How to Increase focus on the table

Faustovaldez123Faustovaldez123 RCP Coach Posts: 739 ✭✭✭✭
edited May 2017 in Nutrition & Fitness
To kick off this subforum I wanted to share some few things i do to increase focus for long periods on the table as i always play 7-8 hrs on average about 3-4x a week.
  1. meditation
  2. exercise
  3. fruit as snacks
  4. getting up every dealer, or other dealer change
  5. mindful breathing

Meditation + Exercise
should come as to no surprise that both of these activities will increase your well being but people take it for granted and not serious enough. It will impact how you feel as a person mentally and physically and this translates on how you react on the table. You will be more equipped to slow down rising anxiety and be able to think more clearly without letting any action during the game affect your mood.

I also use @Elliot Roe mp3 and an app called headspace for guided meditation. Both are amazing especially elliot's since their tailored for poker.

Snacks
My personal choice for fuel during games is fruits and fruit smoothies (nuts are good also). This will simply give you the fuel for your mind and body to be stimulated for longer periods of time during the day to not feel sluggish and be more alert as the day goes by. I lose focus the hungrier i get during sessions but don't want a big meal to slow me down, so fruits are my answer.

Getting up every dealer, or other dealer change
when we sit for too long our blood flow will simply slow down and our mind will be less alert. The body needs to move. That's why when a dealer ( or every other dealer) changes, that is my reminder to get my ass up and stretch or move my legs. You will notice your mind instantly wakes up whenever you do this.

Mindful breathing
Taking a purposeful deep breath reminds me to be alert and to actually think vs. being robotic and playing on auto pilot. This allows me to re think of dynamics on the table and if i need to change up anything. I remind myself usually every button orbit or when i'm entering a pot.


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Comments

  • LukaLuka Red Chipper Posts: 211 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for sharing!
  • Faustovaldez123Faustovaldez123 RCP Coach Posts: 739 ✭✭✭✭
    anytime luka !!
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  • Dean MDean M Red Chipper Posts: 165 ✭✭✭
    Getting up every dealer, or other dealer change
    when we sit for too long our blood flow will simply slow down and our mind will be less alert. The body needs to move. That's why when a dealer ( or every other dealer) changes, that is my reminder to get my ass up and stretch or move my legs. You will notice your mind instantly wakes up whenever you do this.

    As I mentioned in another post - I use this opportunity also to hydrate and wash my hands. When I started playing regularly I used to have colds / flu symptoms regularly and am convinced it came from passing chips & germs around the table. Since regularly washing my hands on an hourly basis, I've noticed a big difference.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,096 ✭✭✭✭✭
    [/b]when we sit for too long our blood flow will simply slow down and our mind will be less alert. The body needs to move.

    I would actually like to make this a topic of an entire thread at another time because I think it's rather important.

    Regarding snacks at the table, does anyone have any experience with the herbs or vitamins (or whatever) that are touted as focus boosters (or whatever)?
  • NYCRyNYCRy Red Chipper Posts: 293 ✭✭✭
    jeffnc wrote: »

    Regarding snacks at the table, does anyone have any experience with the herbs or vitamins (or whatever) that are touted as focus boosters (or whatever)?

    Most people will usually figure out what works for them over time. I think herbs/vitamins/focus boosters will be more along the lines of placebo than anything else, but if you want to try them go ahead. For me its not been what to add but what to take away. I don't drink booze or coffee anymore and that allows me to stay focused for 6-10hr sessions. Food/snacks is subjective as well. Fausto's suggestions are great for people who prefer to snack. I generally prefer full meals during sessions myself. Eat healthy is the bottom line there. I also like Dean's suggestion about washing hands every dealer change. I'm going to start doing that for sure

  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,096 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Ryan A wrote: »
    I don't drink booze or coffee anymore and that allows me to stay focused for 6-10hr sessions.

    Why coffee in particular? I don't drink coffee myself, but on those rare occasions that I feel I can benefit from a little caffeine, it (some other form of caffeine) always seems to boost my attentiveness and focus.

  • Wiki_LeaksWiki_Leaks Red Chipper Posts: 528 ✭✭✭
    Ryan A wrote: »
    jeffnc wrote: »

    Regarding snacks at the table, does anyone have any experience with the herbs or vitamins (or whatever) that are touted as focus boosters (or whatever)?

