Poker, unlike a number of other card games isn't just down to luck - it requires a great deal of skill, strategy and dexterity to become a master of the chips. Knowing your hand is only one part of the battle - understanding your opponents and the psychology of the game is quite another and it is this crucial element of the game that separates the men from the boys. Whether you're an experienced player or first timer on the poker circuit, learning how to effectively manipulate the psychology of your game could be the quickest way for you to both improve as a player and to win more money more regularly. Before you can begin to come to terms with the psychology of the table, you must first become familiar with the psychology of your own game.
Of course this initially demands an understanding of the technicalities of the game, but anyone can learn the basic rules in less than ten minutes. What you really need to focus on is learning when you need to fold and when you can afford to push the boundaries. Knowing when to quit isn't an easy skill to learn, but it is imperative if you want to become a top player, whether that's online or at a real poker table. Likewise understanding the nature of your table is vital to learning what other people are up to, with a view to cashing in at the end of the night.
A good poker player will be able to keep his calm under heavy losses. He'll be able to know how to ride out the storm and when to play more aggressively, against a range of opponents of different skill levels and experience. What it requires, more than the ability to play a good hand, is the ability to read opponents and to understand their moves. By knowing when your opponent is bluffing against your strong hand, you can easily raise the stakes and cash in, provided you're accurate in your assessment of the opposite hand. Poker isn't rocket science - it's all about human nature and understanding the way in which people react in certain situations. A great deal of that is derived from experience, but a lot of it can also be derived from watching the outcomes of different poker hands, and games overall, before attempting to map out the wider ranging game plans of the top, successful players to improve your chances of success.
Playing poker isn't just about being fortunate enough to have a good hand. It's about knowing when to fold and when to push through, even when you've got nothing. It's about working the strategy of the game and intimidating your opponents into thinking you're on to a winner, even where you hand leaves a lot to be desired. Whoever said poker was a game of luck was barking up the wrong tree - in the words of the great golfer Gary Player, the more you practice, the luckier you get.
About the Author:
Arne specializes in editorials about online poker and poker odds. Supplementary resources and editorials written by Arne on the matter of poker can be accessed on the internet.