One of the questions that new players ask all the time is whether or not emotion plays a role in the game of online poker. No matter what variation you’re talking about you’re bound to find a player that wonders really about the power of emotion in poker.
Some people will say that emotion has no place in poker. You should always play the numbers and respect the statistics. However, even the greatest poker players of our time have acknowledged that there’s something about making sure that you are always looking at the player, not just the cards.
Poker is not only a game of math — it is also a game of people. Even the best pot odds in the world can’t predict when someone is going to clumsily go all in. If you’ve been studying your opponent’s movements, you will be able to tell when those calls are genuine and when they aren’t. Reading people will allow you to make even better decisions than if you just decided to stick with the numbers.
The problem that a lot of players have is that they stick too close to just playing the odds without getting a feel for people. Does this mean that you should only think about the psychology of poker? Definitely not. You will need to develop both skills and then make them work on the actual playing table before you can call yourself part of the elite set of online poker players.
Believe it or not, there are still “tells” in online poker that you can use to track your opponents. If someone always raises after the flop, this is a tell. On the other hand, if someone goes all in without warning, this is also a tell. You will need to track really tracking your players if you want to win the psychological side.
To master the numbers side, you will need to make sure that you are truly practicing your online game to the fullest. The last thing that you will want to deal with is not being able to keep up with mathematical players. It might take you a few hands to really master calculating pot odds on the fly, but it’s not like it’s a skill that is impossible to learn. Yet it’s not enough just to know the pot odds — you will need to develop your own system for dealing with what the pot brings you. In other words, you need to learn how to take action no matter what action is being played out on the board. As long as you have the basics of poker math mastered, you can make decisions quickly.
What it will really take for you to get good at poker is to master both skills, and with the poker math side it’s really all about repeating the process until you get it right. Don’t pressure yourself to automatically know everything there is to know about online poker in a matter of weeks, or even a matter of months. Some professional players have said that it’s taken them years before they felt even comfortable at the poker table.
When you’re trying to play poker for the long run, honing your skills isn’t something that you just do once or twice. It’s something that you will do for the rest of your career as a player. Even if you don’t become a professional player, you will want to always make sure that you are getting as much as you can from the world of online poker.
So, if you’re ready to dive in, you still might be wondering about the role of emotion in poker. It definitely has a role, but it will be a different role depending on the type of player you are. Become the predator and study emotions like you would statistics, and there’s nothing that will be able to stop you from conquering the world of online poker!