Burnout in poker is an ugly thing and it can manifest itself in a couple of different ways. There’s the bigger, most flamboyant form, where a couple of bad beats in a row in a tournament flips a switch and the player suddenly turns into the third act of Terminator 2, which can be fun to watch and actually pay off. The more common form of poker burnout, however, is the one where it suddenly starts to feel like real work. You’re reviewing hands and sessions, watching training videos and refreshing poker forums constantly but you’re still losing money, slowly but surely.
Let’s look at three ways you can prevent burnout at the poker table and refresh your game.
Burnout Prevention Tip #1: Don’t be afraid to step down a level.
Seriously, if you’re slowly losing money at the level you’re playing at, you might just not be ready to play that level for the time being. It’s easy to view the buy-ins that you’re playing at as some sort of badge of honor, but it’s better to save some money and rebuild your bankroll than to let your ego cost you real money.
Burnout Prevention Tip #2: Play in low buy-in sit and go tournaments and play aggressive poker.
The flip side of our first tip; this one allows you to go hog-wild on the cheap and can shake you out of your doldrums. Don’t bother playing in a hand without being willing to raise or re-raise; take any ace hand and run it into the ground; view suited connectors as a pair of kings. You’ll still fold any real garbage hands, but by playing hyper-aggressively with the hands you’ve got, you can release some of the tension you’ve held, and it’s inexpensive.
Burnout Prevention Tip #3: Watch poker on YouTube. Take notes if you want.
Instead of watching training videos and reading forums, take the time to view some final tables in events like the WSOP and World Poker Tour. While play in these events is mostly psychological, as it does involve No Limit Hold’em, you can learn a lot from the table chatter and how some players will openly analyze their opponents possible hands. You’ll also get to see an amateur player occasionally take down a pro, and that can help you find your groove again.
These are just three ways that you can keep being involved in poker without stopping your play. The next time you want to take a break from grinding, these can help keep you sharp even as you take a short leave from the tables you normally play.