All The Aces Daily Poker Column

Poker Psychology: Be A Happy Poker Player If You Want To Win

How a grin can help you win...

Poker Psychology: Be Happy!

If you work in the media long enough, especially newspapers, someone’s going to come along and suggest you see a shrink because the stress of twenty four hour deadlines is enough to make you “check” on your lifestyle and occasionally “fold”. No admissions are being made here but a psychiatrist friend of ours has studied successful poker players and has come up with the notion that happy players do much better in the long run. Tired, miserable folk who’ve had a lousy day really should not be playing poker according Madam Nut-Mender. So, if you happen to be one of those naturally happy-go-lucky types, maybe you should think about spending less time helping old ladies across the road and more time online trying to win enough money to really do some good in the community. Okay, that’s our early spirit of Christmas bit out of the way. Now down to business.

You can’t make winning hole cards out of a two and a seven, so don’t play them, or anything like them, ever! You can’t control what kind of cards you are dealt but you can certainly control what you do when you get them. Selecting and betting on strong hole cards is the foundation for a solid poker player. Sure you can bluff under certain circumstances. And it’s great fun when it comes off. In general though, play good cards with aggression and you’ll be smiling enough to be diagnosed happy-go-lucky by our friendly psychiatrist (Who, we’d like to point out, is a mean Omaha player with whom one does not play mind games successfully)

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Waiting for strong starting cards is particularly well rewarded with online poker. It is just a fact that players on the web do in the main tend to play loose and therefore are far more likely to take a chance on a weaker hand. This tends to be because they are on the web out of boredom and have really signed in for some “action”. Please note: Signing in for action is a very bad mind-set and likely to lead to losing, which in turn leads to depression, which in turn leads to more losing ala our opening diagnosis. So. Be happy, be selective, be patient and then…be aggressive. Then you’ll be what you deserve to be: A winner.

Almost all the big online poker sites are offering tournaments these days and with good reason. The large sums that are won by ordinary folk are capturing media attention virtually every day now. So, how can you prepare yourself for online tournament play if you’re a relative beginner to poker? Just about all online play is made up of low-level cash games whereas major tournaments offer opportunities for truly life-changing amounts to be won. As everyone knows the buy-ins for major tournaments can be huge. It’s not uncommon for it to cost thousands of dollars to buy-in to a really worthwhile competition. The beauty with the majority of ordinary online tournaments is that they can provide a budget route into the big-payout tournaments by offering FREE buy-ins as the prizes in their own smaller events. A lot of you will have seen the massive publicity surrounding the triumphs of characters like Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer who even managed to win their way right the way through to the World Series of Poker by way of humble online tournaments. It’s becoming a popular route with the poker playing public. The major sites offer pretty much daily free-roll tournaments if you shop around.
Obviously free competitions draw in amateurs by the thousand but this in itself offers a great opportunity for everyone to get used to the type of play involved and is an ideal learning ground for bigger events. In short, this is how best to prepare for tournament play if you have that eventual “big win” in your sights.

Poker Psychology: Be Happy!

Look out for the newsletters. All the online poker services have them and they are used for broadcasting all up and coming online events. This is the smart way to get advanced information on the biggest satellite tournaments. The newsletters, and columns like our own, are your best way of finding out how to qualify for next year’s World Series and for our part we will be giving advice on the best way to tackle entry at the outset of 2006.


A regular Saturday night poker game was still in progress well after midnight when one of the players returned from the bathroom with urgent news.

“Sid, listen!” he told his host, “Bernard’s in the kitchen shagging your missus over the stove!”

“Okay, that’s it, guys!” said Sid, authoritively, “This is absolutely the last deal!” -- Test YOUR poker psychology!

ALL THE ACES poker column:
Sunday November
 20, 2005: 
Poker Psychology: Be Happy!