Distraction Free Poker

One of the key areas I’ve been working on in my recent sessions has been eliminating distractions while I am playing. A few years ago, when I was at the peak of my game, I found it very easy to put in long hours without being distracted by things on my phone, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, browsing the web, looking at my hold ’em manager or cashier all the time. In the last year as the games have become tougher and I’ve moved down stakes a bit I find myself getting bored and my work environment becomes filled with pointless noise that distracts me from playing my best.

I’ve taken 5 dramatic steps and I already feel way better about what I’m doing. They are as follows…

Stay Focusd Chrome Plug-in
An add-in for my web browser that stops me from visiting web pages for a certain amount of time. I set it to the length of my session and subsequently can’t sneak a look at Facebook/Twitter etc. while I play. If you play on a site that is tracked by PTR and you want to use it, you can add an exception so that you can use your browser for that function only. Stay Focusd Link

Removing Results From HM2 Reports
I’ve removed all results and EV numbers from my Hold ‘Em Manager reports. I never had a major problem checking HM all the time until I upgraded to version 2 and was having to have it open to mark hand as I played. In HM1 it was a lot quicker to mark the hands from the menu on my HUD or have the Hands tab open that only showed hands and no session statistics, hence I never saw any session results as I played.

AHK Script To Block Stars Cashier
I’m using an AHK to prevent me from accessing my Cashier section while I am playing. I won’t be checking my results for months at a time either. I don’t see this as being a long term solution to my results orientation mindset, but I think it is a step in the right direction to ween myself away, because as I said I never really had a problem in the past and I do believe I can get back there by spending less time looking and thinking about it.

#SingleInstance force

OnExit, Exit
cashierEnabled := true
SetTimer, DisableCashier, 1000

if( WinExist(“ahk_class PokerStarsTableFrameClass”) )
WinClose, Cashier ahk_class #32770
if ( cashierEnabled )
Control, Disable,, PokerStarsButtonClass37, PokerStars Lobby
cashierEnabled := false
else if ( !cashierEnabled )
Control, Enable,, PokerStarsButtonClass37, PokerStars Lobby
cashierEnabled := true

Control, Enable,, PokerStarsButtonClass37, PokerStars Lobby

Keeping My Phone In Another Room
I’ve started to keep my phone in another room while I play. Responding to texts, answering calls, getting Facebook and Twitter notifications can all be dealt with in my breaks and after my sessions. I was giving up so much energy throughout my grinding and it was a lose lose situation where I was delivering blunt messages to people and playing badly. Whereas, if I leave it until after I can give people the response they deserve and play better as well.

Turning Skype Off

Most of the time I’m pretty good about having it on do not disturb’ and I don’t notice the notifications in my system tray until after I play. However, the odd occasion does come up where I do notice and then feel compelled to respond. I’d rather just have no temptation at all by doing something very easy and shutting it off.

About the Author: Andrew Ferguson

2 Comments + Add Comment

  • Nice site! Link added on my blog.

  • Really excellent points. With the state of the games even having a tiny bit of focus taken away can be the difference between a winning and losing session. Also, as far as HEM goes, I have been doing that for years. I still check my HEM for barreling frequencies, 3bet, etc, but have removed winnings from the report I use when playing.

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