Bad Beat Tip #4: Regain Your Focus After Bad Beats in Poker
After taking a bad beat in poker, it’s imperative to regain your focus as quickly as possible. As you are well aware, a hard night, week or even month of work can come undone in a slew of desperation and frustration within a few minutes of weakness.
I’ve experimented heavily with various hacks to regain my focus after bad beats in poker, and here’s what I found works best.
Step 1: Accept the Bad Beat
The first step toward overcoming bad beats in poker is accepting them. You cannot change the past and dwelling is counterproductive and will hinder your ability to play A game poker going forward.
While I acknowledge this is much easier said than done, one thing I’ve found works very well is physically saying to myself that I accept what is.
I’ll literally repeat: “I accept that I lost the hand and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
I’ll do this while the dealer is cutting the cards to cool off. Then, I’ll move toward getting myself focused as quickly as possible, before the next hand comes.
But first, there’s a process I like to go through which helps me regain a feeling of control about the situation.
Step 2: Replay the Hand and Correct Any Mistakes
When we take a bad beat in poker it can feel like everything is out of our control. What I find personally works best is focusing on the elements of the game that I can control and forgetting about the rest.
That’s why I always replay the hand in my mind and see if there’s anything I could have done differently. This primes me to always be focused on what ultimately matters – making profitable decisions – and not worrying about the outcome. In the end, winning money is merely a product of doing our job correctly and will inevitably come in time.
Go through the hand you just played, starting with preflop, separating yourself from the results.
Did you play it perfectly?
What could you have done differently?
Explore any ideas here and think outside the box.
Step 3: Change Your Focus
Next, I’ll repeat a positive mantra to myself to help me regain my focus after taking a bad beat. I’ll always put the attention on taking the necessary actions to help me win my money back as fast as possible.
I may say something like, ‘I am present and focused at the poker table. I care only about what I can control. My goal is to play the next hand the best way possible.’
This simple, yet effective mantra helps condition me to return to making solid, profitable decisions. That momentum slowly builds upon itself starting as soon as the next hand.
Let’s say I look down at a tempting, yet unplayable hand like J9ss. I may want to play this hand even in early position in an attempt to win my money back, but I know it’s not a profitable long-term decision.
By telling myself clearly that ‘my goal is to play the next hand the best way possible’, I’ve returned my focus to something I have complete control over, which in turn makes it easier to fold that unplayable hand. I can then begin the grind of starting to recover my losses.
Step 4: Hack Your Focus at the Poker Table
A hack I’ve found works really well for me is forming a habit which conditions me to immediately regain my focus, just like an athlete does in a sporting event.
You’ll notice in observing high performers that they always have ritual they follow to help get them in the zone. Take tennis players for example. If you watch them closely you’ll see they go through the same routine before each point they serve: dribble the ball slowly, check the competition, exhale and serve.
I do the same thing at the poker table. Whenever I notice myself getting frustrated or losing focus, I’ve found that taking some sort of physical action helps center me and keep me present.
This started with closing my eyes for two seconds, taking a deep inhale and then exhaling slowly.
This worked well for me, and that simple yet refreshing action helped regain my attention.
But I’m always looking to push the envelope and creative ways to take my focus and mental game to the next level.
Nearly ten years ago, I was introduced to essential oils by a mentor of mine who swore by them. She said it helped her relax and calm down in times of stress and helped her focus when she needed to crush a project. She suggested I give them a try to help give me an edge in poker.
I began using them at home with a diffuser after my sessions to transition from the high intensity and adrenaline filled sessions to help me calm down before bed.
The effects were immediate, and I made it a routine ritual. Over the years I experimented with every scent, from lavender to frankincense, from tea tree to ylang-ylang, until I found my favorite combination. I would then combine a few drops of each to mix up a concoction of my favorite blend, just like you would for your favorite smoothie in the kitchen.
Over time, I had conditioned myself to calm down whenever I smelled my favorite scents, just like a little Pavlovian dog. It became a ritual of sorts, like drinking your coffee in the morning, and I found that with practice I could change my mood from a simple fragrance.
I took it one step further and created a blend for focus while working so I could be more productive during the day, and use it before my poker sessions when it was game time.
And while this worked well for me for years, I always wished I could have a whiff of these scents when I needed them most, while I was at the poker table.
When I founded ConsciousPoker, one thing I was committed to right away was not only providing the best strategy content and products in the world, but those to help with mindset as well, something which I deeply credit my success in poker over the years.
That mission was the inspiration for our unique way of bringing these incredible scents, which have been engineered over the years to help you calm down and regain focus as fast as possible to you at the poker table.
ConsciousPoker Essential Oils
At ConsciousPoker we’ve created two unique blends of essential oils for peak performance: Tilt Recovery and Fast Focus, each with proprietary blends of the highest quality essential oils, engineered to help you recover faster and regain focus quicker.
But we didn’t stop there. I wanted a creative and unique way to bring this scent around with me, without having to constantly open the bottle and pour on a few drops. So I’ve created arguably my favorite ConsciousPoker product, our necklace, which comes equipped with a felt pad inside of our Tree of Life logo where you can put a few drops of your favorite essential oil and simply smell it whenever you want to play better poker.
Our necklaces are sleek , modern and cool to wear and designed by ConsciousPoker in partnership with 9Millimetri, an Italian jewelry brand from Rome which hand makes some of the finest products in the industry.
To use the oils and necklace together is easy. Simply add one to two drops (our oils are extremely potent) to the inside of the felt pad of your necklace, and you’re good to go.
Whenever those unfortunate, but inevitable bad beats come, close your eyes, take a deep inhale and smell the scent, while telling yourself how you want to act, perform and feel and exhale.
Of course, this isn’t magic, it’s just a simple hack which has worked really well for me over the years, and I hope that I can share it with many of you who can get similar benefits.