6 Mindful Techniques Poker Players Can (And Should) Use

By Christine
May 28, 2024
Mindful poker

Is there such a thing as mindful poker?

We actually think the most successful poker players are pretty mindful, even if they don’t put that label on it. Mindfulness can help you to stay present and really absorb what’s going on around you, as well as what’s happening in your own mind and body.

We’re going to take you through just some of the ways mindful poker techniques can help you up your game on the felt, whether it’s in a real-life card room or during a virtual session.

1. Pay attention to the little things

As we said before, mindfulness is all about being fully present. When you’re really in the here and now (not beating yourself up over what you said to your boss or dreaming about what you’re going to have for dinner), you can take in the present moment more accurately and more completely.

That means you’re going to be more aware of exactly what’s happening around you with mindful poker. What cards are going down, what you opponents do and how they react. And, indeed, how you react. Taking careful note of all these things is all part of being mindful. And it’s all part of being better at poker too.

2. Boost your focus with a short meditation

Before you kick off your poker session, why not take a few minutes out of your day to see where your head is at. A great way to do this is by doing a short meditation. It doesn’t have to take all day. We’re not signing you up for a silent retreat or anything. Why not just do a couple of minutes on your phone. You could be surprised at the difference it makes to your mental clarity, making it easier to bring mindful poker techniques with you to the table.

3. Check in with yourself about being present

Daydreaming is all too common when you’re playing poker. At least it is for us, especially at the start of a big tournament. But when you notice your thoughts drifting, simply bring them back to whatever is happening on the felt. Whether or not you’re in the hand, take a look at what your opponents are doing and how they do it. You’ll get a heck of a lot of information that way and might even start to get in on their tells, whether you’re playing online or in person. This is really one of the most useful mindful poker tips out there.

4. Calming yourself down with mindful poker techniques

Poker is an emotional game, there’s no getting around that fact. But the one thing you need to always remember is that you are in charge of your own emotions. Sure your opponents could do something stupid. You might suffer from a crazy bad beat. And you can’t control that. But you can control how you react to that and mindfulness can help stave off an attack of the tilts. Breathing, taking a break and looking after yourself can all help.

5. Acting with thought and purpose

We can often go into autopilot when we’re doing something we do all the time. If you’re a frequent poker player, you might fall into that trap too. But every game is different and every situation is different. So it’s important to really absorb what’s going on around you and make purposeful decisions based on what’s currently happening. Sure the past can help (we’re a big fan of hand history analysis), but what’s happening in the here and now is so important. Paying acute attention to that is a key part of mindful poker playing.

6. Being mindful in your everyday life

You might think your poker session and the other things you do in life are unconnected. But that’s where you’re wrong. Separating out your mindful practices to just when you’re playing poker is probably not going to help you very much. To get really good at mindful poker, you’ve got to incorporate it into your daily life. Becoming more mindful can help you in lots of ways. And it’ll be a more natural progression to use it on the poker table too.

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