How to Avoid Burnout in Online Poker Tournaments?

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A man takes a nap next to his iPad. AFP PHOTO / LIU JIN (Photo by LIU JIN / AFP)

Winning or going deep in an online poker tournament brings a real sense of accomplishment to the player but that well-being means we need to push ourselves close to our limits as an online poker tournament player.  

What Measures Can We Take to Avoid Burnout?

Unless you’re playing a turbo structured event you can expect a minimum of six hours of play, possibly longer to negotiate depending on field size and blind structure.  

Either way, it’s a battle of patience and concentration, meaning any burnout will show up in your play making your choices less than optimal.

Take Regular Breaks

In recent years, online poker operators at sportsbooks like BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) have brought in synchronized breaks during online tournaments. This means at fifty-five minutes past the hour all tables get a break.  This is hugely beneficial to those players who can go to the toilet, make a cup of coffee, take on water or indeed just walk about in the fresh air.

I suggest, to take advantage of these, it’s best to be prepared with what you need to do.

E.G. Put the kettle or coffee machine on before you go to the toilet or walk around in the fresh air, that way when you return you will be able to pour your drink before returning to the online poker tournament resumption.

Always Keep Hydrated and Eat Healthy

If you’re planning an online poker tournament session that day, eat well prior.  You mustn’t be feeling sluggish as the hours tick by so, therefore, never eat a large meal before play.  

Utilize those synchronized breaks for small snacks you’ve prepared earlier, maybe a plate of fresh fruit or even a bowl of cereal.  This will aid focus as the hours of a poker tournament pass, and by not feeling bloated in any way, it gives you the best chance of playing optimally at all times.

It should go without saying, but always keep hydrated with bottled water or cordial and have one handy, at all times.

Keep Energy Drinks in the Fridge or a Small Bar of Chocolate

Like all things, we have to be responsible, so I don’t suggest getting into the bad habit of drinking energy drinks or eating chocolate bars all day long, for the obvious downside.

One thing, I like to do is have one of each in the fridge chilling for the time you go deep in an online poker tournament, and you start to feel your stamina flagging.

Then utilize those synchronized breaks for taking a chilled treat from your fridge and giving yourself a little more energy to help that final push to win an online poker tournament.

Don’t Play Too Many Tables or Tournaments at Once

As the confidence of an online poker player grows, the temptation to balance variance is to play too many tournaments at once.  I’ve certainly been guilty of this before.  

If you do play too many tables, the action comes too thick and fast, meaning you’re often making the easy first decision that springs to mind rather than the decision suited to the dynamics of that particular hand, and/or the players involved.  

The best way I found to avoid falling into this trap was by making more detailed notes on the players currently sitting at my table.  This process has a double-edged positive for us.

Firstly, because we are closely watching the action on the few tables, we have open, this enables us to already build a profile in our mind of plays we can make against those players should the opportunity arise later that day or in a game in the future.

Secondly, of course, too many tables will greatly increase your chances of burn out which in turn affects your chances of always making the optimum plays.

Late Registering is a Strong Strategy for Accomplished Online Poker Players

Like synchronized breaks, late registration is a relatively new innovation for online poker tournaments.  Once you’ve become a reasonably accomplished player, it is fine to late register for events, sometimes as much as three hours in, on certain ones.  

Yes, you will miss the early stages, but the blinds are very small in ratio to chip stack and those early stages can be misleading when players jockey for position

Joining a game, later and having a chip stack of say 50 big blinds or less as opposed to 100 at the beginning enables you to play optimally from the off, avoiding creating bad habits in your play.  More importantly, less poker online tournament play, factors well against any potential burnout long-term.

This policy also applies to freeze-out structure events and is a great way of avoiding burnout in deep stack events where the play can be cautious early doors.

This means by late registering your online poker tournaments are always played optimally increasing your chances of not suffering burnout deep in the event.

Late registering isn’t for everyone but something you perhaps should experiment with.

Final Thoughts

There is an old saying that “less is more.” Yes, it’s an oxymoron but true on many levels that a smaller quantity of higher quality in an online poker tournament can only increase your chances of avoiding burnout.