One of the hardest things to do, but most important in poker, is to consistently play your best game or your "A" game. It's impossible to always play your A game, but trying to play near that level at a consistent rate will give you best chance at winning. 

As we all know there are so many things that can distract us, tilt us, and take us away from playing at our best level. This can include anything from a stressful day at work to not eating breakfast in the morning or getting enough sleep. Any combination of these factors has the potential to cause players to stray from their best game and cost them at the tables. One night of playing when you don't feel 100% can cost you a week of profit or a potentially huge score! 

For me, my A game is when I am alert, watching all my opponents and most importantly thinking about each and every bet. My A- game usually comes after long sessions where I slip into auto-pilot mode and start thinking less. My B game will usually occur when I'm tired and become indifferent about my results. 

 

Last night I had my worst game ever! I fell asleep in the middle of a $27 SCOOP event and also a HU MTT. It was 5:30am and I should not have played. Who know, maybe I could have ran very deep in one and scored a big cash! However, I played when I should have slept and lost my buy ins and a potential big score. 

 

Signs that you're off your A game:

Hungry/Thirsty

- Stressed frm work, kids, anything

- Tired

- Distracted, phone calls, other webpages open, music for some

- Tilted from a bad play, bad beat

- Throwing money away, "he could be bluffing..." "it's only $5 to call" "if he can get lucky I must be able to too"

 

Getting back to your A game:

- Take a quick break to cool off

- Sleep and eat regularily

- Warm up before a session, this can be a short run, strategy review, or watching a video

- Move to an area where you can fully concentrate

 

This month I made the mistake of straying away from my A game more than once. I have realized how costly this can be and how hard you must work to recover those losses or potential losses. Playing your A game consistently and also improving your A game will only help you become a better poker player. 

Good luck, and have fun at the tables!