1. TURN OFF EVERYTHING. Are you listening to music or watching TV while playing online? Unless you're superman, those distractions are costing you vital concentration. Eliminate them now.

2. CLOSE THE DOOR. And disconnect the phone. Treat your online session as a thing unto itself, not something you squeeze into the corners of your time. The laundry can wait. The mail can wait. The one thing that can't wait is making the right decision right now.

3. OPEN A NOTEBOOK. Are you tracking your foes? Do you know their tendencies and trends? Online play offers a data-mining opportunity that is not to be overlooked. Get in the habit of handicapping your opposition. You can bet they're handicapping you.

4. PLAY ONE GAME. Yes, yes, yes, I know that playing two (or more!) games at once is fun, fun, fun. But is fun what you're here for? And can you honestly say that you give both (or all!) games your best effort all the time?

5. SHOP AROUND. Don't just drop into the first open seat you find. Check the other games at your limit -- and up a limit and down a limit too. Seek the fish. Evade the sharks. Changing tables online is so easy that if don't shop around, you're not just lazy, you're inert.

6. EXPAND YOUR TURF. If all you play is hold'em, you're missing money-making opportunities in seven-card stud, Omaha, etc. Get good at those games too. Start small if you have to, but be versatile enough to attack juicy targets wherever they may be.

7. TRACK YOUR HANDS. Are you as selectively aggressive as you ought to be? During your next session, make a simple list of all the hands you enter, and whether you come in for a call or a raise. Online play promotes promiscuous calling; plug this one hole and you'll be miles ahead of the field.

8. TAKE BREAKS. Don't be just another online action junkie, spot-welded to your seat at your computer. Hit that "sit out" button and take a walk around the block. Five minutes per hour away from the table will keep your perceptions sharp and your concentration fixed.

9. TAKE THE WIN. If you find yourself ahead, cash out some of your winnings and put them back in your pocket. Profit isn't profit if you never get around to taking it.

10. DON'T PLAY. What?! Don't play?! What kind of nonsense is that? It's not nonsense, it's responsible self-interest. Online play should be a thing we enjoy. When it becomes a thing we must do, just because we always do, then it's time to enjoy a little layoff instead. Shocking as it sounds, there are other things in life besides poker.

 

May the Felt stay soft, and the Chips Pile High

     Brian