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The Emotional Paradox of Poker

Remove all emotion from decisions, but …

by Matthew Hilger |  Published: Aug 21, 2009


Editor’s note: This column contains excerpts from the book The Poker Mindset: Essential Attitudes for Poker Success, by Ian Taylor and Matthew Hilger. The Poker Mindset discusses seven essential attitudes for achieving poker success. One of these attitudes is to “remove all emotion from decisions.” Many players let emotions affect their poker decisions, yet emotions should have no impact whatsoever on the decision-making process. In some sports, emotion can be an advantage. For example, a football coach may try to motivate his players by stirring up emotions of anger, hatred, or team spirit, which may arouse them into working a bit harder or giving a bit extra. Poker is different from football and other similar sports, in that there is very little that emotion can do to help a poker player. Emotions do not understand pot odds or how to put your opponent on a hand. They do not help ...

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