Pre-session Checklist

Daniel LDaniel L Red Chipper Posts: 33 ✭✭
edited March 2017 in General Concepts
Last night I played a session when I knew I was too tired, and lost a buy-in making two serious bluffing errors.

So, I'm going to create a pre-session checklist that I will complete before I get in the car. My thoughts on what to have on it:

1. Are you mentally ready to play your A-game? Are you tired, stressed, anxious or otherwise under par?
2. Are you physically ready to play your A-game? Have you been eating well and exercising generally? Have you eaten well today? Are you hydrated?
3. Is there anything more important you should be doing instead?
4. How long are you able to play for? If you need to leave the cardroom at a certain time, have you set an alarm?
5. What aspects of your game are you going to work on during the session?
6. What ONE particular new move are you going to try out this session?
7. What level are you going to play, how many buy-ins are you willing to play, and what is your current bankroll?

I'm going to create a PDF template the right size for my notebook, and fill one of these in before I go to a session - and leave space for comments on the session too. Can anyone think of anything else that should be on this list?

Comments

  • sparkyAAsparkyAA Red Chipper Posts: 160 ✭✭
    Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Develop the skills to beat the game when you are playing your B game, and know that you will lose sometimes even playing your A game. Being tired did not necessarily lead to those two bluffs going wrong
  • Sean OSean O Red Chipper Posts: 298 ✭✭
    I like it and have something similar for myself that I keep in a note on my phone to look at throughout the session.

    One thing I think about differently is your #6. I don't want to pressure myself into making a particular move because I might then make it in the wrong spot. When you have a hammer a lot of things look like nails. So I focus on a particular situation or decision I want to work on. Last session it was c-betting opportunities OOP on the flop. I give myself mental kudos for the right decision, regardless of whether that leads me to check or bet. For some people that might be the same thing as what you suggested, but for me I need to avoid confirmation bias that would happen if I focused on a move like "cbet more OOP"
  • Daniel LDaniel L Red Chipper Posts: 33 ✭✭
    sparkyAA wrote: »
    Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Develop the skills to beat the game when you are playing your B game, and know that you will lose sometimes even playing your A game. Being tired did not necessarily lead to those two bluffs going wrong

    I hear you - of course sometimes it all goes wrong even with the best preparation. I set myself up to fail this time though: up at 5am, travelled about 400 miles for work, came home, played with the kids, then drove 20 miles to the cardroom and didn't get onto a table until 10pm! Definitely -EV. I've finished the checklist now and it's attached to this post.
  • Daniel LDaniel L Red Chipper Posts: 33 ✭✭
    Sean O wrote: »
    I like it and have something similar for myself that I keep in a note on my phone to look at throughout the session.

    One thing I think about differently is your #6. I don't want to pressure myself into making a particular move because I might then make it in the wrong spot. When you have a hammer a lot of things look like nails. So I focus on a particular situation or decision I want to work on. Last session it was c-betting opportunities OOP on the flop. I give myself mental kudos for the right decision, regardless of whether that leads me to check or bet. For some people that might be the same thing as what you suggested, but for me I need to avoid confirmation bias that would happen if I focused on a move like "cbet more OOP"

    Thank you - that's very useful feedback! I've changed the wording of that point... if you want the checklist it's attached above. Good luck!

  • Sean OSean O Red Chipper Posts: 298 ✭✭
    Daniel L wrote: »
    up at 5am, travelled about 400 miles for work, came home, played with the kids, then drove 20 miles to the cardroom and didn't get onto a table until 10pm! Definitely -EV.

    I feel you there! I realized I was playing such crappy poker in that situation that it was -EV and not fun. Fortunately I have some control over my work schedule so I can sneak away for a bit during the day sometimes. And I offen travel for work to a location where they have a small card room. I think changing my poker schedule has netted a few bb/hour and made the game much more fun as well.
  • nevergradnevergrad Red Chipper Posts: 64 ✭✭
    I don't really have a pre session checklist, I work 50+ hours a week and I'm a full time grad student, so I don't eat well, exercise and I would always be tired but I drink a case of rockstar a week. What I do on the drive to the casino and when I'm sitting waiting for table is though, I go through my general strategy, in head, think about what I'm going to focus on for a session, and I visualize hands, boards, and opponent play. I find it works pretty well getting me "into the zone". Although I did make 3 really stupid plays last night, so it's not a fool proof plan.
  • tenpinpetetenpinpete Red Chipper Posts: 41 ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    Due to my work schedule and other commitments during the week, Saturday is usually the only day I have totally free to play. So I'll wake up about 7am, get in a good workout in my home gym (I also exercise on Tues & Thurs), then go put back on the calories I burned off with a Denny's breakfast :)

    But while I'm working out, I try to think about poker: how I'm gonna play, how to react about different situations, players, etc. At breakfast, I'll be on my phone reading this forum for more information. By the time I got to the casino, I'm in a pretty good state of mind to play.

    After the first two outer suck out, well, that's sometimes a different story...lol
  • Rene GRene G Red Chipper Posts: 2 ✭✭
    I work 50-60 hrs a week, i try to spend time with the family (wife & kids) and make time to workout and play poker at 8pm for 4-5hrs, so sleep is not on my regimen LOL. Although, having a routine helps make a profitable poker session. A funny video on youtube (Key & Peele) to make you laugh to lower the anxiety and Rocky IV for inspiration might help as well.
  • AustinAustin Red Chipper Posts: 5,483 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Nice check list.

