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Emotions In Poker


One of the things I love most about poker is the psychological and emotional aspect of it.

And I'm not talking about outplaying your opponents. I'm talking about the emotional effect the game has on you when you win or lose, or go on that great winning streak or horrible losing streak.

Most players play this game with their hearts on their sleeves. What I mean by that is that they live and die by the hands that they play. They are absolutely elated when their pocket aces hold up, or they turn that flush and take down a huge pot. On the other hand, they are devastated when someone hits their 3 outer on the river to take a pot away from them, or when someone calls preflop with 72o and beats their high pocket pair with trip 7s on the river.

So what is it about these emotional swings that I like?

A key, often overlooked attribute of a good poker player is that they stay in control of their emotions at the table. Regardless of how happy or upset they feel about that win or loss, they maintain an even keel and stay in control. This allows them to be at their best at all times without being ruled by their emotions. Emotional poker is usually bad poker.

When I see a player at my table who is overly emotional at the table, I see dollar signs.

You'll find that a lot of bad players tend to be the ones that get too emotionally invested in the game. Because of this, I'm hoping they win as many pots as possible through bad play. Not only because it means I have a better chance of winning that money myself (since it is now in the possession of a bad player), but also because of the affect it has on their psyche.

And what do bad, excitable players think after they've had a really good winning streak, or after they've scooped a huge pot off of an obviously good player? They think that THEY are good! I want them to believe that when they lose it's just bad luck, and when they win it's because of their skills.

I'm cheering for them to win all of the pots I'm not involved in!

In short - don't let your emotions rule your game. Both the incredible high, and lowest of the low feelings can have a negative affect on your game by either a) making you feel invincible, or b) putting you on tilt.

Stay on an even keel, and let your poker skills and knowledge do the talking.

Submitted by:

Chris Holdsworth

Copyright 2006 - Chris Holdsworth, http://LearnToPlayTexasHoldem.net. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Visit our site and sign up for our FREE Texas Holdem Newsletter! Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as the resource box remains intact and there is a live link to this site.







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