Staying Focused

I don’t generally have time play a lot (maybe an hour here or there). But I enjoy learning and thinking about poker. So, I play here because it is fun and the only poker venue available for a quick session here and there. My chip count on Replay has always been on upward trajectory, though on a couple of occasions with bad bankroll management I lost 100m here or there. After going from 300m to over 1b in about 2,000 hands, now I am down to 800m after another 4,000 hands.

Lately, I have been playing badly, not just running badly, and I am trying to figure out how to play at my best level instead of going on autopilot. For example, I know which hands are good to bluff with, but instead I will bluff with something completely bad/random. Or I know that the player betting almost always has me beat, but I will call anyway. The play chips obviously don’t have any value, but it feels like I am interested in learning the game at a theoretical level but not even trying to actually do it.

This may in part be due to better competition at the highest stakes (and I do think playing HU or 3-4 handed is part of it), but it is also a pattern I notice in myself. When I was in school, if I have an A- with no effort, I will do as little as possible instead of trying to get an A. Or, if I am playing a sport I will practice enough to be one of the better players and then stop practicing altogether without trying to be the best possible player.

Maybe that just went beyond poker strategy, but does anyone have tips/advice for how to stay focused and motivated? I enjoy playing and am capable of making good decisions, but in the moment it’s like I just don’t care. Maybe it is time for a break.


I think what you need is just some sort of motivation and that is different for everyone for me, Im just trying to get a better rank, do better in the promotions and try to learn more about the community. You may have entirely different goals and that is fine. One goal for you might be to play regularly at I dont know 500k/1million or whatever you strive to do. If the motivation isn’t there, it is near impossible to be at your maximum potential. I would find a goal that you think can motivate you to play better and try to get that goal, and then make another one. Make sure your goal is specific not just “oh I want to play better” instead it could be, “I want to call less on the river.” Think of goals that are hard but achievable and try to get there. Good luck.


Thanks, that is good advice. I do think motivation is part of the problem. I want to increase my bankroll to play at 250k/500k (to 1 or 2b), but I am not interested in being patient and winning at 50k/100k. So, maybe setting goals around discipline would help, like maybe a written reminder. The tricky part is everything is so situational. Calling less on the river is a good example, but what if it is right to call? There is so much ambiguity in poker, which makes it tougher to follow a defined plan, especially when the intuition that usually helps is letting you down.

I try a bunch of different stuff:

  • play only while I’m having fun
  • focus on a particular strategy or two during a session
  • try to reinvent my game periodically
  • take time to adjust to a new pool of players, and the frequencies they each seem to display
  • modify how and where I try to balance my ranges
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One thing that might help is to drop down a level or 2. Hopefully, you will find more full tables and players that you don’t regularly encounter. Without presuming to know anything about you, even though the stakes are lower than you prefer, the challenge of more players and some unknown players may be enough to reboot your poker brain.

The second part of the challenge is to accumulate at least 1 buy-in for the level above your regular table. To achieve this, I think, you can’t afford to play for “fun” - you have a specific and achievable goal but you will, I think, need to play to win to achieve that goal.

The final part should be obvious: having accumulated your high stakes buy-in, you skip your regular stakes table and have a crack at the next one up. I would suggest that, if you lose that one buy-in, no matter what the reason, you go back to the lower stakes table and start again.

If you think it would help, I’d encourage you to start a “motivation challenge” thread in which you detail your goals and report progress. I certainly can’t help you with the actual “playing poker” side of things but I’d be delighted to follow along and cheer your wins or, far less often!, commiserate with you on the losses.

Another thing that you might want to try is dropping down to a level at which there are sufficient players for you to multi-table. My experience with multi-tabling is that it does “force” me to switch on. It is far too easy to spew chips if I am not fully focused.

Neither of these sound like “fun” and I don’t expect that they will be! The goal is to establish discipline, as you noted yourself, and reinforce good playing habits. The “playing for fun” bit comes later when you have trained yourself to play your “A” game some 95% or more of the times that you are at the table.

I expect that when you can sit at a table, confident that your game is on track, you will enjoy the experience far, far more than now.

Hope this helps and best of luck!



Dropping down stakes is a good idea. I have actually thought about doing that as a way to reset and make sure I’m winning at each level along the way. Posting a thread also seems like a great idea because it would create a reason to look back at what happened and why. I’ll try that (if I have time of course…)

Maybe I’ll start at like 20k/40k and only move up when I’m ahead 40m then 50k/100k and move up after 100m, then the problems begin because 100k/200k rarely runs so I’m tempted to move up to 250m/500k or 500k/1m. Maybe I’ll do those but limit buy ins to 50m regardless of stakes until I’m up 250m more (if that happens).

Then I can buy in for the full 200m and lose my bankroll in one session heads up against gamergirl :smile:

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Glad I could help you!

I do think that having a defined goal as a reason for dropping in stakes is essential to motivation so it’s good to see you do that.

A more relaxed atmosphere, apart from the self-imposed stress of reaching your goal :), may give you the insight to identify the leaks in your game as well.

Anyway, I’m absolutely delighted that you got something from my comment and wish you well!

Umm … maybe avoid gamergirl and El-Jogador for the moment though :slight_smile:


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I invite you to the 1m table, for sure u will focused


I would be more than happy to do it. Unfortunately, I’d want to accumulate more chips first so I can play freely without risking going bust.

