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/Nov/2013

Self-control in poker

By: uzbektosh @ 01:50 (EST) / 149 / Comment ( 2 )

Self-control is something that we all like to think we have mastered, when in actuality our self-discipline in most situations is poor. We all spend that extra 15 minutes in bed in the morning when we need to get up. We all order that take-away on Friday night when we told ourselves that we wouldn’t. We all spend far too long watching TV when we know that we need to tidy the flat. A lack of self-control in most cases is pretty harmless. We all could do that little bit extra in our everyday lives to get more stuff done, but at least a lack of discipline isn’t going to cost us any money. In poker however, it can and it most certainly will.

The reason behind lack of self-control in poker.

Why do you call that last bet on the river when you almost know for a fact that you have the losing hand?

1. Because you don't have enough confidence in your judgment as a poker player.

2. You need to satisfy that lust for answers and complete information.

1) Confidence in your decisions. If you were always 100% confident in your decisions, you honestly wouldn’t have the slightest concern about folding when you believe you have the worst hand. It’s the uncertainty that causes all the problems. To improve your confidence you need to improve your game. The more experience you have and the greater your strategically knowledge is, the greater your confidence in the accuracy of your judgments.

2) Lust for complete information. You call because you’re dying to get that final piece of the jigsaw. It's the same reason why you can't wait for next week's episode of your favorite TV show and why you get excited for that final film in the trilogy.

How do you improve your self-control? You have to work out how much becoming a successful, winning poker player means to you. If you want to become a winner more than you want to satisfy your curiosity, you'll find away. Just like if losing weight and staying alive means more to you than eating McDonalds every day. If you can't find the willpower somewhere inside you then there is nothing this article or anyone can do to help you. If you can't change yourself then it's going to be impossible for someone else to do it for you. Don't ever feel that you're the only player in the world that feels a slight sting every time you lay down what could have been a winner, because you're not. There will be times where you actually fold the best hand, but that's part and parcel of being a winning player. Get used to it.

Three steps to better self-control in poker. “X number of steps to improvement” seems to be all the rage in self-help guides, so here are mine. Every time you come face to face with that ugly urge to call and waste good money on the river (or wherever you know you're about to call when you shouldn't), do 3 things:

1. Man up.

2. Fold.

3. Forget about it.

If you still have concerns about your play then by all means revisit the hand in your post-session analysis. I can guarantee you that you'll find it a lot easier to justify folding in your analysis than you would be able to in the heat of the moment, so don't let that curiosity control how you play poker. Successful poker players don’t bring their emotions to the table.

Hope you can manage your self-control.

Good luck at the tables.

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