Why People Play Poker
This will help you with your approach to the game and give you a better chance of getting what you are looking for out of poker.
Poker for fun
Many people play poker simply because they like the game.
They either see it as no different from a game like chess or backgammon, where different skill levels create a fun and interesting challenge, or they view poker as they view blackjack and craps, an opportunity to gamble and if you get lucky, win a little money.
If you are a "fun" player, that's fine. However, you should play to give yourself the optimal chance to have fun.
That means playing with a bankroll that you can afford to lose. If losing your stake makes you miserable all day, you may not be having as much fun playing poker as you think you are.
If you think an opponent is playing for fun, it's very important not to berate them for a perceived bad play, even when they suck out on you.
If you do, they may stop having fun and either leave or start to play more seriously, in both cases depriving you of an opportunity to win back your money by taking advantage of their bad play.
Some people play poker just to get out and meet others, and you can make some great friends and connections over a poker table.
If you are one of these players, you will probably prefer to play live poker over online poker, although you can certainly socialize through the chat function online.
If you're playing against a social player, it is generally in your interest to promote a friendly atmosphere.
Not only will you keep a player who may not be as highly skilled as you around, this player may be easier to bluff and reluctant to bluff you.
Poker for profit
This is one of the most often discussed motives for poker and possibly the most overrated.
The reality is that only around 10% of poker players are long-term winners.
Being a winning poker player is a lot harder than it looks on television. Most poker pros are not spending all of their time at televised final tables.
The majority of pros are either in live casinos playing very set times and limits or, more commonly these days, multi-tabling for 10 or so hours at a time online.
Also, if you have a family or other obligations, the swings of being a poker professional can be very stressful.
Very few other jobs are out there where you can work hard all week and end up with less money than you started with.
It is possible to have a good life as a poker professional, but you have to work at it.
It's not enough to understand pot odds and have a few winning sessions. You need long-term focus, discipline and a commitment to consistently improving your skills in order to succeed.
Back to Play Poker