If you are learning how to play solitaire or another simple card game, you might get away without preparation, but this won’t cut in in poker. You might be thinking, what does mindset have to do with it? With the complex nature of the game, you cannot afford to make costly mistakes just because you are not in the right mood or steaming after losing a big pot. In poker, a proper mindset is vital, and while it will not help you avoid all of the mistakes, it will surely boost your overall win rate and make you a better player in the long run. Here, then, are the top five poker mindset mistakes to avoid. Don’t play when you are tired Playing poker when you are tired will do you more harm than good, and it will surely stand in the way of you being able to make optimal decisions. First of all, never start your session when you are feeling bad. If you feel tired or have had a long day, just skip your session and rest. On the other hand, if you notice that your concentration is fading, it is also wise to take a break if you can or end your session earlier. It does not matter if you are playing online poker with friends or battling it out on the felt, you want to make the most of your time and money, so play only when you feel good and avoid long sessions. Don’t chase your losses Playing poker can get overwhelming, especially if you are on a downswing. However, as difficult as it sounds, chasing your losses can only make it worse. Dwelling and brooding over the bad decisions you made while playing will not change anything. Instead, start thinking long-term. Don’t measure your skills as a player based on one session’s results; look at the big picture. If you have the right mindset, you should look at every loss as a chance to learn something new. If you learn every time you lose, over the long run you’ll become a better player. But this can only happen if you concentrate and focus on making the right decisions rather than the outcomes. Players often let results influence their choices, and because poker has elements of luck, they don’t always get the expected outcomes. It is not unusual to find players trying to make up for their previous losses in one game. More often than not it doesn’t work. Losing is just a part of this game, and there is no way to avoid it, so accept poker as a lifelong journey, and instead play when you are ready, not when you are steaming. Don’t neglect the math While poker has an element of luck, the game is mostly about skills, and one of the most important parts of the game is the understanding of basic odds and math. It does not matter how long you have been playing or whether you are a good or bad player, neglecting the math in poker is never a good idea. LEARN MORE: The Math vs. the Read via GIPHY However, many people get carried away with the thrill of the game. The exciting thing about poker is that its variance is prone to change, and making decisions based on your feelings is not the best way to go about it. Don’t play for stakes beyond your bankroll It is just impossible to make this kind of list without touching on bankroll management since this is one of the primary reasons why many players go on tilt and even dust off all of their money. What separates gamblers from professional poker players are not only skills or techniques, but how well they manage their finances. Learning how to manage your bankroll is a basic, critical skill that you need if you enjoy playing. It helps you become a better player in the long run while also helping you learn financial self-control and discipline. Play within your limits, follow the game’s guidelines and don’t be afraid to move down if needed. Don’t try to do it all alone Poker is a social game, meaning people always surround you. However, despite this game’s social nature, many players try to maintain solitude. This is because they don’t want to risk sharing strategies with their opponents or looking stupid in front of friends. However, just like in business, having friends in the same field who know what poker is about will help you become a better player in the end. This is because once you have your circle of poker friends, you can help each other become better, share tips and strategies among yourselves, and provide support when needed. Many pros have said that their poker network is one of the primary reasons for their success. I know that I surely belong in this camp. Remember, you do not have to do it all on your own, so let others help you while you also help them in the little ways you can. About Tadas PeckaitisTadas Peckaitis is a professional poker player, author of the free poker book “Play 'A' game and be the boss at your poker table”, and poker coach at mypokercoaching.com. He is also a big fan of personal effectiveness and always trying to do more. Tadas shares his knowledge about both of these topics with his students and deeply enjoys it.
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