1. Take Notes
Boom, Bam, Wam. This is very important! Taking notes is what the old school players did well. If you take away one thing from this article, you should have a big notebook with meticulous poker notes. And I'm not talking about your hem2 note drive, that's fine but not on the ball enough. How are you going to use those notes when you play live stuff? I don't know, you tell me! There are tons of stuff online and at your library on writing concise, and taking good notes. I'm going to let you build that facet of poker by yourself. Just next time you find yourself with nothing to do and your hand reaches for Skype button on your iPhone. Slap that hand! Reach for the pencil and pad paper instead.
2. Focus, focus, focus,
I went ahead and put this near the top because it is so, so important. When you are playing a session; phones off, Skype off, everything off. You should treat poker like your job take it seriously. If you are six stories in the air, fixing an electrical wire, would you be chatting with your buddy on the phone? No! So don't do it while you're playing poker either. Facebook, twitter, television? Forget it, watch it later on your own time. (Or just don't play right now, and do that if it is so important.) The more seriously you begin to take your game, the quicker your results will skyrocket. Listen guys, I don't read Calvin and Hobbes when I six table PLO cash games. (Caught all you Calvin and Hobbes guys off guard! Yeah, I see you. :) ) If I treated the game like some of my friends, yeah sure I would do that. But I like to use wood and not currency to start my camp fires so I eliminate all the distractions.
You should treat poker like it's your job - take it seriously
3. Take breaks when you are burnt out
I'm going to save you the enjoy life, go to the park, smell some rosy flowers malarkey. If you take poker even half-seriously you know its work, hard work, and its easy to get burned out. Poker burn outs are a special case. When you start playing poker after a long break or for the first time, you feel fresh, enjoy the game, and make great decisions. After a while the monotony does wear down on everyone, even the toughest players. You're going to begin auto-piloting. (this is the big sign of a poker burn-out, its like the light on your car dimming before it completely shuts off in the middle of a street.) You're also going to feel like you have less energy, make bad decisions, and just feel lethargic in general. This is the time to take a break for at-least 3-4 days, although a good break is something like 2 weeks. Take charge of your troops here and make a strategical adjustment, don't continue on a course that leads to oblivion.
Now I'm talking about breaks from the grind, like if you play full time and this is your first break in a few months type of deal. If you play part-time the safe-guard is almost built in since you will be playing three out of seven days. I'm not talking to you guys so much here, although some of this stuff could be useful in the future. Just stay on top of your breaks/scheduling as it is an important part of peak performance.
4. Bankroll management (PLO specific)
You're not going to survive in poker, and especially in plo without some sort of decent bankroll management. Plo is a game that entails higher risk, variance and you need to respect that fact by having a bigger bankroll, and better management of it. If it means getting backed to start out, or scrapping up capital from investors, so be it. If you just deposit your Friday paycheck and play anything but the micro-est of plo, let me save you a lot of time and aggravation. Forget about it! You will just bust it up, dust it off to regulars, rake will eat you alive, etc. The best thing to do is play the micro-est plo, or game of your choice, build up decent stats, and begin to look for a backer. Also take advantage of promotions, if you are building a bankroll there is no better way to build it then taking the free money the site is throwing at you. Ill go into this in depth in another article.
5. Game selection (PLO specific)
Since the swings in plo are higher, it attracts a lot of aggro-tards, and then solid tight regulars. Now if you are playing less then four tables online or one table live, game selection is huge, H-U-G-E. Your tables should have at the very least one big aggrofish or passivefish if this session is about making money. You preferably want the seat to his direct left, so you can isolate him consistently with a raise.
Your tables should have at the very least one big aggrofish or passivefish
I do not want to hear that you are playing five nits if there are other options available to you. (And those other options WILL be available to you if you play in a big live casino or a big online room like stars.com)