Decision-making is part of everyday life and while some people find it easy to make quick, confident choices, even the idea of making insignificant decisions can cause others to break out in a sweat! The good news is there are ways to train yourself to act with speed and confidence. This can help you in everyday life as well as allow you to get the most out of your experience when playing online casino games.
Keen to learn how to make smart decisions for a better gambling experience? Let’s find out how to go about it.
Gather information and practice in your comfort zone
Confident, smart decision-making isn’t only about how quickly you can come up with a course of action. It’s also about learning to acquire as much information as possible in a short amount of time in order to inform your decision.
Remember, your decisions should be made based on facts rather than intuition (although many gamblers who believe in luck and “listening to your gut” won’t agree!) Most importantly, don’t base your decisions on patterns. For example, don’t take a chance and bet on black just because it has already won three times in a row and don’t go “all in” when playing poker just because you’re “due” for a win. All results when playing casino games are completely random and can’t be influenced by previous outcomes.
Now for the importance of practicing in your comfort zone. In the online casino context, quick thinking is important, but so is getting comfortable with all the rules and nuances of a game long before you have to make any important decisions. A great way to do this if you’re learning poker, for example, is to play live dealer games that give you the opportunity to pit yourself against other players while interacting with a helpful and friendly real-life dealer.
Many professional players, including World Series of Poker winner Chris Moneymaker, learned to make quick, effective poker decisions by testing their mettle in the online environment. Playing online poker games gives you a taste of most variants, including popular Texas Hold’em poker, in a casino-like setting.
If you’re playing live dealer blackjack as a novice and you want to make it easier to practice quick decision-making, choose a table with the least number of decks and try these easy betting tips. Double your bet (you can have one more card) on 10 or 11 when the dealer shows two to nine. Stand on 13 to 16 when the dealer shows two to six and hit (request another card) when you’re on 12 to 16 and the dealer has seven or higher.
When practicing quick thinking, start out with a series of small decisions.
Along with the rules, understanding a game’s odds will also help you to make better decisions and get as much stretch as possible out of your bankroll.
The popular baccarat casino game is another way you can get used to making quick betting decisions because there are only three possible results from each hand and you won’t need any skill to play, only an understanding of the basic rules. A great baccarat casino tip is to simply bet on the banker – the house edge of 1.06% means that if you place a hundred bets of $1 each, your average loss will be around a dollar. If you bet on the player’s hand, the edge is only a bit less than the banker’s hand at 1.24%.
Give yourself a time limit
Fast decision-making is a skill like any other – it requires a few pointers in the right direction and a lot of practice. Set yourself a time limit and use a stopwatch or your phone to time yourself. Some experts recommend applying the two-minute rule. Start by practicing at home or with friends, then in the live dealer environment. Set the stopwatch and start the decision countdown. While it might be intimidating to start with, you will find your mind adjusting to the two-minute timeline and, with practice, you’ll find your stride.
Don’t get too down on yourself if you find that two minutes puts you under too much pressure. Anything between one and five minutes is a good timeframe for decision-making, and you’ll probably find yourself improving as you get comfortable with the idea of making a choice within a predetermined deadline.
The role of emotions in quick decision-making
While some of poker’s greats are known for their emotional outbursts, these sometimes crazy, over-the-top displays are in fact a carefully thought-out part of their tournament strategy. In reality, gambling and out-of-control emotions don’t mix well. You can only gamble responsibly and make quick, confident decisions when you have your feelings under control.
But how do you keep your emotions in check when you have pride or money on the line? We recommend making emotional awareness part of your casino games skillset. Start by naming your emotions. So, instead of registering, “I have butterflies in my stomach,” name this emotion – “I’m feeling scared and anxious.”
How you’re feeling will affect the decisions you make. For example, when you’re anxious you’ll likely play it safe, while when you’re excited you can overestimate your chances of success. By naming your emotions and understanding how they may affect your actions, you’ll be more likely to make quick decisions based on the state of play instead of the state of your emotions.
One factor that will always slow down your ability to make smart decisions when playing casino games is the fear of failure. This can result in overthinking your hand or the game, and you could even run the risk of shutting down (the feeling that you’ve “gone blank.”) This could prevent you from making any decision at all and simply carrying out an action because the game and time require you to move on.
Accepting failure doesn’t mean you have to plan to fail. It means thinking differently about failure by accepting that it will inevitably happen and when it does, using the failure as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes so you can become a better casino games player.
Hone your strategy
As mentioned, the ability to make quick, well-thought-out decisions is hinged on your confidence. One way to give yourself a significant confidence boost is to create and continually improve a playing strategy (while, at the same time, knowing when to deviate from it and improvise!) After all, if you have at least a basic strategy in place, there’s a much smaller risk that you’ll feel a need to gamble based on a hunch or a feeling.
Not sure where to start when creating a strategy? Begin by figuring out what type of player you are and molding a strategy that fits in with your unique playing style. It can help to find a gambling mentor or coach who can shed some light on existing strategies and assist you in applying them in your own game.
Look both inward and outward
Making good decisions when playing casino games means getting a handle on your emotions, evaluating critical information and drawing on your experience. But that’s not where it ends, especially if you’re playing a game that pits you against other players, such as poker. The other players at the table also need to factor into every decision you make. For example, you should be thinking about their hand as well as your own, taking note of their playing style, looking for “tells” and generally working to get a better “read” on them.
Of course, this can be difficult when playing online poker since you can’t see your opponents’ faces. This works in your favor (they can’t see your face either) and against you. Ultimately, you need to learn how to figure out a player’s style by taking note of their own decision-making and looking for patterns in this. As with most situations, practice makes perfect!
Play with confidence at BetMGM
When you register online with BetMGM, you get access to a huge collection of games and exciting casino table games, including baccarat, blackjack, poker, online roulette and much more. Whether you’ve played at an online casino before or it’s your first time, there’s plenty of help online including our Poker Player’s Guide that covers online casino tips, different games, how to bet, strategy and more.
Be sure to check out our extensive menu for other gaming favorites like online slots, variety games, live dealer casino games and sports betting.
Register whenever you’re ready to join in on the fun.