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Mindset Flaws in Poker Players: How To Keep Your Cool

Home » Lifestyle » Mindset Flaws in Poker Players: How To Keep Your Cool

Mindset Flaws in Poker Players: How To Keep Your Cool

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As an integral aspect of both live and online poker, mindset is just as crucial as skill and strategy. Even the most seasoned poker players will falter if their mindset isn’t right. If you’re still learning how to play poker online, you may be wondering how to keep your cool while improving your game. 

Read on for a deep dive into the most common poker mindset flaws, their potential impact on your performance, and some practical tips about maintaining emotional control at the table. 

Common Mindset Flaws in Poker Players

If you want to maintain the poker mindset you need for success, there are some flaws you’ll need to make a conscious effort to avoid or unlearn.


Overestimating your skills as a beginner can lead to reckless decisions. Confidence is key, but overconfidence often results in underestimating opponents and making strategy mistakes. 


Emotional reactions to losses or bad beats often lead to what’s generally referred to as “tilt” — a state of emotional frustration that can drastically impair your ability to think rationally.


Poker requires bucketloads of patience. Impulsive decisions, often a result of impatience, can lead to significant losses.

Fear of Taking Risks

Being overly cautious and afraid to take calculated risks can make you predictable and easy to outplay.

Lack of Focus

Losing concentration can mean missing crucial information about opponents’ behavior or misjudging the strength of your hand.

Not Adapting to Table Dynamics

The importance of adaptability in a high-level poker strategy can’t be overstated. Failure to adjust your strategy based on the changing dynamics of the table can render your approach ineffective.

Poor Bankroll Management

Playing with stakes that are too high for your bankroll can lead to unnecessary stress and suboptimal play.

Over-Reliance on Luck

Yes, there’s a significant element of luck involved when playing poker, but believing luck will always turn in your favor can lead to a lack of strategic improvement and understanding of the game.

Ignoring Physical and Mental Health

Neglecting your physical and mental well-being can impair your ability to play your best game.

Neglecting Learning and Adaptation

Man sits in concentration at poker table

The belief that you no longer need to learn or adapt to the game can lead to stagnation and being outplayed by those who continually evolve their strategies. Even poker pros are constantly learning — there’s no such thing as mastering the game of poker.

Tips for Avoiding Tilt in Live and Online Poker

Now that you’re aware of the mindset flaws to watch out for and how they could impact your gameplay, it’s time to examine how to avoid tilt and maintain a positive, confident outlook at the table.

Recognize the Signs of Tilt

Be aware of your emotional state. If you feel frustration or anger building up, it’s a sign that you should take a step back.

Take Regular Breathers

Don’t underestimate the power of a short break to reset your mindset. Try to take a break every one or two hours while playing.

Set Loss Limits

Decide on a loss limit before you start a gambling session. When you hit this limit, stop playing for the day.

Play Within Your Bankroll

Avoid the additional stress of playing with money you can’t afford to lose.

Study and Learn

Continuously learning new strategies and approaches can improve your confidence and reduce reliance on luck.

Seek Support from Other Players

Discussing strategies and experiences with fellow players can provide new perspectives and emotional support.

Keep a Poker Diary

Reflecting on your gameplay can contribute to identifying emotional triggers and learning from your mistakes.

How To Improve Your Poker Mindset Away From the Table

There are several ways you can work on improving your poker mindset in your daily life.

Physical Exercise

Regular exercise improves both your physical health and mental resilience.

Mental Exercises

Activities like chess or puzzles can sharpen your strategic thinking.

Social Interactions

Engaging with friends and family can provide a healthy balance to the isolation often experienced in poker.


Pursuing hobbies outside of poker can provide a refreshing break and reduce the risk of burnout.

Professional Help

If tilt is a serious issue, consider seeking help from a mental health professional specializing in gambling.

Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

These practices can help in maintaining calm and making rational decisions.

Stay Hydrated and Eat Healthily

Woman celebrates at a poker table

Proper nutrition and hydration can significantly affect your concentration and endurance.

Upping your poker game is as much about mastering your mind as it is about mastering the cards. You can drastically improve your gameplay by recognizing and working on your mindset flaws, maintaining emotional control, and ensuring a balanced lifestyle both at and away from the felt. Remember, poker is a marathon, not a sprint. Take care of your mind and body, and the results will show in your performance. Stay focused, disciplined and, most importantly, enjoy the game.

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In poker, mindset is just as crucial to gameplay as skill and strategy. Discover the most common mindset flaws and how to avoid them.