Poker carries a distinct aura. It easily has the highest skill ceiling among major deck games. Moreover, the poker pro scene is probably the most flourishing one. Fortunately for beginner poker players, there is much perspective to be gained from watching the pros play.
Pro poker players put in the practice
The pro poker players did not get where they are just by sheer talent. Sure, they tend to have a natural acumen for the craft of poker. But in any sport, athletic or strategic, flair and skillshots are just the glitz. There are poker players who already had a natural segue into the poker learning curve. For example, the legendary Moneymaker was a banker by occupation. It would be correct to assume he had a mathematical mind before poker, and it helped him on his way to the top. But more importantly, it is general knowledge that most skills take 10,000 hours to master, on average. Pro poker players all have that, and then some. This is something that anyone can do. If you spend time playing competitive poker, you will naturally gain experience even when you lose.
Pro poker players don’t play risky; neither do they play sheriff
When you watch any pro-level poker tourney, understand that it follows the logic of TV stats. Like other facades of broadcast entertainment, poker tourneys are also heavily edited before they go live. You see entertaining plays so often because they highlight said entertaining, high-octane stretches, and games. The truth is that poker pros are much tighter than you think. There are many cases where you realize you just have a losing hand. That happens to all of us. Poker players are no exception, and they fold frequently. They also tend to make very calculated, tame plays most of the time. Poker is not played aggressively; it is very much the game of the patient turtle in the long run.
Pro poker players keep their poker face
Like always, exceptions exist in this. But poker players cannot get good enough to be pro if they cannot keep control of their emotions. So you will see stone-cold relaxed faces in top-level poker tournaments, including World Series events. If you are starting out, it may feel like that their emotionlessness is simply because they are confident and/or don’t care if they lose. On the contrary, hiding your emotions at the poker table is a skill. And it is a skill you get good at as you keep playing and learn to keep your cool.
Winning many bets does not mean winning in the long run
One of the most common misconceptions that people new to gambling have is about how to be successful. Many think that success simply means winning many bets. But winning fifty poker games a month does not count for anything if you win ten bucks a pop. Winning is about strategy, consistency, and calculation. You have to assess how you can profit even if you lose 2 out of 3 pots. Many players will spam out raises preflop – and even succeed for a while. But relentless spamming is a recipe for disaster in any game.
Pro poker players know how to manage their finances
Calculation is king in poker. That actually applies outside the immediate game too. To win money, you must spend money on poker. So managing your bankroll properly is vital. The biggest example of genius financing is Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson. The six-time World Series winner once undertook a challenge to turn zero starting money into ten grand. And he did it, first through freerolls, and then through slow and steady progress with low-profit tables with low buy-in costs.
Pro poker players do not rely on tournaments to make a living
As the WSOP champion author of ‘Harrington Hold’em’ suggested, it is impractical to rely solely on tournament wins for your regular income. Because the volatility in most cases is too high to risk adopting that kind of mantra.
Pro poker players keep their timing tight
You hear a lot about the fabled ‘poker face’. But you can read players even without a direct display of emotions if you are good. Players who ponder over their hands too long may give critical information away. Even the reverse is true – if you make hasty, quick-timed calls irrespective of your hand strength, a pro gambler will see right through you. But pro poker players easily counter this through a simple method. They keep their timing consistent.
As you can see, there is a lot to learn from the professionals. The most obvious things are their strategies and how they deal with being cornered into a difficult situation But even leaving out all that, you can learn a lot just by watching how they carry themselves with poise and stay unreadable.
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