Poker as a spectator sport have rapidly grown over the last decade. The top professional players earning into the tens of millions of dollars and people are increasingly flocking to World Poker Tour tournaments which are steadily growing in attendance. There are tournaments, such as the ‘One for One Drop’, which have a $1 million buy-in to play! Where there is lots of money, people are always trying to work out new ways of getting ahead. This is where hypnosis comes in.
There are hypnotherapists that specialise specifically in sports performance for poker players such as Vegas-based Elliot Roe. There are many aspects of hypnotherapy that can be beneficial for poker players and other elite athletes. Hypnosis has much in common with mediation and has empirically shown to give positive benefits to performances of all types
Benefit 1 – Heightened State of Awareness
Most people have held the ideas of ‘tells’ and there are many misconceptions that are shown in popular media. However, there are some true to the matter. Professional poker players have openly admitted that they read various physical and verbal cues on their opponents to tell the value of their poker hands. Players go to the length of working out other players pulse rate by reading their neck! This is so common that many German professionals now where a scarf at the poker table to hide their neck. Hypnotherapists are able to train their clients to heighten their senses at the poker table to give them an advantage.
Benefit 2 – Mental Strength
There is concept in poker known as ‘tilt’ in which a player in frustration or confusion will adopt a less than optimal strategy which often results in them becoming overly aggressive. Players can become ‘on tilt’ as a result of losing when they should have one in a ‘bad beat’ or being defeating in a particularly humiliating way. The art of becoming a professional involves not allowing bad situations to effect judgement at the table. Hypnotherapists are able to increase the mental and emotional stability of players allowing them to optimise their arousal levels and play in an effective manner.
Benefit 3 – Reduce Anxiety
It can be exceptionally difficult for anyone to risk hundreds of thousands of dollars without feeling fearful of loss. Poker players learn to do the mental math related to how much they are able to lose before they are unable to play anymore. Hypnotherapists can help players to overcome their fears and anxiety related to risking significant amounts of money and calming their nerves to allow them to play appropriately.
Benefit 4 – Eliminate distractions
There can be many distractions at the poker table from the bright lights to other loud players. There many big personalities in the game of poker that talk to distract other players from what they are doing. Teaching poker players to be able to stay level headed and eliminate the distractions can help them to improve their game.
Benefit 5 – Reduce Boredom
During large tournaments, poker players are required to sit at the tables for many hours at a time. Each player will play an average of 25% of the hands that are dealt which means there is a lot of time where they are not actively engaged. Boredom can become a serious problem when players are not feeling lucky. Hypnotherapy can help players to optimise their levels of arousal so they can feel calmer and in control whilst sitting at the table.
A Bit Of Fun
Derren Brown demonstrated how powerful hypnotic techniques can be for poker players by taking an ordinary woman and turning her into a poker master