The importance of cross training


How can poker players cross-train to improve their game

The competitive landscape for athletes is only getting tougher. Athletes across disciplines train to gain that competitive advantage over their counterparts. One of the techniques top athletes use is cross-training, as a way of getting in shape using several different exercises or playing different sports that complement their main sport, as a way of developing complementary skills that aid gain the advantage.

Poker players apply to this subset and should be considering ‘cross-training’ to gain similar advantages. The objective of cross-training is to improve the overall game by exercising in different ways. While they focus on their main skill set, cross-training also provides key benefits.

A game of poker has various forms with mixed games featuring fixed limit betting structures. Similar to how an athlete would work different physical muscles by indulging in cycling, swimming, mixed games equals just that for professional poker players. Considering No Limit Texas Holdem is your strong suit, mixing it up with a game of Pot Limit Omaha with varied structure will definitely help shape up those mental muscles, giving it increased agility and help stay motivated.


The benefits of cross-training for a poker player:

  1. Reduces the monotony and increases motivation – While doing any action, repeating the same action over and over again on a daily basis can lead to monotony and eventually boredom. This is a very dangerous place for any player to be in because they lose motivation for the game over time. When you mix up your games it provides you with the motivation to learn from your mistakes and study again, redoing actions in a different way to yield positive outcomes. This keeps the learning curve and motivation steady for a player.


  1. Conditions different muscles and doesn’t work on the same set of muscles – Each mixed game variant has its own rules and procedures to learn and master. The process of developing proficiency at understanding each format works on different memory muscles and helps develop a holistic approach to the game. This gives players a broader recognition of the variables affecting key decisions by conditioning the entire mind.


  1. Cross-training enables some muscles while others recuperate – Long sessions of the same game lead to physical and mental fatigue and hasty decisions and then there’s the black hole of tilt! If you are struggling with a rough stretch of poker, fixed-limit mixed games allow you to continue to play while forcing the mind into the present moment of less familiar games and away from the causes of your tilt. Because mixed games are fresh and new, the mind goes into learning mode again and tends to remain in that mode when you first return to your main game, leading to greater energy and confidence.

Mixed games, as a form of poker cross-training, push you out of your comfort zone, sharpening unused skills and helping you grow as a player.


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