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Examining the Psychology Behind Online Poker

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  • Digital Team 

The gaming world has changed dramatically over the past few years, going from brick-and-mortar casinos to online platforms with plenty of games and options available. This change not only affects the way players interact, but also the psychology of online poker. Where players used to be able to sit next to or opposite other players, seeing in-person cues and gestures, making it easier to spot when others are bluffing, online gaming obviously doesn’t offer this in-person exchange. So, how can you spot patterns and learn from player behavior when you’re playing with people from all over the world? Let’s look at the psychology of online poker.

Cementing the Basics

The psychology of playing and hopefully winning a game is based on your foundational knowledge. The shift from traditional casinos to online platforms that sometimes offer a no deposit bonus for Danish players, brings with it a multitude of challenges but also benefits. While no one should become arrogant even if they have years of poker experience, it can give you peace of mind when you know the rules and understand the game as a whole, as this limits the opportunities for surprise plays. Understanding the rules is crucial for players to stay ahead of the literal game. Let’s take Texas Hold’em for example, arguably the most popular form of poker to date. Precisely because of the fact that you aren’t looking other players in the eyes or seeing their body language, it’s essential that you really get the game, which is played with two to ten players, using a standard deck of 52 cards. The objective is to make the best possible five-card hand, using any combination of the player’s two-hole cards (the ones you are initially given and keep hidden) and the five community cards, which are laid down by the dealer in three stages: first, the flop consisting of three cards, later an additional single card called the turn, and lastly a final card called the river.

When you feel confident in your skills, but not arrogant remember, you tend to play better and not second-guess yourself. Each player has a set limit of time to “stay”, meaning they don’t want to bet and prefer to see the next card, “call”, referring to them placing the same bet as the previous player, or “raise”, which means they believe they have a strong hand and want to increase the stakes (or they are bluffing). Some people online use this 15 or 30-second time to pretend like they don’t know what they’re doing and stall the game, attempting to throw players off. Look out for patterns in players’ behavior. Just because someone attempts to stall a little and takes their time, doesn’t mean they aren’t good or don’t have a strong hand, and conversely, just because a player calls or raises quickly, doesn’t mean they have pocket aces. Try to go with your gut and read the (virtual) room.

Happy Players are Better

Think of online gaming as a form of entertainment rather than a source of income as this will relieve the pressure you feel to win. As with anything in life, if you’re happy doing it, the results will most probably match your energy. There are best practices for player satisfaction that influence the outcome of a poker session, whether you win or lose. When a person goes into an online game with a feeling of desperation, the results aren’t always favorable. It’s similar to the advice given for finding a partner: when you’re not looking, that’s when it will happen. Anyone desperately seeking someone or hoping to win a huge pot, will most likely be disappointed. Additionally, if you have the world on your shoulders, meaning that you’ve maybe gone past your set financial limit and are chasing a win, the tides usually aren’t in your favor.

Poker takes time and patience, it’s a game meant to be enjoyed, and many also use the chat function to interact and socialize with fellow players, adding another level to the game, namely community. When you join an online table and get dealt your hole cards, don’t be thrown off by the chats going on around you if you don’t care to join. People will trash talk a little and try to gain the upper hand by pretending to have cards they don’t. Keep your cards close to your chest and try not to give anything away, even if the hand is done and you’re about to move on to the next hand. Other players will be analyzing how you play when you have a good hand and your tactics when you don’t. There’s no need to share any personal information or give away your hand, although some people do do that after other players have folded.

The Holistic Approach

Psychology is a huge part of any game, both online and offline. It doesn’t just affect your gaming time, but your life in general as Maria Konnikova, the best female poker player, also states. From poker to tennis, it’s oftentimes the case that the physically stronger player doesn’t win, but rather the one who knows their limits and is in touch with their mental side. In addition to knowing the rules of the game well, tools like mindfulness and meditation help to make you a well-rounded player. No one can guarantee a win, but that’s the beauty of the game. As the saying goes: Life, like poker, has an element of risk. Enjoy it.

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