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Mind Tricks to Make You a Better Poker Player

Developing the Right Mindset to Win Poker Games

Source: Jalil Shams

Poker players are unique among cardplaying professionals at casinos around the world. A typical 6-Max poker tournament is truly a grueling affair. Players square off against one another, with imperfect information and a colorful selection of characters. This makes for a captivating contest. For those players who believe that poker is simply about card counting, mathematical prowess, and the luck of the draw, think again. This card game is all about psychology, and that’s precisely where our expose into poker mind tricks begins!

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the most highly anticipated poker contest of them all. It is the gold standard; the ultimate tournament for poker professionals. The WSOP takes place at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas Nevada. This tournament features dozens of events, each boasting winners and runners-up with incredible tales to tell. Most every poker interview details the intricate practice sessions, sleep patterns, exercise regimens, and mental preparation necessary to perform at this level. While poker is certainly not physically demanding, it is exceedingly brain draining. The powers of concentration needed by poker players are immense. It has often been said that poker is about playing the player, more than it is about playing your cards. If this is true, psychology is an intractable component of the game.

Much has been written about the mental aspect of poker, and for good reason. Many of the top poker stars use mind coaches to help them play their A game. Imagine being seated at a table with highly skilled poker players, each of them trying to outwit the other, with monster bluffs, strategic plays, and grinding sessions of play. It’s a true war of attrition. Many novice poker players perform particularly well among their peers, but choke when they enter the big leagues. That pressure is precisely what poker coaches tackle when training players. Emotionally-based poker play is devastating to the long-term viability of a player’s career. It is known as playing on tilt, or simply tilt. Players who make emotional decisions generally tend to fall by the wayside and never reach their true potential as seasoned professionals.

How to Create the Mental Framework for Poker Success
Poker is a game of decisions. You decide when to hold and when to fold. You decide when to raise and when to call. It all begins with a buy-in, but gets infinitely more complicated as the characters at your table start making decisions. A series of mental processes goes into decision-making at the poker table. Your mind may be racing at 1 million thoughts a minute, but you need to slow things down considerably to focus on making correct decisions. Consistently excellent performance at the poker table necessitates the formulation of an effective strategy. By it’s very nature, luck is variable and unreliable for the most part. Therefore, skill, strategy and psychology must work together to create the necessary framework needed for poker success.

Believe it or not, there are carefully formulated poker strategies that you can implement to ensure the long-term success of your game. These form the bedrock of your poker plan. There are many aspects of the poker mind game that players can focus on to fine tune their performance. The most obvious aspect to control is the emotional component. Poker, like other competitive games, requires laser sharp focus. Your mind should be focused on the cards in your hand, the players at your table, and your next play. That means you need to be self-aware, perspicacious, and awake. A poker player doesn’t need to be a lean, mean, fighting machine like a star athlete, but a poker player needs to cultivate a winning mindset which begins with a set of sharpened senses.

Fine Tuning Your Mind In Poker Games
It’s important to pick up on all relevant information at the poker table. If you find that you are missing details, it’s time to take stock. It’s easy to know that your mind needs a tune-up; you may be unmotivated, emotionally sensitive, and easily distracted. These bad habits can break a great player, and it’s important to take a step back and reassess your poker mindset. Remember, this begins with fine tuning your game. A lack of focus usually leads to many bad decisions in poker. For example, if you were on your A game, you would recognize that Player X hardly ever bluffs, or that Player Y revealed something in one of his tells. Focus keeps you engaged on the game and your prospects. If you can’t remember specific information, there is a lack of focus.

In order to win poker games, your mind needs to be right. If you are making all the wrong decisions, clearly something is off. Think of your mind as a weapon, or a tool. It needs to be in tiptop shape to be effective. The most important factors for mental acuity in poker are your decision-making ability, data gathering, energy, and focus. Think of energy as gas in the tank – when you’re running on fumes, there is not enough to sustain you during prolonged sessions of play. Your focus is what channels that energy and your poker playing smarts. Use it wisely and you will benefit from the right mental framework. Along the way, you are going to pick up important bits of data from other players at the table. Your ability to recall, reference, and react to that data is sacrosanct.

This comprehensive guide touches on some of the most important aspects needed for poker success. The right attitude, the right knowledge, and the right approach can certainly put you on the pathway to poker success!

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