The Importance of Observation: Poker’s Lesson in Paying Attention to Detail



Poker is all in the detail. While you can have a good hand or a bad hand, the trick is to work out what your opponents are thinking with the information they are giving off, either explicitly or implicitly. No poker player can succeed in the long term without sound observational skills. If you’re new to the game and if you’re unsure of where to play, has a reliable guide for the best online poker site.

There’s more to poker than simply playing the hand that you’re dealt – you also need to play the opponent as well, so let’s take a look at the little things you can pick up on that might even help you in everyday life too.

Watching the Play, Closely

It should go without saying poker players need to follow the game and how it unfolds as each card is revealed. Unfortunately, some bone-idle players think they can win without paying attention to the table. Knowing exactly what cards are on the table is paramount to victory. Observing each card as it comes into play will ensure that you know how the strength of your hand is impacted.

Every day people can use the same skills in order to succeed in their objectives. Whether it’s reading briefs carefully or simply being attentive to a goal, it can assist with keeping your goals on track and succinct.

Patterns in Opponent Behavior

Poker players who want to succeed at the table can analyze and assess their opponents’ behavior.  This is another key to success at the poker. If you can detect how the other players play you will be able to accurately predict their moves to your advantage. This is only possible by observing their actions closely – and sometimes best done on an individual basis, closely monitoring one opponent at a time.

If astute enough you also be able to tell when an opponent is enduring a bad run and suffering from ‘tilt’ (the negative manifestation of emotions hindering play at the poker table) and capitalize on them.

Away from the poker table, being able to observe your co-workers‘ behaviors or business adversaries’ actions will give you an upper hand in negotiations or marketplace stature. If you can accurately read into their feelings from their outward emotions, you may also be able to network more efficiently as you connect freely with them. Moreover, such skills will also allow you to communicate more efficiently with loved ones as you will know how they are feeling without explicitly asking.

Enhanced Risk Assessment

Players who closely monitor the game in its entirety are better able to gauge the risks involved with each hand. They will benefit from knowing what cards have come up already and the likelihood of your hand winnings, accurately judging what you stand to win or lose. The same practices can lead to success throughout a manner of different scenarios. Assessing whether you need to take a job opportunity, judging whether adding milk to your recipe will spoil the food, or whatever action could have a consequence. Being able to dissect it and assess the risks is a skill best harnessed in poker.

Observe and Act Without Emotion

Poker players who can analytically observe are usually well-rounded and have the ability to avoid tilt, as they can treat each hand as it comes with no hangover from the last session. While it is difficult to master, it’s not impossible. It’s about learning what information to dissect and what to omit at the right time so that you don’t get caught up in attributes not belonging to the current hand.

The same practice of observing the moment can also be incredibly useful in the ‘real world’. Whether you’re in the heat of an argument, driving to work, or something else, it can be important to observe the moment and ensure that you are acting in the present and not circulating old emotions of events already transpired.

Remember the Limitations

With this information, you might find some success just by employing these observational methods right away. However, it is worth noting that even if you analyze every minuscule factor of the game, you still won’t have all the information. There are still random and unknown attributes at play. Don’t expect to be the next Phil Ivey just because you’re being a bit more attentive in your next game. By the same merit, don’t think that your life will be sunshine and rainbows just because you have an eye out to be observational at every juncture. This can certainly help your life but it won’t do everything for you.

Tyler Darby

Tyler Darby