Keeping your Poker face: how do the poker players deal with nerves and anxiety when performing?

By all accounts, poker is an intrinsically nerve-wracking game. The game can last for hours, the stakes can be very high, one’s luck can turn quickly. Like any game involving strategy, it necessitates a great amount of level-headedness. Practice also makes perfect, which is why a lot of players hone their skills in video poker at online casinos like CasinoCasino, When playing poker, you can’t let anxiety get the best of you, especially because your opponents will be trying to read your hand through your facial expressions– this is why any poker player needs a good poker face

Physical before Mental

Managing one’s nerves is actually the keystone to playing poker. In consequence, players focus their preparation on maintaining their mental state in good shape before, during, and after the game. One of the most important things is the general hygiene of life. In order to be able to handle pressure, one should always follow the age-old mantra of mens sana in copore sano “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” You will feel more stable mentally if you exercise regularly and keep a healthy lifestyle— that is, no alcohol in excess, drugs, or junk food before a tournament. When it comes to the basics, there is no bluffing. When it comes to exercising, choose your weapon! Some will like a classic workout, others a bouldering session, like Marti Roca de Torres.

Beyond maintaining good physical health, poker players and health experts alike agree that meditation is a life changer. If you are going to be experiencing massive amounts of stress and head-turning, you need to be able to access a place of level-headedness in order to handle emotions peacefully. Practicing meditation will exercise your mind in attaining this place, and when you are faced with these overwhelming feelings, you’ll be able to manage them.

It will not come as a surprise to learn that top poker players like the second-highest winning player of all time, Justin Bonomo, is an adept of meditation. Another example of a top player maintaining incredible physical and mental health is one of the top players of all time, Antonio Esfandiari, also known as “The Magician.” He is faithful practitioner of yoga, as he showcases on Instagram. Unsurprisingly, yoga has become very popular among poker players. Some of them, like World Series of Poker’s 2017 finalist Damian Salas, even credit their yoga instructor with their success. Yoga is especially popular as it operates as both a physical exercise and a mental one, reinforcing mindfulness.

Mindfulness is especially crucial in poker, but it can be counterintuitive. Many players start playing in order to distract themselves from life’s problems. Using poker as a coping mechanism and a distraction can only get you so far, and it can easily lead to unhealthy situations. 

Avoiding the Tilt

Tilt refers to a mental state of frustration in which a player adopts a counter-productive strategy, often an overly-aggressive one. Tilt is usually triggered when a player loses or gets a bad beat. Angered by their loss, the player gets into a sort of rage and starts playing cards with a lower chance of winnings, over-bluffing, abusing or annoying others at the table. Tilt is a serious cycle of impairment that should be addressed immediately when it appears, and many players have had to seek help in order to remedy it.

One way to reduce tilt is to have a healthy lifestyle, as we’ve talked about earlier. But when dealing with high-pressure tournaments, exercise, meditation and healthy food can fall short. There is a legendary name in helping poker players with mental coaching: hypnotherapist Elliott Roe. In addition to coaching stars, he also gives advice to the layman that are applicable to all of us. A crucial element of his method is “accepting responsibility for your focus,” which implies that you should be mindful of why you are doing what you’re doing, how you’ve come so far and how much you will have to focus on your task at hand. This type of coaching, in conjunction with hypnotherapy, has been a significant help for a player like Arron Fletcher, who was finally able to face his emotional problems instead of distracting himself.


In conclusion, at our own level, we can all learn from people who deal with extraordinary amounts of pressure like pro athletes or pro poker players. When you listen to the best among them, you find out that there is no miracle: pressure is handled with discipline, sometimes a bit of outside help, and whole lot of work on one’s self. In order to prepare for it, you should eat well, sleep enough, work out. Mentally, you will also need to practice your mindfulness in order to be able to focus and push through difficulties, whether that comes in the form of a bad beat or an angry email from your boss. And whenever you need, you should not hesitate to contact a professional who might be able to help you find solutions you had never envisioned before.

Now that you hold all the keys to prevent tilt, you are fully prepared to try your hand at poker on with a clear head. And don’t forget to practice your poker face!