    Most people will usually figure out what works for them over time. I think herbs/vitamins/focus boosters will be more along the lines of placebo than anything else, but if you want to try them go ahead. For me its not been what to add but what to take away. I don't drink booze or coffee anymore and that allows me to stay focused for 6-10hr sessions. Food/snacks is subjective as well. Fausto's suggestions are great for people who prefer to snack. I generally prefer full meals during sessions myself. Eat healthy is the bottom line there. I also like Dean's suggestion about washing hands every dealer change. I'm going to start doing that for sure

    Theres a quote out there somewhere that ill paraphrase: "you must pull out the weeds for your garden to flourish" meaning kicking bad habits is arguably better tham adding new ones. I made a contract with myself to avoid alcohol until after the Wsop, with the exception of a couple on the 4th.

    As far as cutting coffee though... there are plenty of health benefits from well sourced BLACK coffee in the morning (none of that sweetener or creamer crap). MODERATE caffeine intake also boosts metabolism and brain function.

    Obviously there are the addictive properties and ive read adrenal fatigue can be a concern, but only if youre drinking crazy amounts of caffeine, and by then you are probably destroying your sleep cycle.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,096 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I've never had an addictive personality in general, but I've always been suspicious of those who "need" caffeine every morning. Seems kind of weird to me, based on a natural sleep cycle.
  • NYCRyNYCRy Red Chipper Posts: 293 ✭✭✭
    I'm not trying to bad mouth coffee because yes it is healthy and plenty of people seem to do just fine with it. But personally I prefer to just be on an even keel the whole time rather than trying to perk up with caffeine every time I feel I need a boost. It can be a vicious cycle depending on your personality type. To me the main factor is sleep. If you can drink coffee and still sleep 8hrs/night then you have no issue. For most people though I think it affects their sleep whether they admit it or not. Also if you're a 1-2cup/day person and don't drink it while you play then that's a non-issue as well
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,096 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I do find it interesting that many people who claim they only need 6 hours of sleep a night tend to be coffee drinkers.
  • JulesJules Red Chipper Posts: 386 ✭✭✭
    jeffnc wrote: »
    I do find it interesting that many people who claim they only need 6 hours of sleep a night tend to be coffee drinkers.

    I need 8 hours of sleep and don't talk to me in the morning until I take at least 2 sips of coffee. After that I'm all smiles! :)

    I always bring water. I eat before I play, but also bring snacks. Lots of snacks. :) Nuts, pretzels and a protein bar of sorts.

    The one thing I'm really bad at is taking breaks. Unless I have to pee. I sit too long, and I start to lose focus. Then I make mistakes and realize it's because I need a break. I've been trying to take a little break every hour now whether I need it or not. I like the dealer change idea as a reminder @Faustovaldez123

    I started warm yoga a little over a year ago. I hate going to the gym so I needed to find something for strengthening. In turn it has done wonders for my concentration, energy and focus. Has brought calmness to all aspects of my life. Still working on the road rage...but when it comes to patience with poker it has really helped.




  • Faustovaldez123Faustovaldez123 RCP Coach Posts: 739 ✭✭✭✭
    jeffnc wrote: »
    Ryan A wrote: »
    I don't drink booze or coffee anymore and that allows me to stay focused for 6-10hr sessions.

    Why coffee in particular? I don't drink coffee myself, but on those rare occasions that I feel I can benefit from a little caffeine, it (some other form of caffeine) always seems to boost my attentiveness and focus.

    Thats why i use fruits as snacks to avoid as much coffee as possible since fruits will give ure body natural sugar that it will break down for energy
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  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Getting up every dealer, or other dealer change
    Dean M wrote: »
    As I mentioned in another post - I use this opportunity also to hydrate and wash my hands.

    Isn't it called the "Howard Hughes technique" ?

    For you're breathing thing @Faustovaldez123 10 seconds inhale/exhale can be categorized in 3 functions.

    Neutral = 5 seconds in / 5 second out
    Relaxing = 4 seconds in / 6 seconds out
    Energizing = 6 seconds in / 4 seconds out

    Doing it for 5 minutes, so 30 in/out, depending on what you want to have as result.
  • SplitSuitSplitSuit RCP Coach Posts: 3,844 -
    Getting up every dealer, or other dealer change
    when we sit for too long our blood flow will simply slow down and our mind will be less alert. The body needs to move. That's why when a dealer ( or every other dealer) changes, that is my reminder to get my ass up and stretch or move my legs. You will notice your mind instantly wakes up whenever you do this.

