Using Mental Preparation to Improve Your Game

Jul 24 2017 11:15 PM

Written by: Jeremy Olson

Mental preparation is a tool that’s heavily utilized by athletes to improve their performance. In fact, the practice of mentally preparing athletes has spawned a whole profession in sports psychology. However, one game where you don’t see mental preparation used much is poker since players aren’t shooting a ball or trying to outrun their opponents. But the truth is that poker players can benefit more from mental preparation than anyone and here’s a look at why.

Be Here, Now

As mentioned before, mental preparation is usually looked at as an afterthought in poker. With this being the case, poker players aren’t always focused on their games. Instead, they’re thinking about what happened last night, what they need to do the next day, how they played in a previous session, etc. Rarely does a person sit at their computer and only think about the game at hand.

However, you can improve your game by leaps and bounds just by focusing on the task at hand. Staying alert and paying attention to opponents will help you to read them and make the right decision time after time. If you’re looking for a philosophy to take to the poker table, then subscribe to the old Japanese samurai adage – be here, now.

How to Prepare

There is no best way to mentally prepare for a poker session, and you might benefit from trying a combination of methods. Here is a look at a few of the ways in which you can prepare.

Watching Videos of Others Play

In this Internet age, you can simply hop on YouTube and watch some of the best online poker players in the world. Some people benefit greatly by watching their favorite players in action before jumping into a session.


While some players might laugh at the notion of meditating, this can actually be very helpful before a session. Meditation allows you to get rid of everything you were thinking about before a session and focus solely on the games.

Listening to Music

Lots of live players prefer to listen to their iPod during a tournament rather than chatting with other people. This is a good way to tune out distractions as well!


If you really want to go to the extreme, getting hypnotized is an excellent way to mentally prepare for poker. A trained hypnotist can really work wonders for you by using the power of suggestion to improve your game.