Decision-Making in Competitive Gaming – Can Mastering Poker Improve your Skills?
The fiercely competitive world of eSports if getting tougher every year as more professional players enter the industry. In fact, the sector is growing at such an astonishing rate that only the greatest gamers in the world have a chance of succeeding. In 2017, it was found that there were nearly 100 million people playing League of Legends alone, and the total number of eSports players was around 200 million. To have any chance of prevailing in this industry, players need to make sure they have completely mastered their chosen game. This includes making the best decisions in any given situation. But seeing as the games are so fast paced, how can players make sure they are always making the right choices in limited time?
Quick Decision-Making in eSports is Essential
Competitive gaming often requires lightning-quick reactions, giving players limited time to make crucial decisions which could make the difference between winning and losing. This is particularly the case in action games like Overwatch, where players sometimes have milliseconds to act or be killed.
Once the best players rise to the top in Overwatch, they have to solidify their status. This can make it extremely hard for other players to break out at the top. If you look at Bang “JJoNak” Seong-hyun, for instance, you will see a player who makes few mistakes. He is considered to be one of the best Overwatch players in the world due to his superior Zenyatta play in an approach which is aggressive, yet calculated. The South Korean who plays for New York Excelsior has spent 12 seasons mastering his trade and is one of the coolest operators on the scene.
One of the biggest mistakes players make in the game is standing still. This can make them sitting ducks, and they could instantly die if they receive a headshot from an adept sniper. Players who can think quickly will see another character standing still and capitalise on the opportunity to shoot them. Newer players soon realise that they don’t have time to stop and think about their next move; they have to formulate a plan while constantly staying mobile. Coordinating with teammates is another huge aspect of the game, and players need to be able to quickly develop a plan in a matter of seconds.
Online Poker and Other Card Games Give a Set Amount of Time
Playing online card games can give players some vital experience in making decisions under pressure. Online poker, for instance, is a game that a lot of eSports players have learnt from. One of the most famous players to cross over between competitive gaming and poker is Bertrand Grospellier, also known as ElkY. The Frenchman made a name for himself playing StarCraft and Warcraft III, and was one of the top ranked players of the strategy games from Blizzard Entertainment during the early 2000s. He also managed to replicate this success on the poker circuit, and has picked up a World Poker Tour title and a European Poker Tour title in his glittering career.
Aspiring eSports players can learn a lot from people like ElkY. But while the Team Liquid Hearthstone player went from eSports to poker, it may make more sense to do it the other way around. In terms of decision-making, playing poker first would help players refine their skills and act under pressure. Online poker sites always include timers which give players a certain number of seconds to act in a hand. By knowing how much time they have, players are able to reserve some moments for calculating their odds and making a sound decision on what to do. According to poker psychology, bad decisions in Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, or other variants of poker are unavoidable. But players can minimise their chances of making the wrong choice in these poker games by biding their time a bit more and carefully deliberating things before the timer runs out. After a while, poker players learn to make the same decisions in a shorter space of time. It is then that these poker skills can be translated to the eSports world.
Can you Learn to Make Better Decisions From Poker?
The only way players in any form of competition get better is by making mistakes and then learning from them. Even the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, and Phil Helmuth make the wrong decisions from time to time, and these people are considered among the best poker players in the world. However, these men tend to play in live tournaments, where there is a lot more time to make decisions. For aspiring eSports players, grafting at online poker sites first may be the best approach.
This is because online poker offers the best of both worlds. There is slightly more time to think about strategy than in a fast-paced Overwatch game, but the allotted time is still a lot less than what would be allowed in a live tournament. The timer is usually around 30 seconds and, by playing frequently, players can get used to having to weigh up every scenario in a short space of time. They need to think about what the other players at the table could be holding based on their bet sizes and whether they have raised in previous rounds. They also need to calculate their own odds of winning based on the cards they are holding and work out what kind of bet they should make. There are many things to consider in this short time, and players can improve their decision-making process if they practice a lot.
Mastering online poker could be a great way for competitive gamers to sharpen their decision-making skills before taking them into a fast-paced online battle with other eSports professionals. Playing hand after hand and trying to reduce the amount of time spent thinking each time may put players on the path towards success.