Inside the Psychology of a Poker Player

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Image REUTERS/Stringer .

The iGaming market is becoming increasingly dominant in the modern gambling industry, with this segment now accounting for 37% of the total gross gambling yield (GGY). This market features video poker, and while this comprises only a small faction of the niche, it remains enduringly popular amongst enthusiasts across the globe.

Make no mistake; you can now visit www.bestcasinosites.net to identify the best online poker sites and play on the move, while accessing both live tournaments and standard gameplay as you desire. However, this is a game of skill rather than one of chance, and historically one that relies heavily on psychology and the interactions between players. We’ll explore this psychology below, while asking how the game of poker has changed since its transition online.

Exploring the Relationship Between Psychology and Poker

In simple terms, psychology refers to the detailed and scientific study of the mind and how this influences our behaviour. 

This is a far-reaching and genuinely insightful discipline, and one that plays a deceptively pivotal role in poker tournaments and the outcome of individual games.

The best poker players have always championed the psychological aspects of the game, and the unique role that understanding this science plays in turning enthusiasts into successful competitors.

Interestingly, one of the most fundamental examples of this revolves around the mindset adopted by individual players. This is a principle that can be applied to most disciplines and industries, of course, but in a sport where confidence and and conviction are key, it’s a key requirement for both short and long-term success.

In poker, a positive and proactive mindset can enable a player to become more than the sum of his parts, and in truth this type of outlook is built on an intricate knowledge of the game and the minute details of gameplay.

On a similar note, players must focus their minds on winning tournaments and achieving financial success from the outset, as this enables them to set manageable goals and monitor their development along the way.

When it comes to actual gameplay, there are two main applications of poker psychology. Firstly, there’s the interpretation of physical tells from rival players, which enables competitors to make informed decisions when plotting their next move.

Secondly, the majority of players also rely on the art of deception (or poker bluff), whereby they project a strong or weak hand in order to influence the actions of their rivals and claim the prize. This is fraught with risk, however, and it requires a keen understanding of psychology and body language to pull off effectively.

When allied with experience of gameplay, an appreciation of poker psychology can help players to understand the significant variance of the game and its sheer unpredictability. 

Is Psychology as Important When Playing Online Poker?

Some have argued that psychology is less important in the world of online poker, where there’s less opportunity to read a player’s physical tells and use your own to influence their own decision making.

However, many of the psychological rules that underpin the traditional iteration of poker still apply online, even down to the fundamental rule that rationality and the cold, hard logic of self-interest remains a card player’s most crucial asset.

The importance of mindset and an intricate understanding of the game are also just as crucial for online players, so it’s important to bear this in mind whether competing for high or low stakes.

Even when it comes to interpreting tells, there are still ways of analysing an opponent’s behaviour when playing poker regularly. One method is to review a competitor’s past performance history, which may offer an insight into their philosophy and the way in which they react in specific, in-game circumstances.

There’s data available to achieve this online, while it’s also possible to observe how players operate during games and tournaments, before leveraging an intricate understanding of the game to translate this into valuable insight.

When playing online, the speed of poker hands can also appear quicker and relentless over an extended period of time. This can cause confused decision making, particularly in instances where a player experiences a losing run of hands.

The sense of frustration that arises from this is referred to in the sport as ‘tilt’, and this can be caused by both losing runs and the quality of an opponent.

This has the potential to undermine or adversely influence the decisions that you take, by creating conditions where impulse takes over and rash judgements take hold.

Over time, for example, this can cause you to play every hand, regardless of the cards that you hold and the observations that you make during the game. This can exacerbate your losses, and turn even the most experienced poker players into shadows of their former selves.

This also underlines why mindset and knowledge of the discipline is so important, while it highlights the psychological challenges facing poker players.

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