Why do we play poker? But especially why do you play poker? This might strike you as an odd question but it is very important for your future success in the world of poker. The reason why you play poker is at least as important as the way you play poker.
We can categorize somehow the reasons why we play poker, we can properly analyze them and after that we can use them to improve our actual gaming style.
If we could ask several hundreds of players “Why do you play poker?” the odds are quite big that their answer would be “For the money”. But if we could access their last year statistics we would see that some just didn’t win any money at all, or at least that they didn’t win more that they lost. If money is the only reason these people play poker they why do they keep on doing it? Of course, there are many more answers that they don’t really want to admit. This happens because there are many other motivations that push us to play poker just as great as the desire to win many, but many of them are even greater.
And when you come to think about it, you can surely find many many reasons: fun, the love of the game, competition, making friends, the desire to beat the best there is in the world of poker, and the list can go on and on. But if you understand the various reasons behind your game you will eventually manage to change your view about winning and losing or you will be able to choose the perfectly fit games for you, the ones that will bring you the most success.
In his book, “Psychology of Poker”, Alan N. Shoonmaker explains in detail the importance of understanding personal impulses in order to find the answer to the question “Why do we play poker?”
I will take the liberty to speak a little bit about this theory.
Take a pen and a piece of paper and write down the following:
Just passing time
If you can think of additional reasons, write those down also. Now you will have to think hard and find within yourselves the real reasons you play poker for.
Once you did that, write after each reason a percentage, even if it is 0%, just keep in mind that all of them added must equal 100%.
If someone would play poker 20% for Money, 10% for relaxation, 50% for pleasure and the remaining 20% for competition, then he would be what is called a loose player most of the time, playing many hands and staying in the game as much as he can just for the thrill of being there. This is the most important think for him and it influences his style of playing.
If you manage to carefully and correctly analyze your own situation you can eventually change some parts of your game you don’t like or improve the ones that you consider are good.
In many types of competitions, the battle is firstly within yourself and only after that with your opponents. Bad mistakes in poker are made when you are too proud, when you question your ability and doubt your self all the time, when you are too scared or shy when you must take an action or when your thoughts are just somewhere else.
If you play poker just with friends to pass the time, then you must choose games with low bids, so your bankroll will last longer. If you are playing to relax then stay out of the games with poker fanatics and choose some games with less involved players.
The answers can be various and they only depend on you. But answering the question is a must if you wish to improve your game.