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Playing a game as challenging as poker is hard under the best circumstances.  Negative thoughts make playing poker even harder.  It is very important to learn how to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. In this Juicy Stakes Poker Review we look at this vital subject.

Negativity is Far Easier than Positivity

This seems so odd but it is quite true.  It is a lot easier to see the cup half empty than to see it half full.  It is easier to complain when something “goes wrong” than to wax happy when things go right.  It is likely something hard wired in the DNA of people.

Religious people of the Judeo-Christian persuasion have a Biblical explanation for our seeming inability to get to the absolute root of most matters.  Here we are just talking about a game albeit one of the most popular games in human history.

There are games that are older but based on the many poker games available online and on land and in people’s homes of a Friday night we might safely say that poker is the world’s most popular game!

As popular as poker is, there are many opportunities for poker players to get the blues, so to speak.  A bad beat or a poorly played hand by an amateur that ends up winning for the less skilled player both have the means to drive a stake in a poker player’s heart.  We will talk about changing the stake in a poker player’s heart to a positive outlook and better poker playing as a consequence.

Negativity is a Point of View

Looking at things in the negative is at the most basic level simply a point of view.  It is a point of view that is hard to shake.  It is a point of view that overwhelms everyone from time to time.

If you are on a vacation and it is raining all the time, what do you do?  You could stay indoors and mope or you could go out with an umbrella and a raincoat or poncho and walk in the rain!  It might rain for several hours in a row but if the rain is soft and relatively warm, you can walk in it and get soaking wet and still have a wonderful time.

Rain can be a catalyst for a wonderful memory of a romantic afternoon with your most loved one!

It all boils down to your point of view.  If the rain is too hard or too cold you can find out what is available indoors.  Is there a museum or a bowling alley?  Is there a movie theater showing a series of the best Marx Brothers movies?  What if you hate museums, bowling, and the Marx Brothers?

With a positive outlook, you can always find something entertaining to do! 

The same applies to poker.  When you lose because the 1% chance your opponent had to win comes true, you can mope about.  Or you can be magnanimous.  You can see that you played the hand right but the poker gods saw fit to give the win to the neophyte.  Having a positive bent on every outcome will make you alert to possibilities while becoming negative will inevitably cause you to lose sight of the opportunities in clear view!

If You’re Down Get Up

Getting down during cold spells is the same as being negative with one very important difference: getting down is a precursor to depression and that is the worst possible mindset for anyone, including poker players.

When you are down, get up.  If you fall off the horse, get right back on.  If you drop your glasses and they break, buy a new pair.  This is so obvious that it amazes us that so many people don’t realize that the solution is so easily achieved.

A new pair of glasses might be expensive but the experience will teach you to be more careful in the future.  Losing a hand in poker should never be such a trauma that you feel so down that it causes the losses to pile up.

If You Want to be High, be High

The opposite of getting too down is getting too high!  Getting too high in good streaks is as harmful as getting too down in bad streaks.  It is easy to fall into a pattern of being too high or too low.  It is a habit of thought that is very difficult to overcome so make the effort to see everything in a positive light but not in an overly positive light.

You Belong to a Group

Poker is not like video poker.  In video poker you are playing alone most of the time.  In regular poker it is best to see yourself as part of a group.  Every group has a dynamic of its own.  Be part of that dynamic.  When you understand the group dynamic of the group you are in you will know when the time is ripe to bluff, to fold, or generally how to play a hand.

Rest when You are Tired

There are few things that make people unhappy than trying to do something difficult when they are tired.  We often mention the great book from the early 1990’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  In this book, Robert Pirsig spoke about having the proper mindset to work on a motorcycle or on any project.

He stated empathically that, when you are stuck or are feeling lazy, these are signs of being tired.  A short nap might make all the difference in the world.  Slots don’t require that a gamer be fully awake to be enjoyed.  Poker does.

Poker requires that the player be fully awake so she or he can analyze the hands correctly and make the best decisions.  Nothing will cause negativity to prevail more than staying in a game when you’re too tired to think straight.

Think Deeply but not too Much

This is about as confusing as any piece of advice can be.  It reminds us of the words of a Russian man’s wife in the movie The Twelve Chairs who told him to “hurry home but don’t gallop”. 

The idea is that when you know the basics of poker well, you should be able to make many decisions instinctively.  Overthinking is the process of taking something relatively simple and making it extraordinarily complex.

There are many things that are not very complex in poker such as folding in poor position pre-flop.  This is the best course of action on most hands and if you are ready to bluff from early position you should plan the move well enough in advance that it looks like you are betting from strength.

Manage Tilt

This is obvious, of course.  Tilt is a sign of a negative mindset.  It creates an even deeper feeling of negativity.  In other words, tilt begets more tilt!  Tilt also telegraphs to your opponents that your head is no longer in the game and you might be ripe to be had on the next hand.

Everyone has buttons that, when they are pushed, might cause them to fall into tilt.  So, you should know yourself and work on overcoming your own unique brand of tilt.  A famous British author once said “to thine own self be true”.  He might have been talking about tilting in poker!

It is So Much Better to be Positive

Always do everything you can to cultivate a positive outlook.  This is no less important than studying poker in general, the math of poker, and all of the other complex nuances of the game.  Being positive may be the key to positive results, by which we mean winning most of the time.


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