postheadericon Intuition as a Science Regarding the Poker Mind

To be good at poker “psychology” – to effectively predict your opponent’s likely thought processes – there is no need to take a seminar on Card Games and their Relation to the Unconscious. Your opponent is not your patient, and even if he/she is, no matter how well you apply Jacques Lacan to their neurosis, you are still not guaranteed to win.

Strategy is more basic to poker than psychoanalysis. But strategy is only the first step on your way to fame and fortune. “Reading” your opponents’ minds is the key to smart play, but such “reading” does not require you to listen to the other’s life story.

Outstanding players, like outstanding artists, don’t get that way from reading a manual. They progress intuitively, summoning their powers of observation, diligently practiced and enhanced over a period of many years.

You have probably noticed a dearth of technical manuals dealing with the psychology of poker. That brings us right to the crux of this issue. Whatever tips and advice may be out there for you to read up on, you cannot put them to practical use without your own sense of intuition that is achieved by putting your own thought processes to work beyond the grasp of your opponent.

Most players will lose more than they win because they depend on strict models of play, much like computer programs, or simulations that present themselves as predictions to be used robotically by the savvy player. This could be quite simple depending on the number of variables involved in the prediction.

The talented player, on the other hand, disdains crude cribs. Instead, they make their own observations about their own play and about that of others. Guided by their own intuition, they then combine those observations into principles according to their own whim and fancy. The resulting strategy is known only to them. The more talented the player is, the more complex (or ingeniously simple, which is basically the same thing) and idiosyncratic his secret strategy, making him less vulnerable.

This may be another reason why artists and players (two creatures in the same family) do not easily and never fully reveal their trade secrets to the general public: at best they allow some general theoretical discussion of their work or a few relatively trivial technical tips. Which may be very nice of them, but the problem is that they did not achieve their status by reading somebody else’s tips.

It is then most vital to commit yourself to the intense study of personal observation from your own practice to develop your observational skills as well as your imagination. Do this and you will independently create ways of acquiring a manner of play that is unique to you in its every detail.

By far the best bluffers of the game are those who do it with regularity in a manner that prohibits anyone at the table from deciphering the bluff. This requires a strong intuition developed by lots of practice and known only to them.

While hard work and persistence are involved here, they are of little benefit unless you have the courage and independence to use your imagination in some cases that make you seem less than sane but are innovative and demand a curious nature and the soul of an explorer which puts you way out in front.

One could now proceed to elaborate on the processes of intuition, or suggest where to start or what not to neglect, but even that would be too much. Everyone is blessed with intuition; not everyone has the drive to aggressively hone and use it. If the results of your unique intuition are to be unique, you had better start on your own.

What I have written about here calls for a lifetime commitment. Nobody who was ever considered a master at his craft, whatever that may be, was given that title. They worked long and hard and on their own and they earned it.

To read more poker articles like this one go to Random Poker Blog or Poker Chips Pro

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