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How To Be A Successful Poker Player

Jan 31, 2008
A successful poker player is an amalgam of several attributes and characteristics. The successful player has the following skills and abilities. Odds on hands are well known and they know them. They have the ability to figure pot odds in a split second and then react correctly. When a bad beat overtakes their good hand, they posses the ability to stay cool Really good players have an innate instinct at critical moments in a hand to stay or fold the hand. This stepping aside when a mistake could be made is seen often in TV tournaments. Bad players make bad calls and good players avoid them. Every player can be caught by a miracle draw, but in most hands, these out of left field draws are not the difference between winning and losing.

Good players have also logged hours of play and a huge number of hands to gain the needed experience. The old timers in poker do not have the advantage they once had, as the new young players have played for hours on the Net. This compressed playing time has been a leveler in the play of new players. The new players as a group are far more aggressive in their play. This is particularly true in Tournaments. Their play is often referred to as Power Poker. These top players are always putting the pressure on the other players. Many of them have not seen a hand that they cannot raise on when it is their turn to bet.

Imaginative play, including starting hands, has differed radically in tournaments. Even the most aggressive players play cash games with a little more caution. The Power Poker players do not have tournament elimination as an ally when they make all in bets. Cash game players can always buy more chips if their call proves to be wrong.

Successful players have read the good books and watched tapes and TV shows to learn what they did wrong and what their opponents have done right. This intense study of the game helps them make better decisions when faced with a call or a raise they need to make or call. They also understand table position play, which can make second best hands look more powerful. This aspect of the game is seen in both types of games. Unsophisticated players do not recognize table position value. Solid players understand its value and play it all the time.

Knowing when to play small pairs and when to fold them is an art form. Good players give themselves every edge when playing a pair of three's. They would be very likely to fold them if the players before them bet and re-raised before the bet got to them. This makes sense for the following reason: The re-raise is likely to be a big pair and the initial bet could be a pair. Small pairs do better against one player and are less successful when played against multiple players. This is also true for big pairs too.

Good players in a Holdem game will try to visualize what their opponents could be holding in relation to the flop to cause them to bet the way they did. This visualization is a learned skill and gets better with practice. New players struggle with this part of the game, and as they play more and more, they will get better at figuring out the other player's possible hands. Really solid players have no problem at all with this part of the game. It becomes almost second nature for these players.

One way to assure a growth rate of success is not to be too quick to jump to higher stakes games. The higher the stakes, the better the players will be in the game. High stakes attract good players and crazy rich people. If you are neither, passing the game is a good idea. When you are a consistent winner at the lower stakes games; that is the time to move to the higher level games. Beating the level you are playing at is a precursor to moving to the higher stakes.

Extended playing sessions are part of the history and legend of poker. The stories are probably true, but they are also a bad idea for most players. Four-hour sessions are ideal for most players. This period of time is a good one for keeping up the level of concentration. When a player is tired, it is very easy to make serious playing errors. All-nighters are seen often in live casinos and online. Some players can do it as they have more stamina than most. For most, it is not a good idea.

Discipline and will are important factors for becoming successful players. Successful players demonstrate discipline to not play bad starting hands out of boredom or just wanting to get action. Action junkies have a harder path toward becoming successful. Winners like action, but do not go for it without a solid reason to be involved. Action players go for it just to satisfy the craving to be in action. Winning takes a lot more than wanting to play in every hand just to play. Winning is all about playing when you have an edge, real or perceived.

Conclusions

Successful poker players are easy to pick out from other players. They have learned how to play and are hard pressed to make bad plays. It is very hard to beat players who make very few mistakes in their play. These players also know the odds and the correct way to play strong hands as well as marginal hands. Most players can muddle through playing a strong hand. It is the marginal hand that gets them in trouble. Success is, in many instances, just the accumulated experiences of playing for a number of hands. Failure is a very good teacher and makes players remember the lesson if they are smart and not playing just for action. Success is earned and not a birth-gift like a great singing voice.
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