Everyday Skills to Help Your Poker Game
Poker is one of the most universally liked games in the world. No wonder it is so — there’s something in it for everyone. Extroverts enjoy the excitement that poker brings, as well as its competitive and sociable aspects. On the other hand, introverts, who are known to be patient and observant, get to cash those virtues in and show off in a game of poker.
Finally, it’s great entertainment and pastime, regardless of whether you’re playing it alone online or with your friends.
6 Life Skills To Improve Your Poker Game
There’s so much from your daily life that you can use in poker, and vice versa. That must be why you often hear people say — life is like a poker game! Think about it — they’re not wrong. There’s so much these two have in common, so why not take advantage of that?
Let’s take a look at how everyday skills can help you improve your poker game.
When we talk about discipline, hard work and practice come to mind first. Both of these traits are necessary components of any process of advancement — after all, they don’t say practice makes perfect for nothing.
However, there’s a little more to discipline than pure diligence. No amount of hard work can help you if you’re worried or have something at the back of your mind while playing. When this happens, not only will you be distracted and absent-minded, but you’ll also show this to your opponents. To avoid this you should try to be disciplined in all aspects of your life. Only then will you be able to focus and make the most of the game.
As we’ve already mentioned, playing poker well is hardly a walk in the park. It involves a lot of dedication, focus, and tenacity, which are not the traits everyone has. You’ll have to go through tons of losses, long periods of downswings, and terrible bad beats, while others suck out. This can be more than just a hit to your wallet — it can be a huge blow to your pride, too.
Firstly, have in mind that this comes with the territory — you win some, and you lose some. That’s one more thing that life and poker share. So, do not focus on losing, but rather on how you can get through it. This is where mindfulness comes in. Practicing to be patient, calm, and aware will sharpen your mind and strengthen your spirit.
Daniel Nagreanu, a successful poker player, says mindfulness achieved through meditation helps him, so there must be something to it.
A life skill that goes hand in hand with discipline is reflection. When you are trying to upgrade yourself and move forward, one of the most important steps is going back to your past mistakes and learning from them. The same can be applied to poker.
For starters, you can keep track of your play. It might sound like too much work, but trust us — it’s really helpful in the long run. Start from the basics:
- Investments (regarding both money and time)
Then think about your past plays and game plans:
- Stack sizes
Review your records and learn from your past miscalculations and slip-ups. After all, poker is a game of math and strategy. With enough practice, you will be able to make these work for you instead of against you.
Being perceptive and able to read your opponents can often turn out to be crucial in a game of poker. Even though it appears to be a difficult skill to acquire, we assure you — it can be done. What’s more, you already do this on a daily basis to a degree.
You communicate with others all the time. To do so successfully, you have to have some understanding of what they’re thinking, saying, or implying. You might be wondering how you are even able to do this — by reading their facial expressions, gestures, body language, and tone of voice, of course!
This is exactly what you’ll have to do in poker as well. Being able to recognize when someone is planning something specific or when they’re simply bluffing is a huge advantage.
Once you’ve mastered the art of perceptiveness, there’s another skill related to it that might come in handy. It’s not enough to know what the opponent’s next move is if you don’t know how to respond to it. That’s where strategy comes into play.
Strategy is a broad concept, and there’s a lot to cover when we talk about it in relation to poker.
Nevertheless, we will focus on three aspects in this article — position, hand, and risk.
Having others act before you do gives you an upper hand in poker just as it does in life. For this to happen in your favorite game, you need to play in position rather than out of it. In poker, playing out of position means that you’re the first to act, while playing in position means that you’re the last one to take a turn. By playing in position, you’ll gain a lot of knowledge about the pot. This should be a good first step toward deciding your next move.
You’ll also need to have a good understanding of your hand in order to determine what the next move should be. Even if you’ve been dealt a bad hand, you may still have a chance at winning. It’s important to know what you want to accomplish and how you can do it considering the leverage that the other players have.
The third thing you should think about is risk-taking. Assessing whether something’s worth the risk makes all the difference in poker. No matter how enticing it would be to play, sometimes you simply need to step away. As the poker player Dan Reed once said, you show greatness “by the hands you fold, not the ones you play”.
Just like you need to know when you are out for a certain hand, you also need to be aware of when you can afford to lose. In poker, as in life, some sacrifices are just necessary for the greater good. If there’s a goal you believe is worth attaining, don’t be afraid to aim for it. As long as you have your eye on the prize, that’s all that matters.
As you can see, there are plenty of everyday skills that you can use to enhance your gambling abilities. Discipline will make you an emotionally strong player, while reflection can help you improve your strategy. In addition, you will learn to be more patient and mature as a gambler if you’re more mindful and preceptive. Finally, once you master risk-taking and negotiation techniques, no poker move should surprise you too much.
If you’re interested in stepping up your poker game, you should try mastering these skills. You can thank us later!