Poker player Jeremy Wien has won 1 bracelet and 0 rings for total earnings of $835260. Some other big poker wins in history include Dan Colman’s $1530668 prize money collection. That is substantially more money than some people make in a decade. More than some people might earn in their lifetime, perhaps. Now, gambling is a risky business, but poker is a far more hands-on game that benefits from the player’s experience. But how does one get into the game?
Low Stakes, Not No Stakes
When you start playing poker, you need to practice your game. Most people think it best to practice with friendly matches with friends or family. However, that approach can backfire. Stakes are an important part of how a player responds during a game.
If you only practice when there is nothing on the line, you will have a rough experience the first time your hard-earned cash sits on the table. But how do you set up significant stakes while practicing without risking big losses?
Bet On Things You Don’t Want To Do
It’s simple. Don’t bet money. Instead, wager on things you don’t want to do. For example, perhaps you hate cleaning the pool, so you wager giving the pool cleaner a month off where you take the responsibility. Better yet, wager to clean your children’s rooms for a month.
The further you can push that boundary of betting on things you do not want to do, the closer you come to experience the pressure that you will face when you play for keeps. Just remember to keep it clean and keep it legal. For example, don’t bet you will run streaking into the local police station.
The biggest reason you need to learn how to play under pressure is to hone your poker face. There is so much more to the professional poker face than one might think. For one, it is not about keeping your face unflinching.
Rather, it would help if you learned how to bluff with your face and do so subtly enough that it isn’t obvious whether or not you are faking. That alone takes a lot of practice, and the smaller the bluff, the bigger its impact will be.
Ask For Feedback
It would help to ask some of your friends or family with whom you practice to give you honest feedback. Did they notice a specific tick? Is there something you could perhaps do differently to better bluff your way through a game?
It would be best to learn to read your opponents’ faces, body language, and quirks as you practice. You need to look for every detail, from subtle facial expressions and whether they are intentionally misleading you or the response is subconscious.
Learn to read body language as well. For example, do they hold their hand differently when they have a bad hand versus a good hand? Does their body language betray excitement, or does it say they are nervous? Then, after the game, ask them about those moments and compare them to your analysis.
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