I wrote this article in August 2006. It’s all about two things which every poker player needs to become successful in playing poker. And those two things are patience and concentration. Playing poker online can indeed become a boring experience. My article below offers a few thoughts and tips and how you avoid becoming bored while playing. Read it and see what you think.
Think about that headline for a moment – poker is boring. Or rather it sure can be boring playing poker in your favourite online poker room evenif you are trying to play out your private poker room bonus. Sitting for hours in front of your computer hitting the “fold” button time after time is not only boring, it can make you lose your concentration and throw away your chips on hands you should still fold.
Let’s take a run through a few things which may make the difference and turn those five hour long multi-table tournament slogs from a borefest in to something a little more interesting that will hold your attention and concentration. Concentration and patience are arguably the two most important skills of any successful poker player at any level.
You must concentrate at all times to figure out the styles of play of your opponents and pick up as much information about them as you can. Get a “read” on them. Are they aggressive, passive – concentrate hard to nail down their style of play so you can adapt your game accordingly. And you must have patience to wait for the right hands to commit your chips to. Sure – it’s easy if pocket aces come along every couple of hands or so, but that’s not going to happen is it.
You’re like a lion stalking prey – you have to wait for the right moment to go in for the kill. Either when you’re sure you’re holding the best hand (or can “pretend” you have) or when you sense weakness in an opponent and can exploit it. Don’t look down at pocket threes after a good half hour of folding, and think to yourself you must go for it because it’s the first half way reasonable starting hand you’ve had and think that you have a right to win that hand because it’s your turn to win one. Unless you hit a miracle flop, you’ll be history.
You must have, or develop, the patience to wait for the right cards and the right moment.
Make sure you set at atmosphere in your home so that when you sit down to play online poker you are comfortable. Perhaps have your favourite CD playing in the background. Take the phone off the hook and don’t answer the door – any interruption is likely to break your concentration. And do have a comfort break before play starts. A two minute trip to the toilet could cost you!
When the action starts – remember, patience and concentration. Have a pad and a pen with you. Make notes about your opponents and pay attention to their betting patterns and what card they flip over on a showdown. Do they call on just about anything then fold at the first sign of strength, do they chase straight and flush draws, do they slow-play strong hands. Categorise your opponents in to styles of play.
This will help to keep you focussed on the game and pick up information about your opponents which can be invaluable in robbing them of their chips. For example if you categorise a play as extremely aggressive who raises on anything and everything you know to avoid locking horns with them unless you have a monster hand and to use their aggression against them.
Try practicing the suggestions in this article and see if you notice a difference in your play as a result. Try whatever works for you to avoid becoming bored in your poker playing and whatever helps you to retain concentration and patience at the table. It could just make the difference between winning and losing.