When people explain poker, they usually describe it as a game of strategy and skill. However, there is a third, even more, important element of the game that often gets overlooked: the mental aspect. Just as with elite competitors of any sport or competition, the best of the best have a tougher mental makeup than their opponents.
Attitude is the single most critical aspect of succeeding in whatever you do. Negativity breeds negativity. If you get down on yourself for bad decisions or other mistakes, you will chip away at your confidence, leading to self-doubt, which will only lead to more incorrect decisions at the table.
Creating and maintaining a positive mental outlook is essential to long-term poker success. Just like a star quarterback must immediately forget an interception and move on, you too, must forget about a bad bluff or a missed call. When playing on poker sites like the WPT app, your attitude will impact your bottom line more than anything else. If you are looking for ways to change your mindset, here are some techniques:
1. Learning Emotional Control
Emotions are the enemy of reason and sound decision-making. Poker is a game of high highs and lower lows. On one hand, you can feel like the king of that table, having tripled your buy-in. Two hands later, you could be down to the felt on a 2-outer.
Every card player is familiar with these instances. And this is also where tilt tends to show up. However, positive thinking requires emotional control, which translates to better play at the table. Keeping your emotions in check helps you stay focused and composed, best equipped to make crucial decisions when the time comes.
2. Developing a Strong Resilience
With so many highs and lows, it is necessary that good poker players develop a thick skin.
There will be times you get one-outed, lose set over set, or many other types of bad beats. The ability to take it on the chin, keep your head up, and continue to focus on making the right decisions is what separates good players from great players.
3. Being Confident in Your Poker Game
Part of having a positive attitude is having a positive opinion of your poker talent. If you trust your readers; follow them. There is nothing more frustrating than calling when you think you’re beat, and then finding out that you were right.
Equally frustrating is failing to make a call when you suspect your opponent of betting light, only to be shown a total bluff. Being confident helps you play your best game, being passive when necessary, assertive when called for, and trusting your gut.
4. Focus and Concentration
While we’ve touched on things that can help with your focus in other sections, this is a topic that deserves its own attention. The fact is that positive thinking is a choice. And one of the ways you choose to think positively is to control what you focus and concentrate on.
In poker, there will be so many times that you make all the right reads and all the right moves and still lose a huge pot to a lucky donkey. In these moments, remember to simply focus on the process of playing poker. Proper pre-hand selection, analyzing your opponent’s play, observing and replaying the hand, etc.
5. Goal Setting and Achieving
Setting goals is an important part of keeping a positive attitude. By having clear-cut milestones you’d like to accomplish, you give your brain something to focus on and work towards. As you accomplish the smaller steps along the way, it encourages you and reinforces that you are on the right track in your gameplay.
6. Learning and Adapting
One of the ways you stay positive is by using even the bad things that happen for good. Earlier, we mentioned how a quarterback has to forget about throwing an interception immediately; and that’s true.
But after the game, he’s going to watch the tape, analyze his mechanics, and figure out what he did wrong. You should do the same thing when you misplay a hand, make a bad bluff, or any other type of mistake. Replay the hand in your mind, decide what you could have done differently, and incorporate that information into your game moving forward.
And it’s not only about analyzing your play; it’s also about continuing to learn and grow your game, staying on top of all the latest game theory and strategies. The world of poker is ever-evolving and changing; new game variants and ideas are always popping up.
7. Controlling Your Own Narrative
One of the best things about developing a positive attitude is that it lets you decide what the narrative is surrounding your game. Instead of focusing on mistakes or things they could have done differently, positive thinkers stay fixed in the moment, focusing on the present situation and trusting in their ability to make the right moves. They also use positive affirmation techniques and give themselves credit where it is due, rather than always beating themselves up over missteps.
8. Never Letting It Get Personal
Staying positive also means remembering to never let things get under your skin on a personal level. Whether you are playing on the WPT app or anywhere else, the minute you start taking things personally, especially against a specific opponent who has delivered multiple bad beats to you, is the moment you start making mistakes. Once you let that negativity in, it can destroy your positive thinking practices.
As you can see, having a positive attitude isn’t just about being optimistic; it’s about making choices in how you deal with various situations while equipping yourself with the proper mental tools and techniques to thrive in an unpredictable and competitive atmosphere.
Embracing a positive attitude helps with emotional control, improved decision-making, and resilience. These, along with the other principles mentioned in this guide will help you take your game to whole new levels.