Think back to when you first started playing poker. Every time you sat down at the table or logged in, there was a sense of excitement and anticipation. After the game, you’d be counting the hours until you could do it again.
Fast forward a few years and now you find that you don’t have the same enthusiasm for the game. In fact, sometimes thinking about an upcoming poker game fills you with a sense of – well nothing. You frankly couldn’t give a tinker’s damn about your next poker game.
You’ve become bored with the game of poker and would rather spend your time playing blackjack in online casinos or gambling on Daily Fantasy Sports. The reality is that many of us get bored with poker at one point or another. It’s a natural part of the game, but it is something you can recover from. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to rekindle your desire to play poker.
1. Take Up a New Poker Variant
When I hear of a poker player talking about becoming bored with poker, my first question is whether they play anything other than Texas Hold’em. The answer is almost always no. That’s when I start pitching other poker variants.
For starters, you’re immersing yourself to a different way of thinking as it comes to poker. Every variant has its own set of rules and strategy. Those that are action players, I tend to steer towards Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo, while other players I will introduce to various games such as Stud, 2-7 Lowball, etc.
2. Find a New Crowd to Play With
Sometimes the problem isn’t necessarily the game, but rather the company that you’re keeping. The truth is that we outgrow some people. Those guys who were a riot to hang out with when you first started playing the game have become “douchnozzles.” They think they’re the next big thing in poker, but have to be backed to play a $235 tournament.
If you find that your home game or the regulars at your casino are sucking the fun out of your game, try a new location. Chances are that you can find another home game in your area with new players to get to know. In the worst-case scenario, start up your own game and conveniently forget to invite those who were annoying you.
3. Change the Stakes
Sometimes, the problem with boredom in poker stems from the stakes a player frequents. Perhaps you are playing at a level that is too high for your bankroll and you’re staying stressed? Other times, the fun is poker is lost due to playing “seriously” or “professionally.” In these cases, maybe it is time to switch stakes.
For some, just moving down a level or two in stakes is enough to relieve the pressure. If your risk for ruin is dramatically reduced, you can open up your game and have fun. For others, you may have to consider finding a way to “play for fun.”
By playing for fun, this could mean playing at such ridiculously low stakes that the money doesn’t matter or maybe even switching to playing free poker. Get together with some friends and play for pennies or log in to play for free online. There’s no pressure, no risk of going busto, and plenty of opportunities for fun.
4. Quit Playing Poker
No, I have not fell and bumped my head. I am advocating that you leave the game for a limited period of time if you find yourself bored with poker. Absence is supposed to make the heart grow fonder and this is typically the case with poker players.
For some of you, poker has been a virtual obsession that has consumed a majority of your free time. For others, poker has been your profession and is all that you have been doing with your life for a while. Maybe it is time for you to step away for a few weeks, a few months, or even longer?
One of my poker mentors was going through a rough patch in his game and found his interest in poker waning. He left the game for close to two months and went on vacation with his family. After two months of not playing a single hand of poker, he came back to play some tournaments at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. Over the course of three days, he won two tournaments and final tabled the other to win over $130,000.
5. Learn to Play Better
Are you really getting bored with poker or do you just suck at it? OK, maybe you don’t suck but you’re results are sucking and it makes it difficult to play poker. Quite a few of us have gone through similar experiences. This is a time where you need to work on improving your poker game.
Take a few weeks and sign up for a training site or maybe hire a poker coach. Have them evaluate your game and identify the leaks that are causing you to lose and effectively sucking the fun out of your game.
You’d be surprised how quickly poker becomes fun again after you go back to winning.
Bored With Poker? Do Something About It!
There are few reasons for you to continue playing a game that you’re bored with. Regardless of the money at stake, poker is supposed to be a game. Games are supposed to be enjoyed. If you are not enjoying the game, your performance will ultimately suffer and you will be forced to quit playing anyway.
When you find yourself bored with poker, do something about it. Find a way to rekindle your passion and make the game fun again. That guy or gal that used to count the hours until the next game is still in there; you just need to put in the work to bring them back out.