Poker is all about outsmarting your opponents. But in a game that requires you to perform under pressure, if you don’t keep your emotions in check and your concentration on point, your opponents will be able to outsmart you.
Poker psychology is all about keeping slip-ups off the table. Let’s explore the most common psychological challenges, from not trusting your hand to losing track of your money.
Tilt is the state of frustration caused by bad hands, a tricky opponent or even just poor luck. It’s an issue everyone from rookies to the most experienced players face.
Often, being on tilt results in impulsive plays or aggression in your game, which in turn leads to mistakes.
Recognising when you’re experiencing tilt and keeping it in check is essential to playing your best.
Forgetting to keep an eye on your bankroll
Maintaining limits is key to a strong winning mindset. Be aware of what you’re betting and your estimated play-time and use this to resist overspending on bets.
Playing online poker for too long can decrease your skill level as concentration drops, leading to you losing more than you expected.
Monitoring the ins and outs of your poker bankroll is an easy way to keep track of what you’re spending. With Skrill, you can instantly see where your money is going, how much you’ve spent, and whether it’s time to call it and come back to win another day.
Playing every hand
You can’t win them all, so don’t play every hand. Getting sucked in because you’re eager to be part of the action understandable, but it can cost you.
Don’t worry about trying to impress others - your strategy should be focused on the odds.
Not trusting the maths
Make decisions based on the amount you’re likely to win with the current odds. Pot odds are what you should trust, not the behaviour of other players.
The key to victory over time is not to get drawn into what other players are doing. This is another symptom of tilt, which you should avoid if you want to be successful.
The sunk cost fallacy
If you’ve bet a lot behind your hand, it can be tempting to see it to the end even if the odds are against you. If the laws of probability say you should fold, then don’t be afraid to.
Similarly, if you’ve set yourself an amount of time to play, resist the urge to continue playing to offset your losses - tiredness usually ends up with you losing more money.
Now you’re aware of these common psychological hangups, you should be able to catch yourself before they affect your gameplay. Remember: stay focused, keep your emotions in check and use Skrill.