Modern cinema is a great tool for teaching poker because it crosses cultural barriers in a way that few teaching elements can. All one needs to do is listen to the advice that can be found in the lines of a variety of films and then remember their relationship to playing poker. Now, this doesn’t mean you can repeatedly use a line from "Goodfellas" in conversation while playing, but it does mean you should keep in mind the concepts that go with the line.
In the 1982 film "Blade Runner", starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, human-like robot replicants strive to find emotions in an emotionless world. Plenty of wisdom nuggets can be found in the movie's detailed dialogue, but few can touch this gem from Hauer's robot character, Batty. It is perfect quote for poker players who need to keep their psychological edge.
"Quite an experience to live life in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."
Don't hesitate to put your stack at risk.
Phil Ivey is one of the best player on the planet because he has no qualms about dropping his buy-in on a coin flip. He has found a way to get past the financial concerns of playing and focuses on winning. He has amassed millions as a result of this philosophy.
According to Ivey, he is unafraid to lose and this makes him a terror at the tables because other players have trouble finding a comfort zone in a game with such dramatic swings.
Moral: Remember to be fearless but not stupid, and you will find that if you are making the right moves repeatedly, eventually the odds will turn in your favor and when they do, it may well be for a big payday.
Stand up for yourself if you need to.
Although avoiding confrontations is a big part of poker, if your table has a player who is bullying everyone, don't hesitate to let that player know you're not going to be intimidated. This doesn't mean you try to take on the big stack over and over, but if you sense when the bully is weak, take them down by being more aggressive. As always, be careful to pick your spot when using this tactic because a big-stacked bully will surely call you down if he has anything resembling a hand, and you don't want to lose your chips because they hit bottom pair to suck-out on your big slick.
You must face fear to conquer it.
Part of learning to be a good poker player comes with accepting the do-or-die nature or the game. If you want to earn big riches, you have to take big risks and be willing to accept the consequences when lady luck skips town. In other words, if you live by the sword, eventually you will die by the sword. Recognizing this concept and accepting it will make it easier when you need to risk your stack and your playing life on a single decision. When you are free of the hesitation that clouds your judgment, you can make the correct decision and do so confidently. After that, the rest is out of your hands and you have to accept the cards falling the way they do. Maybe the universe will meet your actions half-way and give you the luck (or variance) you need to win.