Monday, 12 March 2012

How to Grind for Long Hours

This post is what I wrote in reply to a 2+2 thread asking about how to grind for long hours. Enjoy/discuss :)


Peeing before you start your session is probably #1 on my list.

Incremental improvements as sipping criss said is definitely key. You'll find a lot of guys who can mass table, but you'll actually find a lot less who can grind hard for long. They're basically two different skill sets, like sprinting or long-distance. Both need to be trained well to reach/maintain peak performance. That's why when you take a long break away it takes some time to get back into the swing of things. However, similar to muscle memory it comes back quicker than before you'd done the training.

I can see the advantage and logic in the argument about less sessions for longer. When I grinded at 3M VPP pace, this was pretty much what I had to do. I'd say though the single biggest reason why that was the case is because if I took a bunch of breaks, I wouldn't be able to force myself to grind as hard as I did, since there was so much inner resistance against what I was doing. It's a bit like getting down to study or do some house work - really a pain in the ass to make yourself do it in the first place, but once you've started it's much easier to get it done. So I was tapping into this idea.

The reason why I wouldn't advocate that approach is pretty much from a health and lifestyle standpoint. Unless the game type you grind makes it essential for you to grind at long single stretches, it simply is not worth it one bit in my opinion. It's worth researching these things yourself rather than just taking my word for it, but the damage that will be done to your lower back, your eyes, your fitness, your diet and your mental well being simply does not justify getting an extra couple hours grinding in. Ultimately, say you got up at 8am each day, between 9am-6pm you have 9 hours available. That allows 1 hour to get ready and enjoy your breakfast, maybe have a walk outside in some fresh air for a bit, grab a coffee, or to do a cardio workout. You'll easily get enough hours in, especially if you don't take all weekends off/grind a lot on Sundays.

A final point regarding this is that you cannot compare the hours you're putting in on grinding online poker to a 9-5 40 hour-a-week job. Two reasons: the job specification is so much different, an employer would get shut down for making you grind so long at single sittings doing this in front of a computer, it's a recipe for disaster in the long-run. That's why legislation forces them to give you breaks usually three times in a day, sometimes twice. Secondly, 40 hour-a-week job is usually constrained within 9-5 Mon-Fri hours, whereas grinding online poker is not. Therefore, you can be more liberal in your grinding plan given your greater flexibility in this job.

Overall, and this relates most closely to the gym analogy, intensity is way more important than duration. In fact, if you are training at correct intensity, the point of diminishing rate of returns of the sesh is not very far in at all. I've recently completely changed my training programme where I now train at very high intensity for anything from 5 minutes to 25 minutes, not including 15-20 minutes of warm-up/stretching/yoga. If you are training for cardiovascular, some important research has shown where high intensity for lower duration can also beat long training in terms of cardiovascular improvement as well as strength gains. It isn't as black and white as this though, otherwise marathon runners would just do the same thing. That's another topic though.

f.lux and Gunnar ftw


My next post is likely going to be a response to an article recently written by Jared Tendler on motivation. It's a great article I'd recommend checking out, link to it is on his Twitter page. However, I will be suggesting an important element that I think is missed in his analysis. CONTRAVERSIAL!!

Thanks for reading pls come again

1 comment:

  1. nice post - gonna try 3 x 3 hour sessions per day...maybe 4 x 2 hours sessions. Should still be able to get in 75+ 18mans per day 10 tabling.

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