At least in theory, focusing exclusively at the task at hand will lead to better results and any distractions need to be avoided. Poker professionals are no exception, because the moment they chose to walk down this path, their hobby turned into a full-time job. In order to enjoy a lucrative career in this competitive line of work and even to stay afloat during rough times, it is essential to have the right work ethics and discipline.
Grzegorz Mikielewicz is a poker Pro who uses the nickname “DaWarsaw” when playing online and in recent articles published on the PokerStars Blog, here and here, he shares his opinion on this topic. His take on distractions is slightly different, as the poker Pro does plenty of other things while competing at the highest level. Obviously, he can only do one thing at a time, but he covers a broad spectrum of activities ranging from watching TV and surfing the Internet to playing games or reading.
Listening to music is something that many people routinely do on a daily basis. Grzegorz gives taxi drivers as examples, to make a point that once you get very good at what you’re doing, it is fairly easy to do something else without being distracted. It goes without saying that listening to music, on the radio or your favorite album, is the least of demanding of side-projects, as compared to reading a book.
Reading while driving is out of the question, but at both live tables and over the Internet, poker pros can do both, without suffering brutal consequences. It goes without saying that when you have to divide your attention to different activities, you are less effective at both of them and “DaWarsaw” concurs. Most of the time, he listens to music or watches a TV show or sports game on another monitor, but the virtual tables remain his focal point of attention.
If we are to believe him, it is perfectly possible to do seemingly different activities at the same time, as long as you set your priorities correctly. He admits that when the action heats up at the poker tables, everything happening on the other monitor is completely blocked. In the short-term, he accepts the possibility of these distractions hurting his profit margin, but in the long run the upsides are numerous enough to compensate this shortcoming.
At the end of the day, it is entirely up to any poker player to decide the best course of action and as far as Grzegorz Mikielewicz is concerned, professionals can brilliantly combine poker with other activities.