Poker psychology is the key to becoming a good or even great poker player.
Let’s first of all define what the word psychology actually means. As defined by the American Heritage dictionary it’s:
1. The science that deals with mental processes and behaviour.
2. The emotional and behavioural characteristics of an individual or group.
3. Subtle tactical action or argument used to manipulate or influence another:
4. Philosophy The branch of metaphysics that studies the soul, the mind, and the relationship of life and mind to the functions of the body.
All the above come into play in poker. For example, how critical is point 3 in terms of bluffing and slow playing? It’s absolutely critical!
A Simple Example of the Importance of Poker psychology
Poker is a psychological game as you are playing against other players and the best hand does not always win the pot.
Don’t forget your hand does not have to be the best hand dealt; you simply need to beat your opponents by psyching them out.
How many times does a poker player kick himself that he has folded a good hand to see a far weaker hand win the pot? If you play poker regularly, you will see it happen all the time. It’s the psychological battle between players that will always keep it that way.
Poker Psychology – How to Adopt the Right Mindset for Success
The first thing you need to win big in poker and be successful is to WANT to succeed.
In fact, if you listen to interviews with any people at the top of their profession, (not just in poker), but in life generally, how often do they quote the will to succeed? You will hear it all the time and it’s no coincidence that they succeeded.
Here are some tips to gain you a psychological edge over other players:
1. Cover the Basics First
Start by learning everything you can about poker that can be learned, so you know all about pot odds, money management, slow playing, how to bluff etc. This knowledge still needs to be applied with a winning psychology but you need to have the knowledge initially.
2. Study Your Opponents
Try to get inside their heads by observing them closely. Look for weaknesses and strengths in their play and adapt your playing strategy accordingly.
3. Have Confidence and Courage
You’re not going to win big at poker unless you have the courage and conviction to play for large pots.
When the time is right, have the courage and confidence to back your judgment.
4. Be Patient
Patience means that every time you see clearly that you will lose, you will fold, even if you have folded dozens of hands in succession.
Be patient, wait for the best hand and then play it for all its worth.
Poker is a game that requires a long-term patient approach to profits and all great players know that you can’t rush profits.
5. Poker Is The Most Important Thing In Life!
Well not exactly!
However, it is when you sit down to play and then it should be the only subject on your mind. If you have had hard day at work, are worried about someone, or had an argument with your partner, don’t play. Only play when you’re fully focused.