Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The Psychological Side of Online Poker
Online poker can be a great way to realize your poker hobby without having to pay to play at other venues. In addition to this, you can often enjoy the same level of play in the comfort of your own home. However, many players engage in this style of competition without giving much consideration to the psychological side of the online game. For some users, this variation on the game meshes well with their style in a traditional setting. For others, the transition is not as seamless. Making sure you understand the nuances of playing online will keep your game in peak condition and allow you to make the most of your play time.
Preparing For an Online Session
Before you even begin playing Texas Hold'em, or one of the other online offerings, keep in mind that what you do before you log on to the site can affect your ability to properly compete. Having a bad mental outlook can cause you to play erratically or against your normal strategy. This can have dire consequences in many circumstances. For serious players, this is unacceptable and counterproductive.
Before signing on, try and relax yourself or take note of your current attitude. If you have recently been upset or angered, perhaps it is not the right time to play. Otherwise, you may regret how the session turns out. Conversely, keep in mind that overly exuberant feelings can cause you to play recklessly as well. Feeling overjoyed and assuming that luck is on your side is not a sound strategy. Ensure that you have a measured approach to the game. This will allow you to implement your game plan to the best of your abilities.
Understanding Other Players
Unlike a physical setting, it may be hard to read other players. Not knowing the mental state of the person on the other end of the connection can leave you feeling confused and unsure in the face of erratic or questionable moves. With the mask of anonymity, some players fall away from a traditional style. However, you can overcome this impediment by looking for signs and patterns. If a player always waits until the last moment of his allotted time for a big hand, you know to fold or avoid big raises. Simple cues like this can mean the difference between becoming frustrated with others and winning multiple hands.
Keeping Yourself Calm
In the face of an unpredictable player or a session in which luck seems to be against you, keeping calm will be your best bet at getting things back on track. In many online poker rooms removing yourself from the table and joining again later is perfectly acceptable. While this may not be allowed in higher stakes game, a more casual room will grant you this flexibility. Engaging this option will allow you to walk away from the screen and do something that will calm your nerves, like grabbing a drink or using the restroom. If you don't wish to leave the table, skipping a turn or folding a hand to get a small break may be enough.
Another sound psychological approach to online poker is to maintain a strategy. Under this system you will have a focused plan of attack. Of course when dealing with bad breaks and other random occurrences you may wish to step away from the plan. However, doing so could compromise your demeanor if luck continues to work against you. Knowing that you are doing everything according to a strong plan can help ease your nerves when others find lucky draws or other unusual outcomes. If you find yourself unable to adhere to a plan, consider leaving the online room and trying again later. Bad luck happens to everyone, but how you deal with it could improve your chances of bouncing back.
Ben Oren is the Marketing Specialist of WSOP. He specializes in broadening awareness of the sport, as well as the visibility of professional poker events.
Posted by Pundit