The Mental Side of Poker


Poker is a card game with quite a bit of skill. It is also a psychological game that requires a lot of mental discipline to play well. Playing poker teaches you how to assess risk and make decisions based on logic rather than emotion. This is an invaluable skill that you can take into all areas of your life.

Poker teaches you how to analyze your own mistakes and learn from them. The divide between break-even beginner players and winning at a high rate is not as great as people think, and it often has to do with learning to look at the game in a more cold, detached, mathematical, and logical way. This means studying hands, taking notes, and discussing them with other players. You should always be reviewing your hand history and looking for ways to improve.

You should also be evaluating your opponents’ play, especially their body language (if you are playing in person). Poker is an excellent social game, but it is important to pay attention to your opponents and not let the conversation get away from you.

When you are at a table, it is fine to sit out a hand if you need to go to the restroom or refresh your drink. However, you should never miss more than a couple of hands in a row as it can be disruptive to the rest of the players at the table. It’s also courteous to inform the other players that you will be sitting out a hand if you have to leave early.