12 Good Poker Habits You Need to Start Adopting

By Robbie Strazynski
August 17, 2021

Poker is a great social game that you can play. Despite its simplicity, mastering the game is something that takes years of practice and plenty of mistakes. In an attempt to protect you from making those mistakes, we’ve rounded up some of the top poker tips that you’ll need to know about to stand a chance of winning.

This article ought to cover the basics. If you’re looking for more info, I recommend reading this short guide to playing better poker.

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Take A Breath

Before you make any decisions in the game, make sure you pause and actively take a calming breath. Taking a breath will disguise any thinking that you have to do about your cards. If you have to take a little bit longer to make a tough call, so be it. Get into the habit of waiting a few seconds before acting on any decision.

Act Decisively

Never hesitate or show signs of indecisiveness when playing a game of poker. It is a sign of weakness and will make your opponents feel confident that you aren’t a threat. Get into the habit of thinking before taking any action. After you’ve decided on the moves you’d like to make, do so purposefully.

Observe Quietly

Make a point of watching the other players. Keep an eye out for anyone checking their cards. By monitoring your opponents, you’ll pick up helpful information that could help you win. After playing poker for a while, you’ll find yourself doing this out of habit.

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Organize your chips

Stack and categorize your chips according to value so that they will be easy to count should you wish to add to the pot at any point. Typically, players stack their chips in counts of 20.

Take Regular Breaks

Make a point of stretching your legs every so often. Taking a break from play doesn’t have to be for a long time, maybe a minute or so, but it will help you stay focused and more awake.

Play When Well-Rested

You won’t be a good poker player if you aren’t fully rested. It would help your focus if you decided when and whether or not you should play based on the amount of rest you’ve had. Getting tired during a game is normal, but arriving at a poker game weary will not help you think clearly or remain focused.

Make sure you rest enough before each game so that you can arrive energized and switched on.

Make Sure You Have the Funds

This tip seems a bit obvious, but you must ensure you have enough money to make any bets. If you’re low on funds, don’t play. Playing when you know you need the money will add an extra element of stress and could cloud your judgment.

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Check Your Cards Methodically

Get into the habit of checking your cards and arranging them in the same way. Your routine should go as follows: pick up the cards you have been dealt and check them, then check your opponent’s expressions as they do the same. Some like to look away, while others will wait until it’s their turn to look at their cards. After a while, you’ll know who does what and their cues.

Poker Face

Never give anything away via your facial expression but always be cordial towards your opponents. Keeping your opponents relaxed has never done any harm. Even if you’re shy by nature, get into the habit of smiling. It will make you more likable and could encourage your opponents to play softer against you inadvertently.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

Remember to breathe. Deep breathing during your game will keep you feeling calm and switched on. If you get into the habit of regular deep breathing, you’ll feel more relaxed and clear-headed when making decisions. When making tough decisions, you want to have a clear head.

Make Sure you’re Comfortable

Sit comfortably. Make a mental note of checking on your posture occasionally. Don’t slouch or hunch over while playing. Not only will this bother you later in the game as your spine starts to ache, but it could potentially cause some damage in the future.

Sit squarely and relax your shoulders. Keep your head upright. You’ll look more confident and feel so much better.

Know Where to Sit

As soon as you enter a poker room, you must scope out the best tables and the best seats. Eventually, you’ll start doing this automatically, but at first, you’ll have to make sure you’re spying attention. Don’t seem too eager about grabbing your spot, as that could lead others to believe that you are nervous and don’t want that.

Adopting a few or all of these poker habits will do you a world of good when it comes to improving your poker skills. While having fun is essential, making sure you don’t make a loss is more of a priority. Follow our advice, and you’ll be sure to see an improvement.

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Written By.

Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded Cardplayerlifestyle.com in 2009. A veteran poker writer and presenter, Robbie hosts The Orbit, a first-of-its-kind roundtable discussion live broadcast on Twitch.tv/poker featuring poker’s biggest names and personalities, as well as the CardsChat Podcast. In 2019, Robbie translated the autobiography of poker legend Eli Elezra (Pulling the Trigger) from Hebrew into English. Robbie’s “Running […]