Poker Psychology

The Inner Game of Poker

Many writers focus on the tactical side of poker. A smaller number focus on poker strategy. But few write about the psychology of poker -- the mind's influence on player behavior. Poker players are their own greatest allies at the table, but too often they end up their own greatest enemy for a variety of personal, "inner" reasons. While most of the articles here focus on poker strategy, which always involves our brains and thinking of all kinds, below are articles that focus more directly on poker's "inner game": attitude, discipline, personal demons, comprehensive thinking, game planning, preparation, financial responsibility, etc.

Winning poker is all about the long run. Despite (and because of) this, players engage in an endless amount of lazy play, where players squander occasional bets hour after hour. Those squandered bets represent a fortune. Every bet is important, as is every action, as is every reason for an action. Conventional "wisdom" is usually wrong. Most players lose, so if you want to win, you often want to do things differently than most players!

While poker does have instances of immediate gratification (winning a pot usually isn't that hard, even if it seems that way sometimes), consistent winning poker is a lot of work. Everybody is trying to beat you, a rake has to be overcome, your own fragile psyche has to be kept under control... There are endless enemies arrayed against you. Over the long run, you have to fight hard for your rewards. You have to earn them. If you want an immediate reward, watch television. If you want to pay your dues and earn your way into the winner's circle, read on.
Poker Psychology
Poker Discipline
The most fundamental, most important poker skill of them all

Poker Tells - Reading Players
The body language of poker
Online Poker Tells
The language of online poker

Manipulation and Deception
Manipulate your opponents, don't confuse them

To win, you must risk loss

Play for money, not ego points

The art of poker

Know Your Opponents
More on the Sun-tzu art of poker

Greedy poker players end up busted poker players

Profiting from the envy of opponents

Walk a mile in your opponent's shoes

Seize the day by playing with purpose

Analyze first, but when all else fails

Facing down bullies of all sorts

Poker is a game of skill, but luck, and handling it, does play a large role

Pigheaded poker

Talent Delusions
Live in the real world, not in an inflated fantasy

Being a short-sighted clown is a very limited strategy

Open Minds
Open your mind so you can open your pocket and insert your profits

Self-Centered and Self-Absorbed
Your Mama lied, the world doesn't revolve around you

Left Brain Right Brain
Success requires using both sides of the brain

The Trinity of Poker
Playing with your head, heart and groin

Playing Away from the Ball
Much of the game takes place away from the table

Mental Poker
90% of the game is half mental

Proper Poker Pace
Fast enough to win, slow enough to finish

Man at the Top
Everyone wants to be the player at the top of the heap

Another look at discipline

The Long Run
A focus on the big picture, also see Poker Strategy and Reality TV

Poker Success
John Wooden's Pyramid of Success applied to poker

Losing Poker
Losing without being a loser

Beta Males and the Poker Plateau
When mediocre players think they are superstars

Why Play Poker?
Play for the real bottom line, to win money