Returning to Poker, WPT Magazine September Column

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Jared Tendler


Jared’s new book, The Mental Game of Poker, is out now. To find out more, visit

Poker Psychology

Returning to Poker Finding your groove after taking time off from the game can be tricky and severely hurt your bottom line. This month Jared Tendler explains how to find your form after a period of rest.

You can then do the same thing for your mental game. That way you’ll be sure to pick up close to where you left off. If that benefit isn’t enough, consider this: You’ll be able to relax more on your break knowing that you have the steps in place to get back to playing well quickly. Not only does that mean you’ll enjoy your time off more, but you can come back with even more energy and play better than ever.

takes you a week to recover, or two weeks after a month off, that’s your baseline. Then your goal is to shorten that length of time so after a week off you’re back playing at a high level in two days, or within a week after a month off. You’re not going to be able to shorten the timeframe immediately, so work on shortening it each time you take a break.

Black Friday

Push Yourself

ith the summer vacations now behind us it can often be tricky to get back into the swing of poker and play your best. In my last article, I discussed the value of rest and this month I want to outline techniques that will help you quickly regain the level of play you had before you took a break. Whether you’ve decided to take a short break after the WSOP or have been forced into a period of inactivity due to Black Friday, it’s important you have a system in place to help refocus your game. Rest is important, but many poker players often forget this fact and get caught up in playing all the time. They play so much that they almost become dependent



on the momentum of playing in order to perform well. This makes them worry about being rusty after they stop playing for a period of time. Naturally, you aren’t going to be as sharp when you come back from a break and this can often lead to you blaming the break for your dip in form. This mindset then develops into an aversion to taking time off. However, taking time off is not the problem and deep down players know it’s actually important to schedule in rest periods. The problem is not having a method to rebuild their game quickly.

learn more

Jared’s book is out now and costs $49.95 from www. themental gameofpoker. com

prior to the break, those aspects of your game which you haven’t mastered yet that require refreshing in your mind. However, this assumes you even remember what you were working on. In order to combat this you can use the simple technique of taking notes on the things you’re currently learning, what you’re doing well and what mistakes you need to look out for when you start playing again (and the corrections to those mistakes).

clusion CTheon majority of poker players have yet to realize

Remember New Stuff One of the unknown problems you face after a break is remembering all the new things you had learned

The second phase of this reintegration process is to realize that, even with this system in place, it may still be hard to get back into the rhythm of playing for the first few days. A lot of times players get discouraged and take it too easy when they return to playing. However, it’s important that once you’ve decided that you’re back to playing seriously you need to push yourself; especially since getting back into a good routine quickly makes it easier to take future breaks. When you have the skill to regain your best abilities quickly after a break, there is far less risk in taking valuable time off. Developing the technique to regain quality play quickly takes some practise. For example, if after a week off it

Creating a schedule of reintegration

the edge to be gained in this area. Most won’t take the time to go through the processes I’ve described. While it may only be a small way to

Black Friday rocked the online poker world back in April, not only for American players but for players across the world. Indeed, many players have essentially had their bankrolls frozen until further notice. So if you’ve been affected by recent events, how can you stay sharp? Even if you’ve been forced into a period of rest by the current online situation, the main principles of this article still hold true. You need to be aware, however, that the game is going to evolve while you’re away. While the degree of change cannot be known, having a clear record of your game when you stopped playing will make it much easier to return. For one, it’ll make it easier to regain the areas of your game that you were learning. Plus, it’ll make it easier to spot the changes in the game and adjust your game to match. If you haven’t taken notes on your game already, then write down as much as you can using old hands to refresh your memory. The longer you go, the harder it will be to remember, and the harder it will be to recover your game in the future.

gain an edge, little details like these build into larger advantages. Indeed, paying attention to minute details is an example of what separates good players from great players.

is important after a break.

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