How to Control Your Emotions in Poker


Poker requires several skills to be successful: Discipline, perseverance, focus, and confidence. Luck will play a role in your game, but you can control it and improve your chances of winning over the long term.

The first thing to do before you start playing poker is to understand the rules. In most games, the first round of betting begins with a player making some form of forced bet (called a “blind” or “ante”) and continues clockwise as each player in turn must either match that bet or fold, losing the amount of money they have so far and all further involvement in the hand.

There are three emotions that can kill a player: defiance, hope, and fear. In poker, these emotions are what keep players in a hand that they know they shouldn’t be in, and they also prevent them from folding when they don’t have the right cards.

Those three emotions aren’t all bad, but you can kill yourself by letting them get the best of you. One of the best ways to control these feelings is by practicing your mental toughness. Watch videos on YouTube of Phil Ivey taking a bad beat, and you’ll see that he never gets upset about it.

The best poker players are able to control their emotions by knowing when to bluff and when to fold. They also understand that poker is a game of odds and that luck doesn’t always win, so they commit to smart game selection.