postheadericon The Importance of Discipline at the Poker Table

It is true for every sport that discipline is a key factor in consistent success. Despite the common understanding that poker is a gambling game of chance, you have to realize that if one day you are to become a profitable pro, you will have to establish sportsmanlike discipline of learning, understanding, and incessant practice. “Talent” is certainly essential, but even the greatest talent needs a method, and method is acquired from careful study.

Mozart was certainly a child protg of great talent, but even Mozart practiced his music relentlessly even as a child. Mozart knew that talent is well-practiced potential. But don’t depend on anyone else to impose discipline. You must impose it on yourself.

The fun of the game to most amateurs lies in the excitement of pitting themselves against blind chance. Poker is popular because of the adrenaline rush that comes with taking a risk. The professional knows his basic chances at poker, but rather than having a pleasurable time, he studies and takes advantage of opponents’ mistakes, remembers them and uses them against them while calculating immediate odds. Chance is only one element to challenge his skill and wits. The pro is not playing a half-blind game of chance, he is playing a strategic game of matching himself against another’s method and besting him.

It is vital to be familiar with the varieties of poker games and to know which of them best suit your abilities and predispositions; not only to realize what your weaknesses are, but to know also which game incites you to your best effort and best engages your intuitions. Players who haven’t the habit of self-introspection keep sullenly playing a game which doesn’t engage their best faculties. Sometimes a benevolent professional looking from the side may advise the person to try another game type and the player is surprised to discover that they are much more talented than they thought.

There is a big difference between limit and no-limit poker. A disciplined player will not yield to temptation and will prefer the game in which he feels in full, cucumber-cool control. In limit poker, disciplined players tend to play with caution, act cool, taking the time to covertly collect information about opponents, intending to milk them by small moves. They will play only the hands worth playing: the best ones play only about 20% of the hands dealt them.

The no-limit pro will appear to be the opposite of the reserved, cool limit player. He will play aggressively before the flop, and play hands that to a limit expert would appear to be pure folly. The disciplined no-limit player is always aware of exactly what he is trying to achieve with every bold move.

Whether limit or no-limit, of at least the same importance as the right move, is to not get so carried away that you don’t refrain yourself from knowing when to fold. If the situation is hopeless, or you feel a lack of control, which is certainly not uncommon, as a disciplined player aware of your performance, you will not continue with a game bringing only frustration.

On better days, never trust chance to maintain your good fortune forever – learn to leave before you loose the edge. Good players learn to establish not only the limits of their losses, but also the limits of their gain during each session.

If you enjoyed this article you may also like to read the poker articles at Random Poker Blog or Poker Chips Pro

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