Poker Strategy

3 Reasons ADHD Is Your Poker Superpower

3 Reasons ADHD Is Your Poker Superpower

It helps to think of ADHD as a complex set of contradictory or paradoxical tendencies: a lack of focus combined with an ability to superfocus; a lack of direction combined with highly directed entrepreneurialism; a tendency to procrastinate combined with a knack for getting a week’s worth of work done in two hours; impulsive, wrongheaded decision making combined with inventive, out-of-the-blue problem solving; interpersonal cluelessness combined with uncanny intuition and empathy; the list goes on. – Dr. Ned Hallowell, ADHD 2.0

Far from being a weakness, the unique makeup of the ADHD mind has the power to revolutionize your poker game. By studying the ways in which ADHD makes us unique, we can learn to harness the specific traits that will magnify our strengths and introduce us to an untapped source of edge at the poker table.

Let’s take a look at three reasons why ADHD is your poker superpower.

Hyperfocus

By far the most valuable aspect of ADHD is a person’s ability to sustain incredible levels of focus over extended periods of time. Although ADHD is more commonly seen as a condition of distractibility, anyone with the condition can attest to just how powerful the element of hyperfocus can be.

That’s because hyperfocus is not just about intense concentration, but about being deeply and meaningfully engaged with the subject at hand – usually at the exclusion of literally everything else. In the context of online poker, when applied with purpose and determination, this ability can be an absolute game-changer.

Whether it’s sitting at a cash game table for hours on end or playing a Sunday tournament session that lasts all day, harnessing the power of hyperfocus allows players with ADHD to see details others might miss, make connections others would not, and most importantly, stay as sharp at the final table as they were to start the day.

“When the ADHD hyperfocus kicks in”

Emotional Sensitivity & Intuition

I do not believe ADD leads to creativity any more than creativity causes ADD. Rather, they both originate in the same inborn trait: sensitivity.

Although people with ADHD have been led to believe their sensitivity is a weakness, the exact opposite is true at the poker table.

Tuning in to their emotional sensitivity (and often freakish intuition), players with ADHD can foster an uncanny ability to read opponents by picking up on subtle cues and tells that others might miss. Being tapped into an opponent’s emotional experience – be it boredom, frustration, or raging tilt – is invaluable during the few key moments in every poker session that will determine each player’s profitability.

Quick Decision Making & Recovery From Distraction

The best attitude to adopt is one of compassionate patience, which has to include a tolerance for failure.

As any poker player worthy of their seat at the table knows, the world of online poker can be a death-trap of distraction.

Lose your focus on the bubble of a Sunday Major and you’ll not only be setting your equity on fire, but your bankroll too.

Fail to decipher the situation quickly enough, and you’ll be watching your chips slide in the wrong direction before you have time to blink.

Fortunately for players with ADHD, there is nothing we’re more practiced at than recovering from distraction. Sure, we may lose focus momentarily while investigating the newest table-skins, but come that beep alerting us of our turn to act, our hyperfocus takes back over and instantly analyzes the various factors needed to assess the situation and make quick decisions. In a game where every second counts, this ability to refocus and return to flow is a critical advantage.

Lean Into Who You Are

At its core, poker is a game of people, not cards. ADHD, with its complicated collection of paradoxical traits, is something that is an asset, not a hindrance, at the poker table. By embracing the unique qualities that define who you are, you open the door to a type of insight into the game that few players ever reach.

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