Jun 22 2010

Why Poker is a Love/Hate Relationship

written by: John under Poker Comments: Comments Off

Anyone who plays poker hopes to generate a profit whenever they sit down at the table. Unfortunately, there is always going to be winners and losers. The winners are not necessarily those who played the best on any given night, but instead the players for whom things went the right way. In poker, there is something to be said for solid play that reaps consistent rewards. However, solid play does not guarantee consistent rewards. This is where many poker players fall off course. If you expect to win every single time that you play, you are going to be in for a major let down on a regular basis. Now, there is a very big difference between playing to win and expecting to win.

There is no doubt that you should be playing your best in order to walk away from the table with a profit. On the other hand, you shouldn’t call a losing night a total failure. You could play the best poker of your life and still lose money, that’s just the way it works. As a skilled poker player, your aim is to maximize edges whenever possible. Your abilities are not going to extend to wizardry, however. Don’t ever get mad at yourself for losing if it was an honest effort.

For example, calling a pre flop all in with JJ and losing to KK is unfortunate, but it was probably also preventable. You are going to lose some money if you fold JJ pre flop, but it pales in comparison to the amount you lose when your opponent has you crushed. This is the difference between expecting to win and playing to win. JJ is hardly ahead in this spot, but you call expecting to win. A player who is playing to win, on the other hand, would have folded. Playing to win means that you make the best decision, not the one that would “possibly” earn you the most money if you get really lucky.

Hating and Loving Poker

When you have a winning session, poker is the greatest thing in the world. You might experience some euphoric highs that make you feel bigger than life itself. But the next day, when you lose four buy ins, poker is the worst game in the world. Beyond this, you might feel guilty or like it was a mistake to ever play poker in the first place. The reality is, however, that your poker mindset should fall somewhere in the middle.

When you have a winning session, remain even keeled and realize that things won’t always be that easy. By the same token, take it easy when you have a losing session. If you are a long term winner, luck will eventually change its course. Remember that change is always an option if you are unable to establish a profitable track record. If, however, you are constantly winning, with the occasional losing session mixed in, there is no tinkering required. There is always room for improvement, but sometimes changes do more harm than good. An emotionally balanced poker player is much more likely to experience long term success than a player who is irate whenever they lose. Don’t get depressed, don’t get angry, just prepare for your next session to be a winner.

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