    Great starter thread Fausto!

    This tip is a simple one, but a huge one. Getting up, stretching your legs, and relaxing your back and eyes is vital for putting in longer sessions.
    My latest poker course brings the popular book 'Poker's 1%' to life- The One Percent
  • Faustovaldez123Faustovaldez123 RCP Coach Posts: 739 ✭✭✭✭
    SplitSuit wrote: »
    Getting up every dealer, or other dealer change
    when we sit for too long our blood flow will simply slow down and our mind will be less alert. The body needs to move. That's why when a dealer ( or every other dealer) changes, that is my reminder to get my ass up and stretch or move my legs. You will notice your mind instantly wakes up whenever you do this.

    Great starter thread Fausto!

    This tip is a simple one, but a huge one. Getting up, stretching your legs, and relaxing your back and eyes is vital for putting in longer sessions.

    thanks split :) and it's definitely simple but goes a long way, which is why we have to be consciously pro active in these behaviors, it's very simple to not do them.
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  • mbecks83mbecks83 Red Chipper Posts: 73 ✭✭
    Neutral = 5 seconds in / 5 second out
    Relaxing = 4 seconds in / 6 seconds out
    Energizing = 6 seconds in / 4 seconds out

    Doing it for 5 minutes, so 30 in/out, depending on what you want to have as result.
    I'm really interested in these but didn't realise you had to do it fora full 5 minutes to get the effect.

    Also - do the small differences in second counts really make much difference? Seems a stretch. And are you supposed to hold the breath for the same amount of time you inhaled?

    To my dismay I just discovered that struggle to consistently inhale for 6 seconds! I did smoke for almost 20 years (quit in Jan) so lung capacity is probably shot.

  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,139 ✭✭✭✭✭
    from guys who seem to know - they've said "no" to coffee - and recommend green tea for caffiene. (I don't drink coffee... I prefer Diet Coke...)
    for snacks - chessmaster Josh Waitkins mentioned eating 6-8 almonds every ½ hour or so in his book "The Art of Learning"... so that would be every dealer change. It's easier to transport and hang on to... although I have been known to bring clemetines (cuties) and bananas with me from time to time.
  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭✭
    @Kagey

    I'm a BIG coffee consumer and recently I started to drink Sancha and Matcha (green tea) and I find that the caffeine crash are waaaayyyyy less hard when you drink Tea than Coffe.
  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭✭
    mbecks83 wrote: »
    Neutral = 5 seconds in / 5 second out
    Relaxing = 4 seconds in / 6 seconds out
    Energizing = 6 seconds in / 4 seconds out

    Doing it for 5 minutes, so 30 in/out, depending on what you want to have as result.
    I'm really interested in these but didn't realise you had to do it fora full 5 minutes to get the effect.

    Also - do the small differences in second counts really make much difference? Seems a stretch. And are you supposed to hold the breath for the same amount of time you inhaled?

    To my dismay I just discovered that struggle to consistently inhale for 6 seconds! I did smoke for almost 20 years (quit in Jan) so lung capacity is probably shot.

    Yes it make a difference it's a technique developed to achieve Cardiac coherence.
  • weee3eeeweee3eee Red Chipper Posts: 30 ✭✭
    This is great stuff. It is something I need direction on. I typically just get up go to the casino, put myself up on a 1 2 game and sit down, order a coffee, and another coffee, and when I have a bad beat, I get up, get a burger pound that out, then hit the table again, get a beer and then leave when I am done.

    I say this for I see most of the players are the same way. It is refreshing to come to a forum and really dig into the health and nutrition end of it. I am seeing a good RCP Podcast in the future and see maybe Tommy Angelo come on and talk about meditation and dedicate an entire podcast on it.

