Poker Warm-up & Cool-down | Smart Poker Study Podcast #5

Including a poker warm-up and cool-down is integral to poker success in every session you play.

In episode 4 I talked about open-limping in cash games and why you should never do this…  EVER.

Poker Warm-up & Cool-down, Podcast #5

Podcast Mission

At the end of this podcast you will have a simple, quick and easy way of implementing warm-ups and cool-downs in your sessions.

Why do a poker warm-up and cool-down?

The number one reason for warming-up is to get in our A-game mindset.  You’ve got to be prepared before each session, and a good poker warm-up will get you there.

Conversely, why do we cool-down?  We need to reflect on the session

  • What did I learn?
  • What mistakes did I make and how could I have avoided them?
  • Did I tilt, and if so, why?
  • Pass or Fail?

Warm-up Steps

  • Ditch the distractions – internet browsers, phones/texting/social media, television/movies/podcasts/training videos, alcohol, Instant Messenger, other people.
  • Journal and answer the following:
    • Why am I playing tonight?
    • A, B or C game mentality right now?
    • What's my one strategy focus tonight?
    • 5 minute Q: set a tabata timer and ask a question like: “Is this table still profitable?” or “Who should I be trying to get into hands with at this table?” or “What playing style does each opponent have at this table?”
    • Logic Statement: I write down a logic statement to help me stave off tilt
    • How long will I play tonight?

Cool-down Steps

Reflect on the session

  • Check to see if it's a winning or losing session (if negative results don't tilt you)
  • Answer the following 2 questions in your poker journal (click here for a free 21-page Poker Journal):
    • What did I learn today?
    • Session Pass or Fail?
      • Pass is you learned something and didn't tilt
      • Fail is you tilted, weren't focused, made terrible decisions

Here's a snapshot of one of my journal entries:

poker warm-up and cool-down


Podcast Challenge

Before and after each poker session this week, do your own warm-up and cool down.  Let me know how it works for you.  I’d also love to see a picture of your journal or you can tell me the questions you ask yourself to get in your A-game mindset.  Commit to this for one week to see how it helps your game.

Sky Matsuhashi