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Poker is a game of skill, chance, and psychology. Understanding how your opponents think and react can give you a big advantage at the table. Many professional players spend years perfecting their strategy and reading their opponents.
One of the most important aspects of playing poker is maintaining a solid mental mindset, particularly in high-pressure situations. Having the right mindset can significantly impact your ability to play the game well, but mastering this aspect of the game requires practice, perseverance, and self-evaluation.
Another aspect of a solid mental game is being able to manage emotions and avoid tilting. This is a big reason that professionals often have more success than recreational players; they learn how to recognize when they are getting emotional and know how to walk away from the table when they should.
Psychological analysis of poker is a fairly new field, and many researchers are exploring how the human mind interacts with a card game. This type of research is a little different than the psychological analysis of chess, in which probabilities are based on incomplete information.
One of the first books on the subject was a book from a former FBI agent and poker pro, Mike Caro, called The Psychology of Poker. In this book, he details many of the common physical tells that can be seen at the poker table. The most common of these is a “chip glance” where a player will subconsciously look at their chips to see how strong their hand might be.