your exercise in before you start play or perhaps after your done.
You should try your best to eat well, too. That can also sometimes be challenging when sitting at a laptop for many hours at a time to play online poker. You don’t have time to spend in the kitchen making healthy meals, which means you might well be tempted just to rip open another bag of chips or order fast food to be delivered.
If that’s you, consider incorporating food prep into your online tournament “pregame” strategy. That might mean preparing full meals you have ready to go in the fridge you can take out and pop in the microwave during the five-minute break. It could also mean starting the week making a big pot of stew or a lasagna that will produce several days’ worth of leftovers.
When playing a tournament, you generally don’t sit down without some idea how you will approach the various stages and the shifts in strategy you’ll need to make as the tournament progresses. Be sure to have a plan before you play, too, and increase your chances at success when playing online poker tournaments.