We know that emotions have no place at the poker table. We know this – in theory – but nobody plays poker in theory.
When real money and real pride is at stake, the adrenaline starts pumping and emotions take on a will of their own.
Even if you play poker on the Internet at one of the best poker sites, you must control your emotions to be profitable.
Like unwelcome house guests, they just show up, oblivious to whether or not we want them around. Still, we have a choice. We can slam the door and lock them out, or we can meekly allow them in and suffer the result. So how do you respond when these unwelcome guests show up at your poker game? Do you tell them to go away? Or do you invite them in, allowing them to jump all over your game like a kangaroo on crack? Here’s a quiz to help you sort it out:
Question: A very bad player has just beaten you out of a huge pot when he catches two perfect runners on the turn and river to make a straight with his 6-4 offsuit, cracking your pocket aces. Do you:
A) Smile, tell your opponent, “Nice hand” and then forget about it. You feel confident that your superior play will get the money in the long run and grateful to have such a bad player in your game.
B) Choke out, “Nice hand,” through clenched teeth and then continue to brood about the loss for the next several hours, letting it slowly eat away at you like termites in a dead tree.
C) Say nothing at all but silently swear an oath of revenge, resolving to confiscate all of his chips no matter how long it takes, dedicating yourself to this cause with the singleminded devotion of a religious zealot.
D) Jump up from the table and throw a fit, screaming like a five-year-old who has just been told that Santa Claus died.
Scoring: If you answered “A” – congratulations. You are a poker-playing machine. Or perhaps a Vulcan.
If you answered “B” – okay. You’re learning how to slam the door on your emotions but sometimes they still manage to crawl in through the window.
If your answer was “C” – not so good. Your game can’t function properly because it’s bruised and battered, covered with kangaroo hoof-prints.
If you said “D” – well, to paraphrase an old poker saying, “If you look around the table and can’t spot the maniac, it’s you.”