We all have days we’re much sounder intellectually than other times. Sometimes it’s just your internal chemistry or a lack of good sleep. Other times it’s just a stressful time. Maybe you’re fighting with your significant other, maybe you’ve been beaten up at the table several times in a row. Or maybe you’re drunk, or on drugs. Whatever the reason, at best it’s going to cause you to make mistakes and play less than your best. At worst, it’s going to create emotional issues that can spiral out of control.

Keeping your mind right is the key to surviving pokers’ test of time. Exercise and healthy living helps facilitate that goal. But you also have to keep it together mentally. Don’t over-react to negative events. Guide yourself with reason, not emotion.

Additionally, playing with confidence is the state of mind you need to be in when playing poker. Nourish that confidence; it’ll increase your chances of success. Be more inclined to quit winners or play a softer game after being on a losing streak, because a winner can put you back on the right mental track.

Playing drunk or high is going to affect your judgement. I’ve often heard from players that drinking doesn’t, but the medical evidence is overwhelming. Any significant amount of alcohol negatively affects all mental and physical actions. I’ve never seen a player survive the test of time that constantly drank at the table. I’ve often heard that smoking pot helps people think better because it lowers their stress. While that may be true in some instances, it will affect your energy level, and, even if you think they won’t influence your judgement, it will!

All that said, while it’s great to always be at your best when you’re playing poker to win, make sure your mind is prepared to intellectualize through the ryou play, it’s not realistic. On your slightly off days adjust your strategy to compensate. Tighten your game selection, play a little lower, and/or don’t make some of your more marginal plays. You can still have the best of it, even when you’re not at your best! Just be careful not to overrate your abilities when you’re slightly off.

Though basic, this issue is important and often overlooked. When iddles the game will provide.

And if it’s not, don’t play!