Psychology of Playing Poker

Poker, with it many variations, is a remarkably deep gaming experience involving psychological strategy, as well as requiring card skills, mannerisms, vocabulary and a firm grip on probability. Below we explore many of the leading psychological edges of this fascinating game.


We’re not talking just about the basic personal confidence that allows you to do anything well, including taking a seat at a poker table and to own your own space. But of course, you’ll need that kind of confidence to challenge the psychologies of your opponents.

Beyond that, we’re talking about the confidence that comes from two main things: experience playing the game, and, detailed knowledge of its rules and probability factors.

That is the confidence that will help you win — whereas just feeling confident in yourself without the knowledge of poker won’t get you far. Online games can help people gain confidence without losing their shirts.

Poker Faces

When you have the confidence we just mentioned above, then you will be able to manage your emotions and therefore master your facial expressions. A good poker player can mime just about anything she wants her challengers to think, and make them believe it.


Obviously, unless you’re playing with a bunch of thugs you won’t need or want to be aggressive or verbally abusive when playing online poker. But sometimes you will need to psyche them out, such as when you have good reason to bluff. You should be intimidating, in terms of seeming like a hack, but not to actively intimidate, which is big difference.

Being a Good Sport

Your fairness, confidence, respect and love of a good challenge are qualities that will garner respect from your opponents — and that is the best kind of intimidating presence you could hope for! And, best of all, it makes the air much more friendly and enjoyable after rounds, win or lose.

Being Relaxed

It is a fact that you will think better and perform closest to your potential when you stay relaxed. And, to be relaxed, guess what: you need to be well rested.

Maybe some of the best basic advice for would be poker pros (and that’s what you are, right?) along with not drinking alcohol when you play is to sleep more than enough before you go to the table. Seems pretty simple; therefore don’t waste your time playing when mentally tired.


If you think you might have formed some kind of unhealthy attachment to poker, or you feel you need to play rather than wanting to do, and simply enjoying the game, then you know what — stop!

In other words, the worst thing, strategically, for a poker player is to be addicted to it. It takes away all the fun, and just gets people into trouble, and can make the people who know them worried and sad.

Mental Benefits of Responsible Gambling

Now, let’s look on the brighter side! First, we will assume a player has a healthy attraction to the game, and, is honestly interested in its forms, strategies, mathematics, history and terminology. There is a lot to study about poker, in fact.

The act of studying the game, first, is a kind of intellectual exercise. It also gives a player a sort of literary knowledge of many aspects of society and culture — for example, a person who knows the game inside and out will get the many references to it in novels, films, music and so forth.

Next, the mental efforts of playing itself are strengthening for the mind, for one’s memory, for developing quick thinking skills.

Being able to gain mastery of the logic and strategy for poker as well as gaining confidence, people skills and so forth, surely will help in other areas of life, like one’s profession, negotiating, sales and many others. — Why do you think CEOs love to play in their spare time or on business flights?

Lastly, we would just suggest that gambling with one’s money also can be valuable with respect to a relationship with money, and comfort towards risk, which is a part of life. At the end of the day, poker is a very human game, which explains its popularity worldwide!