The effect of music on poker playing ability

    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
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      In the modern world, music is everywhere.
      People carry it with them everywhere they go, and listen to it as "background" while performing daily tasks.

      I find music totally distracting -- I tend to follow the music more and more as time passes -- especially if I like it. . Recently I took the time to attend a PokerStrategy.com coaching session in which the coach had a continuous playlist going during the session. A few times, he interrupted his description to talk about the music or skip a track. Clearly, at least some of his attention was on the music.

      This can't be good, but I've never encountered any studies that examined this.

      Today I ran across a study on the impact of music on cognitive performance. I'm not sure how it applies to poker.

      I think as well that once one is in the habit of having music on all the time, then stopping would be worse then continuing.

      Food for thought...
      VS
  • 19 replies
    • Lazza61
      Lazza61
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      I share a house with three guys and it can get rather noisy. I find that putting the headphones on and playing some favourite tunes helps me manage the many distractions and helps keep me focussed. :f_drink:
    • double2
      double2
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      Interesting. From my experience hearing engaging music definitively reduces focus (your favorite band for example) and the louder the worse it gets. But I'm pretty sure that hearing a very low volume all instrumental soft music (i listen always to the same dubstep album at a 3 out of 100 volume) helps me to focus.

      The big problem with most pro players is keeping the boredom away after 3 hours of playing...
    • AlvisR
      AlvisR
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      Joined: 27.02.2009 Posts: 668
      Sometimes helps, sometimes not, all questions answered already imo. Too loud - distracting, favorite band - distracting. Imo you get more often in autopilot when playing while listening, because you (me) start flowing in past memories and not focusing on game 100%
    • GoOnCal1
      GoOnCal1
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      I think music is a proven influence on emotional response (crying, rage, joy etc)
      I have read positive emotional responses to music are accompanied by increased dopamine levels.
      Dopamine certainly has motor and cognitive affects, especially the 'reward" influence :-)
      If it feels good, it probably is good.
      :-)
    • w34z3l
      w34z3l
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      Music is distracting. In theory it is less optimal to grind when music is playing.

      However what music does do is allow players to regulate their emotions a little better. This can result in them being less likely to tilt and also being able to play longer sessions. So in practice playing music may result in better performance. But it's ultimately a crux - we should be able to regulate our emotions and mindset without the need for external stimulii.
    • tonypmm
      tonypmm
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      I second Vorpal's objection, and the problem was not only in that LuckyLukePS got distracted while grinding in front of a wide audience; the thing is that, though his musical taste is fine to my ears :f_grin: , there will always be people who would rather be in silence than surrounded by a kind of music that they dislike. That's the reason why I skip some of the potentially valuable Twitch streams - a high percentage of players put rap or dubstep on :f_mad:

      Regarding the negative effect of the loudness on the performance, someone should show that conclusion to KatieDozier314 and get her opinion on that :f_biggrin:

      Curiously, I've recently phased music out of my daily and especially grinding routine. I think that's still not the reason why I've suddenly had month or two of +EV play :f_biggrin: , but there seems to be correlation.
    • DrDunne
      DrDunne
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      Joined: 29.12.2010 Posts: 3,360
      Poker requires engagement, music probably partially steals some of your cognitive resources. The effects of listening to music while playing poker imo will be at best none, and at worst detrimental to a greater or lesser extent.
    • GoOnCal1
      GoOnCal1
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      Obviously any distraction is likely to have a negative impact.
      If you guys feel music is a distraction, then your opinions are valid probably to yourselves.
      I don't believe your opinion extends to myself however.
      :-)
      Also like to suggest that some level of stress is required for optimal performance in all fields.
      (as a red herring)
      :-)
    • NutzAreOk
      NutzAreOk
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      Originally posted by GoOnCal1
      I think music is a proven influence on emotional response (crying, rage, joy etc)
      I have read positive emotional responses to music are accompanied by increased dopamine levels.
      Dopamine certainly has motor and cognitive affects, especially the 'reward" influence :-)
      If it feels good, it probably is good.
      :-)
      It surely can make you feel better but does it mean you play better? :)
    • GoOnCal1
      GoOnCal1
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      Joined: 22.01.2015 Posts: 581
      Music has more to do with tempo personally, cant play 6 tables without stimulus.
      Sometimes it is part of ritual preparation.

