Back in the day, I loved the TV show Dexter. I think that season 3 with The Trinity Killer is one of the best seasons in television history. So when I saw a podcast recently with the guy who wrote the theme song to Dexter, I decided to give it a listen. It’s really an iconic song.
I wasn’t expecting to find something that would help my poker game. The composer, Rolfe Kent started talking about how he uses kitchen timers when he’s scoring a movie to help him focus. He did an audit of his time, and found that on a really good day, he can totally focus for about four hours. FOUR HOURS!
First, I loved his honesty, and second, I was shocked by how low that number is. Here’s a link to the podcast if you want to listen. This part is at about 54 minutes…
I like him, thought that I can focus and multi-task way better than I actually can. So how does this apply to poker? Back to that kitchen timer idea.
Rolfe sets a kitchen timer for a maximum of 30 minutes when he’s working. During that time, he tries to be totally focused. No checking his phone, no email, no checking the score of the game. Then when the timer goes off, he takes a little break. Gets up and walks around, maybe gets a cup of tea.
But my big takeaway is that this is a guy at the top of his game, and his goal is to get four focused hours in a day.
For me, I have started transferring this idea to the poker table. Especially in cash games where there’s no clock to worry about. I set the timer on my phone for 30 minutes, and then I really focus for that half hour. Focus on every hand.
Things I’m working on in my game:
• What’s the proper range of hands from my position at the table?
• Following the action, what is the size of the pot pre-flop?
• Based on the pot size, what is my pot-to-stack ratio?
• What are the player profiles for the people directly on my right and on my left?
• Who are the worst players at the table and what’s the best strategy to get their money?
To be honest, that’s about as much as my brain can handle at the moment. And really focusing on each hand for half an hour is hard. As I’ve been doing this, I realize how much time at the table I spend glancing at the game on TV or picking up my phone to mindlessly look at social media. Then an interesting hand happens, and I have no idea what the action was, and I don’t learn anything.
When the timer on my phone goes off, I get up from my chair and go outside for a few minutes. If I’m still feeling fresh, I push it for another 15-30 minutes.
It take a lot of focus and mental energy to get better at poker. Try Rolfe’s technique, I think it will improve your game.
Hope you run good.