Many interviews with the world’s top poker players include one version or another of the basic saying that you cannot control luck, but you can control how you react to your luck. This is a core concept that those who want to succeed in poker absolutely must master. It is essential to being able to pull down pot after pot and not get discouraged by a bad beat or other blow against one’s ego and bankroll. One thing that is interesting to note about self control as it relates to poker is that the vast sweeping majority of poker players both online and offline have a very low level of self control most of the time. This is understandable since most of them are simply playing for the fun of it and gambling as a rule is considered fun simply because taking large artificial risks is an inherent form of human entertainment. However, those who learn the self control they need to win will find that they can win quite a lot simply because they are practicing an art that a very small percentage of players they go up against practice. Are you interested in a new poker room? Read our Pokertime review.
Temptation is great in poker. This is your biggest battle and it is tough not to raise with a Queen Jack or Pair of Sevens even when you know that this is not a wise decision. Most players understand they are taking risks they probably shouldn’t, but the allure of a big pot can pull in money faster than any of us would like to admit. Also, the emotional after effects of losing will weigh on us and make us feel that we have to ‘prove’ we are not losers and not bad decision makers. It is a great irony, then, that we end up making yet another high risk decision and often losing that, too, in our efforts to prove what great decisions we make. This is ego, pure and simple, and while it is needed in poker in order to be aggressive, it can also cause us to make foolhardy decisions if we do not keep it in check at other times. Read about Poker reading abilities.
This is why the core of self control is not actually what most people think it is: refusing to take action. Instead, real self control is taking action. Simply knowing the right thing to do is not going to get you anywhere in poker. You have to take the next step and do that thing, no matter what it is. This is the basic principle that guides those who can move past their own emotions and the perception they worry others hold of them and really take that winning to the next level. Plenty of players know a great deal of strategy and tactics, they already know exactly what to do – but they don’t do it. If you can do what must be done despite all the distractions at the table or in your head, you can win regularly.
This is precisely what people mean when they say that poker is easy to understand, but tough to master. They’re talking about self control.