5 Social Skills of Poker Players

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  • Written by Evi
  • Posted March 31, 2022
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If you really want to get good at it casino game poker, you must have some characteristics. Social skills are just one of the many attributes needed to get good at poker. What social skills are important to play poker well?

Poker remains a game of chance, of course, but poker is one of the few games of chance that you can really be good at. With certain strategies you can limit your losses or you can achieve more profit.

What social skills are we talking about then?

A number of factors were examined in a study. These relate to experience, statistical and quantitative skills, demographics and general intelligence. These factors together can also be called social skills and social intelligence.

Social intelligence is clearly different from general intelligence. And plays a big part in the equation when we look at the best poker players. Reading a social situation is one of the most important parts of a player's poker skills.

What is very important with this is that as a poker player you can read the facial expressions, body language and intonations of other players. These skills are difficult to master. Especially when a player is good at bluffing.

We will now name the five social skills. When you master these, you will have a better chance of winning.

    1. Interpersonal skills and active listening

    Players are in the same room – physically or online casino – when they play poker. The same chips, tables and cards are used by everyone in the league, hoping for personal advantage. If poker is viewed as a closed system, the inputs, throughputs, and outputs are all at the table.

    Anyone who is deficient in interpersonal skills will not be able to appreciate the reality at the table. The ability to chat to lighten the mood during tense play, or to deliberately throw other players out of their game is critical in poker.

    For players who struggle with interpersonal skills and active listening, it becomes increasingly difficult to communicate with other players at the tables, let alone make the right decisions at the game of poker.

    2. Problem-solving morning

    Poker is unique in that problem solving must be managed differently than in a typical social setting. In poker, players are constantly calculating statistics and probabilities. And they try to manage assumptions based on a combination of the facts and gut feeling.

    Since you can't bear your heart and ask other players for help when you have a bad beat, you have to solve problems alone. This proves to be an insurmountable challenge for many players with a lack of social skills. Your problem-solving skills require you to use the available information at your disposal (known and unknown variables) to make the best decisions.

    In poker, the best decisions are the ones that keep your bankroll going when the variance is working against you. Or that lead you to victory when the poker gods are on your side. Some poker players thrive in social situations where they have their backs against the wall; others fold their hand.

    Experienced poker players use a variety of psychological techniques to trick you into questioning yourself and your decisions. Your ability to solve problems and understand the realities at the table will come in handy during your poker sessions.

    3. Relationship management

    Relationship management is as much about emotional intelligence as it is a social skill. Relationship management is one of the four pillars of emotional intelligence – the others being social awareness, self-awareness, and self-management.

    We used to be taught to keep our emotions in check and not to freak out by making emotionally based decisions. This is still true in poker, but we can take advantage of the emotional outbursts of other players at the table while curbing our own emotions. The psychology behind this has changed in recent years.

    People are now encouraged to express themselves and behave in a way that is less inhibiting. Yet we are at odds with this new-age mindset in poker. The less clarity you radiate, the less you are understood. This brings us to an important point: Do you want to be seen as an enigma among your fellow players and risk being excluded from social life? Exclamations, chuckles and laments are standard in poker tournaments these days. If any of these words sound strange to you, chances are you'd rather keep aloof than integrate.

    Relationship management takes time to build. You must know your opponent. You have to understand what drives your opponent. Poker also teaches us how much effort we should put into building relationships with our eyes on the ultimate prize – that is the big money takedown.

    4. Effective communication with verbal and non-verbal elements

    Communication with verbal and non-verbal elements is sacred among the 5 social skills. Verbal communication is easy to explain. It's about the words we use when we convey our feelings at the table.

    The non-verbal elements require a huge learning curve. The best poker players are experts at hiding information from other players. This is known as bluffing. And it can certainly be a powerful poker tool when used in moderation and infrequently.

    Non-verbal communication is anything that conveys an idea through channels other than the voice. Think eye contact, facial expressions, body language. That's why many poker players wear sunglasses, baseball caps, sweaters, loose-fitting clothes and the like. It is the non-verbal element that is so important in determining poker tells.

    Studies routinely show that the most successful poker players are extremely experienced in using deception through non-verbal means. This is to confuse their opponents. But also to make them take actions that make them lose the game. A rogue poker player can get other players to fold perfectly good hands. It is certainly one of the most impressive social skills to refine.

    5. Empathy

    Empathy is an important social skill, but not quite from the same angle as you may think. We don't necessarily care if our opponents lose money and we profit. It's sad when people lose, but it's definitely more painful when we lose.

    Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person's position and understand how they feel. If you are aware of this, you will always play responsibly when you sit at the poker table.

    It is imperative that we understand the motivations of other players to take certain actions so that we can beat them at their own game. Most of the time, we share the same fears and aspirations. No one goes into every game of poker to lose – that's self-denial and nonsensical.

    Players play to win, and they play because they love the game. Assuming these are constants in a pool of unknown variables, it is much easier to understand how important empathy is in the game of poker.

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Closing comments

These are some of the most important social skills needed to play poker. From a psychological perspective, there are many more elements to consider. Most of which start with a thorough assessment of our own fears, aspirations, strengths and weaknesses.