    Now the next session, I am going to do some almonds for snacks, love the idea of smoothie. I also need to just stay clear away fron Bobby Flays Burgers at Cincy Jacks and just pack my own.
  • jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭
    As I work in the health field lemme add a few things:
    1. Coffee is fine, even good for you. Caffeine is good unless it noticeably derails you ability to fall/stay asleep, or you drown it in sugar. It doesn't give you adrenaline fatigue, trust me unless you are drinking 8+ cups a day.
    2. Fruit is good, but "natural" sugar is still sugar. Lol. There is no "healthy" sugar. Rattle snake venom is "natural" too, a fruit "snack" is still a nice little sugar boost, so just be wary of portions.
    3. Diaphramic breathing, google search for best results on parasympathetic nervous system relaxation. It's good stuff.
    4. @kagey Diet Coke is more addicting than normal Coke, and arguably worse. Just letting you know, I enjoy Oreos but I know them for what they are and have an appropriate or at times inappropriate amount. I once worked with a doctor who had 2 diet cokes a day, and at my recommendation stopped drinking them and started taking the stairs (3 flights). Lost 22 lbs in a year with no other changes to lifestyle.

    Great tip on the dealer! I normally just pound waters (I ask for 5 at a time) and so that forces me to get up and go to the bathroom often.
  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Natural sugar is sugar, yeah, but the point is that the fruit is balanced in such a way that you have equivalent fiber to counter a portion if not all the sugar AND the organism process the sugar way slower with fruits and fiber than if you drink something with raw sugar. You can't compare "natural" sugar to "raw" sugar.
  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭✭
    And by the way coffe and tea doesn't affect and are not processed the same way in the body so you can't say it's the same either.
  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,166 ✭✭✭✭
    Natural sugar is sugar, yeah, but the point is that the fruit is balanced in such a way that you have equivalent fiber to counter a portion if not all the sugar AND the organism process the sugar way slower with fruits and fiber than if you drink something with raw sugar. You can't compare "natural" sugar to "raw" sugar.

    Depends on the fruit and what is consumed with it. The glycemic index, and fructose content varies widely with which fruit you eat.
  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,166 ✭✭✭✭
    jfarrow13 wrote: »
    4. @kagey Diet Coke is more addicting than normal Coke, and arguably worse. Just letting you know, I enjoy Oreos but I know them for what they are and have an appropriate or at times inappropriate amount. I once worked with a doctor who had 2 diet cokes a day, and at my recommendation stopped drinking them and started taking the stairs (3 flights). Lost 22 lbs in a year with no other changes to lifestyle.

    I have diet soda addiction. Can you elaborate on why it is so dam addicting? And why it is bad? I have read experts say there is no evidence of ill effects and others who argue it is terrible for you so I remain conflicted.

  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭✭
    kenaces wrote: »
    Natural sugar is sugar, yeah, but the point is that the fruit is balanced in such a way that you have equivalent fiber to counter a portion if not all the sugar AND the organism process the sugar way slower with fruits and fiber than if you drink something with raw sugar. You can't compare "natural" sugar to "raw" sugar.

    Depends on the fruit and what is consumed with it. The glycemic index, and fructose content varies widely with which fruit you eat.

    The idea is it will never be worst than consuming a processed product with raw sugar in it.
  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    kenaces wrote: »
    jfarrow13 wrote: »
    4. @kagey Diet Coke is more addicting than normal Coke, and arguably worse. Just letting you know, I enjoy Oreos but I know them for what they are and have an appropriate or at times inappropriate amount. I once worked with a doctor who had 2 diet cokes a day, and at my recommendation stopped drinking them and started taking the stairs (3 flights). Lost 22 lbs in a year with no other changes to lifestyle.

    I have diet soda addiction. Can you elaborate on why it is so dam addicting? And why it is bad? I have read experts say there is no evidence of ill effects and others who argue it is terrible for you so I remain conflicted.
    Caramel Color

    “Caramel color is made by a process involving the heating of corn or cane sugar and other carbohydrates to achieve the desired color.” — Coca-Cola Co.

    Science weighs in: “Caramel color sounds innocent, but it’s not,” says Alexandra Caspero, R.D., owner of weight management and sports nutrition service Delicious-Knowledge.com. Research published by the federal government’s National Toxicology Program showed that long-term exposure to 4-methylimidazole—a contaminant in the caramel coloring—lead to an increase in lung cancer in male and female mice. And these findings resulted in the addition of 4-MEI to California’s Proposition 65 list
    of carcinogens.

