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>> Poker Virtues - Overlooked Essentials

The Value of Patience and Discipline at the Poker Table

Written by Haunted Poker for exclusive use.


While it is often reduced to a clichť or footnote to technical poker strategy, having patience and discipline is probably the most important key to long-term poker success. Having these virtues will allow you to stay away from unprofitable situations and avoid giving away your money because of emotion.

More than any other form of poker, youíll need patience to play hold Ďem. This is especially true in full no-limit cash games, where you put your entire stack on the line in every hand. The truth is that most of the time you wonít be involved in a hand. Youíll be dealt trash cards, and you have to keep throwing them away. If you play too many hands because of impatience and/or boredom, you arenít maximizing your profits. Even long-term winning players fall into the trap of impatience and play mediocre hands. The long-term effect is a steady leak of your chips since you wonít hit a monster hand often enough with those trash hands to offset the losses.

In terms of discipline, you need to be able to release hands that are likely beaten or donít stand to improve. If you happen to get a bit frisky and you do call that 7-6 offsuit from third position, be prepared to let it go when the flop comes out with A-7-5 and you run into a pot-sized bet. Even though that A-K of hearts looked like such a big hand before the flop, there is no reason you should call a bet with a rainbow flop of 5-10-2. Staying with these hands is simply another leak in your game Ė youíre tossing more money into a pot with very few outs to make you a winner. Isnít money you donít lose just as good as money you win?

If you do find yourself becoming impatient, you need to have the discipline to overcome it just as you need to overcome any form of tilt. Tilt can wipe out hours of winnings and turn your session into a loser in a few minutes. When youíre on tilt, your emotions, rather than your rationality, is governing your play. You might be upset about with the fish in seat 3 who just cracked your Aces, or maybe that jerk in seat 8 made a stupid comment about your busted flush draw. Many players try to exact revenge in this situation, turning a table full of players with good money to a heads-up vendetta.

Other players are so impatient about recouping their losses after a bad beat that they play the next few hands regardless of what cards theyíre dealt. Players need to realize that if they donít have the self-discipline to get their emotions under control, their bankroll would be better off if they left the table and lived to fight another day.

Remember that having discipline and patience is just as important as the cards you play. Having the patience to play the right hands at the right time will keep you from slowly leaking away your chips and creating tough situations later on in the hand. Having the discipline to muck hands that donít improve and keeping emotions out of your overall strategy will allow you to save your chips for more profitable situations.


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