Self Control In Poker

Wed, 29 Oct 2008 18:00

Self-control in Poker

How self control can make you an excellent poker player.

There are a dozen or more poker schools of thought, but all of the strategies they teach would be useless if the player fails to use self-control during the game. There is something in a poker game that entices players to succumb to temptation, even if he or she is fully aware that it would lead to disastrous results. An example would be losing to the gutshot draw, then 5 minutes later, reraising with a pair of sevens.

Understanding self-control in poker

Imagine this scenario: the ground is filled with countless coins - pennies, dimes, and quarters. You are only allowed to pick one coin for every minute, for as long as you could. Common sense  and having self-control would dictate that the most lucrative course of action would be to get a quarter every time you stoop down. In the world of poker, however, this isn't what really happens. In poker games, most players are tempted to grab a penny or a dime, just for the sake of getting something in the end.

Practicing self-control in poker

In a poker game, you're faced with a challenge when you're have to make a decision under pressure, stress, or any kind of strong emotion. The real definition of self-control is the ability to train yourself to be an objective thinker amidst the pressures and emotions. This simply means you have to play your best as often as you can.

Self-control also relates to flexibility. It's always best to not confine yourself to just a single poker variant. To have self-control does not mean you would just go home or play poorly because your game (Texas Hold 'em for example) is not available in your regular table for a particular night. To be able to practice self-control is to be able to play your best even in unfamiliar situations.

Self-control in poker as a strategy against tilting

Studying the basics of poker can help you set yourself apart from average poker buffs. Even if you have a high bankroll, not being to control yourself would still lead to great losses. Fighting with a lousy straight is inadvisable but if you don't have self-control, you would probably insist on doing that. Have you ever wondered about those casino old-timers whose bankrolls are very average, yet very rarely go home as losers? They most probably practice lots of self-control; they would rather not join a game if they know that their mindset is not that positive to begin with.

To get angry or totally frustrated in the course of a poker game is called "tilting." It is a fact that even exceptional players make unwise moves when he or she is angry. If you feel like tilting everytime things don't go as you planned, then you need to practice more self-control. Not practicing enough self-control may mean losing your bankroll to your opponents.

When you really feel like tilting, the best solution is to take a break. Go to the comfort room or take a walk. The important thing is to get away from the table even for just half an hour so that when you return, you have calmed your emotions and gained composure.