Developing patience in poker is crucial. Whether you’re learning how to play, engaging in more concentrated analysis, or navigating through downswings, practicing patience is a necessary skill in the world of poker. Discover effective strategies to enhance your patience in poker, allowing you to leverage this newfound skill for profitability in various poker settings, be it live events or online play.

In this article we will cover:

  • The Psychology of Patience
  • The Advantages of Practicing Patience
  • Improved Decision-Making
  • Techniques for Practicing Patience

The Psychology of Patience

Poker isn’t just the most popular card game on Earth; it is a beguiling combination of skill, luck, and strategy that is easy to get the hang of yet impossible to master. From the birth of the c-bet to the six-bet all-in, from soul reads to GTO, having patience is vital if you want to navigate the rollercoaster of emotions necessary to maintain a winning record in poker.

The etymology of the phrase ‘Patience is a virtue’ dates back to the fifth century A.D. and refers to patience as one of seven ‘heavenly’ virtues. This references an epic poem called Psychomachia, which speaks of patience as a crucial element that sets apart the great from the good. We now know that it also separates successful poker players from those who run into the red.

Patience is as important a tool at the table as the four-bet bluff or the turn value bet. It can make a difference to your game overnight if you can harness it. Mentally speaking, if you have patience in the significant moments, you’ll be able to clarify your mind and focus on whatever decision you need to make. Patience will allow you to focus on what is most important to you at any given time. Rushing decisions does the exact opposite – you can miss crucial information or the direction you need to apply yourself.

The Advantages of Practicing Patience

What are the benefits of practicing good patience at the poker table? They are many and varied. First of all, playing with patience and composure is great for your table image. Utilizing that inner peace to look clearly at the decisions in front of you will be of immense benefit to your poker game and make the entire experience a lot more enjoyable. Waiting for the right moment to pounce in poker is vital, and taking advantage of situations only comes if you are able to see clearly what edge you have and, most crucially, when you have it.

Being patient should never be confused with being passive. We mentioned this earlier, and it is really important. Exercising self-control is great; waiting for pocket aces or pocket kings is not. Patience is a virtue in many senses in poker, but don’t allow yourself to become complacent that you’ll be dealt good hands if you start level 1 being dealt premium hand after premium hand.

Patience is all about making calculated decisions at the table rather than making rash, impulsive choices when a little clear-thinking would improve your decision-making. The most crucial advantage that having patience in poker gives you is making the right choices, executing optimal plays in a calm and measured manner that allows you to grow your chip stack over time and exercise control over the table.

Improved Decision-Making

Executing patience at the poker table will allow you to make more thoughtful and strategic decisions. Waiting for the best opportunities and avoiding dangerous impulses will give you a more objective view in each hand, each level, and every session. You’ll also be able to make single decisions with a calmer, more methodical process.

Every decision you make at the poker table has a purpose and often a consequence. Making the right decisions over and over will lead to more profit, fewer mistakes, and put you in more positions where you could win a major title, a big cash game pot, or a satellite into a live event that could change your life.

Being patient at the poker table, you’ll avoid getting into marginal situations with weak holdings. Paying less attention to your emotions will free up mental headspace for analyzing your opponents, which includes understanding their strategy and ranges. That will, in turn, protect your bankroll, mitigate high-risk scenarios, and give you a psychological edge over your opponents.

Chances are, if you look at the poker players you aspire to be as successful as, you’ll see them demonstrate discipline at the table and exercise self-control on and off the felt. Even under the heat of television lighting, put to the test for a seven-figure pot in either equity or cash, the very best can still remain clear-minded. Their composure is the result of working on their patience in poker.

Techniques for Practicing Patience

There are several ways that you can become a more patient player – and as a result, a more patient person. Look into mindfulness practices and how you can improve your self-awareness. These are fundamental building blocks for patience and can allow you to be present in the moment, keeping a rational observation on your thoughts and emotions.

One great idea is to keep a mood diary, documenting difficult decisions that you’ve had to make and making notes on your improved responses to these mentally testing situations. Here are six ways you can add in patient practices that will have a positive effect on your poker game:

Practice Meditation

Develop your mindfulness side with regular meditation sessions. Put a few minutes aside each day to focus on your breathing in silence, improving your mental state and allowing you to focus on your thoughts in utter peace.

Reflect on Your Session

Breathe in and take a little time to reflect on your gameplay after every session at the table. Instead of purely focusing on the in-game decisions you made, ask yourself about the mental issues you experienced, whether it is frustration at your actions, how you dealt with your emotions, or how you would change your mental processing in the future.

Write in a Poker Journal

As well as being a good place to jot down any improvements you can make in future decisions, a journal can often provide you with the perfect motivation for self-improvement, namely being accountable to your past self.

Practice Mindfulness at the Table

We’re not telling you to get a yoga mat out and start chanting your favorite mantra. Use mindfulness mini-sessions to focus on your breathing, put any losing hands behind you, and calmly readjust to your changing stack or circumstances. Stay in the moment at all times.

Seek Support

Surround yourself with those who not only improve your poker game but also your mood. This is crucial in life as well as poker, of course, but maintain a good relationship with those closest to you. This will help your temperament and allow you to practice self-care.

Have a Sanctuary

Recognize when you need a total break in your life to allow your poker game to breathe. Never missing a major tournament, online opportunity, or just a regular Sunday session is fine, but you will need to step away sometimes. Spend time with those closest to you, exercise, rest, and enjoy hobbies outside of the game, and you’ll be more present whenever you come back.

In Conclusion

Patience is an extremely important tool in your arsenal at the poker table. Cultivating a more patient approach to the game will help you win crucial psychological battles, make more rational decisions, and put yourself in a calmer, more positive place to play poker, let alone win at the game.

Having patience grows your mental resilience, allowing you to have more emotional control and self-discipline. Make sure that you practice the methods that give you the best mindset and let your patience help you do the work for you. From game strategy to freeing up headspace to grow your skillset, patience is truly a valuable virtue in the game of poker.

Did this article deal you a winning hand?

Jackpot! You’ve flopped a winning hand! This article has surely added some extra chips to your stack. Tune in for more valuable insights and pro-level strategies!

Looks like you’ve been dealt a bad beat. We’ll shuffle the deck and try again.

Paul seaton


Paul Seaton, a poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He’s not just a spectator; he’s been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker.

Paul’s poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he’s interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton’s expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide.

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