Take a drive on the other side
When I was studying to become an Occupational Therapist, one of my favourite courses was Neuroscience - learning about the brain and all the intricacies of how it works. I was fascinated by neuroplasticity and the complexities of the central nervous system. This fall, while we were touring around Ireland, introducing Carrick to his extended family, my brain was put to the challenge.
The challenge I faced was driving. Now, I have been driving for twenty years, so operating a vehicle isn't an extraordinary challenge in itself. Having visited Ireland many times in the past, I was familiar with the aggressive style of driving, the winding roads and mostly manual transmissions. Those things didn't intimidate me, what I was most concerned about was driving on the left hand (or 'wrong' side) of the road!
From the moment I got into the driver seat and reached with my left hand to the gear shift, until I parked the car and turned the ignition off at the car return, I was focused. Undoubtedly, while driving in Ireland, I demonstrated more focus and attention than when driving at home. My intentional focus reminded me how easy it is to fall into routine and become complacent with daily activities. I knew that while driving on the left, if I didn't pay close attention it would be easy for me to fall into routine and wind up on the right hand side of the road.
Poker is no different. You can play your best game the same way you played it yesterday and make 'auto-pilot' moves. While those moves will work the majority of the time, is that good enough?
The realization I came to while driving on the left was that I play on 'auto-pilot' all too often, whether distracted by the television or various forms of social media. In an attempt to combat that, I have been choosing to play from the mobile app with greater frequency. Ironically, despite the freedom it gives me to move about, I have found that end up committing more to one or two tables and don't digress as often. It is these sessions where I really focus and keep my brain active and poker minded. In turn, these sessions don't feel like such a grind because my mind is busy. Those inevitably end up being the days of which I am most proud and I often achieve my highest goals.
It feels good to challenge yourself to make sure you are constantly paying attention and thinking about each action. Strengthen and build new neural pathways! Take a new approach to your current game. Try a new game....just not while driving!
Adrienne Rowsome is a member of Team PokerStars Online