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The difference between a gambler and a poker player

📁 Strategy 🕔02.May 2018
The difference between a gambler and a poker player

Online poker players – especially online poker players from India – will likely have encountered these questions from their friends – ‘but isn’t poker just gambling?’, ‘so you mean like gambling?’, and many other variations on the same theme. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth – there is a big difference between gamblers and poker players, and that’s what we’re talking about today.

Thrill vs. winning

Gamblers are only into poker (or whatever other games they play) for the thrill of it. Sure, money’s an objective too but the tension of a high-stakes bluff means more to them than walking away with the pot. Whereas a true poker player is only ever focused on winning games by playing well and out-thinking their opponents. To put it in other terms, gamblers prefer the journey while poker players prefer the destination. (Although, if you’re reading this, you probably have fun playing poker as well!)

Splash vs. discipline

All gamblers care about is making a splash. Big, dramatic moves, playing to the crowd, lots of talking – all of those are hallmarks of a gambler. A gambler is the sort of person who’ll make a big deal about pushing his or her stack across the table and going all-in (and then they’ll probably turn and soak up the onlookers’ reaction). A poker player, on the other hand, will remain disciplined, not let the drama get to them, and calculate the odds of the gambler actually having a hand worth shoving with. If it makes more sense to fold, a poker player is disciplined enough to do just that.

Emotion vs. reason

Following on from that last point, gamblers are ruled by emotion when it comes to making decisions. They’re willing to go with their hunches and gut instinct in the vast majority of cases. Why? Well, because that’s how they get the thrill they’re after! A poker player, however, remains focused and driven only by reason – they play or fold depending on whether the odds are in their favour or not.

Confusing gamblers with true poker players is a common mistake, but we hope we’ve spelt out enough reasons for you to counter your friends with the next time those questions crop up! In the meantime, happy playing!

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