Poker Psychology - Basic Notions
Poker, as any other game, has a set of rules. You learn the rules and, if you try hard, you might win the game. Yet, knowing the rules is only the half of the story. What makes poker different is that there is some room for deceiving; though players adapted another term for it – they call it bluffing.
According to the research by Dr. Paul Seager, 53% of your successful outcome in poker depends on bluffing. It’s not only important that you know how to bluff yourself, it’s even more important to learn how to see through your opponents.
It’s really difficult to learn how to bluff. First, it takes time and a lot of practice; second, you should be a little bit of an actor in sense that you should play as if on a stage (you should control your moves, know what to say, keep calm and be confident). Exactly this ‘actor’ part makes bluffing so challenging.
The thing is that it’s always more compelling to take control over yourself, while it’s a bit easier to read other players. I believe that everyone should learn the basic poker tricks because (1) it will help you reveal the bluffer and, thus, win; (2) it will enlarge your general knowledge and might be pretty helpful in daily life as well.
(a) Shaking hands. This can be either that a player has a monster hand, or s\he is nervous in general. The thing is that if you play with a person, you observe things like shaking hands or jiggling legs. The moment the person stops doing this means that s\he is very concerned about his\her hand, wants to think properly over the moves and do not want to attract attention. All this describes bluffing. So, pay attention to shaking hands, especially, when person stops doing it all of sudden.
(b) Talking\not talking. If you are introvert, you most probably feel comfortable not talking. When an introvert starts chatting, it means that s/he feels comfy and this might imply a very strong hand. On the contrary, if an extrovert constantly crakes the jokes and then s/he is quiet, it signals that they want to take their time and think of an important move. You should definitely pay attention to talking as it might help you with finding out who has a good hand or who is scheming.
(c) Breathing. As I told, bluffers do not want to attract attention. It means that s\he will be hardly moving and breathing very slowly. When some pro-poker players shared their observations, they told that bluffers where extremely silent and barely breathing. On the other hand, if your opponent is heavy breathing, then the pulse is higher than normal; it means that s\he is stressed. It implies that there is something huge for this player to decide about.
(d) Betting pattern. The bottom line is that everyone has their behavioral patterns and it takes time to understand them. It won’t happen overnight. The more you play poker and observe people, the more bluffing-skilled you become. Of course, you should read the field specific literature, but real-life interaction is essential here.