Take the time to relax and ease up on being analytical. Play the game for the games sake and enjoy. When you get to the point where you want to make big gains in your chips go back to where you started, you’ll be ready :+1:t2:


Very good to see you thinking about this. Another way to keep improving is to save hands that you found interesting or had any questions about. After your session, use the range analyzer at Float the Turn (free) to go through street by street actions and see if your line made sense with the sizings you used. Pair up the desired ratio of value hands and bluffs and see if your sizes matched. What did your range on the river look like? Did you even have the hands you were representing anymore?

You could also get an annual subscription to PokerSnowie and play vs the AI for fun and instruction. I like setting a threshold of 1bb “blunders” and seeing if I can play a session with fewer of them than I had before. No money at stake and no other humans involved but competing with myself for my own edification is helpful to me. Maybe it would be for you too?

GL and always remember to have fun. If the game isn’t fun and it isn’t how you make your living, then what’s the point?


There is one easy and sure fire way to accumulate more chips. BUY THEM!
Not only does it support RP, it also keeps you in check in terms of your play.
When real money is involved, people play differently.

To sit down at the 1 million level would cost upwards of $3,000 real money for a single buy-in. Typically, the rule of thumb for bankroll management is to have at least 50 buy-ins. Presently, JoeDirk has about 8 buy-ins for the 1 million BB tables. So it would cost him about $120,000 to safely play at the 1 million level. Spending that kind of money on free poker is an easy and sure fire way to burn your real money.

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I just checked and 12,000,000 chips sets you back $250…
When they are on sale it’s at least half that.
$3000 would get you 144 milion chips!
Not sure about your math.
Like I said before,

Exactly, sir. $3000 (without sale) gets you 144 million chips. That is 144 big blinds at the top elite stakes I was referring to. A standard buy-in at these tables is 100-150 big blinds. With proper BR management, multiply that $3000 by about 50 and it equals 150K. Minus what JoeDirk already has in the bank, it would cost him about another120K to safely play at that level. Why would he pay that much to play free poker? Do you really believe that would make him play better?

Of course, it is true that free poker encourages loose play (gambling) and many people’s decision making would be different if it was real stakes. However, there are plenty of players here on Replay that buy chips and still play very loose and without much thought. This is also true of the cheap tourist tables at most casinos. Moreover, playing “differently” does not necessarily translate into playing better. It mostly means that people will tighten up their calling/betting ranges, which actually makes them easier to play against.

Anyways, if someone was willing to spend that kind of money to play free poker, why not play at a casino where the stakes are real and you have a chance to win real money.


I see what you are doing there.
First you state

and than move on to

Then you multiple it by 50 (weeks?) and come to your 150K
That’s pretty creative math!!!
All of this would only be true, assuming that JoeDirk (your choice) is LOSING all the time.
If he were to lose that often, he deserves to pay that much!

I think y’all are getting confused by the amounts. What @AKFolds is saying is that the level I want to play at is 500,000/1,000,000 chips for the blinds so the minimum buy in is 50 million, and a normal buy in is 100 to 200 million. I’d be happy to play with 20 buy ins (not 50), but I only have 800 million and 20 buy ins of 100 million is 2 billion. To buy the 1.2 billion I would need would cost several thousand dollars. I am a winning player all the way through at least 50,000/100,000 ring (or higher) so it’s not worth spending money to buy chips. It is still a good idea though, to support Replay.

I don’t think that you do see what is going on.

The absolute minimum bankroll required to take a seat at the 1m table is 50m chips. A sensible starting stack would be 100m chips. That is called a “buy-in”.

That amount is also measured in multiples of the amount of the big blind (BB). 50m chips (see above) is only 100BB. Unless you have a strategic reason to play short stacked, you certainly do want a starting stack not less than 100m chips = 200BB. Let’s assume that someone is only prepared to put the absolute minimum on the table though.

Basic bankroll management says that you should have an absolute minimum of 20 buy-ins for the stakes at which you play. AKFolds uses a more sensible 50 buy-ins as a guide.

1 buy-in = 50m chips = 100BB
Bankroll requirement is: 50m x 20 buy-ins = 1 billion chip bankroll.

In round numbers, @JoeDirk has a bankroll of 800m and requires a minimum of 200m more chips to even be marginally bankrolled for the 1m table.

The best purchase available to me is 12m chips for $250 (Australian).

200m/12m = 17 purchases. 17 * $250 = $4250.

More sensibly, buying in at 100m chips and having a bankroll of 30 buy-ins requires a bankroll of 3 billion chips. Joe requires another 2 billion chips to be “somewhat” bankrolled to play.

2b/12m = 167 purchases. 167 * $250 = $41750 + $4250 = $46000.

I hope that you can see where this is going?


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I see what you’re trying to tell me now but I’m not clear on what amount is required and what is suggested.
JD has 800m = 16 buy-ins or800 BB He tells us that he’s a winning player, he should be able to double his money after a 100 hands or so and have enough to continue his play. Not?
I feel that you and others are not taking in the potential gains in the equation .

I’m quite sure that Joe could put in enough to buy in at the 1m stakes table. However, it is not at all uncommon to lose 4 or 5 buy-ins in a single session even for the best players. It may be that that player can recover, say, 2 buy-ins at the next session but what happens in the third session when s/he drops another 3 buy-ins?

Dropping 25% of ones bankroll is a huge hit! Although the chips here are free in the money sense, a large bankroll represents a significant time investment and I certainly wouldn’t be risking that sort of investment.

There also has to be “stop-loss” decision at some stage. Do we stop when we are 25% down? 50% down? This is a decision that never has to be made by a properly bankrolled player playing at an appropriate table for their skill.

I fully understand the way you are thinking but there are serious bankroll management guidelines for a very good reason: variance is a killer!