It’s no rocket science today that most professions call for a lot of time in front of a screen and require very little physical movement. Online poker players are no exception and are perhaps, most guilty of the demographic. A professional player who’s usually MTTing and playing long hours has certainly experienced the impact.
If you are a professional poker player, these occupational hazards cannot be taken lightly as the dangers could have lifelong repercussions. In order to survive the long run, online poker players for a fact, just need to make a few tweaks to protect themselves from ill health, premature aging and avoiding an early drain in their poker careers.
Ergonomics, for all those pondering, is the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products and systems so they fit the environment for people who use them. It is relatively a new branch of science that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999. The science of ergonomics use the data and techniques of disciplines that include:
- anthropometry: body sizes, shapes; populations and variations
- biomechanics: muscles, levers, forces, strength
- environmental physics: noise, light, heat, cold, radiation, vibration body systems: hearing, vision, sensations
- applied psychology: skill, learning, errors, differences
- social psychology: groups, communication, learning, behaviours.
For someone who plays poker online, their work environment includes a desk, screen, chair and tech accessories. With this work environment comes the dangers of sitting too long and unforgiving screen time, both of which have a long list of negative repercussions on one’s body and mind.
To further drive impetus on the importance of ergonomics for online poker players, here what’s at ‘stake’.
- The Cardiovascular system – Comes as no surprise and even the recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day is not sufficient to undo the damage of a late night grind.
- The Muscular-skeletal system – Gradually declines in efficiency due to less usage causing weak posterior chain muscles and bad posture.
- The Mental system – Anxiety and depression are certainly a by-product of people who live sedentary lifestyles. Social withdrawal is another issue that’s prevalent among those who play poker online for long hours, leading to a very unbalanced lifestyle.
Dealing with extreme stress for hours together in an uncomfortable posture when you play poker online is not a recipe for your peak poker potential. In order to be able to successfully multi-table in online poker, you must ensure your focus is completely on the game and not on the squeaky chair or the excruciating back pain or your tired eyes or that splitting headache!
Worry not, we’ve got you covered. Begin right away with these few tips to improve your ergonomics for better poker economics!
Standing Desks – Tech giants like Google are now giving their employees the option of standing desks. That should be the cue for online poker players to evaluate this alternate. Standing desks are proven to be beneficial for improved ergonomics. We’ll let you take your time to mull over this one.
Traditional Desks – A height adjustable desk that could double as a standing desk would be a worthy investment for a professional poker player. The desk ideally allows a player to set the table height that’s perfect for when they sit or stand.
The Keyboard – should be at a height that ensure your arms when stretched out are perpendicular to the ground. This is the most optimal position to hold your arms for long duration in online poker tournaments
The Monitor – An avid grinder by now has realized the importance of a medium sized flat screen computer monitor for their game. To ensure you are grinding 12 tables seamlessly, you can begin with a 19” – 32” size monitor. If you are already feeling the strain on your eyes and neck, consider a 24” – 27” range.
It’s also crucial to understand if your monitor can support high resolutions to avoid an eye strain when playing poker online. A minimum of 1920 x 1080 for monitors of 19” and upward. The top of the monitor should be at eye level to reduce any strain on the neck. Finally, the placement of the monitor needs to be just right. Too high and you might have the vulture neck! Save your eyes by keeping the monitor around 0.5-1m.
YOUR GAMING THRONE
Gaming chairs have evolved to take into consideration the long hours spent by gamer on it and yes, an online poker player’s too options are plenty! A few tips to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the best chair for you:
- Ensure your feet can reach flat on the floor
- Knees to be bent at a 90 degrees
- Backrest to have your lower back covered, so that you don’t feel the pressure during long grinds in online poker tournaments and helps maintain your optimal posture throughout the grind. Tip: Don’t purchase your chair online! It’s important to check if the natural curvature of your spine is protected by the backrest.
- In order to ensure your arms are parallel to the floor, arm rest is an equally important feature of the chair. A good arm rest fulfils the above criteria and also ensures your shoulders and upper back remain in the right posture and doesn’t strain your upper body.
- The swivel of the chair certainly helps workflow and allows for free movement during your online poker grind as well as non-playing hours.
Aslo Read: WHAT’S YOUR ONLINE POKER SHUT-DOWN RITUAL
Third party enabler softwares– There are a gamut of third party applications that all are set to revolutionize the way you play, saving even micro seconds when you multi-table. From Hotkeys to customizable table stacking to real time data tracking to even automated tournament registration! Do your research and pick a tool that will certainly help you focus on the game and have one less thing to fret about.
Gaming mouse – Most online poker players are aware of the importance of their gaming mouse. It gives you the power to both click and misclick! Choose from a range of customized solutions to streamline your play.
Rest those eyes!
Eyes are the windows to your soul and in a game of online poker, it actually determines how fast you get tired during a long grind. Those of you who aren’t aware of the looming problem that screens can have on your eyes, time for some correction, get an eye test done!
For those who already need eye correction, while lenses might seem convenient, it’s definitely more tiring than wearing glasses. Opt in for glasses for a long online poker grind and for all those thinking ‘my eyes are the least of my worries’, it’s time to consider a pair of reading glasses! Reading glass prisms with +.5 – +1 are certain to reduce the pressure on your eyes while playing poker online.
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Here are a few handy eye exercises that will help in the pursuit of optimum online poker play:
- Blinking at least 20 times every two hours for optimal ocular health.
- Focus away from your screen every one hour. Spend at least a good minute for a visual break and focus on something different.
- Close your eyes and roll them in circular motion, both clockwise and anticlockwise, it helps lubricate and ease the strain on your eyes.
Rest and stretch your body!
Imagine stress to be fluid in nature and your body, its mould. Imagine stress builds up in your body and it remains in a fluid state for a short period of time. In this state, it becomes easier to use techniques to eradicate it and feel relieved.
However, the longer you push your body with stress (with no break), the more solid stress gets, accumulating and becoming rigid in nature. It takes a lot more effort to alleviate stress at this stage.
Regular breaks is the solution to take care of your body during long grinds in online poker. A five minute break every half hour is the least you can do! It can be a stretch or a yoga posture or even tai chi, choose techniques that suit you and achieve some relieve in a short span of time. A quick increase in oxygen and blood flow is all you need to bring your brain back to full focus!
A few handy stretches for your power breaks:
We are certain we haven’t presented anything path breaking here, bad ergonomics had been haunting professional poker players for a while now. Ignoring its early signs is now at your peril. We are sure you don’t want to be feeling tired and stressed at the very beginning of a long grind. Do a little bit more and bring justice to all those hard working hours on your next game of online poker.
What say folks? Pledge for better ergonomics for better poker economics?