Top 3 Tips to Control Your Mental State in Poker

By Tadas Peckaitis
December 22, 2020

Poker is an easy game to learn but a hard one to master. While you can get WSOP free chips and start practicing online without investing any money, you will need much more than that to have serious results, and it goes beyond the strategy as well.

This game requires constant concentration, rational thinking, and patience, so you shouldn’t neglect the mental part of poker.

Although mastering the game doesn’t come overnight by any means, there are some things to watch for if you’re in it for long-term success. With that in mind, we want to share with you the top 3 tips to control your mental state when playing poker.

mental toughness

Concentrate on decision making

Most poker players base their decisions on the potential quality of the outcome. If the result is good, the decision was right, and vice versa. This is NOT a good tactic in poker, as sometimes a poor decision can net you a win, while a good one can lead to a loss down the line.

For this reason, you shouldn’t base your decision on the short-term results of each hand. Instead, realize that every decision comes with uncertainty attached to it, and focus on the process. Realizing this and taking control of your emotions will make you a better poker player.

A strong poker player will notice when someone is tilting or overly-emotional and take advantage of it. Such a mindset will enable you to maximize your profits when the hands are in your favor and mitigate losses when having a bad session.

As you play more, you’ll understand the game better, and it’ll be easier for you to concentrate on the decision-making part of the process. During this time, both beginners and advanced players tend to set their brains on autopilot by automating certain moves in each game. This can be detrimental to your poker game, as no two poker hands are the same.

Another big part that plays into your concentration ability is your current mental and physical state. Generally speaking, the better you feel, the better you’ll concentrate. If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep or haven’t been feeling well, you’ll have a hard time focusing on making the right decisions. Sometimes it is better to skip the session than play when you are not feeling great.

Know your schedule

The prospect of winning multimillion-dollar tournament prizes and making a great living solely from playing a game you enjoy is very enticing. But to become a successful player, it’s crucial to create a realistic schedule you can follow long-term.

Having a schedule is a critical aspect of a good mental poker game and will make your life much easier.


Of course, all of us can sometimes sit and play for hours on end. Just remember that such situations should be rare occurrences rather than the norm.

Creating a poker schedule and sticking to it will allow you to establish a stable environment in which you know how to control your emotion and concentrate solely on making the right decisions, as we’ve talked about above. In turn, it’ll also help reduce your stress and anxiety about whether or not you should currently be playing a session.

Detach after your sessions

It’s hard to mentally switch off and entirely detach from your profession or hobby in today’s mobile era. Not only is poker a mentally taxing activity, but most of us also seek post-session relaxation through checking emails or messages, reading articles, or playing video games.

While this seems like an excellent way to unwind, all of these things are very cognitively demanding and take up your active attention.

From my experience, the best way to detach after a long poker session and reset your mind is to do an activity that involves more physical than mental activity or is at least passive. If you’ve been sitting around and playing poker for the best part of the day, the apparent diametric activity would be to engage in some physical exercise.

Of course, running or lifting weights are the best ways to detach and unwind mentally while also keeping your body in shape. That being said, there are many more less-demanding activities that can be equally effective.

Going for a brief walk, or even just listening to music or hanging with your friends or household members can get your mind off of the game and help you recharge. If you prefer more passive activities, even watching an episode of one of your favorite comedy shows or maybe one of the fun gambling movies can get your brain into a more passive mode and help you relax before going to bed or enjoying the rest of your day.

The key takeaway you should keep in mind if you’re looking to detach after your poker sessions is to stray away from any activities that require any active thinking and concentration. Overstraining will make it more difficult to control your mental state and significantly impact your success in poker.



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Tadas Peckaitis poker author
Written By.

Tadas Peckaitis

Tadas Peckaitis is a professional poker player, author of the free poker book “Play ‘A’ game and be the boss at your poker table”, and poker coach at He is also a big fan of personal effectiveness and always trying to do more. Tadas shares his knowledge about both of these topics with his […]

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