In some ways, being a magician and being a poker player use similar skills. Magicians use skills honed by thousands of hours of practice. They use what is called misdirection, and they certainly use a certain amount of psychology in creating a memorable performance. The same can be said about professional or semi-professional poker players. These men and women hone their craft with thousands of hours of play against opponents. They use a certain amount of misdirection in their play, and they most certainly use psychology.
The psychology of poker basically involves creating mystery, misdirection (there’s that word again) and hesitation. Sitting around a table with your opponents can be a challenge. You have to keep your poker face, try to read everybody else’s poker face, and not give away your true intentions when you take a card, raise and call. After a few hands you start to notice the physical aspects of your poker opponents. The hesitation when it comes time to bet, an air of resignation when some player takes three cards, the confident betting of someone with an excellent poker hand, all sorts of little nuances.
In online poker, the entire game is changed because you can’t read the other players’ body language and quirks. An internet casino poker game is often reduced to the game’s bare essence, but you can still take advantage of some psychological tricks to get ahead. In the online casino, some do make their game play as consistent as possible to fool other players when there’s a big hand at stake. Others go the opposite way and try to confuse other online poker players with plenty of bluffing and strategic folding.
Players such as Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese and Barry Greenstein are considered to be among the best poker players of all time. These players have perfected their game techniques and worked out how to use poker psychology to give themselves an edge over their opponents. Of course, none of this applies if you are simply playing against a computer program. In that case, the best you can do is to figure the odds and find a good strategy. In the case of online poker with other humans, it is still possible to use psychology. You just have to learn how to read the game. Internet casinos present a whole new series of challenges to the seasoned poker player, but over time you can learn how to adapt and win. And always remember, the odds are always on the side of the House!!!
Michael Reist, The Amazing Magi, is a professional magician who lives in Annville, PA with his wife Kathy. To contact him simply e-mail him directly at [email protected] or call him at (610) 698-0311.