Every day for the past few months I’ve stared at my computer wanting to write to you. I know that I need to, but the time is just never there. The truth is I need this as much as you. Writing these posts, sharing my stories, giving you a little insights, is all a part of me.
Many people who know me know that I love to tell stories. They know that I’m bound and determined to help – most times to a fault. That caring person is more a part of me than even my limbs sometimes. Sometimes I feel like time is humanity’s curse. We all need it, but there never seems to be enough of it. Or there’s too much of it and the anxiety of waiting is sickening. Today seems to be the best chance I’ll have to talk about time, and specifically how it affects poker.
Now, there are many ways time affects poker. First, and foremost, is the dreaded Tournament Clock. We should all know how much time is left in the blind level, but for some reason we always sigh when the tournament director yells out, “Dealer, complete the hand you’re on. The blinds will be up next hand!” We all know exactly when our next break is coming, but are never ready for it to end. The tournament clock has us all tied down. This one little thing triggers such huge many emotion… Time
When you enter one of the bigger poker events, are you ready for the time commitment required to play it. Let’s say you’ve entered the WSOP’s $1500 Monster Stack Event. Before you sit down to play you should know how many days the event is scheduled for. You should know the duration of the blinds. But, are you ready for the time you’re going to spend sitting on your butt playing poker? Are you ready for the 10-12 hour grind ahead of you? Are you ready to fold hundreds of hands before you see just 1 playable hand? By design, time and patience go hand and hand, but most people forget the worst part of both of them, Boredom.
Patience + Extended Time = Boredom. How will you conquer it? Let’s face it, 75% of the world today had some level of ADD, and boredom is a recipe for disaster. The more bored we get the more chances we have of making a mistake. So what are you doing with your time? Did you bring your Ipod? Did you bring a book to read? Did you bring a note pad? Are you giving yourself anxiety trying not to miss something? I’ve been there… The grind is real. Conquering time is one of the hardest elements of tournament poker.
I try to bring/do several things to pass the time. Music is a key element to my game. I almost always have my head phones in my ears. I try to have a mixture of several types of music available to me. When your mood changes or when you need something to wake you up, or calm you down, different music always helps. I also have several different blogs available to me in my phone or my tablet. Reading passes time. It keeps you interested, it keeps you mind open to information.
I also like to pack snacks, specifically healthy ones. A good bag of carrots goes a long way. About every 2 hours you’re going to get a break to stand up and walk around. Many people use this time to go to the bathroom, and get a snack. Most of these breaks are only 20 min. If everyone is doing this will there be enough time for you? Packing these snacks not only saves you time, it also saves you money. At the WSOP they have a hotdog cart in the middle of the room. $10.00 for a hot dog. $2.50 for a bag of chips. $4.00 for a soda… Crazy! You’ve already spent $1500 to play in this event. Why spend $20.00 more just for a snack that you’re probably going to regret in about 20 minutes anyway?
Don’t wait for the breaks to stand and stretch. I’m a 100% advocate walking around. Stand up, stretch, walk to the rail and talk to your buddy. Go to the water cooler and refill your water bottle. Do something! Don’t just sit there. you’re body and mind will thank you! There isn’t a whole lot more info to learn from the players at your table after the first few hours. You’re not going to miss something. So what, you folded AK under the gun. You’d have probably gotten yourself in trouble with it anyway.
As a talker, I spend a lot of my down time talking to people at the table, trying to get to know them. They’re all just as bored as you are. Strike up a conversation; tell a few jokes… lighten up the mood. It will go a long way having conversational allies at the table. Everyone’s got a story to tell, and you have nothing but time, take advantage of it.
I know that time has gotten the better of me and has taken from you… I hope that time allows me to continue writing to and for you. I leave for my annual summer trip to play in the WSOP on June 20th. I will do my best to update you on this year’s progress. I will be updating as often as I can on my twitter. Give me a follow @lespend.
I hop you enjoy my quirky writing style, and as always I will never claim to make you a better poker player, but I do hope that I can open your eyes and help you learn to be one!