Monday, January 21, 2008

Find Your Poker Theme

notesMy iPod is an emotion outlet for me. At the tables, music can bring me to the light or turn me to the dark side. When my luck is down, I turn up the blues. When I'm on a roll, it's "Eye of the Tiger" time. I listen to music to calm me, pump me up, or bring my mind out of the game just enough to avoid tilt, bankruptcy, and bloodshed.

Tunes are not always a welcome distraction. Short-handed, I take the head phones off just for the high-frequency of decision making. This is when your mind needs to be in the game to catch every tell and analyze every move. But for the long game, your brain needs a break. Use music to unwind from time to time. Practicing this will keep you sane and save your heightened focus for when you need it most.

When it is most important to unwind is after the inevitable bad beat. For me, nothing extinguishes my burning rage like a little Bob Marley, but find what is right for you.

Alternatively, the right playlist can strengthen your resolve and restore the will to play aggressive once more! The strength of music is that is provides the theme to different playing styles--prompting you to mix up your play, which is essential.

Note: I will be posting the songs I use most at the poker table at a later time.


  1. Similar to how I don't like wearing sunglasses, I really feel like I miss a lot when I'm listening to music while playing. While I agree that you simply cannot concentrate on the game the entire time, I still believe your subconscious picks up on things that can help you later. If you can't see them or hear them, your subconscious can't pick up on them.

    Thanks for the articles. I love reading them.


  2. I like to listen to music when playing online. Looking forward to your play list.

    I never listen to music when playing live. As the other poster, KC, said your concentration goes down and also, many tells will be lost. For instance,
    1) You cannot hear how someone would of, should of, could of, played a hand ... you can get a handle on someone by listening to that talk.
    2) Some players tell the table or neighbors what they folded. This is very valuable info at time.
    3) Players talking during a hand helps confirm or deny their other tells; betting patterns, playing with their chips, their feet, legs, body, hands, face, etc.

    So, turn off the music and open you ears. Take off the sunglasses and open your eyes. Observe everything and open your heart.

    Signed the Chipslinger
    (!!! Sometimes chip slinger, sometimes chips linger !!!)

  3. I agree with you both, but for me the emotional benefit of music is greater than the mental distraction, if that makes any sense. Besides my strength is spotting visual tells and betting patterns, which the audio doesn't interfere with. I never trust table talk.

    I will, however, take my headphones off to interact with a player I'm in the hand with in order to gain information.

    Also, I may have ADD. Heh.

    Thanks for your comments.

  4. My poker music used to be The Shins because I won the biggest tournament of my life listening to them. It was a Super Thursday on Partypoker, back when they allowed US players. So from then on I would listen to the Shins every tournament and I quickly wore them out :)

  5. Very hard to find good poker theme, but its possible :)