    One thing a lot of low stake players do is tip the dealer too much. Without realizing how much it impacts their hourly.

    How many hands do you win on average per hour? Do you always tip a dollar? Some times more if you get lucky or win a big pot?

    Lets say you play full time, if you win 1 pot each hour and always tip $1 that's $2,080 a year. We usually win more than that per hour, but now for low stake players $1 is about 6% of your hourly (assuming $15\hr @ 1\2).

    Just a little thing to add to your check list. Its not always about increasing your win rate, but how much you can save at the same time.

    Maybe tip the dealer when he leaves the table? Or maybe when he sits down? Maybe only if the pot is $100+. Different ideas to think about.
  • Skors3Skors3 Red Chipper Posts: 665 ✭✭✭
    Austin wrote: »
    One thing a lot of low stake players do is tip the dealer too much. Without realizing how much it impacts their hourly.

    This is something I just started thinking about a couple months ago. At the time I was tipping over $3 an hour. I've instituted some 'rules' and I am down to $2.75 an hour. But you're right - it really eats away at your profits.
  • Adam WheelerAdam Wheeler Red Chipper Posts: 2,636 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017
    Monad wrote: »
    I basically reenact the workout montage from Rocky IV before each session.

    This is one of the best scene to crank yourself ha ha. This and listening to angel of Death from Slayer.
  • ZazouZazou Red Chipper Posts: 93 ✭✭
    I loved this article about developing a poker session warm-up routine that's tailored to whatever state of mind you're currently in. I've had sessions where I knew before I even started that it was mainly going to be about damage control, and interestingly those often worked out better than expected. I think the key is being aware of and adapting to one's own limitations, and so if on off-days instead of chasing that elusive A-game state you consciously decide to work on your B-game, you can always make it a productive session. (Note to self: Also helps with motivation to play when you're 'not feeling up to it' ...)
  • AustinAustin Red Chipper Posts: 5,483 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Evolution of poker. Not how you wanna play, but how the table allows you to play.
  • bigburge10bigburge10 Red Chipper Posts: 1,310 ✭✭✭✭
    Daniel L wrote: »
    Last night I played a session when I knew I was too tired, and lost a buy-in making two serious bluffing errors.

    So, I'm going to create a pre-session checklist that I will complete before I get in the car. My thoughts on what to have on it:

    1. Are you mentally ready to play your A-game? Are you tired, stressed, anxious or otherwise under par?
    2. Are you physically ready to play your A-game? Have you been eating well and exercising generally? Have you eaten well today? Are you hydrated?
    3. Is there anything more important you should be doing instead?
    4. How long are you able to play for? If you need to leave the cardroom at a certain time, have you set an alarm?
    5. What aspects of your game are you going to work on during the session?
    6. What ONE particular new move are you going to try out this session?
    7. What level are you going to play, how many buy-ins are you willing to play, and what is your current bankroll?

    I'm going to create a PDF template the right size for my notebook, and fill one of these in before I go to a session - and leave space for comments on the session too. Can anyone think of anything else that should be on this list?

    Will you skip a session if the answers to 1-3 dictate?
  • EazzyEazzy Red Chipper Posts: 937 ✭✭✭✭
    I don't really have a pre session check list. But I have learned that if I do anything early in a session, that makes me realize I'm too tiered to just get up.

    I once put the two cards I was dealt, into my wallet instead of putting my comp players card back in my wallet. I relaized my mistake before security came down....realizing the mistake when the auto shuffler kept coming out that cards were missing...The table just laughed but players have been barred for similar mistakes. It was not a good session.

    Now whenever I find I cant concentrate on the first few hands....can't count pots, or other simple mistakes I quit early.
  • NYCRyNYCRy Red Chipper Posts: 324 ✭✭✭
    Eazzy wrote: »

    I once put the two cards I was dealt, into my wallet instead of putting my comp players card back in my wallet.

    Haha. Pictured this in my head and laughed. I suspect you didn't have a premium hand

  • Daniel LDaniel L Red Chipper Posts: 33 ✭✭
    bigburge10 wrote: »
    Daniel L wrote: »
    Last night I played a session when I knew I was too tired, and lost a buy-in making two serious bluffing errors.

    So, I'm going to create a pre-session checklist that I will complete before I get in the car. My thoughts on what to have on it:

    1. Are you mentally ready to play your A-game? Are you tired, stressed, anxious or otherwise under par?
    2. Are you physically ready to play your A-game? Have you been eating well and exercising generally? Have you eaten well today? Are you hydrated?
    3. Is there anything more important you should be doing instead?
    4. How long are you able to play for? If you need to leave the cardroom at a certain time, have you set an alarm?
    5. What aspects of your game are you going to work on during the session?
    6. What ONE particular new move are you going to try out this session?
    7. What level are you going to play, how many buy-ins are you willing to play, and what is your current bankroll?

    I'm going to create a PDF template the right size for my notebook, and fill one of these in before I go to a session - and leave space for comments on the session too. Can anyone think of anything else that should be on this list?

    Will you skip a session if the answers to 1-3 dictate?

    Absolutely! I've skipped about 10 sessions since implementing this.

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