As PC gaming has become a more mainstream hobby, there has been a lot of talk about how gamers can improve their experience. Once upon a time, this wasn’t something anyone thought much about. Gamers simply booted up their computers and started playing, whether that meant sprawling out on a bedroom floor with a laptop, sitting at an office desk with a PC, or anything else. Now, however, gaming is simply taken more seriously. Lengthy sessions are completely ordinary, and it’s understood that games need certain comforts and accessories to stay optimally engaged.
For the most part, this understanding concerns the typical “PC gamer” — someone diving into an MMORPG, a competitive eSports game, or anything similar. However, modern gaming conditions and comforts also relate to poker players. Millions of people around the world play poker competitively online, such that while we don’t tend to consider it in traditional gaming categories, it is really — arguably — one of the busiest competitive PC games on the planet.
With that in mind, we want to touch on a few ways for PC poker players to feel more comfortable and engaged with their setups.
Get a Good Gaming Chair
If you’re a PC gamer or poker player and you’re not in on the gaming chair trend yet, you should think about it. According to a Businesswire.com report on the gaming chair market, these comfortable, practical furnishings now comprise a market expected to grow by nearly $100 million between 2020 and 2024. That’s right: A trendy type of chair for gamers is on its way to spawning a $100 million market! That sounds absurd, but if you get a decent gaming chair you’ll immediately understand it. These are comfortable, ergonomic seats that are specifically built for long gaming sessions. They allow for both stability and movement as needed, and they’re becoming nothing short of essential for gamers. If you plan on getting into any long poker tournaments at your computer screen anytime soon, you’ll love having one.
Find the Right Headset
Our list of ‘Top 5 Recommended Gadgets to Make Your Gaming Experience’ posted back in 2018 touched on the importance of headsets. As stated in that list, headsets allow for communication, commands, and immersion as needed in any game. And for poker players, they bring the added benefit of shutting out the rest of the world. Maintaining focus is crucial in online poker competition, and with the right noise-canceling headset, you make it that much easier to keep your mind solely on the game in front of you. Turn out the lights and settle into that gaming chair, and you’ll really feel immersed.
Pin Up a Hand Rankings Chart
If you’re just now getting into PC poker, this is an idea you may never have considered. But it’s something some poker players will attest to. Basically, the idea is to pin up a chart that clearly shows the odds of each type of poker hand and ranks them in order of strength. A ranking chart by Poker.org’s Geoff Fisk shows clearly what this can look like, and can be downloaded for free. Or if you like, you can take the time to do the research and draw one up on your own (which will help you learn the hands as you go). One way or another though, the end result should help you to relax and remain confident while gaming. Hand values and rankings may be pretty basic stuff to experienced poker players, but to most, they make for helpful reference points. Knowing you need only glance up to double-check yourself on a given hand can help you to settle in for the long haul.
Have Poker Chips on Hand
This is another way to put yourself at ease while you’re playing. The idea is simple: Buy a case of poker chips (you can get a fairly nice set for a little less than $50), and keep it on your gaming desk or in a nearby drawer. Then, when you play, pull out chip stacks corresponding to those in the game, and put the chips that represent your own in front of your keyboard or mouse. It’s a sort of psychological tactic, ultimately, but it helps to make the game more real. If you’re conscious of physical chips representing the digital ones you have in the game, you’ll be more certain of how you’re doing and more sure of your betting decisions.
Optimize Your Lighting
Getting back to atmosphere and comfort, our final tip for PC poker players is to optimize the lighting in the room. These days, that means investing in lights for the room that can change color, dim, or brighten as you wish — typically by the touch of controls on your phone. Taking things a bit further, a Pocket-Lint piece on game room lighting also pointed out that there are some options that actually sync lighting to gameplay — though, for poker, this could conceivably be a bit distracting. Whatever specific setup you end up with though, optimized lighting gives you complete and total control over your atmosphere. You’ll find the lighting you’re most “in the zone” with and your poker play will feel all the more natural and enjoyable as a result.
Ultimately, setting your PC gaming station up for online poker is very much like getting it ready for any other type of gaming. But by prioritizing comfort, immersion, and atmosphere, as well as setting up a few poker-related props to help you in the games, you can ultimately ensure the best possible at-home playing experience.