Gambling psychology for most people conjures up images of stony faced poker players and their habits and actions (tells) that suggest the value of the cards they are holding.
I contend that there is much more to gambling psychology. When we look at successful gamblers, they all have a sound money management strategy, a sound game strategy, a high level of game skills, distinctive presentation and when appropriate, the ability to psyche their opponents.
You may contend that that some of these aspects of gambling do not involve psychology. I disagree.
The sound money management strategy allows the successful gambler to recover from a number of consecutive losing gambling sessions. Especially in poker, opponents notice these things and the ability to bounce back has a subtle psychological effect on opponents. This also allows you to approach the next session in a better frame of mind than what you would otherwise be in because you know that if you should loose again, you still have adequate reserves to try again multiple times.
Without a sound game strategy you will be taken to the cleaners regardless of the game you play or where you play it. A sound strategy simply requires you to play the game to take advantage of all the favorable bets and to avoid those bets where the house has an unreasonable advantage.
This allows you to play with confidence because once your strategy has been tested and proven, you know that when you win, your winnings will be reasonable to quite good and on those occasions when you loose, your losses will be relatively modest.
Your game skills give you the confidence to adhere to your strategies when under pressure so that you maximize your winnings and minimize your losses. If your game stresses you unduly, either find a game with lower limits or a different game that you find less stressful. If that is not possible, then it is time to find another past time.
Your distinctive presentation sends a message to your opponents. That message is dependent on where and with whom you play. Many years ago, I worked as a ringer (cowboy) and long wearing western shirts, jeans and polished riding boots have been both my preferred work and casual wear ever since. In the city, that gives me the image of a hay seed (hillbilly). At the poker tables, that's great because most of those who do not know me personally will tend to assess me as an inexperienced and poor player.
To me these are the unnoticed aspects of gambling psychology that all combine to build your personal confidence and allow you to exude confidence during your gambling session.
Virtually everyone has heard about poker "tells" even if they do not really know what they are. Tells are the subtle signs that others pick up on that give them a good idea as to the strength of our poker hand. Hiding these tells from your opponents, requires a great deal of acting skills and practice especially when you suddenly find yourself sitting on a good full house or a royal flush.
I recall playing against this stony faced guy who hardly moved or spoke for hours when suddenly the artery on the side of his neck started jumping like he had just run a marathon. He obviously had a hand that he found very exciting. Whilst he could control his voluntary actions, he could not control his involuntary actions. All those who could see that side of his neck folded in turn. If he had come dressed as 'dandy' complete with a cravat, no one may have noticed his obvious excitement and his pot would have been much bigger.
This incident vividly illustrates the visible aspects of gambling psychology.
Lastly, I thought I should do some research to see what the experts have to say about gambling psychology. After a few hours, of reading those papers, the overwhelming thrust was that we were all exhibiting the early signs of abnormal behavioral patterns and if caught early, the problem could respond to treatment. Unfortunately, there are some in our midst where gambling has become a problem.
I make a point of never gambling when cash is short because it has been my sad experience that whenever I have gambled in those situations, I have almost always lost and such losses are doubly painful. I have always won most whenever I could well and truly have afforded the loss. Being cashed up removes the stress and reduces the mistakes one makes when playing overly cautiously.
To the intelligent gamblers in our midst who have sound strategies in place and who never bet more than they can afford to loose, I say work on the psychological aspects of your game to improbe your edge and Good Luck at the Tables!
A review of the top 10 casinos and hotels in Las Vegas weighted heavily on their poker room quality. A good read for any potential Las Vegas tourist who wants a quick taste of The Strip before sitting down at the tables.
The Bellagio is the most played casino in Las Vegas and is the choice casino for pros such as Jennifer Harman, Daniel Negreanu, & Chip Reese. The Bellagio, other than being an AAA 5-diamond hotel and casino, has a wide range of games, a great mix of people and an even greater atmosphere. The Bellagio is known for its high stakes with limit hold’em starting at $4/8. Away from the poker tables and you have some great attractions such as the wonderful and famous musical fountains and botanical gardens.
Free drinks and automatic shufflers? What more could you want! Caesars Palace offers a wide range of poker variations from limit holdem to omaha hi/lo. The luxury casino and hotel offers attractions such as an exotic car show room, two free and fantastic fountain shows, a nightclub and a shuttle to and from the hotel. The casino has been featured in over a dozen films and is to appear in the new release, “Iron Man”.
The brand spanking new casino in Las Vegas is sure to attract all sorts of poker players to its luxury suite. Oddly enough, The Wynn is the first casino to hold a luxury car dealership on the 215 acres of space that it covers. The games at The Wynn are similar to that played at The Ballagio, with highly skilled dealers and automatic card shufflers. Anything goes here, if it’s in demand then it will be played; it’s not uncommon to come across a 6 man $20/$40 Chinese poker game!
The wide variety of games and limits at The Mirage is what appeals to most. This is one of the only casinos where you will see less popular variations of poker, such as Omaha, being played at high stakes. The resort has a great exotic theme to it, with a huge Atrium at the entrance to the casino containing palm trees and water features to mention a few. There is also an artificial volcano that erupts during the evening which rivals the spectacular views at The Bellagio fountains.
The Venetian boasts the largest poker resort in all of America and even contains its own shopping mall. The Venetian offers over 122 casino games and a sports lounge. At The Venetian you won’t have to leave the resort, there are 17 restaurants and attractions that would keep you more than busy while you’re not at the tables.
The MGM Grand holds one of the largest poker rooms in Las Vegas and is one of the places seen to play a “kill blind”, similar to a “straddle” in no limit hold’em. If you are looking to play poker to make a killing while on holiday in Las Vegas then this is the poker room for you; as the poker room is situated near the entrance and so fish are constantly passing by. There are plenty of exciting attractions at The Grand including a glass walled lion habitat which has several viewings a day!
Binions is renowned as being the birth place of the World Series of Poker. The poker room contains over 70 poker tables with a featured table to use as the final table for their daily tournaments. Binions casino and hotel is marked with years of history after opening in 1951. Binions is also referred to as “The Horseshoe” which was the brand name used for many other casino properties.
This is the home to the modern day World Series of Poker, which is held in the Rio’s convention room rather than the poker room. Some say the resort is better known for its delicious 5 themed buffet meal than it is for poker; however the poker room is certainly more than adequate for all types of poker player.
Situated far from the main strip in Las Vegas, The Orleans is great for those who want to play lower limit variations of poker such as Omaha. They even have tournaments for any poker players bankroll including a daily $40 Omaha Hi/Lo game. The Orleans is not the destination for European and Asian tourists but more for the Las Vegas locals and long term residents making the atmosphere far more low key.
The Palms has had its name publicized recently after being home for the popular show, Celebrity Poker Showdown. The poker room is spread over 2 separate rooms with just 10 tables and dwindles in comparison with some of the other casinos in Las Vegas. One room is dedicated to limit and the other to no limit making the variations of poker very limited. The Palms redeems some of its poker credibility with a progressive jackpot for hands such as a straight flush or four of a kind.