Psychology and Poker

The term ‘Poker Face’ has become a popular phrase with the help of the entertainment industry of today. The term- as its etymology states- has been derived from the game of Poker. Concealing ones emotions and idiosyncrasies is an important aspect of playing Poker, because the smallest of gestures tend to reveal the gravest of thoughts.

Poker is a game of skill, which like most games deals with brain power, and psychology. If one gets   the hang of how impactful the mind is, and how its great power can be used to read your opponents’ next move, that is when psychology comes into play, and one becomes the maestro in the field.

Psychology is the study of the mind, and its attributes and characteristics, which remain unique from individual to individual. Understanding the complex intricacies, comprehending what goes on inside the brain will allow one to overcome the small qualms, and act as a push in the direction of becoming a great player.

Psychology helps one in two ways- it hones your ability to look within and recognise your own thought process, and how it influences your game play.

As Barbra Connors, who is a poker player, and a published author, once said, “Once you have a good understanding of yourself and your opponent, the real psych-out games can begin.”

How is psychology helpful

know yourself and your opponent better

Once one establishes an understanding with themselves, they are prone to understand the kind of style that befits them the most. There are primarily four different styles of playing poker, that one can get categorised in, they are-

-Tight Players- They play few hands, sometimes as few as 10%

-Loose Players- Join in the game with low hands, as compared to other on the table

-Aggressive Players- They tend to raise their bets to increase pressure on others

-Passive Players- They tend to fold more than bet, checking on the play of others

Aggressive players tend to be more ostentatious in their manner- which includes their sense of dressing, manner of speaking, and portraying themselves- all mere tactics to intimidate their opponents. Being the centre of attention gives them a level of validation which compensates for their lack of confidence.

The other category of players are passive in nature. They tend to be social, but do not collide with other players blatantly. Tight Players tend to be conservative and collected in their manner- they are neat and seldom indulge in conversation during the game, which is a complete contrast of what Loose Players are like.

After one succeeds in reaching a conclusion on their opponent’s game play ways, they can adjust their own game play accordingly. When playing with an aggressive player remember that the financial swings will be wild, only stay in the game if you are ready for the consequences.

If you are playing a Passive Player, be more aggressive in nature. Whilst playing a Loose Player bluff less and value-bet more. Always exploit the flaw that resides within you and your opponent to have a successful play.

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