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A neon sign of #FOMO.

Every year, thousands of poker events and tournaments take place around the globe. In 2023, more than 1,320 poker festivals took place in Europe alone, allowing players to test their poker skills regularly. But even those who managed to play poker every single day had to choose which events to join and which to miss, as there were just too many of them!

When facing so many choices, players must have the ability to overcome FOMO in poker so as not to live in a perpetual state of regret about not joining this event or another. In fact, the fear of missing out appears in many other forms amongst poker players, as people often might have regrets about hands they haven't played, side bets they didn't take, and so on.

Before you start enjoying the upcoming poker events season, find out how to avoid FOMO to maximize your wins!

What is FOMO in Poker?

According to the NIH, the term Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) was introduced in 2004, describing a new phenomenon that started appearing on social networks. By definition, FOMO includes two processes: first, the belief that you're always missing out, followed by a compulsive behavior designed to rectify the situation.

As we've mentioned before, poker players experience FOMO in different ways. Imagine you're dealt a pair of low cards, ♥3 and ♦7, for example. Most people would fold pre-flop, as this hand has a very small chance of being productive, and it is just not worth the risk. But what if the community cards turn out to be ♣4, ♥5, and ♠6 – potentially helping you create a strong hand? While your decision to fold the hand was based on sound logic, it is still disheartening to find out that you could have won if you decided to keep playing.

The next time you play, you might decide to play your weak hands, just because your past experience might remind you that you've missed out on a great win. This case of FOMO can lead to serious consequences, as you might stop using logic and math to make decisions at the poker table. If you start making risky moves just because of past fears, you might find yourself losing more money than you were planning to.

Apart from becoming a more reckless player, players who develop FOMO also have higher chances of losing focus on what's really important. After the first time you miss out on a win by skipping a bad hand, your brain might start linking weak card combinations with potential profit. Therefore, the next time you're dealt a bad hand, your subconscious might make you think that it is a good hand.

Letting your fears change the way you look at the game is a dangerous precedent, as it will take your focus away from good hands that can actually lead to wins.

How to Overcome FOMO

So, how can you prevent fear from changing the way you play poker?

  1. Recognize the signs of developing FOMO – Do you get agitated after folding? Are you making rash decisions at the table? Are you dissatisfied with the way you play, even if you win on occasion? Is anxiety the main feeling you're experiencing when playing the game? If you answer YES to any of these questions, you might be experiencing FOMO.
  2. Take a break – Once you recognize the signs of FOMO, the first thing you must do is take a breather. Step away from the game, regroup, and come back to the tables with a fresher attitude.
  3. Rely on your knowledge – Before you get back to playing poker, you must be able to switch your feelings off and focus on your knowledge of the game. Remember that your feelings can't always guide you correctly, so try to be as objective as possible when you make decisions at the table.

Have No Fear, Poker is Here!

Three hundred and twenty-three poker festivals are set to take place in Europe in 2024, and that doesn't include the hundreds of online events, WSOP tournaments, WPT events, and so much more. If you want to approach those poker games with a healthy attitude, make sure that you don't let fear control your playing style!