Self Control in Poker

There are primary factors that influence your game in poker. A huge one is called luck, and another, skill. And one of the most overlooked factors of all is called luck. There was a comic slogan that said, “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.” (The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers) While those lines may seem funny to you, now, they reverberate a universal truth in the game of poker.

Of course, we’re not talking about dope here. We’re talking about self-control. When you’re playing a game of poker, self control will get you through times when you have no money better than money getting you through times of no self-control. This can’t be stressed enough in poker, and ironically, the majority of poker players have horrible self control. You can’t always rely on your gut when you’re playing poker.

You see, all the skills you’ve acquired of knowing the right time to draw and time to bluff with be useless if you practice zero self control. Your opponents will always try to lure you into making a move, and if you don’t practice self-control, you allow yourself to be manipulated by tempting cards. You have to remember that the game of poker is always about probing your weaknesses as a human.

Decision making is always difficult when half of it is done with guess-work. You’re reading your opponents as much as they’re reading you, and you’re in big trouble if you’re too easily read. Just keep your guard on at all times, whether you’re playing an online or a live game. Never let too much of your game show through. Control your decisions well because you certainly can’t control luck. If you depend on luck too much without thinking about the consequences of your actions, you might as well be playing in your sleep.

If you’re more concerned about not losing than you are about not winning, you’re definitely not going to win a poker game. People who hate taking necessary risks are very bad poker players. This doesn’t make people who leap before thinking good players of poker, either. One thing’s for sure, though: mediocre poker players always fixate themselves on dodging trouble. The big fries, on the other hand, play with it.

This is silly. If all poker players are playing too safely, the game would revolve on senseless bankrolls. Besides, the only “troubling” situations you should avoid are those wherein you’re in trouble but your opponent is not. These situations are very rare, and they only ever occur when you don’t pay enough attention to the game. Most troubling situations happen when both opponents are facing near-equal levels of risk.

In most cases, your opponents are actually in bigger trouble that you. For example, instead of panicking because the weaknesses of your hand is staring you right in the face, you’ll fail to see the open opportunities to pull one over your more unprepared opponents. Instead of dodging trouble, poker players should master the art of handling troublesome situations. This doesn’t mean that you should risk your hand intentionally to get into trouble.

What we’re suggesting is that you spot the degree of trouble you’re in, in relation to the trouble that other players are facing, when you’re caught in an uncomfortable situation. As the saying goes, “trouble is what you make of it”, and this is very true in poker as well. If you need to lose some money because your strategy tells you that you can earn more in the long run, then you’re playing a pretty good game of poker.

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