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The Psychology Of A Good Poker Player - Articles Surfing

Many people that don't play poker and also many novice poker players believe that poker, and more specifically No Limit Texas Hold'em Poker, is a game based purely on luck. This couldn't be further from the truth. While it is possible to beat anyone on any given night at poker due to luck, usually over the course of time skillful players will separate themselves from the unskilled.

Poker is a psychological and skillful game and there are many skills that contribute to the make up of a good poker player. A player needs to possess a good poker face, be savvy and not give away vital information. However, two of the more common traits of a good poker player are a good memory and the ability to stay calm under pressure.


This is probably the most important mental trait that a poker player should possess. A good poker player will use his/her memory to get out of jams, make good reads and put their opponents to the test.

How many times have you been in a situation where you are almost absolutely sure your opponent is bluffing on the river but you only have a middle pair? 'I just know that you're trying to bluff me but I'm not sure I should risk the chips to call you.' Happens all the time.

A good poker player will have a memory bank of how each poker player has played hands in the past so when the time comes, he she will have sufficient information on how to play a critical hand.

If you don't have a good memory, don't worry. Your memory can be improved with practice. Start at your next home game and work on it. Make sure you pay attention to how each player is betting, raising and folding (even when you're not in the nad) and it will pay dividends for you in the end.

Stay Calm:

This mental trait may vary from person to person. Even on television we see that there are many 'hot heads' on the WPT. If you play poker with any degree of regularity sooner or later you will experience a 'Bad Beat'!

Bad Beat: Losing when you have a very strong hand, usually to a very unlikely draw on the last card.

Now the bad beat is not the issue here. They will come no matter what you do. The issue is how you deal with the bad beat and dealing with this will come with time and experience.

It is critical that a poker player stay calm when he/she falls victim to a bad beat. If not, usually what happens is that the victim goes on tilt (Betting wildly or making poor bets. Usually after a bad beat). If a player is on tilt, usually one of two things will happen. The player will risk a bunch of chips on the very next hand, playing cards that he/she would have never played if they were not so angry or they will develop animosity toward the other player and try to win their chips back from the player all night.

Either outcome is not good and could result in losing many hands or even losing a tournament.

Since bad beats happen to everyone and usually everyone has been on both sides of the coin you should just take a deep breathe and move on to the next hand. Honestly, this may be the most difficult part of learning to play poker, especially when your hard earned money is on the line.

So the next time you are sitting at a table you have two major things to remember. One, keep good mental notes on your opponents. A good poker player will know his/her opponent's moves sometimes before they even make them. And two, keep a level head and avoid going on tilt. Bad beats are going to happen to all of us but the good players know how to recover from them.

Submitted by:

Nigel B.

Nigel B. is a poker consultant for http://www.signaturepoker.com Check us out for the latest Poker Chips information



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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