There is one psychological habit common to every successful poker player: emotional control. Besides the playing skills, emotional control may be the key in playing poker or at least one of the keys. If you ask any pro top tournament player, you will hear a unanimous opinion that it’s not possible to achieve a certain poker success without controlling your emotions.
If it’s difficult for you to achieve emotional control, maybe it’s better to make a career in some other games where you can relax more. After all, online casino progressives have created thousands of millionaires. But, if you want poker to be your life choice, this is a necessity.
Maybe you will ask “what about Phil Hellmuth? He has made a career of his emotional outbursts.” There are even compilation videos of his most famous blow-ups. Yes, but that’s Phil Hellmuth. If you can make a career like him, try to emulate his antics at the table, why not. But not all can be like him.
One of the ways to achieve emotional control is by conditioning yourself through daily life situations. Train yourself not to blow up when something happens to you. You will not only achieve bigger emotional control and inner piece, but you will see and act more clearly. And when you try and use that in poker, you can be unstoppable.
Being strong will do you good on the long run. The person that is able to make decisions wins, and that is why you can’t let the effects of one bad hand ruin your prospects. Be tough. Poker and life in general are dog-eat-dog worlds where you temperament can do you bad if it’s unleashed in the wrong moment. Calmness, coolness and collectedness are what matter. They are the three Cs of poker.
Maintaining logic in difficult situations is what helps us control our emotions. Understand the mathematics of the game and that there are very few situations where your hand is a sure hand, no matter how good it is. And sometimes even the worst hands can win you a situation. When you realize that, you can be a lot calmer.
But, you have to also practice calmness. As mentioned above, practicing calmness in your day to day life can help you a lot when you are at the poker table. It’s natural for us to get angry in bad situations, but you can minimize your outbursts by practicing deep breathing. Take some meditation training, where breathing techniques are common. By focusing on your breathing you can achieve certain level of calmness.
Also, you can ask for some help from a poker mentor where both of you can go through the hands that upset you. Take notes of all the hands that made you angry and analyze them together. Increasing your level of knowledge and self-awareness can help you plenty. If you are able to recognize the things that upset you, you can put your emotions into control beforehand and thus they won’t get out of control. Achieving emotional control is the biggest weapon of a poker player.
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