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Psychological Aspects of Poker

Psychological Aspects of Poker When you don't have courage in a game, it weakens your play. The game of poker is not for the timid; it is for the bold. I keep using the word "bold," and I think this is what many of the experts and great players talk about when they use the word courage.

another aspect of courage is the ability to absorb bad breaks and losses and not alter your style of play. For example, you might have lost a few big pots with a full house to a higher full house or with good hands that somehow were beaten. Now is the test of your courage. again, you have a good hand, a very strong hand that can win the pot, and you seem to have everyone beaten on board. To have courage in this situation is to bet the limit, to push that pot all the way up, to push your cards as far as they go.

If you start thinking of the previous losing hands and the previous losses, and you check or make a small bet, then you're not being bold; you are said to lack courage."

The higher the limits, the more psychology plays a part in poker. In a limit game, particularly a small- or medium-limit game, the play is generally tight because there is hardly any way for any player to bluff using money. Position alone can be used as a psychological pressure.

When the game goes into higher limits, into $100 and higher bets, into pot-limit games and no-limit games, then we have another story altogether. Not only do the cards and position now playa big role, but money itself. When you have both money and position on the table, you can easily use them as psychological bludgeons.

For example, suppose in a pot-limit game in high draw poker you were the dealer, and you raised the pot before the draw and then drew one card.
There are two players remaining with you. Matter the draw, both check; you count the pot and push in the pot's total as your bet.

You've used your money and your superior position at this moment. The other players are at a disadvantage. You drew one card and now are betting the limit. They don't know what you have. Would you raise on a four Bush or four straight? Not likely. Perhaps you are holding two high pair, three of a kind, or maybe four of a kind.

Or maybe you're holding nothing. You may be bluffing, but the other players are in a bad spot to call, especially since you made a big raise before drawing a card.

Remember, having the position and money scares the hell out of other players. They have to make an educated guess about your hand, they have to try to "read" your hand, and that puts them at a tremendous disadvantage. You've made your bet, and you sit back. If you don't give your hand away "tell" your hand), you're in a beautiful spot.

There's nothing worse than sitting with three kings on the fourth round of betting, making a bet, and then watching the holder of a pair of aces showing raise you the limit in a game of seven-card stud, high, pot limit. There you are, trying to guess if the raiser has the third ace. This ability to gauge hands, to guess or read a hand, separates the big winners from the losers.

The very top players have an uncanny ability to read hands.
They study the opponents, they watch their gestures, movements, and mannerisms, looking for the "tell," for the one thing that gives the hand away.

a player who is bluffing and betting a large amount is often like a guilty man taking a lie detector test. He may think he's outwardly calm, but a lot of barely noticeable things are giving him away. His heart will be pounding, the pulse in his neck or temple will be beating at a strong, fast pace, his hands will be shaking and his voice will change in tone and pitch. all these things are giveaways, and they are watched by experts.
 

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