Is it Time to Change Your Poker Routine?

poker routine

I know some of our readers are disciplined and have a schedule they stick to but is it ideal? Many of you are playing at the times that suit your personal life (that’s fine!) but it doesn’t mean your poker routine is perfect.

The outcome of a session is sometimes pre-determined based on the preparation you did before. You know what it’s like, if you are in a great mindset, well rested and feeling confident, you know you’re going to win. The flipside of that is a losing session is more likely when you’re shattered from a hard day, ticked off and not in the mood to play (but play anyway).

This article is designed to shed light on the importance of having a poker routine. For those of you that have one in place, you may want to re-assess it, and for those who have never heard of it, you’re in for a treat!

1] Eat & Drink Well

Poker might not be the most physically exhausting hobby around but good food feeds the brain as well as the body. Therefore, we recommend players try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet and having something to eat before playing. I don’t pretend to be an expert in nutrition but its common sense that there are foods and drinks that weigh you down and get you groggy. This can’t be helpful when you’re playing a mentally taxing game like poker.

I notice some poker players go the other way and fast all together. Abstaining from food is foolish as you will be hungry and thinking about food when you should be concentrating on the game.

We also recommend avoiding alcohol when playing as it impairs decision making at the table. By eating and drinking well before a session, your body and mind has sufficient energy and fuel for the session.

2] Review Previous Session

After having something to eat and drink, it’s a productive time to review the previous days results and key hands. Continuous improvement is imperative to any poker player wanting to see better results and hand history reviews are an effective way of achieving this. By spotting and correcting errors, you will be able to iron out leaks and hone your game. In addition to seeing better performances at the table it will serve you well in your personal life too as reviewing and improving is a brilliant life skill and habit.

Reviewing your session results and hands can be done privately or with someone. We offer hand history review sessions as a standalone service. Loads of players have found this to be a productive way of developing their game. If this is of interest, click below more information and pricing.

3] Stretch

Once you’ve had something to eat and done some study, you will want to get physically ready to play. This is why we urge players to do some stretching before a session. Most poker players’ sessions last 2 hours minimum with many players recording 6 hours or more. That’s why we believe having a good stretch before playing is important. Your body is about to be sedentary for hours so it’s good practice to loosen up and stretch your limbs. Again, I’m no expert in this field so feel free to watch the video below on six basic stretches.

4] Choose the Right Game

The last tip for our recommended poker routine is to methodically choose the right game. That can seem casual can’t it, using the word “right”. But, truthfully, only you know the games that are right for you and what games you can expect the best win rate in. Once you know the right format and stakes, it’s a case of spending 5 to 10 minutes choosing the juiciest.

If you have already been tagging tough and weak opponents, you should be able to easily ascertain which tables are going to be generate the best return on investment and which will be hard. By spending a few minutes before jumping into the action, you can expect a better rate of return than if you just sit on any table that has spaces. This concept is massively important and something players still don’t do today. Countless players who come to us for coaching state they don’t invest any time looking at the games before sitting – a cardinal sin for part-time poker professionals.

Final Comments

There you have it, a four-step poker routine that anyone can do. We’re confident that this routine can help strong players earn more and losing players bridge the gap. If you are one of recreational poker players that are aimlessly playing without a schedule or plan in place, please consider using our poker routine in this article and letting us know how it works for. If you enjoyed this article and interested in poker training, feel free to book in a consultation with me below.

Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: