Poker as in life, requires a great amount of flexibility. Things come up, plans change, and the ability to adapt and let things roll off your shoulders affect the way you deal with the current situation and influences the way you deal with situations in the future. If you only think about one way of finding an answer, many studies have shown that it leaves you boxed into your solution set and unable to see other, possibly better solutions. It is important to evaluate all of the information critically and effectively at the decision point so that you can make the best possible decision. I cannot count the number of times that I have solved a problem in a way that did not occur to me when I began thinking about how to solve it.
It is easy to get frustrated when playing poker in person, you are dealt only about 30 hands per hour, which means you are rarely dealt a premium hand. There is little to do between hands but think about the hands you have played and how you are doing, evaluate the other players, and make small talk. Since the solution to each hand requires a complete analysis of a new set of variables., the best outcome for me is one that I can look a back on away from the table and be happy with the result. If you are not doing well during a session, frustration can build and can close off your mind to certain possibilites. Things like “I never flop a set” or “I always lose with pocket kings” can be at the forefront of your mind and crowd out the optimal way to play each hand. Your can begin to believe that actions you take at the poker table, which you know are incorrect in a vacuum are correct. The most well known of these is known as tilt, where you get frustrated and play sub optimally to the point of giving away money. I often remind myself at the table that I am capable of anything at any time and to open my mind up to figuring out the best answer, even if I have never done it before.
Often a hand can come up where you are planning to do something, but then the action in front of you changes your perspective. This is one reason is why it is important not to look at your cards until the action is on you. That way you are able to independently evaluate what is happening without being clouded by your hand. If you look at your hand before you have seen the action in front of you, you are more reliant on your heuristics and are more locked into your solution set. For example, if there is a raise and you look down and see K9o, you might decide that it is not worthy of calling a raise and decide to fold. You might miss the fact that there are 5 callers and it has now become a profitable squeeze opportunity.
In addition, looking at your hand before the action gets to you makes you become more vested in the outcome. For example, if you look down and see JJ, you might get excited that you have a great hand. Then when there is a raise and a reraise in front of you, you will be frustrated that you have a good hand and cannot play. Instead, if you saw the raise and reraise in front of you, you know that you will only be able to play QQ or better. Thus, you see JJ and fold with the same feelings as if you had 72o, keeping your emotional balance.