The Importance of Patience

In our recent article on poker basics we touched upon the importance of patience.  Being patient and developing the skill of being more patient despite adversity and frustration are vitally important.  All other strategy points aside, patience is the rock that poker success rests on!

Patience is the Bedrock of a Sound Money Management Strategy

This Juicy Stakes Poker review begins at the financial level.  We may be good poker players.  Still, we all need to know where we can play based on our personal financial situation.  Poker can be great fun and highly lucrative even at low stakes.  The requirement of being patient exists at all stakes we could play at.

Impatience leads to staying in hands we should leave or making bets that are not justified by the situation.  Frustration builds for everyone in poker.  There are many more hands that we don’t play than those in which we do play.  If we are having a run of bad hole cards that we have to fold, the frustration can build to the point that we enter a hand that we clearly should not enter.

The money we will likely throw away in such a hand can clearly be attributed to a lack of patience.

Patience is the Best Cure for Tilt

A similar sense of deep frustration occurs when we are in hands that we could win and we hit a losing streak.  Over-betting and succumbing to frustration are signs of tilt and tilt most often comes when our ability to stay calm and patient overwhelms us!

Patience is Also Important in Everyday Life

Patience prevents tilt while driving which we already call road rage.  Patience can prevent tilt while flying, waiting in line, when we want to lose weight or build up some muscle, or when the kids are not being cooperative.  So, for poker players and for everyone whether they play poker or not, patience is both a very important skill and a learned skill.

Developing Patience in Four Easy Steps

We hope you caught the error in that heading!  Developing patience is not easy and there aren’t any silver bullets that if you follow these five points or ten points or, however many points, you will develop the most patient personality!

Given that patience in poker is the key to saving a lot of money and emotional costs, we still need some help in understanding how we get from here to there.  So, even though there aren’t any silver bullets there are a few out the box things you can do to increase your ability to be patient at the poker table and in life.

1. Force Yourself to Wait

When you have an appointment, strive to get there at least a half an hour early.  That will force you to wait.  You can sit in the reception room, take a walk around the block, or stand at a street corner watching cars go by.  However you spend your waiting time, make it a project to find value in the wait.

If you choose to read the magazines in the reception room, find a kernel of information that makes the wait worthwhile.  If you take a walk around the block, look all around and find something that you will remember later.  It might be a storefront display, a kid riding a bike, an interesting arrangement of flowers in a garden or anything else.  Keep in mind that even a simple walk around the block has thousands of stimuli and you only have to pick out one!

If you are watching the cars go by, pay attention to how people slow down for a red light.  Do they really slow down or do they zoom ahead barely beating the change to red?  When someone is at the red light, do they start honking as soon as the light turns green or even a second before?  Ask yourself who you would rather be, the patient driver who doesn’t mind waiting a minute or the impatient driver to whom a single second’s wait is like a natural disaster.

2. Practice Slow Exercises and Breathing Techniques

There is a Chinese exercise called Standing Like a Tree.  You would be amazed at how difficult it is to stand still and lose your thoughts for as few as ten minutes.  Practicing this exercise technique will allow you to see ten minutes as a much more manageable time frame.  This will help you wait for the hand you need to get into a pot at the poker table.

Yoga style deep breathing is another slow, time consuming activity.  It is boring to new practitioners.  Ten minutes of deep, slow breathing every day will help you become more patient.  You can also practice Sitting Like a Tree at the poker table and deep breathing as well.  When you find that you can sit still for just five minutes, you will see your level of patience go up exponentially.

3. Make Mental Lists

We all make lists to remind us of the things we need to do, to buy at the grocery store, to do at work, or just around the house.  When we make mental lists instead of writing everything down, we develop patience.  That’s because keeping mental lists requires a level of concentration that most of us either never developed as kids or lost in young adulthood.

A mental list at the poker table will help you remember previous hands.  It will help you remember how each opponent acted in certain positions and situations.  It’s actually a lot easier to remember lists if we can eliminate from our minds all of the dross that occupies us on a daily basis.

Stop thinking about the dogs that bark at night and you’ll be a lot more patient at the poker table.  Stop thinking about the price of gas, fast food, shoes, and whatever else you might want to buy.  If the price is too high, don’t buy the item.  If the price is not too high, go ahead and make the purchase.  In either case it is a yes or no situation; not one that requires deep thought and rumination.

Save the heavy thinking for the really important stuff like poker, work, and family.

4. Be More Aware of Your Surroundings

As we said in the section on forcing yourself to wait, if we pay attention to other people or other situations we can see what we would like to be like and what we want not to be like.

It is a lot more lucrative at the poker table to watch how the other players handle frustrations and the urge to become impatient.

Patience is Truly a Part of The Basics of Poker

We hope that this short discussion has helped you see how important patience is in poker and how we can help ourselves improve our patience quotient.  Then we will become much better poker players and joy will ensue!

PLAY NOW!