Holdem Poker Player and Mental Strength

For Holdem poker players to be successful they must possess mental strength. Every expert agrees to that fact. But what does “mental strength” mean? We can say it includes being tough, resilient and adaptive. These are a few aspects that define mental strength. Let’s consider how a strong mental nature, a characteristic that you find in all winners, can be a huge asset for any poker player.

Staying in the Moment

One aspect of mental strength is the ability to stay focused on the task at hand to let go of all distractions in your life and at the poker table. In any type of competitive endeavor, those who remain attached to the game make the fewest mistakes.

Staying in the moment mentally means you are analyzing the ebb and flow of each hand, including every bet, check, raise and fold. You’re reevaluating your situation and everyone else’s after you get your hole cards and see the flop, turn and river.

How often have you been going along, making all of the correct moves and then you make a gross miscalculation because you misread the flop and the fact that the player who kept raising you had a full house that outmatched your trips?


If you’re a passive player, it probably means that there’s a certain amount of fear that you have regarding failure. If you find yourself folding on hands that you could have won if you had stayed for one more card, you probably want to whip up some extra courage like the Cowardly Lion did in The Wizard of Oz.

By being fearless a player isn’t careless or pushing the bluff all the time, but they are studying the cards and deciding to take an educated risk on certain hands. In low stakes games try to build up a fearless streak by staying in hands a little longer than you might. You won’t always win but at least you’ll develop a sense of when you should look the other player in the eye and call their raise.

Letting Go

You made a mistake and played a hand you should not have. You made a mistake and didn’t play a hand you should have. You didn’t make a mistake but you got beat on a fluke turn of the river. All of these things and more can drive a player to distraction and cause them to lose even more hands if they can’t let go of their latest mishap.

If something goes wrong, you should make a note regarding what you did and if you should have done something differently and then let go of the anger, frustration and disappointment. Refocus on the present hand.

By the way, the opposite of this scenario is also true. You won a big hand and drew someone into an ambush. You won a hand when you looked beat for certain on the turn and the river. You just made another player go bust. These events can cause extreme euphoria, make you feel invincible and make you forget what you’re doing. Great that you won that one; celebrate for 10 seconds and then let go. Stay in the present.

Come Back Kid Skills

You’re down to almost nothing and there are a few players at the table who can crush you. Okay, it’s time to get very tough. Don’t get down and don’t get even. What you want to do is play very few hands, waiting to go in for the flop only when you have a high pair, suited high cards or unsuited high cards. You’re not beat until you are out of the game. So stay in it to the very end and you could be the last one standing.


When you’re playing Texas Holdem in a long game or big tournament, you’re going to need mental stamina. Some tournaments go on for six, eight, ten or more hours and they can drain your brain. There’s no two ways about it if you can’t develop an ability to sustain yourself mentally, you’re going to make mistakes that will take you out of the game.

Play when you are rested and focused. Never play when you are tired, distracted, angry, drunk or mentally impaired in anyway. All of these things wear you down and out mentally.

The Brain Game

To win the game of Texas Holdem, you must win the brain game. There are two such games to win. One is against the other players. You have to be smarter, more skilled and mentally tougher than they are to win. The other brain game, and you have to win this one first, is the one inside yourself where you build confidence, fearlessness, mental acuity, stamina and amazing control. One way of another, Texas Holdem is a mental game.

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