Poker is a game of strategy and luck, but if it were just that simple it wouldn’t be nearly as popular as it is today. It takes some brainwork to play. There are strategies for winning, equations to remember, and body language to decipher.

So, is memory also an important part of playing poker? We think so. Read on to find out why memory is so important to poker.

Remembering odds

A big part of poker is the math behind it. Your first decision will be informed by it, and most decisions after, being simply the pot and card odds determining whether you call or raise. You are constantly making and adapting these equations with new information after every bet.

Keeping track of all of these equations, and remembering them all to begin with, is a big decider in whether you win or lose your poker game.

Remembering cards

Remembering hole cards can make or break your game, especially in Texas Hold’em. If you manage to keep track of the revealed cards on the table, you can make an educated guess on what the hole cards are amongst your opponents. But that isn’t the easiest thing. Even remembering what your own hole cards are can get lost somewhere amongst the suits and numbers.

Trying to guess the hole cards around you is a process of elimination, and since you can’t have a ticked off list of cards by suit and number on the table, you’re going to have to store them in your head.

But this all comes down to a matter of practice. Practice is essential to mastering poker, so if you head to an online casino like GGPoker for example, you can repeatedly use your equations in your game until they are impossible to forget, become second nature and learn to figure out where cards are on the fly.

Remembering tells

You’d think tells would come down to instinct, and a majority of it does. We watch some celebrities on TV, we get a bad vibe and often we can’t tell why. Next newscast said they fed their puppy to the gators.

But there is a method to the madness and understanding that method is the difference between calling a bluff and winning or losing. You not only need to remember tells but remember what combination of tells indicate what emotion. Does that eyebrow raise mean panic or confidence? Other factors will tell you.

But be cautious

There are a lot of pro poker players out there who say that memories can’t, in fact, be trusted. And a lot of psychologists would agree. Every single memory you have is wrong. It’s been affected by your mood at the time, how you think of it since, how you’re feeling at the moment of recall, and other factors. Ever listened to a true crime podcast and got irritated at the witness who couldn’t remember the face of the murderer, but the actions and blood?

A good example is your own hole cards. Have you ever sat at the poker table and been itching to look at your own cards, even though it’s been 0.2 seconds since you last looked? With so many other things to keep track of, you might have gotten mixed up on what cards you’re keeping a hold of, or even just don’t trust your own mind.

Memory is fickle and unreliable, but having a strong memory is certainly an element of poker. It will help to improve it but improving your memory won’t make you a master of poker.

Besides, if poker were entirely about memory, it would be a young man’s game, and you wouldn’t have veteran players showing up to the table in their 70’s.