Using Emotions to Your Benefit in Poker

The term “poker face” has come to embody how skilled a person is at hiding their emotions when playing poker. The better a player is at being able to mask their emotions from opponents, the better their poker face is. In short, people who can play the game without letting their emotional side get the best of them are considered to have a much bigger advantage over other players.

Getting deeper into the subject, emotions are actually looked at as a bad thing when you’re talking about poker. The stereotypical image of an emotional player is that of a person who goes on tilt often and gives away everything they are trying to do. Obviously people want to avoid being this kind of player so they tuck their emotions away until they leave the table. However, what many players don’t realize is that emotions can actually be very beneficial in poker. 

Emotions are a powerful motivational tool

No matter how skilled a poker player is they will find the game to be a series of highs and lows. When you’re on a hot streak and winning lots of money it’s easy to enjoy being a poker player. But when you are struggling and losing quite a bit of money then the decision to be a poker player becomes questionable. And when you start questioning whether or not it was a good idea to become a poker player then you begin to wonder if you should continue playing the game.

Some people will decide that it’s in their best interests to give poker up and concentrate on other things. However, there are other people who will decide that they want to stick with the game and become an even better player than before. When you start feeling these emotions they can motivate you to do everything possible to improve your play such as studying strategy or increasing the length of playing sessions. Because of this, emotions can be a very powerful tool in making one better at poker.

Emotions give us more confidence

Anyone who plays poker long enough will run into hot streaks during their playing career. And during these streaks one will find that they are getting all of the cards they need at the right time, cash game sessions always turn up a profit, and deep tournament runs are expected every time. When you’re playing like this, everything seems possible and you may even start thinking about all of the money you can make in the future if things keep up like this.

But, going past the money aspect, the emotions experienced from playing well for an extended time period can also boost your poker confidence in a big way. And when you become a more confident player, you start to do what everyone else preaches about in being more aggressive at the table. Once you’re more aggressive you will start stealing pots from other players and forcing opponents to fold hands they might not have otherwise. 

Varying emotions keep poker fun

Poker is fun and exciting for everyone when they first get into it since the game is brand new to them and the chance to win big money is always around the corner. But the more and more you play poker, the more routine it can become – even if you’re winning all of the time! And when something is overly routine it becomes boring and a person may start to question their desire when this happens.

Obviously you want to avoid lumping poker into the routine category and this is best accomplished by incorporating emotions into the game. Now this doesn’t mean you have to throw a chair when you suffer a bad beat or yell in an opponent’s face after winning a huge pot. But you also shouldn’t be sitting at the table stone-faced when a big play goes your way or when you happen to be on the losing end of a huge hand. Not being afraid to show some emotions here or there can really help keep poker fun over the long-term.