When is it time to play?
I am frequently asked when I prefer to play, and what time of day is best for me.
The answer is both simple and complicated, depending on my playing goals and my energy level. The game requires that I give it my best shot and timing can be everything.
A quick assessment of where I am emotionally and physically before entering any game will often tell me all I need to know to make that decision. I know my strengths, the high and low points in my daily activities. I consider whether I have the time to invest in the game without distractions. What is my gut-instinct about the current game? Do I really feel like playing? All of these thoughts factor into my decision to play, or not to play.
When working with students, I encourage them to use this same thought process. I suggest they really consider the ebbs and flows of their own biological rhythms. Some people are more focused and energetic in the early morning hours. Others are night-owls, feeling their full potential in the evening and late-night hours. I recommend they honestly consider their strengths and then plan their play accordingly.
Playing when you have enough time to relax and enjoy the game is another important factor. Playing when stressed, or in a hurry, or under a deadline, can negate any positive energy the table is offering.
A simple strategy I teach my students is to use the acronym H.A.L.T.
H= Never play Hungry
A= Never play Angry
L= Never play Lonely
T= Never play Tired
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to follow the HALT strategy before deciding to play. It is easy to remember, yet it is often difficult to implement. It requires honesty and discipline to adhere to a game plan, and reviewing these simple rules can make the difference between holding on to your cash, or facing a frustrating loss.
Even then the best game plan will not guarantee a win. Pay attention to your energy levels, to your surroundings and to your gut-feelings. Listen to your inner voice and then decide what will be the best time to play.
As my DiceBuster amigo, The Professor, always says, - "be aware that there is a right time for the right action." Or as my "tweener" grandson says, "check yourself before you wreck yourself." With a little thought and effort, you can be on the winning side of your sessions.