Distractions online

The hidden enemies of the online player are distractions. A live player has comparatively few to contend with. There may be a TV in the background, or his opponents may be very chatty, but on the whole he can concentrate on the cards because he doesn't have much else to do. An online player, on the other hand, has countless distractions including email, the Internet, games, TV, and family members. They must deal with these distractions while playing hands far more rapidly than a live player would.

Of course, the obvious solution is simply not to allow yourself to become distracted by these things, but in many cases this is easier said than done. If the TV is on in the background, sometimes you can't help but watch it. If you get a pop-up saying you have a new email, then it can be very tempting to read it. If your spouse or children talk to you, how can you simply ignore them? Unfortunately, the reality is that you will probably get distracted more playing online regardless of what you do. But there are some steps you can take to lessen the problem.

First, minimize the distractions that are available to you. Don't turn On the

TV, or better yet, don't have a computer and TV in the same room. Don't have your email or the Internet open in the background, as you might be tempted to flick between them in between hands.

Tell your family that it is important that you concentrate fully when playing, so they shouldn't disturb you unless it is important. Create an environment where distractions are occasional rather than frequent.

Once you have created that environment, make sure that you are disciplined enough to take advantage of it. Don't "quickly check your email" or "quickly check the football score" while playing; otherwise, before you know it, you will be quickly checking them every five minutes. If you are bored enough that the temptation is too strong, then take a break. Come back to the game when you are ready to give-it your total concentration.

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