Poker is a game not only of skill and wit, but also psychology.
At the very top levels of the action, players mostly have a tenacious and solid grasp of the rules and finer technical aspects of the game. But with that having been said, the very best players are usually those who have mastered the human element of the game. These are the players who find themselves prospering.
Poker Mindset In A Nutshell
Over time, and for many, over a lifetime, truly successful Poker players develop an entire range of exceptional skills that they then bring to the table.
Special skills include the ability to accurately read hands, bluffing, the correct approach to pre-flop play, and what is known as value-betting (getting the most bang for your buck). These habits and skills all come together to maximise the player’s chances of winning in the long run.
Skill Matters In The Long Term
Going at it long enough results in an important development: skill, instead of luck, becomes the main factor determining outcome.
While short-term results can be extremely erratic, those players who stick to the game long-term manage to develop and evolve their play into a thing of pure skill and know-how. Realising this as true is an important step in cultivating a winning Poker mindset.
It stands to reason that those who focus on the short term will do anything to win in the here and now. This is problematic as it often leads to an attitude of “playing to get even”. Often, this leads to unnecessary mistakes and impulsivity around the table.
Another common pitfall associated with playing with a focus on the short term is that players often continue to play even when they’re feeling bored and fatigued. Obviously, this makes it impossible to play at one’s best.
Often, this type of attitude leads to players over-valuing their winning sessions. What’s more, it often results in players turning down hands with a positive expected value due to the mindset of wanting to quit while they are ahead.
Emotions Running Rampant
Players only concerned with short-term outcomes will typically get very irritated and annoyed whenever they are beaten by what they consider to be bad play on the part of an opponent.
Often, this will cause the aggrieved player to start holding a grudge against the “bad” player, which in turn often leads continuance of play simply to get revenge – no matter the quality of the hand in play.
Correct Decisions Matter
Successful players know the value of making correct decisions consistently instead of focusing solely on winning money.
Correct decisions always lead to long-term success, while impulsive play will only see you lose money – that very thing that you set out to avoid in the first place.
This also happens to tie in with the often-discussed issue of “scared money”. Playing with money you’re either afraid to lose or can’t afford to lose is always a recipe for disaster.