exercising poker discipline

There is one part of your poker strategy that is more important than all of the other parts; poker discipline. Self-control is everything to a poker player who wants to get serious about the game and be a winner. Without poker discipline nothing else that you can do or that you know in cards is worth anything at all.

Every hand's a winner, and every hand's a loser. People who are disciplined in poker comprehend this cold fact. They do not put their trust in strong hands; they put their trust in their disciplined, studied methodology.

Always remember that poker is like buying and selling as a trader--save your emotions for before and after the closing bell. When you're playing, your emotions must be ignored, no matter what those emotions are; if they get to you, you're going to be a loser very quickly; not just because you'll become an easier read, but because your poker discipline will be compromised and you'll inevitably make stupid moves. There's time enough for counting your money (or mourning your losses) when the dealing's done and you're on your way home.


--Put your opponents on the hand they have as opposed to the one you wish they had.

--You should never go on tilt after you get beat because of a mental error (lack of discipline); but if you give the appearance of going on tilt then, and you have good cards, you can steal the pot.

--Self-control is about knowing yourself well enough to recognize what things bring you to tilt, and then acting pre-emptively on your own emotions and your own mind internally to prevent that tilt.

--In poker, good moves are often punished, bad moves are often rewarded. This fact has led to some speculation that the United States Congress has been conspiratorially infiltrated and taken over by card sharks.

--Due to the eternal law of chance known as "variance", discipline in poker might not pay off in the short term. This can make it difficult to maintain. But, poker discipline is guaranteed to pay off in the long term.

--Poker discipline very, very often involves doing something that you don't want to do. Folding with a starting Ace because the other card you got is an 8; folding pocket sevens because you got re-raised twice by the one remaining player pre-flop; going all-in on a flopped Jack set when you are petrified of doing it because your methodology says you're supposed to; folding pocket Aces because you don't flop a set but someone else is indicating they have a set of Kings...these are true moments of discipline.

--Having poker discipline means accepting that you will lose more often than you will win; so you have to make your wins count big and your losses as small as possible.

--Poker discipline means you have a strategy, you know what it is, and you never stray from it (not even when you are changing gears).

--The ultimate aim of poker discipline is to induce emotional stress in less-disciplined opponents so that they give you money due to their own stupid moves.


--First of all, it's practice, practice, practice. Stick to your guns.

--Listen to some bad beat stories so that you know what not to do--then, don't do it, even when you are tempted to.

--Always be analyzing and reviewing your own play. Don't be so proud, or so sensitive, that you can't take constructive criticism, especially from yourself. Refine and retool your game endlessly.

--Make self-control within your poker strategy your gospel truth. Keep faith with it always, til the end of time, world without end, poker winning ceiling unlimited.

Exit Poker Discipline » Texas Holdem Poker

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