How to Deal With Stress in Poker
Poker can be a relaxing activity for players who take it as a hobby, but it can also be quite stressful for those who take it really seriously or make a living of it.
Stress can be very harmful to a poker player. Of course, stress is bad for everyone’s health, but in the case of a poker player, it is also bad for their game and bankroll.
Sometimes, when it comes to professional or very involved players, stress can become a constant, this is why we will go over some tips to reduce it or make it disappear.
The first thing we want to clarify is that stress is inevitable, you can´t avoid it. The important thing is managing the amount of stress that we experience and strengthen both our mind and body in order to deal with it. Keep in mind that too much stress can affect us in a very negative way.
Poker players will always experience stress while playing poker, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, stress (when handled) can generate a bit of pressure on the players, which allows them to avoid making silly mistakes and playing too relaxed.
This pressure can help improve the player’s poker skills, and working on those skills is fundamental in order to win more hands. The ability to handle stress is strongly linked to the ability to remain assertive and calm in order to evaluate the mistakes made and the steps to follow. Not getting carried away by frustration and negative emotions is a fundamental skill when playing poker.
Patience and discipline are one of the main skills every poker player must acquire, if they want to be successful in this game. They must be able to manage their bankroll and understand which mistakes to avoid and when to avoid them. Understand when they should quit playing, and have complete control over their emotions during good and bad runs.
The important thing is to learn to control stress and keep emotions at a level that does not affect in a negative way your game. This is what most professional players must learn to do. They must learn to handle the pressure and control their emotions in order to stay focus on the game.
Stress is not a bad thing
It is important to clarify that stress is just another emotion, and there is no such thing as a “bad” emotion. However, if we don’t learn to handle these types of emotions we can end up feeling really bad and it can affect our health. An extremely high amount of stress can be really harmful for any human being.
However, if stress doesn’t exceed limits that are bearable for people, it can be a motivating factor. In fact, studies show that some people can do incredible things from a positive point of view when they are in stress situations that do not exceed such limits.
What we are trying to say is that, depending on how you deal with it, stress can be an ally or an enemy.
Poker players must know hot to handle stress. It is essential that they know when to act calm and when to jump into the fire. This means that, sometimes, players will have to play cool and act with precision, and other times they will have to act in a risky way in order to take advantage of the situation. In both cases, stress will be present and the player must use is as a tool.
How stress affects the game
Stress affects us deeply, therefore, it will affect our game.
Stress affects our body, brain, and our ability to make decisions. All of this reverberates in the development of the game and the results. One of the main reasons for stress while playing poker is frustration. Players can feel frustrated in more than one occasion; for example, when their plans are derailed, when they lose a hand which they thought they would win, because of the pressure they feel when they must make hard decisions fast and constantly, etc. Any of these situations can change the prospect of the game, increasing the level of adrenaline and body temperature, raising blood pressure and altering reasoning processes.
You may think this is a common scenario in a poker game, and you might be right; but the key is in how each player deals with it. When a player controls the level of stress, they can avoid a bad impact on their game. For example, when a player loses several bets in a row they tend to vary the way they play because their spirit is altered, and that results in losing control of the situation. However, those available to control their emotions and reduce the level of stress after a losing streak, will manage to keep playing assertively.
Considering stress is impossible to avoid while playing poker, it is essential for players to know how to live with it and take advantage of it for their benefit. It is extremely important to stay within the stress levels that can be supported.
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