So hopefully by now you have established that it is indeed worthwhile for you to attempt Supernova Elite from a financial point of view – what else do you need to consider? The short answer: a lot. The slightly longer answer: at least these three things – is it worth it mentally? is it worth it physically? is it worth it socially? Now for the in-depth, really long answer(s):
Part 2 – Mental, physical and social
While these three aspects of the life of a supernova elite grinder constantly intertwine with each other, I’m going to discus them individually. I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this guide and planning on going for SNE that you are envisioning a solid year-long time commitment and are not one of the handful lucky enough to be 24 tabling 5/10+ to make SNE with only a couple of hours a day worth of play. Even if you are though you should find some nuggets of helpful information within the paragraphs below.
Those attempting supernova elite have to pay a mental tax throughout the year. Whether it’s a large tax on your mind or an insignificant one is entirely dependent on you. The ups and downs, the highs and lows, the tilt and agony and mayhem and insanity that can sometimes go hand-in-hand with SNE is enough to drive some people insane whilst others won’t even feel the stress. Poker in its essence involves a great deal of psychological control in terms of selecting games well, playing your A-game, exercising tilt control, knowing when to quit a session and so on and so forth. All of these factors are magnified exponentially when you begin to greatly increase your volume.
Remember that poker is just one extremely long session. Losing for 3 days straight does not mean you are a losing player. So then why is it that after losing for any lengthy period of time our mind fills with doubt and insecurities about our game? My thoughts are that it has to do with selective memory. When we lose on any particular day, or week, we focus far too much on that loss rather than the months of winning that preceded it. This line of thinking can be extended further: even at the end of a break-even (or winning!) day we will sometimes think to ourselves “man I ran bad”. While it’s possible that you did it’s also entirely likely that your mind is playing tricks and pushing the pots in which you had bad luck to the front of your memory whilst all the times you ran good get shunned to the side.
At the end of the day you need to be able to walk away from the tables cool, calm and composed — regardless of the results. Okay, I’ll grant you that can be near impossible sometimes – so at the very least you need to be able to walk back to the tables cool, calm and composed. No matter what happened in your last session — or last ten sessions — you are here to play your best. You are here to maximise your expectation on every single hand. Do that and you have a far greater chance of achieving success not only by way of supernova elite, but throughout your entire poker career.
The physical strain on your body by playing as much poker as you’re going to be playing is surprisingly high. I can see some of you laughing already — and sure, the physical requirements of playing online poker may be next to none (an ass that can be sat on and a hand that can click a mouse) but you’re kidding yourself if you think spending that many hours slumped in a chair in front of your computer isn’t damaging your body.
Whilst there are limitless potential physical ailments that could arise at any point in time whilst sitting in front of a computer, there are a few issues that seem to recur throughout the poker community: bad backs, sore eyes and strained hand/wrists. I personally have experienced the first and last of that list, and thankfully have been blessed with perfect eyes (thanks for the carrots mum!) so as to not experience any soreness or strain on them. So what can and should you do to look after yourself physically?
- Exercise! Nothing can beat regular exercise. You can have the best chair in the world, gunnar glasses and a vertical mouse but the combined worth of all three of those things pales in comparison to the worth of regular exercise. I’m not talking about a strenuous weights regime or training for a marathon, a simple 30-40 minutes a day of cardio or light weights will do the trick. Go for a jog. Stretch. Walk the dog. Do something, and do it often, and you will thank me (and your body will thank you!)
- Don’t ignore any signs of discomfort! Too often someone will feel a bit of pain in their back and shrug it off, or they will squint their eyes every now and then and think nothing of it. I’m no expert however I imagine the sooner any medical issue is discovered and addressed the better your short and long-term prognosis will be. I’m not talking about running to see a specialist at the first sign of pain but just being aware of what is going on with your body is a giant first step. If you have any doubt about anything then check with your GP. Hell, google your issue. It’s better than nothing.
- Ergonomically optimise your workstation. Yes, this is where a good chair comes in handy. It doesn’t stop with that though – you need to sit in it correctly and have it set to the right height. The top of your monitor(s) should be level with your eyes. Your feet should be flat on the ground. The list goes on and on – the best thing you can do here is Google ergonomics and search through the myriad of sites out there with information on this topic.
- Eat well. This goes without saying. A healthy diet will not only help you physically but also mentally. You will be able to play longer and more frequent sessions – and you will play better throughout them. Trust me.
All in all there are limitless ways you can help yourself physically and I’ve only listed a few of them. It’s a start. If there’s anything in particular you are struggling with not mentioned above, address the issue. There are special glasses out there for those who get eye-strain and special mice for those with sore wrists. I’d be happy to recommend some but I don’t want to clutter this post with links and reviews about non-essential subjects.
It’s easy to get sucked into the endless abyss that is the secluded world of online poker. If you live alone you can go days, even weeks without other direct human contact. So what? Well, and trust me on this one, your poker success will be far greater if you can learn to balance your life with social interactions away from the internet than if you stay a recluse. Ask anyone currently crushing nosebleeds – or ask any of the top VPP grinders – and they will tell you the same thing. Submerging yourself into the endless waters of poker might seem like a good idea but trust me – all the playing, the forum-posting, the video-watching and podcast listening will take its toll on you. You will eat, drink, breathe, dream and live poker. It’s not good for your health both mentally and physically and in turn is not good for your poker game.
The best solution I can think of is to leave the house and hang out with friends. It’s that simple. Play video games or go to a sporting match or get drunk at a bar — do something, anything, that is non-poker related. If you have a girlfriend or wife then it’s a bit easier since you’ll be spending time with her (or you won’t be, in which case you will no longer have a gf or wife… so I suggest you do). I probably wouldn’t have made SNE last year if not for Puneet. The moral support she provided and fact that away from the tables we would talk about anything and everything but poker helped keep my mind clear and focused which in turn helped me put in long sessions, helped me play well and helped me reach my goal.
Nothing I have mentioned in the above three parts of this article is ground shattering information and everything I spoke of is easy to do; however, everything I spoke of is also easy to forget to do. I’ll leave you with the best advice I can think of to sum up this article: don’t forget.
Stay tuned for part 3 of the ultimate guide: Having a plan B.