Poker, unlike many other games, requires mental strength. It’s a game that requires players to have a strong mind instead of a strong body. Poker is a mental game unlike other games and sports that require you to be physically fit and prepared in order to win.

Poker is a great game and anyone can be a great player but poker can also bring out the worst in people especially if they are not mentally prepared to play the game and they can’t accept losses. Poker is a game of chance but players don’t just win because of chance. Players succeed in playing poker because of other factors such as making good decisions and applying strategies. Poker is more of a game of skill than a game of chance.

4 Important Factors in Playing Poker

• Energy
• Focus
• Data Gathering
• Decision Making

Poker is Mentally Demanding

As a poker player, making the right decision is your technique in playing the game. You need to train your brain in making decisions just like how athletes train their bodies in doing specific movements for their sports.

Making decisions plays an important role in playing poker. Making a wrong decision could be brought about by the lack of knowledge in poker and it could also be brought about by a relapse in decision making because of some other factors. These factors include focus, memory, energy, thinking, self-awareness, planning, emotional control, and perception.

Take note that no matter how knowledgeable a poker player is when it comes to range calculations, game theory, or bet sizing, winning would still be difficult if a player doesn’t have the mental capacity to play or if his/her mind isn’t in the right shape. It’s similar to an athlete who has the skills but hasn’t gone to training for quite some time and then suddenly joins a competition.

These are some tips to improve your mindset in playing poker:

1. Play in the Present

Focus on the present. Do not think about the what if’s or what could have been’s when playing poker. Focus on the current poker game that you are in to be able to make the right decision.
Remember everything that you have learned about poker over the years without losing focus on your current poker game.

Don’t be complacent and always strive to be better each day. There’s always a room for improvement. Always be open to new and useful information about poker. Learn strategies from different mentors and coaches and have an open mind to different techniques in playing no matter how good you already are in playing poker. Always remember that there are so many ways to be a winning player. Get as much knowledge as you can and incorporate them in your game.

2. Learn to Control your Emotions

Learning how to control your emotions is important when playing poker. Forget about your past losses. Forget about everything bad when playing the game. These negative things tend to drag you down and serve as a big distraction when playing. You will lose your focus and energy if you keep thinking about these bad things.

Come to the game with a clear mind and with your body fully rested. A balanced diet and proper exercise can also help you have a clear mind and focus. This will help you control your emotions while playing the game. Not only will this help you keep a balanced and healthy lifestyle but it will also help give you enough focus and energy that you need for playing poker.

Playing poker can easily become emotional because any player can feel the stress brought about by the game especially if they have made mediocre moves or failed bluff attempts. Being emotional while playing poker can lead to poor decisions which may result in losses.

3. Manage your Time and Schedule your Priorities

Before you even schedule your poker games, make a schedule for your priorities and daily
activities. Set your priorities in life. Once everything is set, that’s when you can schedule your poker sessions.

In this way, you can focus all your attention while playing poker games and not think about other things while playing the game and you can also forget about playing poker when you’re done playing or when you have a different activity scheduled at the moment. This will also help avoid getting addicted to the game and spending hours or even days playing poker.

4. Sharpen your Mind

Your mind is your weapon when playing poker that’s why it needs to be strong and sharp. If you train your mind well, then you will succeed in playing poker.

In order to have a sharp and clear mind, you need to be able to get enough sleep and rest. This shouldn’t just happen before a poker game night. It should be a daily habit. Getting enough sleep and rest will help you stay focused.

Writing can also help sharpen your mind. You can write about your thoughts or even take notes after every game that you play in order to come up with a strategy.

5. Have the Right Energy for Poker

It’s important to find the ideal energy in playing poker. Having low energy will only give you a poor performance while having a high energy will also produce the same results. You should have enough amount of energy that will allow you to focus on playing poker and not be overly excited or overwhelmed by a game. Having high energy will let you lose control over your emotions which can lead to poor decision making.

Think about the factors that contribute to you having an ideal energy when you are at best when playing poker. Notice how you are and how you feel when you know that you have the right energy. To get a consistent energy level, take notes and look for trends. In this way, aside from collecting data from poker games, you also collect data about your general attitude towards playing the game and from these data that you have gathered, you can create a strategy or a routine to help you win poker games.


Make sure that you are bringing your A game whenever you go to a poker game. Don’t go
unprepared. The way you play a poker game reflects how much preparation you have done prior to the game. Continue learning strategies and always be ahead of the game. Evaluate every step that you are doing before, during, and after playing poker. This will allow you to see the things that you are doing right and wrong. Make adjustments accordingly.