The Value of Patience
and Discipline at the Poker Table
Written by Haunted Poker for exclusive
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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