Playing poker can often be a hi-lo experience, which is why a poker warmup is well advised. Some days you may feel like you cannot lose a hand; other days, you may not feel like any of your moves are working at all. Mentally, we all have days where we are sharper than others.

However, there are some ways that you can prepare for your game so that, even when you are not feeling your best, you can still prepare yourself for the best possible game.

How can you prepare yourself for your best poker session? If you can clear your mind of distractions, draw from you have already learned in the past, and then give yourself a sense of calm, then you are ready to make much better poker decisions.

Poker Warmup #1: Clear your mind of distractions

There are some easy steps you can take so that you don’t get distracted at just the wrong time. Here are a few to consider:

  • When you play online poker or at a tournament, the last thing you need is distractions. Put your phone out of sight. You can leave it on, just put it somewhere where the notifications will not bother you.
  • Go to the bathroom now. It’s OK to take some breaks later, but don’t leave yourself at the point where you have to stop suddenly while a session is going on.
  • Grab a quick snack. When you’re hungry, your judgment clouds.
  • Establish a quiet space. You don’t want your partner, your kids or your roommates barging in at the wrong time. Just put a sign on the door.
  • Make sure to put some water near your playing station. Your brain works better when you are hydrated, so keep some at hand.

Think back to lessons you’ve learned

Studying poker is important for those who want to succeed. However, in the heat of the action, it is easy to forget what you have learned in study sessions. So you’ll want to review what you have recently learned before you start your playing session.

The simplest way to do this is taking what you have learned and applying it to situations that you have seen in play. If you have had a hard time after the flop, take some time to think about the last few poker hands that you played, as well as any articles you have read about that type of play. Go through your mental processes at the time and consider what you might have done differently. Having that perspective fresh in your mind can help you make better decisions this time around.

Give yourself a sense of calm

Don’t play poker for real cash if you are stressed. Listen to some relaxing music or spend some time meditating. Do you calm down after exercise? Go for a quick run or pump some iron and get a quick shower before you start.

There can be deeper factors as well. Are you tired? Take a nap – or get a good night’s sleep and play tomorrow. Do you have some emotional stress going on in your life? Spend some time sorting through that before you sit down to play poker. You don’t want emotions hitting you at just the wrong time – leading to poor decisions.

These warmup steps will help you prepare to play your best poker. Will they guarantee big winnings? No – but they will give you a better foundation to start your games.

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