The ability to concentrate for extended periods of time is one of the most vital skills for a poker player, especially when it comes to poker tournaments.

Being focused during your sessions will increase your win-rate, and it is beneficial over your opponents even if they are poker pros. Giving the game your full attention is even more important than brushed up skills, check-raise strategy and figuring out your c-bets.

To give you an effective tool for increasing your winning we’ve prepared useful tips intended to help you to stay focused during the poker tournaments. These tips are designed for the tournament players; however, the ideas are useful for cash game players as well.

1. Put away your phone

Our phones can be a big distraction when we play poker games.  In fact, smartphones are recognized as a major distraction when it comes to focusing on specific tasks. If you are a serious poker player here`s a question for you: Do you habitually check your phone while playing?

If your answer is “yes”, you are not alone. According to a study, people become more addicted to constantly checking/being on their phone while playing; this reduces their profit and the chance to do their best during poker tournaments.

After realizing the importance of concentrating during poker tournaments many players start to put their phones away, which proves they know there is a value in focusing your attention on the game.

Many of us reach for our phones the moment we go to bed and wake up, but starting and finishing the day without checking the social community sites can brake a habit. You can realize whether you are addicted to a phone by simply answering the question: Do you take your phone without a clear goal and intention of what you are going to do there? Additionally, many of us get distracted by getting messages and notifications. Avoid this by putting your phone away.

To stay focused, try to range other players when you are not in the hand. Pay attention to showdowns – you can learn a lot about a player`s strategy from just one showdown.  Try analyzing the actions of players. Do anything productive that will keep yourself from getting bored.

Less phone = more $.

2. Use the power of music

Many people whose job requires constant concentration and accuracy confirm that the right type of music can relax the mind and increase concentration. In order to get a positive effect poker players might use the right background music during sessions.  This tip would also help you to keep your mood high. While choosing the right background music base on your own preferences and feelings. You can choose various playlists on Spotify or YouTube specially designed to stimulate your brain and increase your focus or choose any that makes you feel calm, focused and keep you far from your phone.

3. Fifteen minutes of the right break can totally recharge you

This point is quite obvious, but still, there are many players who underestimate the importance of this aspect. If you are playing live poker tournaments, you have a break every 2 hours on average. Benefit from your breaks. Have some for your time for yourself: take a walk and do activities that will let your blood to circulate. If you have the opportunity, go outside and take a fresh breath; these will help you to refresh your mind and brain.

If you find it difficult not checking your phone while playing – use some time off your break to go crazy on your phone. Check messages, Twitter, Instagram – whatever you want. Just let it out from your brain before returning to the poker table.

Additionally, eat well and exercise your body to help you get recharged in the short term. Human resources are replenished. Over the years, scouts have been using a special technique to make up for the lack of sleep and mobilize in just 15 minutes. Some of them are widely used by sportsmen. Your body can do the same.

Effective break = more $

4. Pace yourself

Multi-day tournaments can be very exhausting which is th eonly one possible exception to allow yourself not to have 100% focus from the start. If the tournament is very long (4+ days) it might be challenging not to lose the focus to everything right from the start to avoid expensive fails in the end.

In these cases, there is a solution to go on “autopilot” during day 1. Playing your B-game to save the energy for the more important days may be acceptable. Note that at the same time, you are lowering the expected value. Such decisions should be made individually depending on the situation.

But if you are playing a shorter event, your A-game should be totally focused from the very beginning till the end. So, make sure you are far from any destruction points.

5. Try meditating

Some people consider meditation too spiritual, but actually, meditation is a way of relaxation and stress-relieving practice. If you have never tried meditating you should give it a shot. A lot of successful people in the world confirm the effectiveness of this practice.

It is a great tool that gives you the power to relieve the stress fast, to get concentrated, to overcome with the tilt, to relax and refill your energy in a short period of time. This is the best advice for the live poker players, who have to deal with endless distractions in casinos.

If you would like to try it you might start with guided meditations offered by a myriad of phone apps or videos on YouTube. Among others, famous poker pro Fedor Holz is so confident of the power of meditation that he launched his own poker app dedicated to meditation.

Isaac Haxton poker player


It is not a secret that to be a poker player is great and at the same time, not an easy job. A poker game makes you become extremely organized, learn how to use your extra abilities and force you to be in constant personal growth along with the massive financial income.

If the greats of the world aren’t doing it in sport or other jobs, then you shouldn’t be doing it in poker either. Avoid distractions and observe your internal abilities!

last updated 26.12.2020