Grzegorz "DaWarsaw" Mikielewicz and I were recently talking about the other things we do while playing online. Here's my list. DaWarsaw's will be coming tomorrow.
Multi-tabling poker just isn't enough.
When people ask me how many tables I normally play at a time, it's a tricky question for me to give a precise answer to. I could say I average 10 tables or whatever the actual number is, but the reality is more like I will be 2-5 tabling for an hour or two then all of a sudden I might have 20-25 tables for a half hour, then back down to 2-5 for another hour. And playing 2-5 tables for hours on end can be a bit under-stimulating. So what are my favorite diversions during the lulls in the action?
Surf the Internet
Always reliable, always there for me, and just a click away. One of my favorite things to do is to go to Wikipedia and click the "Random Article" button until I find something remotely interesting. From there it's pretty easy to get lost for hours learning about diseases or Chinese dynasties or music or whatever else the WikiGods think I should learn about that day. Other favorites include the TwoPlusTwo forums and Sporcle quizzes, and of course Twitter and Facebook can be good for getting ideas for stuff to read.
I go in phases with this one. During (American) football season I like to make a lot of "sweat bets" with friends so I have a reason to turn on a game, which makes me play longer poker sessions. I do this with other sports too but most other sports don't really hold my attention long enough to make me want to play a longer session. The funny thing is that there are so many times that I've made a bet while I only had a couple tables going and was a little bored, and by the time the game starts the poker games will have picked up and I'm 20 tabling and barely paying attention. I've lost count of the number of times that I've made a bet on a game and had it on, and later I would notice that the game was over and I had no idea which team won!
Non-sports shows that I like to watch are National Geographic/Discovery/History channel type of shows, and house hunting shows (which incidentally are very very fake but still entertaining). Occasionally I will put a movie on, but it is always a movie I've already seen because I don't really want to have to pay attention to it if I don't have to.
Play games (besides poker)
My game of choice for the last few weeks has been Hearthstone. Thanks to my fellow Team Online members for getting me into this addicting game. I've actually never played Magic: The Gathering or any other games like it before so I probably am pretty terrible at it for now. Also it's a pretty bad game to play while playing poker because it requires constant attention and a lot of thought, and has probably already cost me a few misclicks (in both poker and Hearthstone). Crazy thing is the Hearthstone misclicks probably bother me more than the poker ones.
Other past addictions include Open-Face Chinese Poker, Candy Crush, Words with Friends, Diamond Dash, and Bejeweled (although the last two didn't last very long because they are much harder to play while playing poker). I'm also not proud to admit it, but I even went through a Farmville phase many years ago.
Listen to music/talk radio/podcasts
When I lived in Arizona this was by far my #1 diversion, but for some reason it has fallen out of favor with me since I moved to Canada. I still do it occasionally but find that I usually prefer silence. The only time I really play music now is if the kids are being exceptionally loud for a long period of time and I just need to drown out the noise.
Read a Book
This one is usually late at night when I might be playing 1 or 2 tables max but I want to keep playing because the games are good. Most books I read fall into the category of psychology/behavioral economics. My emphasis for the last few months has been books on children's psychology, because you need to be well-armed to go into battle with these little guys:
Okay, maybe this one was just an excuse to put pictures of my babies and my flying toddler into this blog post.
I understand that some of these things probably cost me money due to paying less attention to the games. To me, though, it's a tradeoff. If all these things allow me to stay motivated eough to play more hours, then it's a net positive in the long run. At least I hope it is. And even if it isn't, at least I'm having fun!