As anyone who has watched the professional poker players compete in televised poker tournaments has probably noticed, some of the most impressive plays that you will ever see do not end with a show down or a miracle card on the river.
Instead, it is the incredibly smart lay downs that the best professional poker players are able to make, despite having an excellent hand. Whereas a less seasoned player would find it difficult to let a monster hand go even when they had a feeling that they were beat, the cream of the crop are able to keep their cool, assess the odds and their opponent, and know when to fold them when they know that it’s simply the smartest thing to do.
When a new player is first learning how to learn poker properly, one of the most difficult challenges to becoming a respectable player at ring games or poker tournaments is developing the ability to keep one’s emotions in check when faced with a challenging hand. Nearly all of us have a memory or two from our early days of having a great hand and watching every other player fold the second they saw the look in our eyes or our trembling fingers. Thankfully, the more experience we acquire by simply playing poker, the better our poker faces become as we learn to control our emotional response to the game when the action gets heavy.
Learning how to lay down good cards is simply another step in the evolution of learning how to keep your cool at the tables. Much like a new player has to learn not to start sweating bullets in the midst of a bluff; intermediate players have to eventually learn that a great hand is nothing to get bent out of shape about. Even though your heart might skip a beat when you flop a set of aces, that does not mean that you are blind to the flush draw that your opponent eventually hits on the turn or the river.
If you are at the table with the intention on winning, there simply is no excuse to pay to see a flush that you are nearly certain has you stone cold beat. While laying down good cards sometimes will mean that you will fold the winning hand, that is simply something that you will have to learn to live with if want to continue your progression to becoming a great poker player.