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  • The Cost Of Getting Emotional While Playing Online Poker

    emotional pokerEmotional control is the biggest skill in poker that no one talks about. There is not a single skill in all of poker that will lead to more profitability in poker than emotional control. I can absolutely say with 100% positivity that the best players in the world are the ones who are able to best keep their emotions in check. When was the last time you saw Phil Ivey yell at someone? Ever catch Patrik Antonius pounding the table? Absolutely not. Patrik and Phil are two of the best players in the world for a reason. There are plenty of people who own skill sets comparable to Patrick and Phil, but there are not many (if any) who have worked on the intangibles like they have. Let’s look at an emotional roller coaster, Mike Matusow. He may be a bit calmer now than he was a few years ago, but he still does not possess the inner strength needed to get rid of his emotional struggles. He has said, though, that his positivity has led him to more success than he had previously been able to accomplish.

    Isn’t it more important that I read poker books than see a psychiatrist?

    No. You probably don’t need to actually see a psychiatrist, but you certainly need to worry about your emotions way before you worry about when to check raise the river. After all, what use are skills if you are never in the right mindset to use them? Dennis Rodman was a famous NBA player who had an uncontrollable temper. This led to numerous suspensions and problems for him as a player. Emotional struggles will suspend periods of play in poker that would otherwise be profitable.

    How to identify whether you are in or out of emotional control

    Do you constantly feel your heart racing? Do you feel the sweat dripping from your forehead when you contemplate a big call? Do you yell or pound your fist when you lose a tough hand? If you answered yes to any of these it is safe to say that you are not fully in control of your emotions. This is quite OK though. There are very few people who would have been able to honestly answer no to all three of these questions.

    How to control your emotions while playing poker

    There is no easy way to control your emotions, be it when playing poker or when arguing with your neighbor. Practice is the only way that you will be able to achieve emotional stability. Every time that you lose a hand that makes you angry, leave the table for a few minutes. There is no use in tilting off money, or playing when you are not at your best. Maybe it will take you 20 minutes to calm down, so be it. The next time an infuriating hand comes up you should do the same thing. Walk away, take deep breaths and put everything in perspective. Make sure that you played the hand to the best of your ability and remind yourself that your play has a positive expectation in the long run. Making bad decisions makes many players angrier than being dealt a bad beat; these are the types of situations that you can avoid. Eliminate the aggravation altogether by focusing as much as possible, if you play to your potential you will have nothing to be upset about. Professional poker players have one of the most emotional and stressful jobs imaginable, that I can guarantee.