When some people think of poker they conjure up memories of the wild west, where cowboys would play round after round of poker in a whiskey bar. Eventually, flipping over the table, drawing their guns, and announcing their opponent was a cheater. This mental image gives poker an elusive and dangerous appeal.
In reality, controlling your emotions and keeping a level head is much more important then a display of bravery in poker, no matter how good the movie cowboys made that table flipping look. There are several reasons why it is important to keep your emotions at bay at the poker table.
Why Emotions are Important to Good Poker Playing
A calm head leads to better moves. Poker is an art form, and like any art form poker takes a lot of skill. The calmer you are in your movements, the better you will be at calculating the right moves. Since poker involves several rounds of drawing and betting, it is important to keep a level head throughout the whole game so you do not blow your hand.
Excitability leads to poorly chosen bets. We have all seen it at the table. A poker player will win a few hands and let it get to their head. Next, the player is betting wildly. Calling when they should fold. Raising when they have next to nothing in their hand. Before you know it, that player has gone through their entire bankroll. This is why it is important to keep your emotions in check when you are betting. The calmer you are when you make your bets, the more likely they will be good ones, and good betting keeps you in the game longer.
Calm reactions will prevent your opponents from taking advantage of you. Many poker players believe that loud-mouthed or over-reacting players is a sign of a fish, or a new player to the game. Once an experienced player notices these traits in your poker playing, the will focus on you. If you are new to poker, it is best to keep a low profile. Experienced players will be able to read you much better then you can read them, why give them the upper hand?
Playing it cool is one of the most important skills to learn for any poker player. Anyone can learn to do it with practice. Just remember to pay attention to your emotions at every point in the game.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!