I really have sympathy for you if you’ve decided to play poker for the first time and you’ve decided that you’re brave enough to try playing against live players. I wish you all the luck and offer our condolences in advance…
I am kidding!
Of course, we’re not here to grieve for your losses in poker in advance. If you’re a first time player and you want to play against live players, then good for you. And we’re here to help by providing you with useful tips that just may be the keys you need to survive round after round of poker.
Now, first time players are what most poker veterans refer to as “calling stations”. If you’re wondering about the logic behind the term, it’s basically because most first time poker players have the tendency to call almost all bets without even sparing a moment’s thought on their decisions.
Obviously, if you don’t want to be viewed as a “calling station” (egad!), gain the respect of your fellow poker players and maybe a share of their chips also, think before you act. Poker is not just any card game. It’s a mental game, a strategic competition between several players.
If you feel that your nerves are getting the better of you, here are some tips to get rid of cold feet.
Don’t pressure yourself by comparing your skills to other players’. That’s a futile exercise. Naturally, you can’t compare. You’re playing for the first time and they’re, what, celebrating their one millionth game? If you accept that, there’s nothing to lose yet there’s no harm in trying, you’ll feel much better later on and be able to concentrate more on the game.
Don’t turn your fellow players into gods. Okay, so you’ve heard about your opponents’ reputations. Say, one is called The Crocodile because of his ability to snatch you out of the game in seconds and the other one’s called The Rampaging Elephant because he’s always aggressive when it comes to bets. Remind yourself that before they got their monikers, they were also, once in their lives, christened as “calling stations”…just like you. If it helps, mentally replace their faces with funny looking ones to lessen your feelings of inferiority.
And lastly…relax. I know, it’s easier said than done, but you truly have to relax. Block out everything except for the cards you’re holding and mentally hum a happy song to yourself. If you let external factors get the better of you, you’re dead meat. But if you succeed in relaxing and focusing completely on your game, you may just have gotten rid of your nerves for the final time.