Memory and Reaction Times

Poker is a game of decisions and memory. Play comes at you thick and fast during online poker play and you need quick reaction times to deal with each action as it hits you. However, all these things need a player with a sharp mind. A mind that is still in full working order, able to recall events easily and deal with playing numerous tables at a time. In other words, poker is a game for the young mind.

As we get older, our mind just starts to erase certain things, whether you like it or not. For the younger viewers, you have nothing to worry about just yet, you can easily recall what you went into a room for, what happened during a hand 5 orbits ago and what you had for breakfast this morning. However, when you reach middle age, around your 40’s, you start to realize your mind just isn’t in top shape like before. You start to constantly forget names of your closest loved ones, events that happened in the past you were sure you would never forget start to slip your mind and words seem to disappear out of your head at vital moments.

Most of the following content will not apply to younger players, but you may wish to have a look anyway because, like it or not it will become relevant to you one day.

So your mind is not what it used to be. You still wish to play poker but you cannot always remember what happened during the last hand. The best way to defend your mind against this memory loss is to simply play short sessions. As you see more and more hands in a session, you memory starts to overload. When you try to think back about how a opponent played a certain hand, you cannot recall it because your mind is so filled up with huge amounts of hands and opponents.

As well as playing shorter sessions, short, regular breaks are advised. This will help break up your sessions and give you time to compose yourself and think about the past session without any pressure of having to make a decision.

Decision times will also slow down when your age increases. Your mind cannot process all the information as quickly, so making a decision becomes a tougher task. In live play it doesn’t matter too much, you can just call time and take as long as you wish to make your decision, nobody can disallow you that. However online, you already have a timer on you each time you act, normally 20 seconds. You can call time still, but this is much shorter and you cannot do this each time you act. This becomes a big problem for players, and often leads to them timing out and the software automatically folding their hand for them.

This is why you will find so many of the professional online poker players to be young. Old players just cannot react to the decision fast enough and unfortunately, there is no cure against this.