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Poker Mental Game & Planning

Returning to Poker After a Long Break

2,321 Views on 13/7/23

Here we’ll explore some of the things you need to consider when returning to poker after a long break

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Returning to poker after a long break can be a daunting experience, particularly if you have been away for a long time. The game changes rapidly, with new strategies, tech, and trends emerging all of the time. Here we’ll explore some of the things you need to consider when returning to poker after a long break.


Assess Your Skill Level

The first thing you need to do when returning to poker after a long break is to honestly assess your skill level. You may have been a big winner in the past, but if you haven’t played in years, your skills will have deteriorated. To assess your skill level, you should start by playing smaller stakes than you did before. This will allow you to get back into the swing of things without losing too much money if everything goes badly.

When you are returning to poker after a long break, it can be tempting to jump straight back in at the deep end and start playing high stakes games. However, this is a mistake. You need to start small and work your way up. Playing at lower stakes will allow you to get back into the game without risking too much money. It will also give you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the new technology and trends that have emerged since you last played.

As you play, you should pay attention to how you are playing and try to identify any weaknesses in your game. Are you making the same mistakes over and over again? Are you struggling to read your opponents? Do you understand the new strategies that have emerged since you last played? By identifying your weaknesses, you can work on improving your game and getting back up to speed.


Take Advantage of Technology

One of the biggest changes in the poker world is the continuous emergence of new technology. There are now a number of software tools available that can help you to improve your game, tools that can analyse your play and provide you with insights into your opponents’ tendencies. They can also help you to identify any weaknesses in your game and give you suggestions on how to improve.

Some of the most popular poker software tools include PokerTracker, Hold’em Manager, and Flopzilla. These tools can be expensive, but they are worth the investment if you are serious about improving your game. GTO solvers such as Pio Solver are the next step.


Study the Game

When you are returning to poker after a long break, it is important to study the game. You need to familiarise yourself with the new strategies that have emerged since you last played. There are a number of great resources available online that can help you to improve your game. 


Take Notes

When you are returning to poker after a long break, it is important to take notes. You need to keep track of how you are playing and what strategies are working for you. This will allow you to identify any areas where you need to improve and adjust your game accordingly.

Taking notes can also help you to identify any patterns in your opponents’ play. For example, if you notice that a particular opponent always raises when they have a strong hand, you can use this information to your advantage in future games.


Stay Disciplined

One of the most important things you need to do when returning to poker after a long break is to stay disciplined. You need to have a plan for how you are going to improve your game and stick to it. This means setting realistic goals for yourself and working towards them.

You also need to be disciplined in your bankroll management. You should never play with more money than you can afford to lose. This means setting a budget for how much you are willing to spend on poker and sticking to it. You should also avoid tilting and making emotional decisions. If you are having a bad run of luck, take a break and come back when you are feeling calmer and more focused.


Join a Community

When you are returning to poker after a long break, it can be helpful to join a community of like-minded players. This can be a great way to get advice, share strategies, and discuss the game. You can join online communities like forums or social media groups, or even team up with regular opponents from a card room.

Studying with other players can also be a great way to improve your game. You can learn from more experienced players and get feedback on your play. Just be sure to choose a group that is supportive and focused on improving everyone’s game.


Be Patient

Finally, when you are returning to poker after a long break, it is important to be patient. You are not going to become a great player overnight. It takes time, effort, and practice to improve your game. So, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.

Instead, focus on making small improvements over time. Set achievable goals for yourself and work towards them. Celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes. With time and effort, you can get back to the level of play you were at before your break.

Returning to poker after a long break can be a challenging experience, but it can also be very rewarding. By assessing your skill level, starting small, taking advantage of technology, studying the game, taking notes, staying disciplined, joining a community, and being patient, you can get back up to speed and become a successful player once again. Remember, the key is to stay focused, work hard, and enjoy the process.


The GTO Era of Poker

Game theory optimal (GTO) concepts are a set of mathematical principles used in poker to determine the best possible strategy in any given situation. While GTO strategies were initially used in the world of economics and politics, they have become essential knowledge in the poker world in recent years. In this section, we will review the benefits of studying game theory optimal concepts and how they can improve your poker game.


Develop a Solid Foundation

One of the most significant benefits of studying GTO concepts is that it provides a solid foundation for your poker game. GTO strategies are based on mathematical principles that can be applied in any situation, regardless of the specific circumstances of the game.

This means that by studying GTO concepts, you can develop a strong understanding of the underlying principles of the game, which can help you to make better decisions in any situation.


Improve Your Decision-Making Skills

Another benefit of studying GTO concepts is that it can help you to improve your decision-making skills. GTO strategies are designed to be balanced and unexploitable, which means that they are designed to be difficult for opponents to take advantage of. By understanding GTO concepts, you can learn how to make decisions that are balanced and unexploitable, which can help you to avoid making costly mistakes.


Learn to Exploit Your Opponents

While GTO strategies are designed to be unexploitable, they can also be used to exploit your opponents. By understanding GTO concepts, you can identify the weaknesses in your opponents' strategies and take advantage of them. For example, if you notice that your opponent is playing too aggressively, you can adjust your strategy to play more passively and take advantage of their aggression.


Become a More Versatile Player

Another benefit of studying GTO concepts is that it can make you a more versatile player. GTO strategies can be applied in any situation, regardless of the specific circumstances of the game. This means that by studying GTO concepts, you can become a more versatile player who is capable of adapting to any situation that arises.


Improve Your Overall Win Rate

Finally, one of the most significant benefits of studying GTO concepts is that it can improve your overall win rate. GTO strategies are designed to be balanced and unexploitable, which means that they are designed to be profitable in the long run. By understanding GTO concepts, you can develop a strategy that is difficult for your opponents to take advantage of and that is profitable in the long run.

Studying GTO concepts is essential for any serious poker player who wants to improve their game. By understanding GTO strategies, you can develop a solid foundation for your poker game, improve your decision-making skills, learn to exploit your opponents, become a more versatile player, and improve your overall win rate. While GTO strategies can be complex and difficult to understand at first, the benefits of studying them are clear. So, if you want to take your poker game to the next level, start studying GTO concepts today.

Author

Mark Patrickson

Mark Patrickson is a professional cash game player grinding stakes up to 100nl 6 Max NL Hold'em13 years experience of poker, across MTT SnG and cash, FL PL NL.Currently living in South East Asia and trying to make it back to mid-stakes befo ... Read More

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