To the untrained eye, the game of poker is simply that: a game of cards. Scratch the surface and delve a little deeper and you’ll discover that this amazing game often mirrors life and often has many similarities with sports and other games.
Earlier in the year we drew upon similarities between darts and poker, while more recently Nottingham Forest manager and former England captain Stuart Pearce and boxing legend Carl Froch acknowledged there are some similarities between poker, football and boxing. But what about pool? Is there anything that pool and poker share? Let’s find out.
Both Pool Players and Poker Players Need a Steady Hand
While you may not need a steady hand when you are playing online poker, once you step into the live arena you do. People often, incorrectly, think that a shaking hand in poker is a sign of a bluff. Sometimes it is, but it is also often a sign of a very strong hand.
The reason for the shaking hand can be that the player is so excited about their strong hand and the prospect of winning that adrenalin is coursing through their system and causing a shake, so bear that in mind the next time you see someone trembling at the poker table!
It goes without saying that pool players need a steady hand otherwise they’d never be able to pot any balls!
Both Pool Players and Poker Players Need to Plan Ahead
If you watch professional pool players at the table you will soon realise that they are planning one, two, sometimes three moves ahead. Doing so allows them to plan which shots to take so they can ensure they maximise their chances of winnings.
Poker players should do the same. The majority of poker players have a preflop plan (such as call, raise or re-raise) but then play the rest of the hand street-by-street. Think about how you would act if certain cards land on the flop, if you are raised or if you completely miss your draw. By planning ahead in a poker hand, you will have a much more relaxed time at the tables and that should give you a more enjoyable experience.
Both Pool Players and Poker Players Need Mental Toughness and Composure
When was the last time you saw a professional pool or poker players fall apart when the pressure was on? Watch them live or on TV and they never look flustered even if their hearts are beating through their chests with excitement!
Being able to keep your cool in high pressure situations such as when you’re deep in a poker tournament or playing for a large cash game pot, will help you to plan the rest of the hand better and make the more optimal play.
Both Pool Players and Poker Players Need Continually Improve Their Game
Pool players and poker players work extremely hard on improving their game when they’re not playing. Pool players may practice difficult shots while poker players often read poker books and articles, watch poker videos or discuss hands with friends.
While it is important to have fun when playing pool or poker, the games are infinitely more fun when you’re winning and that’s more likely to happen if you try to improve your skills.
Both Pool and Poker Are Fun to Play
OK, this sounds cheesy but it is entirely true. Any game that you can play down at your local pub has to be fun, surely?
Both Pool and Poker Players Play the Player
Psychology plays a major role in poker and pool and it is often the case that the person who wins the psychological battle is the one who emerges victorious overall.
One tactic a pool player may employ is to take their time over every shot if their opponent is known for wanting to take shots quickly. As a poker player, you should always be looking for an edge to exploit to could give you the upper hand.