If I could make a single recommendation to maximize your chances of success, this would be to prepare yourself before each session.
Personally, I always play better when I do a good Warmup. This does not mean that, if I do not do it I will not play well some days; it means that I am not controlling my performance when I don't, it means leaving the most important thing to chance.
Warming up is not just another routine; it is the basis of the session.
A perfect session starts with a perfect preparation.
It is not a cost of time, it is a gain in performance and effectiveness and it will prevent stupid mistakes, tilt and other negative emotions.
Let me give you general tips to do the Warmup effectively and get the most of it.
First, you must do the Warmup with attitude. It's like playing poker, you cannot do it on autopilot, well… you can, but you will be wasting your time.
You have to be active, have an intention and not just read it quickly, but think about what you read and truly ask yourself the questions it asks you. Connect with your Warmup.
You have already decided that it is the best thing for your session, so do it as best as you can and not just because you have to.
The attitude and mindset that you have during your Warmup is what you will bring to the session.
Second, the Warmup will only have value if you do it with constancy. It's like going to the gym, if you go once every two weeks, it will not help much. You do not need to be perfect, but constant.
And, if you internalize it as part of your work routine, just starting it will already induce positive effects, because your mind will associate "warming up" with "playing poker at your best level".
Furthermore, if you feel like you want to play and not "waste" time on the Warmup, it probably means that you need to do it more than ever.
Laziness will leave you stuck in the same place where you are and the only way to be free and to get the life you want is discipline every day, every second. The discipline of doing what you know is best for you.
3. Love your Warmup
Third, it is essential that you like your Warmup. You should not feel any friction when you do it. Think about it, you will repeat it before each session, so if some part generates resistance or you simply do not like doing, over time it will make you quit.
To avoid that:
- Customize its content. Invest some time selecting and editing each part of the Warmup. You should adapt it to your taste and needs.
- Adapt its length of time, so it does not annoy you. If eight minutes seems like too much, just do five, easy. Make it last less than your limit between pleasant and bothersome.
- Evolve it over time. The moment you feel that your warmup is no longer effective or that you have improved and internalized its content, modify it so it stays relevant and useful. Doing the same Warmup repeatedly has diminishing returns.
Do your Warmup with gratitude. It should be the main constant of your mindset.
You are very lucky just for the change to be or become a professional poker player. It means you have the resources and time to spend on this game. Never forget that and you will be in a much better place to handle variance.
Appreciate what you have.