Psychological Aspects of Poker
When you are having a bad streak („downswing“)
- Even if you play a perfect game, short-time losses can occur
- Never play more aggressively or more loosely to make up for previous losses
- You can just as well win today’s losses back tomorrow
- Never go to a higher level to make good for losses on a lower level
- If you continue loosing over a longer period, check your game to find “leaks”. Re-read the beginners document, check the forum’s advanced section. Using poker software can help here too, because you can check your own player statistics to find out where your losses are coming from
When you are having a very good phase (“upswing”)
- Do not get carried away, don’t start playing more than the recommended hands
- Maybe you just got very good cards?
- It happens very often that when you have been very successful, you do not get a lot of action from the opposition (your “table image” is good). You can use this table image to steal pots. Try a bluff from early position. If it goes belly-up, you will get called more often in the future. Poker experts call that “advertising play”. If your bluff wins you the pot, you are not going to complain, will you? Do not invest too much money in advertising, though.
- At some point, you should still grab your won money and leave. Tomorrow’s another day, and leaving the table while you are ahead is good for your self-confidence!
If you have experienced a longer downswing, sometimes the psychological effect can be reverted by a change of room
. Consider a move to another online poker room (read more here
) - take a look at our reviews, or the "Best Rooms by Criteria" section to find a new online poker room for you.