Poker Self Discipline and Control

Playing poker is a great life. Oh, that is AFTER you learn the many skills necessary to win consistently. When playing in tournaments, you need fewer skills than playing in ring games. Ring games require more discipline and self control.

Many times you will want to play fewer hands in ring games. With the blinds and rake you fight an uphill battle. That battle we’re referring to is otherwise known as “the grind.” This grind we speak of is very long, can be very monotonous and many players will lose this uphill battle (and a battle it is!)

One of my best friends plays in 20/40 games or 30/60 games and fights this battle every day he sits down at the table. When I am around and in his presence, I will chat at him offering advice on starting hands and many times in the first 30 minutes he will be up 1000 dollars or more. I have tried to explain that if you are up that much you should cash, especially if you start losing your edge due to boredom, monotony or whatever causes you to lose that edge that you absolutely HAVE TO HAVE in order to win.

He refuses to do this, thinking that his luck will hold out. He’s a fairly loose player that seeks out loose games, or we should say a tight player that seeks out loose games but becomes loose due to none other than getting bored. After about the next 30 minutes goes by, he will be down 600 of what he won! It happens so consistently that I have him pegged down as lacking the self control to play this game. He gets bored and makes bad decisions trying to keep himself excited with euphoria, a common mistake that may players make but one you can’t afford to make when playing in these limits. It could also be viewed as he always tries to be greedy and make more than what the game is giving him. Trying to make more is good, but playing each and every hand is insane at that level.

He has forgotten the one skill that will help him the most and that is self-control. He lacks the discipline to play one hand in five which is about what you’ll play over the long haul. He has asked me from time to time what he should do about this. He gets impatient too easily and I have told him that when he feels that way he needs to get up and leave the game.

Most players hope to make 1 or 2 big blinds an hour, hence why it is referred to as a grind.