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Self-Management as a Poker Player
In this article
- Bad beats and downswings
- Remaining focused in bad times
- Patience is a virtue
Here we will show you some typical traps and provide you with the tools to maintain your consistency. Many beginners don't appreciate the value of such articles, since you get few concrete tips on how to play your hand.
I want to make it clear that the psychological side of poker is one where most people fail. Even the old pros who have been at it for years make these financially costly mistakes, despite their great knowledge of poker. All examples below are related to Fixed Limit.
The Bad Beat Problem
Bad beat is an expression for the following phenomenon: you play a qualitatively high value hand, maybe hit the flop or already had a high pair when you got there, only to be overtaken by a low value hand. Your defeat on a bad beat occurs despite the poor play of your opponent.
|Do not let painful experiences divert you from the right path!|
You raise with AK, your opponent calls it cold (2 bets at once) with A6s. The flop is A62 rainbow (three suited).
You have every reason to assume that you are ahead but you are doomed to lose the hand against 2 pair. The pre-flop call from the opponent was catastrophically bad.
This kind of thing will make you want to tear your hair out. Losing is bad enough, but it's even worse against a lucky idiot. If several bad beats happen in a row it's a true test of grit.
This can lead you to be irrational: You no longer trust yourself to raise with good hands. "I'll be overtaken on the way to the river again, so I won't put as much money in."
This is a mistake. You miss making the most of your strong hands this way and allow weak hands to stay in and profit.
|Rule: Don't lecture or harass your opponents (customers)!|
Some try to point out an opponent's weak plays or even to insult them.
This is not unthinkable but it is absurd. You may call your opponent a beginner or a bad player but in doing so, you show that you, too, can make rookie mistakes.
Lecturing your opponent has several consequences:
1. Your opponent gets smarter, and more dangerous.
2. Your opponent, who only came to play a few casual hands, is provoked into putting more ambition or concentration into the game.
Insulting them is worse. First, it's not nice. Second, it's dumb. The bad players are the customers of the serious poker player. Insulting your own customers is not a sign of intelligence. The just-for-fun player will often leave the table if insults take the fun out of it for him.
|Rule: Always focus on long term. Think of the big picture!|
It is important to have the insight to see that the bad players will give you more money on their unjustified calls than they will take from you on bad beats.
You want these players at the table and you want them to play just as they do. So don't get bent out of shape if they hit something once in a while.
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