I'm writing this debut post of my freshly made blog on Pokerstars just as I'm in the middle of The Big $2.20 ($5k Gtd) tournament (NLHE), but it was actually a bigger tour before that which made me notice something new about my own habits in online Poker play.

Since this tour is rather late and I feel inspired, I thought why not use the opportunity to start this blog thing up.

I do not believe in styles

I guess every player has his/her own way of playing (I'm deliberately not calling it "style", 'cause that word usually refers to playing hands a certain way, rather than playing the game in general a certain way).

That way of playing may incorporate, alongside a preference of hand-playing styles, an entire spectrum of other patterns of behavior at or beyond the table, some acquired by experience and some simply by reading a few books/blogs or watching a few videos every once in a while.

One can't spot and understand those behaviors or habits (whether they're good or bad) if one doesn't make active attempts at it, observing their own movement each step of the way. I believe it is very helpful in the growth of both new coming and old school Poker players.

In one of these instances, I realized I'm prone to doing this one thing that has less to do with the play itself, and more with some of the side (and possibly overlooked) parameters of an online Poker tournament.

So here it is, with a flashy title...

Anticipating tournament breaks

It's not very often, but maybe 50% of the time that the following scenario has happened to me - I'm doing fine between the start and middle part of the tournament, the 2nd break is in about 1 minute from now and I get into a big pot because my strong hole cards forced me to play them aggressively. As you know, sometimes you can lose those bets by (almost) pure (bad) luck, and that's exactly what happens to me and my bankroll is now halved.

Which would be ok usually, those kind of things happen in Poker and hopefully you're not left with less than 30% of your original bankroll, so you have a chance to recover from this downfall and return to the tournament. 

But in this case, the pretty little rectangle showing up with the words "Players are now on break" inside somehow makes it a whole lot worse. The game suddenly stops, you are faced with the hand that could cost you the entire tournament and you can't help but use the entirety of those 5-10 minutes only to dwell upon it and try to analyze it.

For me, it provokes the same type of mental state as when you finally lose a table-tennis game against your older brother and he doesn't want to play anymore, claiming superiority. It may sound silly, but we all know Poker is a highly psychological game and not knowing the subconscious effects could hurt a player during a tournament.

NOTE: I do not own this image

Of course, you could say: "Hey, simply walk it off! Get a drink, rest and so on. You can't play a perfect hand 100% of the time and when you play it less than that, you shouldn't let a simple thing like the break get to you". And you would be completely right. Even though it is one of those things that's easier said than done, that is certainly one of the best ways to get rid of a bad mentality - once it happens to you.

However, to finally arrive to my point - as the old saying goes - it's better to prevent than cure. I found, by focusing on my own play, that in most cases I will be in a much better position (mentally and, by consequence, financially) if I simply avoid playing strong hands aggressively when it's the last hand (or last couple of hands) before the break.

I will either hit the flop nicely (with a pre-flop raise of course) or simply "walk away" from even the slightest uncertainty (as in, aim for a smaller-medium increase of income instead of shooting with all guns). Most of the time.

What do you think about this?

Feel free to let me know in the comments, thanks for reading.

P.S. - in the meantime, I dropped out from the tour at about 800th place, first 500 places were paid. Probably a mix of fatigue (5 AM currently) + my inability to play a bit tighter before the bubble bursts.