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How the Mentalities in Poker and Football Compare

One thing that American Football players and those that play poker have in common is a certain mental strength. Achieving success in either of these fields demands a strong and focused mindset that produces total dedication to the cause.

The football players who make it to the top level have spent much of their lives training and honing their skills. Equally, poker players who earn a living from the game never stop learning new plays or methods of gaining a psychological edge on their opponents.

There have long been outward links between the two activities. American Football leagues like the USFL have forged lucrative partnerships with poker providers, but the connection goes deeper than that.

This article will be exploring the similarities between American Football and poker play in terms of the psychology.

The Training Aspect

Training for American Football games at the highest level is about the players preparing both their bodies and their minds for the rigors involved. The physical side of that training is a matter of pushing their bodies to the peak of fitness in the fully-equipped gymnasiums provided by their clubs, as well as taking part in intensive pre-match coaching sessions.

The mental side is about shutting their minds off when their schedule allows to avoid burnout, but still being motivated to train when required. For poker players, they need to be fully prepared for tournaments on the world stage but similar to footballers, they don’t want to spend every minute of every day practicing in a casino. So many now take advantage of online poker so they can play in a more relaxed setting and switch off immediately after a game.

In both cases it is about building up mental and physical stamina away from the spotlight. Poker is one of the most strategic of casino games; one in which success is down to being able to think a couple of steps ahead, but it is also about lasting the course.

What many do not realize is that much of that is true for American Football too. It is often regarded by casual and non-fans as a game of physical brute force, but that could not be further from the truth.

Yes, the players need to be strong to handle the physical side of the game, but football is about strategy. Coaches use this to devise their tactical approach to each game, but top players must be capable of seeing patterns developing during games in real-time.

Sometimes they will have to abandon the plan set out by their coach in response to unforeseen events in games. Playing online poker may just give the American Football stars who do so a greater ability to see patterns as they are emerging and adopt new tactical approaches at short notice.

That is not the only way in which the mentalities required for good poker and American Football play overlap though.

Management of Risk

Poker and American Football involve a considerable degree of risk. Poker is about betting on your ability to read the thoughts of your opponents better than they can read yours – as well as the belief that you have a stronger hand of cards than them.

American Football contains risk too, as tactics can go wrong and players can fall victim to human error. Therefore, risk management is crucial to success in both games.

Poker players must manage the risk element by being careful not to bet too much too soon during games. The best players hold their bankrolls in reserve until they are almost certain their hand is too strong to lose.

For American Football players, managing the risks usually amounts to maintaining tactical discipline during matches. Again it is not hard to see why some of them find poker to be a useful way of developing the right mindset.

Recovering from Defeats

Even the finest American Football and poker players will suffer defeats. Due to the element of chance, it is impossible to win all the time no matter the talent and strategic skill you bring to them.

Therefore, the players who are successful are the ones who can recover quickly from those defeats. To some degree, that is down to game management.

Good poker players will know when it is time to walk away from a game rather than chasing their losses in a doomed attempt to win the money back. Equally, top American Football players know when a game is lost and not to throw everything at trying to save it.

By acting this way they can cut their losses and start to prepare for the next game. The less severe a loss is, the easier it will be to bounce back from it.

Managing and recovering from defeats is a similar psychological process for the players in the poker and American Football worlds. It is about minimizing them to start with, analyzing them to see what went wrong and then moving on quickly.

The mentalities needed for poker and American Football have much in common, which is why there is crossover.

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