4 Reasons Poker Players Lose Discipline

Reasons Poker Players Lose Discipline

It is important to consider poker as a performance activity that requires the same level of discipline and commitment as chess, professional sport or military training. Understanding that poker is a performance activity helps suppress warped expectations. A poker player must appreciate the need for preparation and discipline.

The poker players who make money consistently on a monthly and yearly basis approach poker from the perspective of a mental discipline.

Here are the 4 reasons poker players lose discipline, enjoy!

1. Distractions and boredom cause a lack of focus

We are surrounded by network tools(social media, internet, tv). These distractions destroy momentum and focus. They seek to dominate you, much like the addiction seeks to dominate the addict. They will if you let them. FOCUS on your game! When you play poker, only play. If you want to play you’re A-Game eliminate distractions, especially your phone.

Did you know? Studies show that having your smartphone within sight, even if it’s switched off, has a negative effect on your focus, because part of your brain is working to not pick up or check the phone. It’s even worse, if you get a notification or a message. It can throw you off your A-game!

2. Overconfidence and winner’s tilt

Winner’s tilt is a real problem for poker players. It is caused by overconfidence shutting down the thinking part of the brain. The strong emotions caused by a string of winning hands or sessions can be just as mind-clouding like anger or fear.

Winner’s tilt can manifest in two ways: In the first case, the player who won a series of pots becomes overconfident and feels invincible, this drives him to play way too loose and aggressive, making reckless moves and putting too much money in the pot with weak hands.

In “The Poker Mindset” book this is described as: “When you are running incredibly well, you might start to overestimate your own ability,”; “You will start to believe you are invincible rather than correctly attribute your unusually high win rate to luck.”

The second one is when a player can’t accept the thought of losing back his recently won money and wants to “lock in” his win without leaving the game. He will try to protect his stack by playing way too passively or weak tight poker.

Common signs of overconfidence:

  • You feel invincible
  • Poker seems very easy
  • You assume you are going to win in every session
  • You underestimate opponents and talk about how terrible they are
  • You stop working on your game
  • You think that leaks and flaws are gone from your game
  • You play much more aggressively and try to win every pot
  • You ignore your bankroll management rules

Recognize the specific situations when you are prone to overconfidence and note these as being high-risk situations. When they occur, commit to taking preventative action, like taking a break, respecting your bankroll management rules, being honest with yourself about your poker skills.

Be wise enough to acknowledge when your mindset is compromised!

3. Anger and unwillingness to accept losses

This can ruin a session or even you bankroll quicker than anything. If you think that consistent profitability in poker equals an absence of losses and downswings, then there is something fundamental about this game that you didn’t understand yet. No matter how bad and painful it may look and feel, it is very important to remind yourself that this is part of variance and the numbers will eventually work themselves out. No storm lasts forever.

Mentally tough poker players are in control of their emotions. Poor emotional control leads to poor decisions. You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Getting emotionally invested is one of the worst attitudes you can bring into poker.

People with very low risk tolerance, who cannot accept losing sessions, are not cut out to be great poker players, since losing is simply part of the game.

Next time when you lose a big pot remember, that it is human nature to want to make it all back as fast as possible. Slow down, stay focused, and stick to your strategy. This is how you win in the long run.

4. Burnout

Mental burnout can be triggered by many factors. For example: overwork, excessive and prolonged stress, losses/downswings, unrealistic expectations, work-life imbalance.

The first thing you must understand about burnout is that, usually, there is not one single event that can trigger it. It is a gradual process that happens over a long period of time and it can affect multiple parts of your life, like health or relationships.

How to avoid getting burned out?

  • Pay attention to the signs of burnout

Ask yourself:

  1. Do you feel helpless, trapped, and unmotivated?
  2. Do you have trouble getting into the zone and playing you’re A-Game?
  3. Have you started to eat more or unhealthy, take drugs, or consume more alcohol than usual?
  4. Do you get angry a lot faster than usually?
  5. Are you bored and easily distracted during your sessions?

Click here to read the full article about the signs of burnout.

  • Recall the feeling when you first started playing poker

Do you remember that light bulb moment when you first understood the importance of playing in position? Did you feel excited when you played your first final table?

Use that excitement you felt when you first started playing poker to renew your enthusiasm for the craft. This way, you’d be able to focus more on the positive aspects of the game and less on the stressful ones.

To overcome a burnout remember WHY you play poker. You are most motivated by knowing WHY you do things. Having a strong WHY is what gets you through the hard times. Clearly defining and identifying this WHY is crucial for long-term poker success.

  • Take some time off and do something you enjoy

You can be a highly profitable poker player, but if you don’t allow yourself to unplug from time to time, you’re going to have a hard time being a happy poker player. Make sure you spend enough time with friends and family or doing something for yourself!

When you’re done for the day, take your mind off of poker. Create harmony between work and personal life. Don’t be too obsessed. If you can cultivate balance in your life, you’ll automatically pour that balance into poker.

  • Find a poker friend or join a poker community

One of the best ways to improve your poker skills is to have friends to discuss poker with. Make sure you push each other forward to achieve your goals, help each other get through hard times and celebrate your successes together.

Sorrounding yourself with motivated poker players has proven to accelerate careers. If you are truly commited to improving your game and becoming a successful poker player consider joining one of the two recommended poker communities:

  1. Pokerstrategy is very good for both new and advanced players; 
  2. RunItOnce is for those who already have some experience with poker.


At the beginning of my poker career I learned to play at Pokerstrategy.com. It is the largest poker school in the world. There you can find poker strategy articles, training videos, live coaching sessions, news about the poker world, new promotions and a forum where you can discuss hands or ask for help. What is really good about this site is that they offer lessons for all skill levels, from newbie to pro. For beginners it’s probably the best place to start your poker education and become a better player. The good news: It’s FREE to join and a lot of the beginner strategy articles and training videos are completely FREE. Click here to join PokerStrategy Now!


With over 130+ Pros, 5000+ training videos(mindset and strategy as well) and an active community RunItOnce is one of the biggest poker startegy community in the world. They offer the following plans:

Basic Plan: You get unlimited forum access.

Essential Plan: Build a solid fundation of your game. What you get: Unlimited forum access, 5 new Essential videos every week, Access to over 2200 Essential videos.

Elite Plan: Learn from the best players on the planet. What you get: Unlimited forum access, 5 new Essential videos every week, Access to over 2200 Essential videos, 9 new Elite videos per week, Access to over 3400 Elite videos.

Click here for more info!