How to Control Your Emotions in Poker

Poker is a game of chance and skill, but you need to be able to control your emotions if you want to play well. Trying to force your way into good hands and making bad calls or bluffs can really hurt you in the long run, so it’s important to be patient and wait for a hand where the odds are better for you.

One of the best ways to improve your poker skills is to study the other players at the table. This isn’t easy, but if you can watch the other players and guess what they have, it will help you make more educated decisions in the future. You’ll learn how to pick up on things like ranges, frequencies, and EV estimation, which can help you in other aspects of your life as well.

There are two emotions that will kill your poker game: defiance and hope. Defiance will cause you to stick with a hand when you shouldn’t, and hope will keep you betting money that you shouldn’t bet because maybe the turn or river will give you a good hand.

The first thing that any pro will tell you is to always play the strongest hands, which means that unless you have a full house (aces, kings, queens, jacks, and tens) or high suited cards, you should fold before seeing the flop. This is a great strategy if you’re playing to win, but it can be boring if you’re just playing for fun.