Poker has two major components. One is strategic: the talent of possessing the knowledge of plays, odds, tells and ranges to make the optimum decision. But many highly knowledgeable players are losers because they lack good enough “competitive skills” to consistently play with an edge.
It’s not enough to know how to play well. To survive the test of time, you must play well consistently. Poker isn’t easy and takes consistent work. Those who take it for granted once they think they are good enough to play for a living usually get a rude awakening. This is a short list of fundamentals to become a good gambler. I’ll go more in depth on these subjects in future tips.
So, how do you become a good gambler? You must have the long-term vision to focus on the war, not the battles. We’re all programmed to want to win, but in poker your win-loss record is meaningless. Pokers winners are determined by how much they got the best of it over time. Understand that concept, and utilize it in your poker decisions.
Take care of your mind and body. Drugs, alcohol, poor sleep habits, and lack of exercise will all affect your mind’s performance. Keep your mind sharp!
Additionally, numb your emotions to poker swings. I know it sounds easy, but it’s tough to do! Poker is a logical game that requires rational thought, not emotional reactions.
Don’t burn yourself out. Players whose whole lives are totally wrapped up in poker don’t lead happy or successful lives. Take poker seriously, but get away from it too. Burnout and life’s problems take away your energy and focus. The best part of playing poker for living is the freedom it provides. Don’t let poker control you. Live your life!
Stay away from the hustlers and con men. Say “No” to loan requests. Keep in mind the borrower doesn’t just need the morals to pay you back, they also need the ability! Sometimes there is a lack of both! There’s a reason they need to borrow. I’ve NEVER met a long-term poker pro who thinks they erred by not loaning out enough money!
Surround yourself with solid and stable people. A good support group is important and will carry over to other aspects of your life!
Select good games. It’s not about just being better; it’s the spread of ability between you and your opponents. Stay within your element, and don’t stray to games and situations you are unfamiliar with.
Be REALLY real! Assess yourself accurately, your strengths and your weaknesses. Most people think they are better than they are. But, they don’t know what they don’t know and fall into others traps. Be brutally honest with yourself!
Only put in good hours. Play when the games are good, and you are performing well. I understand it’s not a perfect world, but keep in tune of when you have the best of it and when it’s not worth playing. Quit at the right time and don’t start at the wrong time!
Treat poker like a business. Work hard. Focus on the money. Manage your bankroll. Master plan your work schedule. Take vacations. It’s not only a business; it’s a damn tough one!
Consistently focus on and off the table. Develop your concentration. Constantly review your game. Go over hands in retrospect, both yours and others. Develop your grit, heart and courage. You’ll need it at some point in your poker career!
Play with class. Don’t drive your customers away. It’s both bad manners and bad business.
Play Well and Good Luck!