For all the new players out there, it is very hard to succeed in the modern age of poker. The game has come a long way in the past decade. To be at the top of the game, one has to constantly envelope themselves with proper strategies and create a good understanding about the game itself in an ever changing environment. It is a long and hard path to success if you want to go and stay at the top!
Sometimes, people talking about the game tend to ignore or miss out on one of the most important aspects of the game. The mental game involves much more than just learning about the math, strategies, ranges etc.
1. Motivation and Mindset
Trying to figure out what you want to do for a living is not easy. It is probably the hardest decision that a person has to make. There are always pros and cons of what you want to do and what you should be doing. Poker is no different.
Playing poker for a living provides you with a lot of freedom as well as many opportunities to improve and succeed. But like every other profession or activity, it has its downsides as well. Every player faces rough patches and to succeed, you need to have a strong mindset and good money management skills.
Few Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting Into Playing Poker
- Why do you want to play poker?
- What is primary motivation? Is it money, or passion for the game?
- Do you have enough time and dedication to take this game seriously?
- Why do you believe it would be the right choice at this moment in your life?
- What you want to reach playing poker, what is your end goal?
All players have to deal with varied emotions and bad beats. Understanding and accepting why you’re playing poker will make it easier for you to get through them.
One of the most important aspects of the game is that even if you are the best player of all time, you will have losses. This is called variance and it is a standard and normal aspect of poker. There are certain methods and activities which you can do to reduce the effects of variance but there is no way to avoid it.
Over a large amount of hands, you’ll realize that you are a winning player and your win rate is positive but when variance hits, you can end up going on a run of bad beats and losing all marginal hands which you were winning previously. This can have a really bad effect on your mentality.
On top of that, you have to know that variance can be especially brutal in multi-table tournaments, where it can take hundreds if not thousands of MTTs to realize your real ROI.
Variance and bankroll management go hand in hand. Unless your bankroll isn’t sufficient to take these variance hits, it can be really hard to continue playing your best game and maintain concentration. Therefore, having good money management skills is really important for every poker player.
Every player hates variance. But believe it or not, it is one of the things which make playing poker actually profitable! Any player can win big tournaments and earn huge totals because of it! It gives the appearance that everyone has an equal chance of winning, and keeps recreational players in the games. So next time, when you are swearing after the bad beat, think about it, calm down, and continue to play your best poker.
3. Combating Variance
Hopefully the last point will have made you realize that variance is normal and it will happen sooner rather than later. It’s always better to be aware and prepare for it in advance. This means managing your bankroll so that you never run out of money while your losing streak continues. Over time, you will get back on top and break even.
These bad phases and bad beats can have a negative impact on your mindset. You start questioning your decisions. Here are a few points to deal with it:
- Analyzing your sessions with an open mind & looking for mistakes you might be making
- Working the table to improve your strategy and analyze your opponents
- Looking for weaker games or even dropping down in stakes for a little while to get your confidence back.
4. Controlling Emotions and Keeping A Solid Mental
It does get hard to keep your emotions in check while dealing with long term variance, bad beats, annoying opponents and all the other irritating factors. But it is the only way to make it in poker. Keeping a clear head and playing to the best of your abilities. The second you realize that you made a call or a raise because the other player has been saying something which you do not like, it’s time to get up and leave.
Understanding that if you just made a decision which you know is the wrong one, and still went ahead with it, it’s time to get up and leave!
This is not a healthy state of mind to be playing poker. Tilting is the worst thing which can happen to you and it is a vicious cycle. Once you start making bad decisions, you’ll continue doing so unless you can control your emotions, and by the end of the night, you won’t even be able to understand where things went wrong.
5. Taking A Break
Taking a break is one of the most important aspects of making proper decisions and staying concentrated for longer periods of time during your daily grinding sessions.
Do anything that helps you relax, as long as it is not related to poker. You will see, after some quality rest, you will be able to get back to the games with a new passion, and it will easily pay for all the time you spent away from the tables.
6. Playing Your Best Game
There are a lot of things that make a great poker player and not all of them are related to strategy and math. Preparation and mental ability are also very important. The only way to make it big is to properly incorporate both sides of the game and take them into your stride. Enjoy the game and always bring your A-game to the tables!