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Emotion Check - Pick the Right Time to Play

It happens to everyone; a bad day at the office, a fight with your spouse, the 20th consecutive day of bumper to bumper traffic, the dog ate your favorite shoes - whatever the cause, everyone reaches a point where it can be hard to keep your emotions in check. Frustration, anger, sadness, anxiety; all of these emotions can result from scenarios like those above, and all are emotions you should not be feeling when you play poker. If, that is, you want to win.

You may play poker to feel relaxed after a rough day, which is perfectly fine, if you are simply worn out and need some battery recharging time. If, however, you are worked up and anxious, you should put down the cards or the mouse and find something else to do, because you may very well be playing at your worst.

Many people become impatient when they are frustrated or angry, and patience is absolutely essential to good card play. When you are hoping for something to happen to help you get out of your funk or your manic state, you will likely try to force it, by playing hands that, on a normal day, you would fold without thinking.

What happens when you play poker badly? You lose. What happens when you are loosing in poker? You start playing worse, unless you are able to recognize what is happening, take a mental moment to regroup, and then focus on playing better. But pulling that off when you are really worked up emotionally? Not going to happen.

Take the time out to work on whatever is frustrating you, if possible, or find a mindless, relaxing activity that isn't going to make things worse. If you sit down at your computer in a funk and start losing money, it isn't going make you feel better at all.

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