    Aspartame

    “Aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener made primarily of two amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Aspartame has been shown to be safe for everyone, including children and pregnant women. When used in foods and beverages a warning on the labels is provided to people who can't metabolize aspartame.” — Coca-Cola Co.

    Science weighs in: “There are many conflicting studies on the safety of aspartame, says Caspero. Animal studies show more of an increase in cancer risk than human studies have. But there is definitely enough of a connection to avoid or limit your exposure to the additive, she explains.

    Plus, the low-calorie sweetener may actually be tricking your body into weight gain. “Some studies suggest that when our taste buds sense sweetness, the body expects a calorie load to accompany it. When that doesn’t happen, it may cause us to overeat because we crave the energy rush our body was expecting,” says Cheryl Forberg R.D., author of Flavor First.

    What’s more, artificial sweeteners might also dull your taste buds, meaning you eat more high-flavor, high-calorie foods to satisfy your cravings, explains Forberg. (Discover why aspartame is one of the 11 Most Controversial Food Additives.)

    Phosphoric Acid

    “Phosphoric acid is used in certain soft drinks, including Coca-Cola, to add tartness to the beverage. Phosphoric acid contains phosphorus, one of the basic elements of nature and an essential nutrient. Phosphorus is a major component of bones.” — Coca-Cola Co.

    Science weighs in: The acid in this ingredient is what erodes tooth enamel, Caspero says.

    Additional research has also linked excessive exposure to additional adverse health issues. For example, according to a study in the journal Epidemiology, drinking two or more colas a day—diet or regular—was associated with a twofold risk of developing kidney disease. The culprit? The researchers indicated that although an exact cause is unknown, the phosphoric acid in colas has been associated with urinary changes that promote kidney stones. (When left untreated, they can lead to chronic kidney disease).


    Natural Flavors

    “Natural flavors are derived from the essential oils or extracts of spices, fruits, vegetables and herbs.” — Coca-Cola Co.

    Science weighs in: “Hundreds of chemicals can be used to mimic the taste of natural flavors—so natural flavors can be anything,” says Caspero. “The term natural just means they are derived from foods found in nature, but doesn’t make them a health food.”


    Bottom line: We’re not claiming Diet Coke is the devil of all beverages. (In reality, these are The 20 Worst Drinks in America.) But just because something is zero-calories, doesn’t mean it’s the wisest drink option in the vending machine. If you’re really craving a soda, Caspero suggests treating it the way you would a brownie or ice cream: every now and then is fine, but it shouldn’t be an everyday indulgence.

    Additional reporting from Bari Lieberman
  • Faustovaldez123Faustovaldez123 RCP Coach Posts: 739 ✭✭✭✭
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  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,565 ✭✭✭✭
    For me, when i heard that soft drink, as they are actually composed, are the very tolerance threshold that our stomach can take, i juts stopped drinking them.
  • NYCRyNYCRy Red Chipper Posts: 293 ✭✭✭

    Bottom line: We’re not claiming Diet Coke is the devil of all beverages. (In reality, these are The 20 Worst Drinks in America.) But just because something is zero-calories, doesn’t mean it’s the wisest drink option in the vending machine. If you’re really craving a soda, Caspero suggests treating it the way you would a brownie or ice cream: every now and then is fine, but it shouldn’t be an everyday indulgence.

    Additional reporting from Bari Lieberman

    This is a pretty good bottom line. Personally I probably have a few per week but keep in mind there is NO strong evidence that even having a lot of them has any adverse health effects. You would have to be ingesting them at a toxic level for it to be harmful - in the same way that if you drank enough water you could die. The amount of aspartame in diet soda is miniscule compared to what level would be toxic. A good video here:



    In general feel free to be extremely critical of ANY diet study. Think about what would have to occur for the results of a diet study to be valid. You would literally have to lock people up and control exactly what they ate and drank. If you don't do that - most people tend to lie. The second big factor is that its impossible to isolate the effect of something like aspartame. Our systems process things in conjunction with each other, and we are a result of our genetics, family history, and accumulated effects of living our lives. I think the latest diet soda study cited that elderly people who drank an average of 1 diet soda per day had an increased risk of cancer. There is simply no way to pinpoint the diet soda intake as somehow responsible when the person could have been smoking, overweight, high blood pressure or any other of many factors that could contribute.

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