You will find fewer resources that deal with the mental state that is necessary to play good poker. These basic strategy guidelines are important, but it is all for nothing if you can’t keep your head straight.
Don’t Let the Game Frustrate You
It has happened to all of us at one point or another. You have pocket aces and flop your set. Next thing you know some donk, with 34 suited, hits a flush on turn and wipes out 2/3 of your stack.
This scenario sucks, but that’s poker. What happens next is up to you, if you get frustrated you will quickly lose your focus and start playing recklessly, even playing bad hands hoping to get even. Every player is susceptible to this, and it is important to be able to recognise it and if necessary just stop playing.
To break this dangerous trend, get in the habit of saying, either to yourself or out loud, “That’s poker.” When your straight gets busted by a flush, just say, “That’s poker” instead of letting yourself get caught up in the emotion of the moment. When you can say that, and mean it, one bad moment at the table won’t ruin the rest of your evening.
We all love to play poker at the end of a tough day or long week at the office. Poker is a great way to relax, but a bad idea when you’re tired. If you play when you’re tired or as a way to escape the problems of everyday life, that’s when you need to stop and assess your reasons for playing.
When you are tired, or using gambling as an escape, bad plays start to look good. You can convince yourself that raising with Ace-eight in early position is a good idea. Exhaustion can also cause you to miss the fact that your opponent just beat you on the turn. If you are thinking about playing poker, and yawning at the same time, save your money and go take a nap.
Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, has a saying that he uses often, “Don’t let your money get mad.” I think this applies to the poker table as well. Anger leads to rash decisions in all areas of life, and poker is no exception.
A rash decision in poker usually means pushing hands that you should have thrown in the muck. If you start a poker session while you’re angry, you will not have an enjoyable evening. So, make up with your spouse, decide not to worry about what your crazy boss did, and forget about the person who cut you off in traffic. You need to be able to block those things out and play with a level head if you want to have a good time at the tables.
It is important above all else to remember that poker is a fun game, but with the wrong mind set it has the potential to take away a lot of your money; money that you can’t afford to lose. So learn to enjoy poker, but recognise the times when you should be doing something else.
This Guest Post was written by Alex for Jackpotparty.com, where you can play virtual slots online (US players can play for fun).