A lot of the time when I’m playing judi online, I’m usually on messenger at the same time talking to a few of my friends. In fact, I’m probably surfing the web and browsing through random web pages in the time between I’m talking to friends and making my plays at the poker table. If I’m pushing the boat out I will probably have media player on in the background so that I can listen to some music, but its at about this point that my laptop starts to get a little tired out and slows down under the strain. My laptop isn’t the newest so I have to be gentle, but I’m looking to get a new one in Jan so I can kick the shit out of that one for a while to stretch its legs.
But anyway, the point is that I am rarely ever committing 100% of my concentration to the poker table, and I never take note of any hands played by my opponents in between my own hands. This obviously isn’t going to be too beneficial to my game, because I’m missing out on the opportunity to pick up reads on my opponent and then use them to my advantage when I get caught up in hands with them. There have been countless times that I’ve come across the poker tip ‘always watch your opponents at the poker table, even when you’re not in the hand’ or something along those lines, yet I’m disregarding it at every opportunity. But at what cost?
If I’m being honest, I don’t think that it’s going to be too detrimental to my game. Whenever I play poker and use messenger or browse the Internet at the same time, I’m pretty much playing ‘casual poker’ and using poker to kill some time. I’m not diving head first into any big stakes cash games, I’m just hanging around the lower stakes playing a couple of hands and seeing what happens. I’m obviously playing with the intention to win, as I’m going to employ a good strategy to the best of my ability, but I’m not completely focusing on the game to extract every last cent I can from each hand. So although my win rate is taking a slight hit, I doubt its something that I am going to lose sleep over.
To further my point, if I did sit down at my laptop and say to myself “Right, I’m going to dedicate the next hour to winning as much money from poker as possible”, I would almost definitely open up around 4 tables at the same time and multi-table away for the hour. Now whenever I multi-table, I’m probably going to pay as much attention to picking out reads on my opponents in between hands as I would if I was on messenger and clicking off the screen every time I wasn’t involved in a hand. So I’m going to assume that my ability to focus on one table is the same during multi-tabling as it is when I’m playing ‘casual poker’.
It would be interesting to actually find out the difference in my win rate, but I’m guessing its probably only going to be around 2BBs per 100 hands or so. But at the end of the day, if I wanted to play poker to the best of my ability and really focus, then I would exit messenger and put all of my attention onto the table. But considering I’m not overly desperate to earn some money at the moment and because I’m not at a higher limit, I’m quite happy to multi-task and miss out on the extra big blind or two every 100 hands.
I guess that using messenger and not focusing on the poker table completely is all a matter of preference. I am pretty happy to talk to friends and try and earn a little bit on the side, but I’m sure that if I was losing money because of my lack of focus then I wouldn’t take my seat at the table without giving it all of my effort. I am at the stage at the moment where I can make plays without thinking too much because I have been playing for quite a while, so I’m basically playing mechanical poker. Therefore it can work well at the lower levels but it probably wouldn’t work well at the higher ones.
There are a few instances where I wouldn’t consider taking my focus away from the table however. For example, if I am going to play a heads up game there is no chance that I am going to be taking it lightly. It is in heads up games that you really have to get inside the head of your opponent, and I’m not going to be able to do this if I don’t focus properly. Similarly, if I’m at the final table of a tournament or playing against a small number of players, I want to give it my best shot to get the top prize. But if I’m in a full ring, low-stakes game, the scenario is a little different and I can afford to let my attention slip a little.
So if you like to use messenger and surf the web whilst playing poker, you have to be prepared for the fact that you are going to be shaving off a little extra cash from your potential winnings at the end of each session. Reads that you have your opponents can often play a vital role in making a profitable decision or making an unprofitable decision, so you will be lacking in an area that would normally bring a little more confidence to back up your decisions. So I would recommend that you have a solid game under your belt before you spend too much time playing without your full attention to the table, otherwise you might find that your game will be transforming from a winning one into a losing one.