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The Art of Resilience in Poker

Home » The Art of Resilience in Poker

The Art of Resilience in Poker

A hand picking up casino chips on a black felt table.

There are many facets to the game of poker. Technically, it’s a complex game to master, but being a successful player requires much more than simply knowing how to play poker. Great players also have even temperaments. If you’re hot-tempered or don’t have the right attitude when you sit down at the table, whether it’s to play poker online or in a land-based casino, you won’t have an enjoyable — or profitable — experience. So, apart from technical skill, one of the most important qualities common to all the poker greats is the art of resilience.

You might think that since you’ve mastered the art of bluffing, your resilience game is on point. While the two are related, they’re not exactly the same thing. Read on to discover what resilience is and how to improve yours.

What Does Resilience in Poker Look Like?

You’ve undoubtedly heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Having both a tough outer shell and inner core pretty much defines resilience. Calm on the outside and the inside. Resilience in poker is the same as resilience in life – taking the rough with the smooth, rolling with the punches, and getting up when you’ve been knocked down. Resilience in poker is about keeping your composure and your emotions in check. Poker is a mind game — having a strong mindset and playing well under pressure is a distinct advantage and makes the difference between good and great players.

A hand holding playing cards with casino chips in the background.

From Good to Great

Being mentally strong and resilient will take a player from merely competent to potentially great. Proficiency during a tough online poker tournament isn’t enough. Anyone who plays any of the game’s variants, including Texas Hold’em poker, knows that the game can present many twists and turns, and part of your resilience is being agile and adaptable and changing your game plan as necessary. A knee-jerk, impulsive response to a poor hand or a round that doesn’t go to plan is not being in control of your emotions — nor is gloating or showboating when you win a hand. Balanced decisions and quick recoveries are critical to a resilient game plan.

Learning From Losses

Setbacks in life are normal and to be expected. People who demonstrate the greatest resilience take these moments as learning opportunities. They ask themselves, “What went wrong? What could I have done better or differently?” How they handle adversity, in life or during a game of in-person or online poker, is what sets successful players and average players apart. Resilience is turning loss into something positive — although this can be more difficult if it’s a heavy financial loss.

Part of establishing boundaries within which to play in order not to test the limits of your resilience is to set loss limits. When you reach this threshold, you know it’s time to quit – for the time being. Remember, resilient players get up, brush themselves off, and try again another day.

Finding Your Inner Resilience

Learning to manage tilt, anxiety, frustration, and even anger is possible when you’re resilient. Like any skill, it requires practice and can be cultivated by implementing several simple strategies.

Know Yourself

A man smiling with a laptop on his lap.

In poker, knowing yourself and how to manage your emotions is essential. Everyone has triggers that evoke negative feelings and behaviors. Once you know your triggers, you can retrain your responses so that you don’t act out and potentially jeopardize your poker game. How you handle sudden changes in direction in the game, how good you are at reading people, and even knowing your limitations are all important tools in building resilience.

Use Calming Techniques

Playing poker games online can either be a huge adrenalin rush or anxiety-inducing, leaving nerves frayed. Either way, practicing calming techniques, whether breathing, meditation, or another type of mindfulness, will enable you to refocus and tap into your inner resilience.

Community Support

Sharing experiences with like-minded people can be highly empowering, and the community of people who love playing online casino games is extensive. Everyone will have experienced both the highs and lows of gaming, so use your tribe as free therapy on your journey to greater resilience.

Game Selection

If you go in over your head and hit those casino table games before you’re ready, you’re bound to take a psychological knock. The proper game section — matching your ability level — is vital to building confidence and resilience.

 When Emotions Get the Better of You

Even the most self-controlled and level-headed player can lose it sometimes, and emotions can get the better of you. If you feel that inner resilience slipping away from you, there are several things you can do to regain your equilibrium.

Take a Break

Take a break. This might mean folding in a game. It might mean staying away from poker for a few days, weeks, or however long you need to re-evaluate your approach. It might mean simply going for a run or doing another activity for a while. But taking a break and clearing your head can do wonders for your psyche and, ultimately, your levels of resilience.

Analyze Your Game Plan

A hand moving a chess piece on the board.

Remember turning losses into learnings? To find the lessons in the game that broke your resilience, you can use several tools to analyze your game, including software packages to identify your weaknesses. But emotional weakness is something only you can work on.

Remember Why You’re Playing

Sometimes, you just need to remind yourself that poker is a game and only one among many online casino games that you can play. If you’re playing for fun and enjoyment, find the joy again. If you’re in it for the big bucks — but remember that only a few make it big — then resilience plays an even more important role in your strategy. Whatever the reason you’re playing, you’ll definitely need a good dose of resilience.

Resilience Builds Success

Mastering the art of resilience is as important as mastering the game of poker itself. It’s about being in control of your emotions, remaining cool, calm, and collected at all times, being agile and focused, and not being defeated when you lose. Resilience builds success. Resilience will elevate your game.

Putting Resilience Into Practice at BetMGM

If you’re keen to put your newfound superpower into practice and you’ve mastered your self-control, overcome your fears, and are ready to demonstrate your resilience, register with BetMGM to be part of the fun and join any of the wide range of casino table games suitable for all levels of players.

So, you’ve mastered the rules of poker, but resilience is also part of being a great player. Find out how you can learn to be resilient and improve your game.