Poker is a game that requires a combination of technical and psychological skills. Technical skill includes knowledge of odds, strategy and tactics. On the other hand, psychological skills include the ability to read other players, control emotions and maintain concentration. Both skills can be developed through practice, but to make it a little easier for you, here are some psychological tricks to be better than your opponents at poker.
Know your limits
Before sitting down at a table, real or virtual like the ones you can find at https://226poker.com/, you have to be very clear about your limits. That is, how much money you are willing to lose, what is your budget for the games you are going to play that day.
This is important because it will help you keep a cool head and make rational decisions. Once you start playing you can get carried away by emotions, and in poker this is not a good idea. So set your budget, stick to it, and walk away when you’ve exhausted it. This ensures that you keep a cool head at all times and stay focused only on the hand of cards you have.
Keep your concentration
Poker is a real exercise in concentration and attention. If you get distracted you can end up losing even if your cards were not totally bad. When you are sitting at the table focus only on what is happening in the game, forget about everything else.
Making the mind “stop” and concentrate on one thing can be difficult. To achieve this, it is advisable to practice meditation or the deep breathing technique.
The deep breathing technique is a relaxation practice that consists of concentrating on your breathing and consciously controlling it. It is performed by taking slow, deep breaths in, holding the air for a few seconds in the lungs and exhaling slowly. It is used to reduce stress, anxiety and muscle tension, and can improve mental and physical health. As soon as you start practicing it, you will notice that your levels of nervousness drop and your ability to concentrate increases.
With meditation you get similar effects, the only bad thing is that when you are in a game you can’t meditate. But you can practice deep breathing, because when you master the technique you can do it even without others noticing.
Know your opponents
The better you know your opponents the more advantage you will have over them. To play poker you must be an observant person and be attentive to the movements and body language of the other players. As you get to know their personality and style of play, you will find it a little easier to predict their actions.
Control your emotions
As we pointed out before, emotions can lead you to lose concentration and make you make bad decisions, so you should forget about them when you are playing. It doesn’t matter if you have had a bad day or if you have stress at work, while you play poker you must put all this out of your mind, because only then you will be able to keep calm and make logical decisions when you are under pressure.
In order to control your emotions you can also find the deep breathing technique we have seen before very helpful. If you have an important game at a time when your emotions are overflowing, before sitting at the table do some meditation and deep breathing exercises, you will notice that in a few minutes you feel much better and your mind is clearer, ready for the game.
Good poker players are masters at disguising their emotions and feelings, and you can be too. The key is to start by always appearing confident. Even if you’ve been dealt the worst hand ever, be confident and don’t show signs of defeat.
The more confident others see you, the more likely they are to end up making wrong decisions that could turn the game around and put everything in your favor.
Maintain a consistent game
We told you earlier that you should observe and get to know your opponents, but you should keep in mind that they are going to do exactly the same with you. The more you play in front of the same people, the more they will get to know you.
If you have a consistent way of playing, you become more hermetic and it is easier for you to keep your concentration. But be careful, because doing everything the same can make some of your more veteran opponents predict some of your actions, so it is not bad if, from time to time, you include some variations in your game (practice them before, don’t improvise) to surprise them and make them see that you are not as predictable as they think you are.
Practice the poker face
Controlling emotions and feigning confidence means that nothing on your face should convey the way you feel. The existence of the expression “poker face” is not a mere coincidence, it refers to the ability of professional players to have the most neutral expression possible.
Make sure that, when you look at your face, whoever is looking at you does not know whether you have a good hand or whether you are about to fold. Remember, again, that others are watching you as much as you are watching them, so make sure that nothing on your face or in your body language can give away what you are feeling inside.
If you have noticed that you have a little tic that you do when you are nervous or things are not going well, start working on eliminating it altogether.
Practice your patience
Patience is a real virtue when it comes to this card game. If you develop your patience you won’t end up making hasty decisions and you’ll be able to wait until you have the most suitable cards to take action.
Have a positive attitude
You play poker for fun, so always keep this in mind. Assume that you are going to lose, but that there is always room for improvement. Try to maintain an optimistic mindset and focus on the process rather than the outcome.
With these psychological tricks you will be able to face each game with much more serenity, and you will become one of the best players.