      Let me ask you a couple of questions:
      Does supermarket music increase the purchase of casual items ?
      Do people march better to the sound a drum?
      Relax better to the sound of rain ?
      Do not soy bean sprouts respond with faster growth to sound ?
      Each to his own I say.
    • Dadramel
      Dadramel
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      Joined: 10.08.2014 Posts: 2,478
      Originally posted by GoOnCal1
      Each to his own I say.
      Agree, but more I read more I feel music might distract me a little bit. All this time and notwithstanding the common opinion theres no way I could grind with music turned off, because of boredom, habit or feeling of loneliness :) (I play mostly HU cash). Beside listening to quiet, no-word music can be stimulation instead of distraction.
    • rompas
      rompas
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      i would say using music that makes you in right mood/ stronger before sessions could be a good tool to use..
    • GoOnCal1
      GoOnCal1
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      Joined: 22.01.2015 Posts: 581


      I think this clip proves beyond doubt that music does make you play better !!!!
    • Dadramel
      Dadramel
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      Joined: 10.08.2014 Posts: 2,478
      That feels like an awesome sountrack, theres no way that song can distract someone if played quietly.
    • luckydont
      luckydont
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      Joined: 05.08.2008 Posts: 389
      I heard and read many times about benefits of Baroque music for concentration.
      It's difficult to find "scientific" proof these days, but just for reference:
      I personally listen music only as a preparation for session, during my Poker Warm UP They have an integrated music player with Baroque music, which you can run during your personalized warm up routine:
    • bonecore
      bonecore
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      Joined: 02.11.2009 Posts: 1,057
      Originally posted by double2
      Interesting. From my experience hearing engaging music definitively reduces focus (your favorite band for example) and the louder the worse it gets. But I'm pretty sure that hearing a very low volume all instrumental soft music (i listen always to the same dubstep album at a 3 out of 100 volume) helps me to focus.

      The big problem with most pro players is keeping the boredom away after 3 hours of playing...
      that could mean i am a pro player!? :deadhappy:
    • GoOnCal1
      GoOnCal1
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      Some-one might find these sources interesting, sources I guesses could be said to be reliable

      http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2007/07/music-moves-brain-to-pay-attention-stanford-study-finds.html

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19759431

      @Bonecore (given your performance recently "pro" seems honest :-)
    • kingreigns
      kingreigns
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      Joined: 26.01.2009 Posts: 71
      Music totally distracts mes while playing but sometimes i have some binaural beats playing very low so it's not totally quiet and its grand since its just the same thing over and over again and at a low volume
    • sherriffatman
      sherriffatman
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      Joined: 30.04.2009 Posts: 257
      I don't want to seem disrespectful but I honestly think some folks are being a little too critical for no real reason here - the coaching session in question was a "grind- night" one, with an intentionally more relaxed vibe, and you gotta remember that LL was actually grinding a regular session of his here, and most regs use tunes to help their grind go more comfortably etc.
      (also, most people can actually intersperse serious discussions with more light-hearted banter without losing the plot I think, and we've surely all watched training vids that are just 'too dry' to watch enjoyably)

      - on the wider 'debate', I totally disagree with OP on this topic fwiw - music has been proven to improve productivity in many many areas including most workplaces, definitely helps regulate emotions etc, and can 'boost you up' before and during a session - obv certain music can distract sometimes and if LL did interrupt the class to skip a track, I am sure it would be for this reason only really.

      - I get that some peeps don't really like it that much - I have worked on numerous jobs where the older fellas have complained that they "can't hear myself think!" with the radio on, and we have had to 'bow to our elders', but in contrast, I recently attended some exercise classes where the female instructor played lots of music that I really can't abide (steps/s-club7/bieber etc) and some of the guys were saying things like "Oh, why can't we have some Metallica or sommat?" and generally twisting, whereas I simply chose to not focus on it, and concentrated on the other aspects of class instead
      (I also have a hearing-defect which makes it virtually impossible for me to hold a convo in clubs for example, but it doesn't bother me as long as the decibel level is reasonable, so I just fail to see why it is so distracting really - I think it's more of a personal dislike/judgement really, as opposed to a genuine distraction, in most cases)

      - In summary: meh, it's 'horses for courses' I guess, and like I have seen ppl write in blogs etc - "If you don't like it, you have the choice not to participate"

      #rant over (insert "I t'ought I was out, but they........." gif here!) - and Vorpal, ya hooked me line and sinker mate! :f_wink: (thanks for listening!) :f_drink: