Poker Psychology: Superstitions, Rituals & Habits 

January 12, 2015 by  
Filed under News

It’s strange how some of the most logical, rational people are prone to superstition. Even during my days as a pro chess player it was not so unusual, in a vast hall full of people engrossed in arguably the most testing game around in terms of there being no luck element, to see superstitious types. Lucky shirts are common (despite causing certain sartorial challenges), as are pre-game rituals and even placing (and moving) the pieces in a very specific manner, and without exception. A Dutch International Master, for example – also a fan of loud shirts, funnily enough – deliberately positions knights facing backwards which, from the opponent’s point of view, can be quite disconcerting… Read more

Poker Psychology – We should be so lucky…

January 9, 2014 by  
Filed under News

Most of us like to think of ourselves as being optimistic. Yet when it comes to luck we tend to be negative in that we feel good things seem to happen only to others, and that we appear to be going through life missing out.

Of course some people will have more than their fair share of good fortune, while others will be on the other end of the scale. However, luck is linked to a frame of mind in that if we have the right kind of attitude we are going to benefit on more than one level. Read more

Poker Psychology – Know Yourself

January 8, 2014 by  
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Poker is no different to all sorts of other sports, games and activities that have in common a high level of personal effort and input. It’s not a team exercise. Lady Luck plays her role, of course, but that evens itself out over time and consequently renders luck’s contribution irrelevant.

Ultimately we’re left to our own devices and, this being the case, it’s imperative we understand ourselves as well as possible in order to get the most out of our abilities and skills and – equally important – address and reduce the detrimental impact of our weaknesses. Read more

The Legacy of Online Poker

August 9, 2012 by  
Filed under News

In the early days of online poker, purists with a vast experience of bricks & mortar poker looked down on the new format as the poor relative of their crucially visual game. The argument was that the facility to read players – an element of the battle of wits upon which great emphasis was placed (and still is) – had been eliminated, and with it too much of the old-style skill factor.

But the last decade or so has seen what veterans interpreted as a backward step in fact revolutionise the game to such an extent that a new generation of players has changed the way the ‘live’ game is played. Looking for tells obviously remains important, albeit less so, and the ‘safety first’ approach in tournaments, for instance, is by no means the only strategy today. Seemingly fearless aggression and brinkmanship is another tactic, while the mathematical side has advanced to number-crunching levels.

This final characteristic is a direct result of online poker forcing players to address the reduced reliance on (physical) tells by concentrating more on mathematically oriented, correct play. If we can learn what is right and – more importantly – what is wrong in this or that situation and use this knowledge as a sound foundation on to which we can then add deception and other aspects, then we can be confident in being winning players over time.

Significantly, the psychological part of the game is most certainly an area that is worth investigating. There’s far more to poker psychology than what we can see in someone’s face or body language. Indeed because the online game has advanced and the level of play is so high – online players will typically find ‘live’ games at their usual blind levels considerably easier than what they’re used to – psychology can be fascinating. The usual elements are there, but much revolves around a more sophisticated form of misinformation – if we can’t trick the opposition  with our physicality, then it all comes down to our actions on the virtual baize in the form of bet sizing, betting patterns, the actual timing of our plays, previous experience and so on.

Many players make the mistake of adopting the habit of playing online poker like a computer game, but it is essential we remember that we’re up against real people who, to make up for not being able to see us, are constantly trying second guess us and are consequently at the mercy of their ability to interpret what they see as a hand progresses.

There’s much more to online poker than meets the eye…

Good luck at the tables!

Angus Dunnington (AngusD at the tables)
32Red Poker Ambassador