Avoiding biases at the poker tables that keep you from winning
By Bob Garcia
Keeping an open mind at the poker tables is paramount to success
It is well known that when it comes to sitting at the poker table, one of the things that most influences your decisions is your cognitive bias. A cognitive bias is a systematic misinterpretation of available information that influences the way you process thoughts, make judgments and make decisions. In poker, decision-making is one of the most fundamental parts of a winning poker strategy and being able to excel and achieve a win. Nowadays, there are different biases that can lead you to ruin. However, if you manage to take them into account before you even get to the moment when one of them happens to you, it can change the whole picture.
One of the most common biases is the peak-end rule. This tends to make the person not perceive the sum of an experience as such, but really what the average was during a peak, whether positive or negative, considering how it ended. It can make a player have a feeling of having played well, after having been incredibly lucky during the latter stages of a cash game. This clearly does not represent a solid game if during the rest of the game you were constantly losing.
On the other hand, one of the most relevant points for poker players is the gambler’s fallacy. It has a lot to do with the game, as this is the tendency to think that the odds that come next are going to be altered by experiences that are already in the past, and this really isn’t the case. Having had a bad experience does not determine how you should act in the future, and whatever your strategy is, it is not an indication to leave it.
And lastly, a very interesting one is the outcome bias. It makes players judge a decision wrongly only by its outcome, but does not take into account the quality of the decision at the time it was made. This could lead to failure on future occasions, as it may not have worked out at the time, but may be a masterstroke in some other instance in the future.