The psychology of the game for most people evokes images of poker players with stony faces and their habits and actions (tell) that suggest the value of the cards they hold.
I argue that there is much more to the psychology of the game. When we look at successful players, they all have a good money management strategy, a good game strategy, a high level of skill at stake, a distinctive presentation and, where appropriate, the psyche ability of their opponents.
You can argue that some of these aspects of the game do not appeal to psychology. I do not agree.
The judicious money management strategy allows the player who has managed to recover after several consecutive losing game sessions. Especially in poker, opponents notice these things and the ability to bounce back has a subtle psychological effect on opponents. It also allows you to approach the next session in a state of mind higher than the one you are in, because you know that if you lose again, you still have enough reserves to try again.
Without a sound strategy, you will be directed to the cleaner, no matter what game you play or where you play it. A good strategy simply requires that you play the game to take advantage of all the favorable bets and to avoid betting where the house has an unreasonable advantage.
This allows you to play with confidence because once your strategy has been tested and proven, you will know that when you win, your winnings will be reasonable to good enough and that in cases where you lose, your losses will be relatively modest.
Your gaming skills give you the confidence to stick to your strategies when you’re under pressure, allowing you to maximize your winnings and minimize your losses. If your game stresses you excessively, find a game with lower limits or a different game that you find less stressful. If that’s not possible, then it’s time to find another time.
Your distinctive presentation sends a message to your opponents. This message depends on where and with whom you play. Many years ago, I worked as a singer (cowboy) and since then I have worn western shirts, jeans and polished riding boots for a long time. In town, it gives me the image of a hay seed (hillbilly). At the poker tables, it’s great because most of those who do not know me personally will tend to consider me an inexperienced and poor player.
For me, it’s the unseen aspects of the psychology of the game that both reinforce your self-confidence and allow you to breathe the confidence during your gaming session.
Virtually everyone has heard of poker “tells” even if they do not really know what they are. The signs are the subtle signs that others discover and give them a good idea of the strength of our poker hand. Hiding this information from your opponents requires a lot of acting and practice skills, especially when you suddenly find yourself sitting on a nice packed room or royal flush.
I remember playing against that stony-faced guy who had not moved or talked for hours when suddenly the artery on his side of his neck started to jump as if he had just run a marathon. He obviously had a hand that he found very exciting. While he could control his voluntary actions, he could not control his involuntary actions. Everyone who could see that side of his neck retreated in their turn. If he had come dressed in “dandy” with a tie, no one would have noticed his overt enthusiasm and his pot would have been much bigger.
This incident clearly illustrates the visible aspects of game psychology.
Finally, I thought I should do some research to see what the experts have to say about the psychology of the game. After a few hours reading these newspapers, the bottom line was to show that we were showing all the early signs of abnormal behavior and that, if detected early, the problem could respond to treatment. Unfortunately, there are some of us where gambling has become a problem.
I make a point of never playing when the funds are short, because my sad experience is that every time I played in these situations, I almost always lost and such losses are doubly painful. I always won the most each time I could afford the loss. Being cashed out removes stress and reduces mistakes made when you play with too much caution.