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How To Play Long Poker Sessions

Home » Guides » How To Play Long Poker Sessions

How To Play Long Poker Sessions

Table of poker players with focal point on a man holding an 8 of hearts and 6 of spades, other players are subtly blurred in the background.

If you enjoy playing online poker for real money, you’ll know it’s often a marathon instead of a sprint. Usually, the ability to maintain focus and stamina during long live poker tournaments and sessions can mean the difference between a solid win and a regrettable loss. Whether you’re hunkering down for a lengthy tournament or settling in for an all-night cash game, there are strategies you can adopt to stay sharp and play your best poker over extended periods.

Read on for advice regarding poker endurance and resilience and tips on playing poker online responsibly.

Maintaining Focus and Stamina: The Essentials

Staying focused and keeping your energy up can be challenging during longer poker sessions, making it easy for you to fall victim to tilt. Here’s how to avoid emotional play and stay in the game both mentally and physically:

  1. Stay hydrated and eat right: It sounds basic, but dehydration and hunger can seriously impair your concentration and decision-making abilities at the felt (real or virtual). Keep a water bottle at your side and snack on healthy foods like nuts, fruits, and whole grains for an energy boost. Avoid heavy meals and sugary snacks that can lead to energy crashes.
  2. Practice good posture: Sitting for extended periods can lead to discomfort and fatigue. Invest in a comfortable chair and maintain a posture that keeps your back straight and shoulders relaxed. This reduces the risk of muscle strain and increases your endurance at the table.
  3. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise, comprising both cardio and strength training, increases your overall stamina and helps you stay alert during long sessions.
  4. Mindfulness and meditation: Mindfulness exercises and meditation can help maintain your focus and keep stress at bay. Even short meditation sessions before starting a game can prepare your mind for the long hours ahead.
  5. Get enough sleep: Ensure you’re well-rested before a long poker session. Sleep helps with memory, concentration, and coping with stress.
  6. Train your brain: Brain-training games and puzzles can sharpen your cognitive skills and help maintain concentration over extended periods.
  7. Set realistic goals: Break down your session into smaller, manageable goals to give you a sense of achievement and direction.
  8. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: While caffeine can temporarily increase alertness, it can also increase heart rate and jitteriness. Alcohol, on the other hand, can dull your senses and impair judgment. Stick to water to stay hydrated and clear-headed.

Break Time Strategy

Three players and a croupier at a green felt casino poker table, engaged in a game of poker.

While you might be playing against a poker bot, you obviously aren’t one, and you’ll need to take regular breaks to recuperate when playing longer sessions. Knowing when to take a break when playing online poker for fun is as crucial as the game itself. Here’s how to time your breaks for maximum effectiveness:

  • Take breaks every hour: Aim for a five- to 10-minute break every hour to refresh yourself. Use this time to stand up, stretch, and rest your eyes.
  • Longer breaks for meals: Give yourself at least 30 minutes for meals. Eating in a relaxed environment away from the table helps you digest better and gives your mind a rest.
  • Strategic timing: Plan your breaks around the game’s flow. If possible, step away after a big hand or when the game allows for a natural pause.

Responsible Gambling: Play It Safe

Playing poker online responsibly is paramount. Here’s how to ensure you stay on the right track:

  • Set a bankroll: Never gamble with money you can’t afford to lose. Set aside a specific amount for poker and stick to it.
  • Set time limits: Decide on the maximum amount of time you’ll play in advance and adhere to these limits. Try not to make long poker sessions a regular occurrence.
  • Never chase losses: If you hit your limit, stop playing.

The Social Aspect: Chatting Your Way Through

Person lifting up two cards to show a jack of hearts and a jack of clubs. Other players around the blue felt poker table are blurred in the background.

Table talk and online chat boxes can serve as more than just tools for strategy and reads. They can also:

  • Provide mental breaks: Engaging in light conversation can offer a break from the intensity of the game.
  • Create a friendlier atmosphere: A social game is typically a more enjoyable one, helping the hours pass more easily.
  • Offer support: Sometimes, just talking through a bad beat with fellow players can help you shake it off and maintain resilience.

Resilience in the Face of Setbacks

Setbacks are inevitable in long poker sessions. Here’s how to handle them:

  • Expect and accept: Understand that bad beats and losses are part of the game.
  • Stay positive: Maintain a positive attitude. Negative thinking can lead to tilt, which only makes things worse.
  • Short memory: Learn from mistakes but don’t dwell on them. Have a “short memory” for misfortune and focus on the next hand.
  • Stay in the present: Focus on the current game, not the setbacks. Each hand is a new opportunity.

Long poker sessions test the mettle of players in unique ways. By taking care of your body, managing your time wisely, and staying mentally sharp, you can ensure your extended time at the tables is both enjoyable and profitable. Finally, always remember to gamble responsibly, using the tools and strategies to keep poker fun and safe.

Play Poker Online at BetMGM

Whether you prefer short and satisfying sessions or you enjoy spending a few hours playing online poker for real money, you’ll find a variety of world-class poker tournaments and cash games at BetMGM. As one of the best online poker sites in the U.S., BetMGM promises a fair and enjoyable time at the virtual table. Along with poker, you can also explore many other casino table games, hundreds of online slot machines, and variety games.

Register to join the community and place your bets.

Planning a longer poker session or entering a live poker tournament? Discover how to maintain focus and stamina and deal with inevitable setbacks.