5 Ideas Making More Time for Poker

Let’s face it, most of us don’t have as much time for poker as we’d like. And while those who count themselves among the time-challenged may forever be green with envy over the hours true grinders put in, there are ways to carve out more time for poker.

Time Audit

Idea: Track daily activities to find time management leaks

Coach James “SplitSuit” Sweeney is fond of reminding students that becoming better at the skills that make you a great poker player also means becoming better at the skills that give you a happy, fulfilling life.

The time audit is one of life’s great tricks to provide perspective on life while you’re busy living it. It’s a bit of a grind and takes some dedication and hard work, but the end results aren’t limited to more room for poker — you’ll be able to better organize your whole day-to-day.

The idea is to track absolutely everything you do for at least 1 week… one month if you want a real accurate picture of how you’re spending your time. The results will astonish you and probably change the way you think about many of the things you do (and don’t do) in life.

One easy way to set this up is to keep a spreadsheet where each row is a 15-minute increment, or even just a run-of-the-mill calendar app. Set alarms throughout the day for every few hours, and pause for a few minutes to jot down what you spent your previous few hours on. You can also use software like Rescue Time to automate much of the tracking, and give detailed analytics on where you’re spending your time.

As you get better at auditing your time, you’ll see obvious patterns where you get distracted or can tend to procrastinate. You’ll see simple changes you can make to streamline routines and buy time all over the place. You’ll see activities you can chunk together to save time. And you’ll be able to value your time more appropriately, now that you know exactly how you’re spending it. Which, hopefully, is more frequently at the poker table.

Incremental Approach

Idea: Increase table time slowly, in small increments over time

When starting a new habit, it’s best to take tiny steps. Want to do 50 pushups a day? Start with 1. Even if you CAN do 50, starting with 1, then increasing to 2, and so on will ensure you build a solid habit of doing something first. It’s more about consistency than quantity or quality when you’re first starting out.

A lot of times, the poker-starved player, when given the opportunity to binge on poker, burns themselves out. Don’t be the weekend warrior who camps out in the casino for a week on a lark and blows the bankroll. Just stay an extra hour or two. The slower and steadier you build up your allotted poker time, the easier it will be to make more poker a part of your routine.

Streamline Sessions

Idea: Bookend poker sessions with consistent routines

Some players have leaks when it comes to the process they go through just to get to the table, but for most players it’s the leaks that happen afterwards that monopolize the most time… particularly after a winning session.

Less time spent in a routine getting to the table (for most of us, a long meal or some other indulgence) equals more time at the table, period. And for sure, allowing a winning session to be celebrated all night (or a losing session to be mourned through insomnia) is a sure-fire way to rob yourself of time on the felt.

If you want to maximize your poker time, do yourself a favor and streamline the routines that take you to the table and away from it.

Game Selection

Idea: Find games that play to the strengths of your schedule

We all know the poker room is at its juciest on Friday and Saturday nights. But sometimes Monday is the only night you can play poker. There are ways to make it work, but you might have to cast your net beyond the casino and into the home game scene to find a nice edge. Or, if you’re feeling particularly tech-savvy and brave, you could take your game online, where action’s available 24/7 (with a few exceptions, mostly in the US).

If you’re not getting enough of your poker fix, think outside the game you’ve currently selected and see if there are other opportunities to mix it up during your more avaialable moments.

Game Improvement

Idea: Getting better gives you many edges in staying at the table longer

How does improving your game give you more time for Daftar Poker IDNPLAY? By giving you more of an edge. And an edge can slice and dice time like a katana.

If you have an edge over your opponents, you can justify spending more time at the table, period. If finances are your only justification, it’s easy to make the case for staying at a table where the action is good and your edge is significant.

Getting better means winning more, and winning more tends to somewhat silence the critics and skeptics in your life who might question the value in sitting at a table playing cards for most of the day.

There’s no doubt improving your game improves the quality of your experience. But above all, it gives you extra lives, better odds, a greater likelihood you’ll still be standing (or sitting) when the dust settles and the chips fall. The better you are, the more likely you’ll be back the next day with a fresh stack and a positive attitude, and that’s what it takes to hang in there. Everyone has room for improvement, and making you better to make you more time to play is what we’re all about.

Bluffing with Relative Position

A few weeks ago I played an interesting hand in the $5-10NL $1500 cap game at the Commerce Casino. It was late on a Friday night and the game was generally loose and good, and I had just moved to the table. The villain in this hand was in the big blind, but was totally unknown to me. During my first orbit at the table I decided to raise from UTG with 5 ♥ 6 ♥, albeit a pretty light open to $35. Much to my dismay the hijack, button and big blind all called usually forcing me to make a hand in order to win the pot.

I got one of the best flops for my hand, K♥ 3♠ 4♣, giving me an open ended straight draw plus a backdoor flush draw. Unexpectedly the unknown villain in the big blind led out at the pot for $60. Because I had raised from UTG my range was pretty strong and I was a bit torn between raising to put pressure on the big blind or just calling. The problem was that the two players in position were decent and aware and I thought that they could put me in a tough spot if they realized that my flop raise was a bit unbalanced. I did not think that the blind was super strong, as players do not usually lead out with sets on such a dry board, but I decided to just call. Both the players behind me folded and we saw a 4♠ turn headsup.

At this point I expect the big blind to check a lot with his kings, as I showed a lot of strength calling next to act on the flop. With two players behind me usually I am forced to fold pairs between 4s and queens leaving me with big kings, sets AA etc. If the big blind lead out on the flop with a hand like KT or KJ he is behind a lot when I call. But, my opponent continued to lead, this time for $130. It is also important to note that with the 4 pairing the combinations of flopped sets goes down from six combinations to four now, and most player might check the turn with a full house or quads. So I still thought that the big blind was sort of blindly betting with a king. Given the pot odds I was getting ($130 for $390) plus the hidden implied odds of hitting my straight, I concluded that this was a clear-cut call. Against a king I had eight outs out of forty-four unseen cards. That meant that I had 8/44 chance of hitting or 1/5.5. I would need to win at least 4.5 times his turn bet from the total pot to make the call profitable, or in this case $595. Facing the bet the pot was already $390, so I would only need to make an extra $205 to reach this goal. After my turn call this only represents 40% of the pot on the river, which is why I decided to continue on.

Unfortunately for me, the river rolled off an off suit ten, leaving me with just six high. Now my opponent checked. Normally at this level, I am not in the business of trying to move players off of top pair, but I thought that this spot was just too good. You see, once I raised preflop from UTG, AND called the flop and turn bets my range was very strong. Usually I have a hand that is at least KTs and I thought that if I bet large it would be extremely difficult for the big blind to call with just a king. If I had held KQ or better and got to this river I would have had a clear value bet as I would not expect the big blind to check KT, which now runs into top two pair. So I used all of this information and decided to fire large, $550, almost the entire size of the pot. However, my opponent took about three seconds with his decision and called with K8os.

The funny thing here, is, especially with the rainbow board, the only draw that I have that has missed is 56s specifically or four combinations. I have six combos of AA, 6 combos of AK, and six combos of KQ in my range. Occasionally I might also have one combo of a full house or quads that I may have played this way. My “range advantage” given my opponents line and this board run out was too favorable for me to not bluff here at the end especially with no showdown value. When I got called by Agen Poker IDNPLAY, I temporarily felt a bit sheepish, but realized that my bet was highly profitable.
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