Psychology of Poker
Discipline and mind set are seriously one of the most important
skills a poker player can have, it can make a not so stunning player
into a consistent winner and brilliant player a loser. You must
have heart to call/make tough bets and discapline to wait for premium
cards. Here are some random bits of knowledge to help your mental
Here's a quote from someone who plays for a living "I’ve
had my biggest loss in turns of BB’s and dollars at 15/30,
$6300 or 210 BB’s. I’ve had several 5K losses as well."
It is common for even the great players to have extremely ugly losing
streaks, you gotta learn to walk it off.
You have to be aggressive, you cannot play scared. You either think
you have the best hand and your in there putting in raises or you
don't and you fold without a second thought. Now there definately
are situations where you need to just calm down and call the person
down to keep them honest but usually you will be stickin' it to
people. Think of your style of play as a finely tuned maniac.
My dad's friend taught Phil Helmuth that "tight is right".
Phil then learned that super tight is even better. This cannot be
closer to the truth: Overtime if you go in with better cards you
will end up with better cards. The main reason you lose money in
poker is not that small amount you pay to see the flop but rather
getting second best hand and having to call them down to find out.
This is where the concept of dominated hands comes into play. Being
out kicked is the most common way to have a second best hand. This
is why hands likes K/10, Q/10, K/J, Q/J, and even K/Q and A/J are
considered dominated, there is a rumor that Doyle Brunson won't
play A/Q. Now all this doesn't mean that you don't play those hands,
it just means that you have to be real careful with them and play
them only in certain circumstances
According to my poker tracker calculations almost exactly 70% of
the total money I've won has come from J/J - A/A and A/K / A/Q /
A/J. That is just 7 hands in which I have made more than two-thirds
of my profit from! This statistic really puts into perspective how
important it is to play those hands well and how important it is
to be conservative with all the lesser hands. Consider these weaker
hands the icing on the cake and take into account how easy it is
to turn them into unprofitable by playing them a little too loosely
Never take a hand personally, you must detach yourself from emotions.
Be respectful and nice to the fish you play with, they are the ones
Don't "rabbit hunt", or pay much regard to what happens
after you have folded a hand. Chaos theory says that the full house
you "flopped" wouldn't have happened had you called anyway.
Here's one you won't get anywhere else: Jog, I have found that
physical activities keep me discaplined and overall more content
which is reflected in my play. I also like to take a shower after
having a bad run, seems to psychologically cleanse me.
Here is a quote from a player who derives his income from playing
poker online, "I’ve had my biggest loss in turns of BB’s
and dollars at 15/30, $6300 or 210 BB’s. I’ve had several
5K losses as well." This is why a good sized bankroll is important,
extremely long bad streaks happen to everyone, just make sure you
aren't on tilt and walk it off.
Turn chat off, don't get distracted by their drivvel
The major poker sites are sufficienty random, there is no conspiracy
to have "action flops" or anything like that. The amount
they could make extra by doing it would be so small that it would
not dignify the risk of them getting cought. And they would get
cought... with so many players getting hundreds of thousands of
hands worth of data with poker tracker
I was corrected by a friend of mine recently; I was telling him
about a real hot-streak I was on and how I was going to quit and
go eat. He responded by saying that you should never quit on a hot
streak. I told him that I'm not superstitious and knew that every
hand is independant of every other but he then reminded me of how
a hot-streak can make the other players afraid of you which will
make them make more mistakes
This is how I stay off of tilt: I play 4-12 tables at the same
time like a robot, very mechanical and straight forward. I am hypothetically-oriented
as opposed to results-oriented. If I played a hand perfect but some
kid lucks out on I could care less. Even if I just won a big pot
I will be mad at myself if I had a misread on someone and tried
to pull a risky check-raise after hitting my flush but the guy checked
it down. I trust mathematics, and that in the long run I know it
will even out, maybe not in 1,000 hands or even 20,000 but after
100,000 hands your profit is a very straight line. I also talk on
aim, surf the web, and listen to music to keep me occupied. Don't
be mad when people chase you down and catch incredible outs, that
is how you are making money, smile quietly to yourself because you
know you will have it in the end. Everytime they make a call without
the correct odds you earn a tiny bit of money. I have never known
a bad player who has not comn down from their cloud.
1) Never play intoxicated (most of us can empathize
with this one)
2) Focus all your skills on 1 specific type of poker. This is
a big one, lots of beginning players jump around to wherever there
mood takes them that particular day: they might go from limit ring
to limit tournies to shorthand, to multi-table tournies, to no limit,
and then randomly play some heads up when they think they've found
a "fish". This is NOT good, stick to one thing and master
it. This is similar to wanting to spread your skills between the
different games like omaha, hold' em, and stud. Some players justify
it by saying, "I want to be flexible so I can play at any table
in the country". However, this is unecessary as there always
plentiful games of whatever you want available online. You do not
want to be a "jack of all trades", you want to be a Poker
Master, hold' em specifically.
3) Add bonus-whoring to the "nomad syndrome", don't do
it, the time it takes for you to find out where the best bonuses
are, move your money around on the internet, and then clear them
(some are slow) you could have spent sitting and grinding at one
site which probably had a single bonus anyway.
4) Almost anytime you are playing noticably different something
is wrong, you have not had any poker revelations, you are on tilt...
real learning is gradual
5) Break down your tables in the the smallest possible combination:
don't play 2 $2/4, play 4 $1/2.