Tips For Keeping Your Cool During A Poker GameOn June 11, 2017 by admin
Combining a game of skill and luck can often result in frustration. Throw in money and you’ve got the makings for an emotional train wreck. Poker is the perfect example of this, and also the perfect example of why losing your cool never pays. We’ve all heard about players tilting away hundreds or thousands of dollars by making terrible plays after a bad beat, but when you think about top poker professionals, they seem to never have these stories.
As players, we must try to emulate this level-headedness if we have any hopes of making a long term profit. After playing poker myself for the last six years, accumulating over one million hands, I’ve come up with my top three tips for keeping your cool when things aren’t going your way.
Eliminate External Stress
When you start your session, be sure you don’t have any external stress on your mind. When you sit down to play a game that is going to require all of your focus and all of your brainpower, you want to make sure there isn’t anything else preoccupying your mind. If you are stressed and you take a bad beat or make a bad play, you are only going to become more distressed. Go for a run, lift some weights, or do something that is going to relieve your stress before you sit down. You will notice a direct increase in your decision making ability.
Be a Better Self-Critic
We’ve all made bad plays, and when bad plays become represented with a loss in money, it only compounds the anger inside. Instead of lashing out at others or yourself, take a minute and think about what you might have done differently. Really dig down deep and attempt to unemotionally analyze the situation and all of the possible outcomes.
For example, perhaps you shouldn’t have limped in pre flop, or maybe your river check-raise bluff wasn’t the most optimal line. When you can objectively critique your own plays, not only will your game improve, but you will become less enraged with yourself. If nothing else, jot down the situations, and then think through them later after you’ve cooled down.
Have self-confidence in regressing towards the mean. But what the hell does that mean? It means that when you’re playing hundreds of thousands of hands it’s normal for you to have bad days, weeks, and even months. You could experience the ‘session from hell’, get aces in pre flop five times, and lose all five times.
Maintaining your self-confidence that you are a winning player. Internalize that you can beat this game, and that these beats will even out over time. Regression towards the mean simply means as you play more and more hands, you will dole out these beats just as you have received them. Over time, if you keep making the best possible play, you’ll be a winner and nothing will stop you. Realizing this should enable you to remain calm and power through these bad times with the optimism that you will eventually come out ahead.