Focusing On the Big Picture

One of the most important lessons that you will ever learn in poker is to make sure you understand what element luck has in your results. While this may seem at least a little obvious to us, most players don’t really understand this properly enough, and benefit from having a little harder look at the role and significance of luck in poker.

So what goes wrong here? Well several things really. Let’s start with one of the biggest problems many poker players face, getting angry over so called bad beats. It isn’t the bad beat that’s the real problem here, it’s the upset player letting his confusion get him off his game, which may even include looking to upset and even educate his fishier opponents.

Over time, skill always wins out over luck. The important term here is over time. This does not mean that it wins out every time. It can lose out several times in succession and still be the right play. Over time, if you add up the results of all of the situations, if the play was superior it will make money.

So it is really dumb to get upset over the outcome of a single hand, whether it is from a bad beat or from anything else, as long as you are playing correctly. If you made a mistake, and are upset about that, that’s not even the best way to look at it, but at least there’s a good reason behind it.

Building Your Game Based Upon The Numbers

Good play has the numbers behind them, meaning the probability of profit, and bad play has the numbers against it. Skilled and successful players know this, at least for the most part, even though a lot of otherwise very good players can get off track with this if they are not focused on the big picture consistently enough.

Newer and less skilled players though tend to build their games more around a much smaller sample of results than what is ideal. So they may try something, and perhaps the small sample that they look at does not portray an accurate picture of the benefits of the move.

So they may end up abandoning profitable moves this way, as well as adopting some less than ideal ones when some short term results may have them appear to be better than they actually are.

Highly skilled players, on the other hand, tend to look at the outcome of plays over the long haul, which is the only real way to determine their value. Even some good players can get pulled in by the frustrations that short term results can yield though, and this is an area where we all need to maintain our clarity of thought in.

Getting Angry With Lady Luck

The common theme in all of these situations is that we as poker players need to appreciate that this game has its element of randomness as well as elements of skill, and we have to be wise enough to both know the difference and conduct ourselves accordingly.

It can be very challenging at times to maintain a clear and level frame of mind when money changes hands based solely on luck, which it certainly does in the short and even medium turn.

Very few players indeed can pull off this mastery, although regardless of how well or how poorly we are able to do this, we must always strive to cast our vision on the big picture as much as we can and avoid letting ourselves be trapped by the insignificant stuff.

The Mental Side Of Poker Truly Is A Big Deal

Mastering the psychological side of the game of poker isn’t so much a matter of coping, as many believe, it is much more about achieving the proper understanding of what really goes on at the poker table.

Even some top pros struggle with this at times, although they tend to be a lot better at not letting it affect their performance than most of us. However, it’s far better to avoid the frustration and mistakes that can occur rather than come up with ways to calm ourselves down.

The best solution here is to focus on the soundness of our play and not get too caught up in individual outcomes, which are of course influenced by the element of luck. In the end, sound moves will deliver the profit that they are supposed to, and we cannot control the variances along the way that are inevitable, so there’s no sense beating ourselves up over them.

Even on a serious bad string of luck, all we can do is either choose to keep our heads clear or add to our problems by letting it get to us and see the quality of our play deteriorate.

While this may not always be easy, nothing worthwhile ever is, and as you train yourself to focus on what you can control and avoid worrying about what you can’t, you will find that you will not only become a better player, but the results you are so focused on will also take a turn for the better.