Many dedicated poker players experience frustrations throughout their poker journey. It’s a natural part of the game but can lead to emotional distress and an overall negative experience.
So, here are some of the most common negative sentiments many dedicated poker players feel about their poker game. If you happen to relate to them, you can find solace in the fact that you’re not alone.
Feeling Like You’re Not Learning Fast Enough
Many players go through a long period of feeling like nothing is clicking. As if that’s not bad enough, they think their opponents are way ahead of them. This feeling can be extremely discouraging, and many players lose motivation as they become discouraged by their lack of progress.
One way to combat this is to focus on one area at a time and break it down into smaller tasks that can be achieved. For example, if you’re new to poker, start by focusing on the basics of the game, like understanding hand rankings and basic strategies. Once these are understood, take the time to delve deeper into more complex concepts, such as expected value and ranges.
Getting Stuck at a Certain Level
Many poker players experience the “glass ceiling” effect, where they simply cannot seem to win enough games beyond a certain point. It can be extremely frustrating when it feels like you’re doing everything right but still not progressing. It often leads to frustration and desperation, as they feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
The key here is to step back and assess what is going wrong. Do you need help understanding certain concepts? Or maybe you’re making too many mistakes? Identifying the issue and taking steps to fix it will help ensure progress in the future. It’s also important to remember that everyone experiences this at some point, so don’t get too discouraged.
Having Trouble With Goals
Like any endeavor, goals are important in poker because they create an extra sense of urgency and motivation. However, many players need more focus and organization, making reaching their goals difficult.
One way to do this is by setting daily, weekly, or monthly goals that you can work towards. Having achievable objectives that are easy to track will help keep you focused and make your progress more tangible.
Additionally, setting rewards for yourself as you reach each goal can further motivate you and make achieving your objectives more enjoyable. For example, if your goal is to attain a certain level of play, reward yourself with something like a new book or an upgraded poker set. Doing so will help keep you motivated and focused on reaching your goals.
Ending on a Sour Note
One of the most common frustrations for poker players is ending their session feeling defeated and leaving the poker table feeling like they could have done better. It can lead to a sense of disappointment, as it can feel like no matter how hard you try, you failed to close out a winning session.
The best way to combat this is to focus on the positives and take what happened during the live or online poker session. Additionally, take the time to assess what went wrong and look for patterns you can address in future games. This way, you’ll be able to identify areas of improvement and ensure that your bad days become fewer and farther between.
The Pressure to Play for Money
As players become more experienced and start playing for real money, the pressure to perform can significantly but negatively affect their game. When every hand begins to feel like a life-or-death situation, it can lead to tight play, fear of taking risks, and excessive caution. It’s especially true if a player has had some losses recently and is worried another one could bankrupt them.
The best way to combat this pressure is to take a break from a profit-oriented focus. Playing practice poker hands where the money isn’t real can help ease players back into their game. It’s also important to remember that poker is a long-term game with inevitable losses, so it’s best to focus on making sound decisions instead of chasing short-term wins.
Uncertainty on Whether to Go Pro or Not
The decision to go pro in poker is difficult, as there are no guarantees. Many players feel the pressure to succeed and make it their career but lack the resources or confidence to make the jump. It’s a highly frustrating predicament, as they have already spent countless hours honing their game but still don’t feel ready to turn pro.
Setting realistic expectations and taking one step at a time is the best way to ease this uncertainty. Start by playing lower-stakes games and build up your bankroll before jumping to higher stakes, which can be a litmus test to see if you’re ready to go pro.
Additionally, take some time away from the game when needed, and remember that taking a break is okay if you’re feeling burned out. Once you’ve done enough thinking, you’ll be able to decide whether going pro is for you or not.
Fear of Trying New Things
Whether playing in a tournament for the first time or trying no-limit games, fear can be a massive obstacle for poker players. Trying something new can bring on feelings of anxiety, as there is uncertainty in the unknown, and it’s always possible that your poker strategy may not work.
The best way to combat this fear is to start small and slowly build up your experience in an area of poker you are comfortable with. Additionally, take the time to research and practice different strategies before entering a game. Doing so will help you feel more prepared and less anxious about trying something new.
Take That Poker Chill Pill
Poker can be extremely rewarding and enjoyable, but it can also present many challenges along the way. Nevertheless, it’s a game whose higher levels are worth pursuing. By understanding these common struggles and looking for ways to address them, you’ll be able to feel more satisfied with your poker journey.