It's the peak of the summer, and some players may already be looking for a break from the tables. We headed over to the forum on our Russian site to find out from some top players and posters whether it is worth completely excluding poker from life during the holidays and how not to lose shape after it, how to understand that it's time to book tickets, and how to relax in order to return to the tables inspired, and not vice versa.
We also found out what happens more often after a vacation – up streaks or down streaks (we didn’t really know, but we tried).
For me, taking a break from poker is always a problem. After a vacation, I lose my form – both technically and psychologically, I arrive and start up the table, then I start tilting and just playing badly. This is such an unsolvable problem for me that even knowing about its presence, I can not do anything.
Now, upon returning from vacation, I try to minimize the damage and have no illusions that I will immediately return to peak form. At first, I focus on theory, I return to the tables gradually. I play fewer tables, sort out the hands after the game (which I usually don’t), record the first couple of sessions on video with comments, and then watch.
I tried to play poker from vacation so as not to fall out, to do work. It turned out to be garbage: I didn’t rest, and didn’t work normally, and then I returned in a semi-working mood, and for a long time I could not cope with it.
Now I am sure that it is much better to completely switch off from poker for a week or two. Reboot your head, rethink something, and look at poker and life in general from the outside. And during this time, you miss the game and return with a fighting spirit, motivation to learn, and a desire to play.
I didn't play for two weeks at the beginning of the year. The client did not open it, but it was not possible to completely exclude poker – I regularly trained.
Immediately after the vacation, of course, you need to ease back in. The first couple of days I try to play 1-2 tables less than usual, but on the third day the form is restored, and I can grind in the usual mode.
Usually, I don’t have holidays, I work 12 months a year. There are no triggers, I start from my own feelings. Poker teaches you to listen to yourself) If I feel tired, I usually go offline to play tournaments.
– What do you usually have after a vacation – an up streak or vice versa?
I always have a downswing, vacation does not affect it.
– What will you do if you find out that a big fish swam to the high limits while on vacation?
I'll be glad I'm not on a laptop. Consider saving $5-10k.
In fact, I can't rest. Because of this, I often burn out. Basically, I live in sprints, not marathons. I think it's not good for any activity. I don’t know how to relax, because I don’t know how to switch, plus other hobbies rarely catch me. But he himself is deeply convinced that every player needs regular rest.
As for long holidays. I'm not sure if they are needed, as this usually leads to gaining some weight. I'm in favor of taking regular weekends or taking a mini-vacation. Another thing is if it's a planned vacation with family, friends, travel, and not just "take a break from poker for a couple of weeks." To avoid the desire to “score” on poker for a long time, I recommend taking at least one full day off per week. It can be a "lazy day" in terms of not playing, for example. This allows you not to burn out.
After a long rest, I usually spend several days in a state of “what is this button and why does it say “fold”? After the last long break, it took me a week to start thinking in the right direction. Usually, I can’t really win anything this week because of the large amount of marriage in actions.
Yakovlev "Minthon" Mikhail
I'm just back from vacation!
I almost completely eliminate poker on vacation. I don’t go into the client, I almost don’t read the news. Well, with phones, of course, is always at hand, you can get a lot of updates there, even if you don’t really want it, so you can’t completely remove poker.
I try not to take a laptop with me “just in case” in order to exclude potential sessions/streams as much as possible.
During the holidays, I manage to reboot and I want to sit down at the tables and stream. Of course, the game sags, and I play by instinct, so it is necessary that the radars tune in from the level of “not fit at all” to at least “slightly below average”.
I take a vacation, mostly when I realize that I'm tired. Excellent criterion, I admit!
Oleg "EA21050909" Safonov
I completely rule out poker during the holidays. On vacation, I have no desire to grind or work on the game. I can go to discord at most to find out how the guys in there are doing.
From vacation, I return immediately to the tables, but I roll back at least a session. If the vacation went well, then after it there is always a motivation to earn money for the next one.
I think that upswings and downswings do not depend much on whether you were on vacation or not. But when you rest, the up streak is perceived much better, even though I’m not on tilt in principle.
Personally, I always want to go on vacation, because I like to travel, but since I also work at my main job, I have a rest twice a year, when work allows ... Therefore, I adapt.
Usually, my vacation coincides with some events in my life, or if I see that there is very little action at the tables. I rule out poker completely – I focus on rest. After a vacation, I play cheaper for a couple of days.
If a good fish enters the high limits and I'm resting, then I'll just continue to rest, although I know players who fly directly from the phone.
Sergey "Delayn" Zaitsev
I take a vacation very rarely, and when I do, it's only for a week.
I exclude poker during the holidays. I play on PC, so it's not possible to play while traveling. How to “take into account” activity in poker is up to you. But I can discuss some hands. If I rest at home, then I exclude only the game itself. If there is a desire to do theory, I will do it. The key factor is desire. If I want to "poke" the solver, why not.
With the recovery after the holidays, the situation is difficult. In general, I do not need adaptation, but after the last three-day rest, I'm tilted. Why? I don't know, my brain wanted it that way. At the same time, I started tilting while on vacation. Usually, I just sit down at the tables and do everything as usual. But the important factor here is that I didn't take very long breaks.
It feels like after the holidays you have to wait for a downswing. But I did not collect statistics.
Most of the time I go on vacation for reasons unrelated to the game. For example, a friend went on vacation in summer. Why not go with him?
When I'm on vacation, I completely switch to real life, because freedom of choice, emotions, and travel are the things I value the most, and poker winnings cover this. If friends connected with poker come to visit, then in the morning we allocate time for grinding and exchange of experience.
I return from vacation to poker with the help of sessions at lower stakes – it takes a couple of days to get into the flow and not spoil the mood and motivation to play.
During the holidays, I try to avoid poker, because under pressure, the results and motivation will suffer greatly. When you are already tired of resting, it's time to sit down at the tables...
How do I understand that it's time to go on vacation? Yes, I'm always ready to go on one, if there is such an opportunity! Spend time with friends and family away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I love poker very much, but outdoor activities, socializing with friends, and having fun with my family are my top priorities.
That is why I no longer strive to win all the money in the world and do not get upset if a fat VIP whale swims to the tables in my absence.
I rarely have a vacation. Usually, it's some kind of trip, and if it's not a poker series, then sometimes I don't even take my laptop with me. The desire to travel somewhere, in fact, is small, and therefore it does not happen often.
I once heard the phrase that you need to rest BEFORE you get tired, and I try to adhere to this principle. I also try to rest when I feel that poker fatigue has accumulated. I think that you need to force yourself to be distracted by something, ideally – go somewhere, at least for a walk, but if you don’t feel like it at all, then you need to choose slow content: reading (but not from the phone screen), sports, board games. In general, such a "rest" sucks all the strength in general, and fatigue from poker will not go away like that. Therefore, it is very important for me personally to force myself to rest slowly.
Over the course of 13 years of my professional career, I learned quite well how to calibrate my condition, and if, for example, I understand that I don’t want to deal with theory or deal with marked cards, but only want to play, it means that I definitely DO NOT need to play.