We all understand probability, we memorize the likelihood of a straight or a flush, we’ve heard about expected value and try to make +vev decisions. We research the math because we know that poker is a stats game and we are not playing to lose.
if you’re new to poker theory you’ll probably want to stick around, if not, you’ll probably want to move to the next section “surviving a downswing”.
There most important pyshcological concept that people associate with poker thinking is result oriented thinking – this is the tendency to judge an event based on its results instead of judging the steps that lead to that decision. In poker its critical to embrace an analytic approach to judging your behavior in each step of the way and to avoid blaming yourself for unfortunate results that often stem from luck.
Surviving a poker downswing
But there are some things we don’t think about, or just can’t understand, like getting crushed with AA again and again or never landing that river card. Our personal luck will deviate from the standard math and we can get lucky in some plays and massively unlucky in others. Some players get stuck in poker tracker software obsessively checking how lucky or unlucky they are with a specific starting hand or after flopping a specific hand.
There is a certain pleasure in being miserable, we are all drawn to these feelings from time to time even if we know that they don’t improve our poker game.
That is why it’s so important in poker to understand why you made a decision instead of relying on the result to dictate how you feel about the situation.
Poker has many ways to mess with you, you lose hands you are supposed to win, you whiff boards for entire nights, you fold in questionable situations and feel your gut turn because you’re dying to see your opponent’s hand.
Once you wean yourself from result oriented thinking you feel clean of responsibility, you’ll be able to study poker like a discipline, looking at the bigger picture, instead of the emotional mess of each hand