Before going in-depth on how to avoid feeling stress while playing poker online. We first need to understand what causes it. Stress is a form of tension that occurs in the body in response to external stimuli and that is followed by a certain pattern of physiological responses. In layman’s terms, we experience something we can´t control and we get mad because of it. It´s really that simple. But don´t get me wrong, not all type of stresses are bad. There are good (positive) ones that help us perform well either at work on in sports. It makes us sharp, gives us focus and ensures that we are more effective at what we´re doing. On the other hand, negative stress occurs when your mental state of mind becomes overloaded. And these are the ones we´re going to be talking on this article and focusing on how to prevent them.
WHY DO I STRESS AT THE TABLES?
This is the time when you need to come clean and be honest with yourself and answer truthfully the following questions…
• Are you a perfectionist?
• Are you result-oriented? (Do you check your cashier after each session?)
• Are your goals too ambitious?
• Are you hard on yourself when you don´t accomplish your goals?
• Do you feel like you “MUST” win after each session you play?
• Are positive results link somehow to your self-appreciation? Or perhaps the appreciation of others?
• Do you find difficult to ask for help/support?
• Are you always blaming variance for your lack of positive results?
• Whenever you go all-in preflop…Are you always assuming you will end up losing?
• Do you have short term financial worries you want to cover with poker?
• Are you living a healthy lifestyle? Eating correctly? Resting appropriately?
If you answer yes to at least two of these questions congratulations you suffer from some sort of level of poker related stress. But don´t worry. Next, I will be detailing a few pieces of advice on how you will be able to not feel stressed whenever you´re playing poker online.
HOW DO I AVOID STRESS WHILE PLAYING?
• Don´t play above your limit
Sometimes people think they are better than they really are and play on stakes that are too tough for their current state play. And it is not after they play 100k hands and break even results they realize perhaps it was a bad idea. Play on games you feel comfortable at and beat consistently. Continue working on your game and gradually move up in stakes.
• Eat healthily
The feeling of hunger activates the survival instincts and we begin to focus on the search for food, which drastically reduces the attention needed for other activities. And if a person has low blood sugar, it's easier to ruffle than a person with normal or elevated sugar levels. To achieve optimum emotional control, make sure that you eat before the game session begins or that you prepare healthy foods that you can eat while playing. Try to drink more water and reduce alcohol consumption at the same time (ideally, reduce to zero). Everyone knows what threatens the game in a drunken state. A person cannot think logically and make optimal decisions, and these are the main signs of tilt. Drinking water prevents dehydration, which leads to a reduction in cognitive skills.
• Rest properly
Poker is a test of our physical and intellectual form. When we feel tired, we become irritable and easily fall into tilt. And poker sessions can be exhausting, especially when you play tournaments. In order not to get tired so quickly, we have to be healthy. So, before the session, you can take a walk or a short jog. This releases endorphins, such as serotonin, the hormone happiness. Exercise improves mood and increases psychological resistance to bad beats or distractions. If you exercise in the open air, you are more in the sun, which often contributes to a good mood and mental clarity.
• Remove all distractions
If you have problems in your personal life or if you have financial problems, this can be a distraction that will constantly keep you from showing the best game. In addition to the game itself, there can be many reasons for stress, and you will have to eliminate them. Get started now, because stress tends to get worse. Consider potential distractions before you start a session. A phone call at the wrong time can be a moment that turns out to be a trigger for tilt. Consider therefore the possibility to switch off the mobile phone and try not to read e-mail. The best way to always show your A-game is to concentrate fully on the game.
• Set realistic goals
Playing poker only makes sense if you set realistic goals for the short, medium and long term. When you start playing bad starting hands without a visible goal, ask yourself: "Why am I doing this?” And if you cannot answer this question, you can fall into depression and this is one of the most difficult forms of tilt. Goal orientation gives you confidence and increases your self-respect. Poker is a zero-sum game: here someone loses, and someone wins, and in addition to the desire to make money, you should also have a specific and healthy reason to be at the poker tables.