JackpotCity Online Casino: Ten Ideas to Improve Focus
Source: Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash
Staying on task and maintaining focus are important skills in any competitive domain, especially in the world of poker. Games are often long and stretch into the night. To be successful at anything your ability to focus is crucial but keeping a clear head in today’s world is no easy task. JackpotCity, the home of online pokies, has put together a list of ideas to help players improve their focus at the poker table.
As everything around us accelerates and vies for our attention – and our dollars – it’s a miracle we still manage to stay focused on anything for longer than five minutes. We are bombarded with a stream of incoming messages, 24/7 entertainment options, smartphone notifications and off-topic interjections by Alexa or Siri... This sensory overload can leave people feeling scattered and overwhelmed. It certainly isn’t helping us to stay focused and on task. For poker players, the ability to focus is what can make the different between an average player and a great player.
At JackpotCity online casino, we’ve been offering our players the option to play casino games online for many years. At a time when other venues were closed during the pandemic, we have given people the option to play pokies online. But sometimes, all these digital options, constant screen time and non-stop entertainment can lead to mental fatigue. Processing all the information around us takes energy. Since no one can be constantly “on” all the time, we need to pace ourselves and clear our heads so that when it’s time to focus, we’re ready… These tips are essentially for poker players, but they are equally relevant in any aspect of life ranging from work and sports to video games and online pokies.
Remove digital distractions at the poker table
When you really need to focus there’s no room for digital distractions. For most of us the main culprit is our smartphone. In competitive poker, people often put their phones away as the tournament progresses. The best thing anyone can do to keep themselves on task and focused is to turn their phone off completely. The only time this advice isn’t valid, is if you’re someone who gets particularly stressed during the game. Stress and anxiety are the enemies of concentration. In this particular case, your phone may be a useful tool if used appropriately: to look at a photo of your pet to ground you again, or to use a breathing app to get back into the right headspace. Of course, it will be better to do these things during a break in the game! As a general rule, it’s best the phone stays off.
Make the most of breaks
Nobody can stay intensely focused indefinitely. In a poker tournament, you should have a break every two hours or so on average. Hopefully more often than that. Use your breaks wisely to do what you need to do to help you concentrate when you return. Depending on your individual needs, this could mean meditating, exercising (jumping jacks?) and stretching, a light snack (to avoid low blood sugar, emphasis on light), closing your eyes for a few minutes and clearing your head, looking at an inspiring photo, image or message, or even playing a video game (if that helps you let go and relax). Whatever it takes to help you clear your mind and focus. And don’t forget to go to the toilet during your break, you need to be comfortable during the game. With that in mind, don’t eat or drink too much prior to an important game.
Look after your physical health
Your ability to focus can be improved by caring for your body on an everyday basis. One of the ways to take care of yourself is by staying in shape. If you arrive at a tournament hungry, tired or sick discomfort will ruin your concentration. You can prepare your body in advance for peak performance in several ways, including regular exercise. Healthier and fitter people are more energised. Sitting at the poker table for long periods is an unhealthy activity that you can counterbalance thorough daily activities, like running, yoga, swimming and tramping. Any of these activities will help you to be in top form when you sit down to play. During your breaks, make sure to stretch too.
Of all the options here, if you’re really serious about focus, yoga is unbeatable. It offers you a way to stay healthy, learn breathing techniques, reduce stress, clear your head, get your blood circulating, and find inner stillness in a busy environment. This doesn’t mean you have to tie yourself into a pretzel at the poker table, yoga can be used discretely too.
Exercise your brain
When you look after your physical health, don’t forget to take a total-body approach. You can train your brain as you do other parts of your body. Research has shown that we can improve our memory through practice. Doing crossword puzzles, logic puzzles, strategy games, and other exercises to improve your brain power will help you to stand out from the competition. You can also use mindfulness techniques to improve your ability to filter out distractions, focus on the present moment and withstand discomfort. Practising mindfulness will also help you to control your reactions and your emotions during a game. This can be used to reduce stress and improve your poker face.
Fuel your body appropriately
What you put into your body is important too. Certain vitamin B deficiencies have symptoms like foggy thinking, tiredness, dizziness, inability to concentrate and blurry vision. None of these will help you win a game. Your brain also needs healthy fats to function efficiently. The brain superfoods should not be neglected by anyone who wants to improve their focus: wholegrains, oily fish, blueberries, tomatoes, eggs, blackcurrants, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, sage, and nuts. Out of the items just mentioned on this list, blueberries, pumpkin seeds and sage have proven power to improve memory. If you don’t like any of these foods, consider a multivitamin and mineral complex and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Apparently, sniffing rosemary also helps people to focus.
Source: Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash
Have a cup of coffee
Having a cup of coffee can also provide a short-term solution to improve your focus. A quick dose of caffeine can improve your memory and reaction time. However, excessive coffee consumption will create new problems, so it’s best to use it in moderation.
Sleep well and maintain a regular schedule
This is perhaps the toughest one for a poker player. Poker games are known for running late into the night. However, if you want to be winning any of these games, make sure you don’t stay up too late or overindulge the night before an important game. A bad night’s sleep can destroy your ability to concentrate. There have been studies showing that people who get less than six hours of sleep per night are 33% more likely to have a car accident! I think it’s safe to assume that the results on your card playing could be equally disastrous. Lack of sleep makes it difficult to make decisions and remember things. Sleep deprivation is known for a variety of serious negative effects. There are also many apps that can help you to improve your sleep quality and establish a regular sleep schedule.
Don’t underestimate the power of your breath. One navy seal explains how he learnt a technique called box breathing during his martial arts training with the military: “It helps me slow down my breathing rate and deepen my concentration. When I perform box breathing, even just for five minutes, I am left with a deeply calm body and an alert, focused state of mind”. He says the techniques he learnt were invaluable during the chaos of combat. You can read more about the technique he uses. Many apps exist to help you to learn this technique and others like it.
Let it all go
Obviously, this won’t be possible during a game, but to boost your reserves of willpower it’s important to let go sometimes and have some fun or a good laugh. There is some scientific evidence to suggest that having a good laugh by watching a funny video can help you to be more persistent. This is why some digital distractions can be used wisely and beneficially by poker players. In one study, people who were shown a funny video performed better on a task to complete an impossible puzzle than the control group who watched a video that was relaxing but not funny. Humour seems to have an energising effect. Professional poker player, Naoya Kihara of Japan, also believes in having fun during the game. He wants us to remember that playing poker itself is a lot of fun, whether it’s an in-person game of poker or online casino.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Visualising success is another way to improve your focus and overall performance. Top athletes use visualisation in this way to help them win a race. If you feel yourself losing focus during a game, remember why you are there in the first place. It might be a cash prize, or it could be recognition or a title. Whatever it is, remember why you are there and use it to motivate you to concentrate until the end of the game. However, if this is adding to your anxiety, let it go and just enjoy the moment. You know yourself best.