Poker is a game of skill, but a few factors that are not related to your hands or the pot can affect your game – both positively and negatively. Here are eight often-ignored things that could have an impact on your poker performance:
If you want to improve your poker game, having the right mindset is essential. You need to be confident and positive if you want to win. Negative thinking will only hold you back. At the same time, being overconfident will get you into much trouble.
Confidence alone, however, is not enough. As much as you have to be confident, you must be ready. And since poker is unlike any other mind game, you must be prepared for almost anything. If you do not have the right mindset, you can easily be caught off-guard by upsets, nasty poker hands, and other things you didn’t expect. This can lead to frustrations.
Your energy level
Your energy level dramatically affects your poker games. If you’re tired, it will be harder for you to focus and make good decisions. On the other hand, if you’re too excited, you might make impulsive moves that you’ll later regret. It would help if you were focused on the game, but not so much that you’re no longer thinking clearly. Eating well and getting enough sleep are keys to maintaining the right energy level.
The way you dress
What you wear can have an impact on how you play poker. If you’re too casual, other players won’t take you seriously. On the other hand, if you’re too dressed up, you might come across as arrogant or cocky. It’s important to find a happy medium. You want to look presentable and professional, but you don’t want to overdo it. A simple button-down shirt or blouse will usually do the trick.
As for online poker, you might think it’s not a piece of advice you have to take. That, of course, couldn’t be more wrong. You do not need to wear smart clothing if you play online poker at home. Dressing comfortably, however, is a must.
Since we’re already talking about online poker, if you want to try it out, sign up at GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room, so you’re sure to find the right online poker matches there.
The company you keep
Who you play with can also affect your poker game. If you’re on a poker table with people who are better than you, it’ll be harder for you to win. But if you’re surrounded by people who are worse than you, it’ll be easier for you to win. Obviously, it’s better to be surrounded by people who are better than you. That way, you can learn from them and improve your own game.
The stakes you’re playing
A poker game’s stakes also affect your performance. If you’re used to playing for low stakes, then you might get nervous when playing for high stakes. On the other hand, if you’re used to playing for high stakes, you might not take low-stakes games as seriously as you should. It’s important to find a balance.
You don’t want to be too comfortable with the stakes you’re playing for, but you also don’t want to be too nervous. The best way to find a balance is to start slow and gradually increase the stakes as you get more comfortable.
The location you’re playing in
The location you’re playing in can also affect your poker game. If you’re used to playing online, you might not be as comfortable playing in a casino. On the other hand, if you’re used to playing in a casino, then learning how and getting used to playing online can be helpful. Thankfully, it significantly takes more time to adjust to playing online if you’re already used to playing in a casino than the other way around.
This point is also true for your physical location while playing online poker. Although it allows you to play anywhere and anytime, you’d be naturally more comfortable playing in your own home than anywhere else.
And even when you’re playing at home, not all areas in it are just as conducive for online poker. For example, although you can play on your mobile phone while lying down, you’re better off playing on your desk while sitting down for better concentration. Or better yet, if you have a laptop or a desktop, it’s better to play there so you can concentrate better.
The format you’re playing
Another factor that affects the way you play is the format. If you’re used to playing in tournaments, then you might not be as comfortable playing in cash games. On the other hand, if you’re used to playing cash games, then learning how to play in tournaments can take a bit of time getting used to.
You don’t want to be too comfortable with the format you’re playing, but you also don’t want to be too nervous. The best way to find a balance is to try out both formats and see which one suits you better.
Your intuition can be a powerful tool in poker. But only if you know how to use it. If you’re the type of person who’s always second-guessing yourself, then your intuition will probably not be very helpful. On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who’s always confident in your decisions, then your intuition can be a valuable asset.
The key is to learn how to listen to your intuition. If there is something in your gut telling you that you’re doing the right thing, then carry on. But if it’s telling you the opposite, better hold off on it for now. It’s that simple.
It’s all about the factors that matter
Pay attention to these factors the next time you play poker and see how they affect your game. You can control some of them to your advantage, and you’ll have to be the one to adjust for the others. Either way, what matters is that you do what you must and win as much as possible.