The Poker Mind

Poker MindI like the fact that poker is a very stimulating game. It is a thinking man’s game. It is very much a situational game that requires a lot of thought.

There are many variables you must take into account in each and every hand.  You must also analyse all this information in a specified period of time and make a decision as to your course of action.

There is no doubt in my mind that poker is a thinking man’s game.  It is not gambling.

To me, when someone mentions gambling I’m thinking slots, roulette, blackjack etc …  In these games you are playing against the house.  It is more about luck.

In poker you are playing other players.  You must out think and out play them to win.  In poker you can win with a lesser hand, in blackjack you cannot.

Poker keeps the mind sharp – It is not just a game of chance

Doyle Brunson is the shining example of how poker can help your mind stay sharp even at an elderly age (I believe he is in his 80’s). He is still playing at the very highest levels of poker … and doing well!

Your mind is like anything else in life.  If you don’t exercise it, it will eventually fall into disrepair.  You have to perform regular preventive maintenance to keep it sharp … and poker is just the tonic!

It also helps in other parts of your life.  It helps in your relationships whether they be business or personal.  I don’t know quite how to describe it but it helps you think clearer and better.  When you think better you understand more and to me understanding is what it’s all about.

You can learn a process but unless you understand what that process means in the bigger picture then you are stuck with just that process.  Your thinking is finite when it should be infinite.

Life is an ongoing process, as is poker. Your thinking should be in a state where your always trying to improve.  Improve your life, improve your poker.  I believe one feeds off the other and improves both.

One of my favourite articles on howtoplaypoker.co.uk is in the How to Win a Tournament Section and is titled Remove ALL Distractions and Concentrate on the Poker Game. You do this to focus your mind and concentrate on poker and the many decisions upcoming.  If your playing with distractions poor decisions may result and we all know where that leads.

You’ve all heard the expression ‘thinking outside the box’

Well that’s exactly what poker teaches you to do.  When you have a draw and someone bets the flop.  You have to think ahead.  How much will it cost me to get to the river?  What type of player is betting?  If he minimum bets here will he 3-bet the turn if I don’t hit?  Again the key here is not just that play but thinking two plays ahead.  You have to look at the whole picture.

When you are having an argument with someone, think of that argument in the bigger picture and decide if it is worth it to pursue your point.

In life, as in poker, a sharper mind brings understanding to the bigger picture.  It is that understanding that allows you to make better decisions.  In poker those better decisions lead to improved play.  In life, those decisions lead to an improved lifestyle!

Both are an ongoing process that never ends!

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