The Importance of a Disciplined Mind at the Poker Table
July 23, 2014 1 Comment
Poker is, according to many, a game of both skill and luck. Sometimes players might get incredibly lucky and win lost of cash just after several sessions and sometimes this game can prove to be a real disaster for your bankroll if you don’t know how to control it.
Poker is not for impatient players who expect to sit at a poker table and instantly double their initial budget.
This game takes practice and requires discipline.
Even though to rookies poker and discipline might seem like a complete mismatch, in reality discipline at poker table is one of the crucial factors for winning on the long run. If you are lucky you can pool off several fantastic rounds, but then you can quickly lose everything.
If you are smart you can trick the other players, but then you may get too confident and lose everything.
However, if you are disciplined you will know how to control the game, instead of letting the game to control you. This way you will maximise your chances of winning, control your losses and be in a better position than undisciplined players.
So, what really a discipline in poker is and how it can help?
For example, experienced players who know poker as they know themselves are well aware what cards should be held and what should be fold.
If the odds are not in the player’s favour and he/she knows it, a disciplined player wouldn’t rely on hope and would leave the game.
Fish players, on the other hand, that are not familiar with discipline might think that a miracle could help them to pool off an amazing win and be the hero of the night.
This, however, rarely happens and these players are usually the ones that end up empty handed. Discipline at poker tables has a lot to do with confidence, mindset and realistic approach towards the game.
If you know the rules, know the odds and know your skills – you will rarely hope to be lucky. More likely, you will try to calculate what your chances to win are and try to guess other players’ hand value.
Several Traits of Disciplined Poker Players
If you are already attracted to the idea of discipline at poker tables and you want to improve your poker performance, you should probably learn what the main traits of a disciplined poker player are.
This way, not only you can work on acquiring them, but on improving them as well. Also, knowing how a disciplined player thinks and behaves can help you if you find yourself at a same poker table with such a player.
The first and probably the most important trait is confidence in your skills instead of relying on hope.
Poker pros would never hope that lady luck will turn their fairly bad poker hand into a miraculous winner, just like an inexperienced player would think exactly that.
The only hope a disciplined player might have is that others don’t get lucky, whereas his decisions and moves are thoroughly calculated and analysed.
Also, experienced and self-aware players that play online poker know what bonuses to claim and what to avoid. Just like casino sites have different casino bonuses, which can be compared at http://www.bonuswire.com/, poker sites have various types of bonuses as well. Therefore, disciplined players can recognise bad bonus offers as well as resist claiming them even when they seem too attractive.
Furthermore, a disciplined player is well aware of his/her imperfection.
There is no such thing as a perfect poker player and the sooner you accept this, the better.
Everyone can make a mistake, everyone can make a bad call and these situations should be considered as lessons for future games.
Experienced and disciplined players will neither complain about their mistakes nor blame others for their failures. Take every mistake as a lesson, try not to repeat it and move on.
If you are stuck thinking about something you did three rounds ago, you are pretty much bound to lose all following games due to loss of discipline and concentration.
Disciplined players won’t allow lucrative games to keep them going even though they are aware they have a small chance to win.
Knowing when to hold’em and knowing when to fold’em is something you learn after many hours spent practicing and observing.
However, sometimes even if you are not an experienced player you can easily see that the cards you hold are no good.
Additionally, skilled players know that there are different types of poker games and that each of them requires a different type of discipline.
For example, being a disciplined no-limit player doesn’t mean you are a disciplined limit player since you have playing habits that work only for a particular poker variant.
A good example of a skilled no-limit player is a person who never allows losing the whole bankroll in one fell swoop. Experienced limit players, on the other hand, tend to avoid taking small hits that may prevent them from continuing the game.
Also, another difference between these two can be found in the way of playing the hands. Limit poker players that practice discipline at the table usually play tight at the pre-flop stage and don’t play too many hands. Instead, they focus only on the hands that have a high winning potential.
Discipline Beats External and Internal Factors that Affect Your Game in a Negative Way
Probably the main reason why discipline at poker tables is so important is the fact it can neutralise any negative effects from external and internal factors.
We can never escape the fact we are human and we can allow anxiety, anger or even hunger to slower our mind. This is when disciplined players prove better than those who cannot cope with their emotions or surroundings.
Being depressed and irritated because you had a losing streak can loosen your discipline and lacking discipline most definitely leads to serious losses.
For example, one of the top reasons for making mistakes or misreading the situation is tilt. Tilt is a poker slang which expresses the emotional state of a player who is angry and frustrated by several losses and/or mistakes in a row.
When a player enters the infamous tilt mode, he is more likely to continue playing when folding is the best option or place bigger bets than he can afford. When in tilt, a player is guided by emotions and not brain.
However, maintaining a high level of discipline will protect you from these unwanted occurrences. Discipline is, in fact, in such situations a way of remaining neutral and ignoring your frustration.
By doing this, you will be able to keep playing and even win back all or some of your losses.
Other distractions that can be neutralised or, at least, fixed with discipline are: hunger, comfort or exhaustion.
Rookies usually see these things as sign of weakness and hence they continue playing even though their mind has left the table already. However, disciplined players know when to stop and they are not ashamed to do so.
At the end of the day what’s really important is whether you have won or whether you have lost money. Therefore, if any distraction is making you unable to make good calls and win, you should simply leave.
Practicing discipline often overlaps with practicing patience. Boredom can be a huge problem to players who play at a table with many players who never seem to fold. In a situation of this kind one can easily get bored waiting for his turn to come and when it finally happens they are fast to increase the bet or call. However, being patient and carefully choosing which hand to play is of an utmost importance, even if that means waiting for 15 minutes in between. For professional players, for example, discipline is crucial for maintaining a high level of motivation at all times and treating poker as a job instead of treating it as a game.
Discipline is All
In conclusion, discipline can easily be crowned as the most important characteristic of poker players.
Luck and intelligence can help you at times, but discipline helps always. As long as you get the basic poker rules and learn some good playing strategies, you should start practising your discipline.
Being patient, playing only hands that have good odds and controlling your emotions are necessary for becoming a disciplined, and with that a skilled, poker player who is able to take down the toughest gamblers out there.
It is crucial to remember that your mind controls your actions and you are the one that should control the mind.
Therefore, always have a disciplined mind at the poker table and there won’t be anything that could intimidate you or make you lose your focus on the game.