Possibly the single most important skill for a cash game player to learn is patience. I’ll say that word again: Patience. There it is … a mantra to be repeated throughout your poker playing lifetime. Patience. I’m saying it as much for myself as for you, because, without it, you will live fast and die young – and die penniless. Take a deep breath and say it aloud: Patience.
Some perceive poker to be all about action, all the time. Certainly, there are more heart-stopping, adrenalin-pumping, heart-in-mouth moments in poker than in any other game but they are, for each individual player, relatively rare. Most of the tIme, you are folding your cards either before the flop, or once you have seen the flop. You can go hours, even days or weeks, without picking up a decent hand or finding that the flop fits your cards. The expert realizes that this is just the unpredictable run of the cards where normal trends can sometimes seem exceptional. The fact is that every time you sit down to play poker from now on, it’s just another few hands in a lifetime of poker. Over that lifetime, you are very likely to pick up close on average hands. So, it is how you handle the bad times, as well as the good, that will determine how successful you are in the long run. Many players can’t cope with this and a short run of bad cards sees them starting to play hands that should be discarded, call bets that should be folded, and raise hands as a bluff, just to see some action. This will lose them much money in the long term.