10 Common Misconceptions About Poker

If you play poker regularly, and you understand the game exactly as it is, you probably know that there are misconceptions among people with no direct experience. You’ve probably heard many of these erroneous viewpoints. If you are like me, you spend a fair amount of time explaining to uninformed people precisely what the game is and what it is not. For the benefit of all, this article will clear up some of the more common misconceptions.

Conversely, if you never play poker, and your entire experience of the game is what you read in print and see in movies, you probably have many wrong ideas. That is to be expected. Please, allow me to enlighten you on a few points. poker online

1. Poker is not casual. Many people think of the game as a mellow social pastime, where friends sit around drinking, laughing and whooping it up. In fact, there is nothing friendly about poker. You can be cordial with others at your table (and you should be), but the game itself is vicious. Played properly, it is a form of warfare. It is an aggressive battle for domination. I think of poker as “violence, without the violence.”

2. A poker face is not the main requirement to play. I cannot tell you how often I hear this misconception. Nearly every time I mention poker to someone whose only exposure to the game is the media, I hear some lame comment like, “Oh, you must have a good poker face.” No, a poker face, a steely-eyed gaze, is not the essence of skillful play. True, you do not want to be sending tells to your opponents, but the so-called poker face is widely misunderstood. The ability to create a poker face does not make you a good player. Consider this: When you play on the Internet, everyone has a poker face.

3. Winning at poker is not easy. Blame television for this one. You generally see only the winners on television. Those who win get the most exposure and are most often featured. The final table in a tournament, for example, is comprised solely of players who are winners. Very little attention is paid to those who lose, say nothing of the vast majority who bust out of tournaments without fanfare. Playing well takes a huge amount of study, discipline and practice. Succeeding at the game is far from automatic.

4. Women can play. The idea that poker is exclusively a man’s game is another falsehood. Years ago, many well-known authors wrote that women do not have the killer instinct necessary to play well. Time has proven that theory wrong. Nowadays, women compete at every level, and plenty of skilled women win in cash games and tournaments. The idea that poker is a man’s game is laughable these days, and I wouldn’t have included it among common misconceptions were it not for the fact that many still believe it.