Every professional poker player seems to have their own playing style. In fact, many of these styles are so different from one another that it’s easy for a layperson to think that poker is more of a game of luck than of strategy and skill. And yet, all of these professionals have been successful for good reason. Their strategies may be different from one another, but they all have traits in common that make them as good as they are. Some of these traits are a little abstract, but they show up time and again in the world’s best poker players.
It’s not enough to simply know how to play poker; you need to have the drive to learn to play it well. This means playing the game at practically every opportunity and learning new strategies and techniques. Many of these strategies will fail and cause the player to lose, but playing poker is as much about learning as it is about winning. It must also be taken seriously. Yes, it’s a game that people play for fun, but doing anything at a professional level takes a lot of work.
- Math Skills
While a poker player can go far on the ability to read people during a game, what really separates the pros from the amateurs is a keen understanding of mathematics. There are a lot of mathematics involved in a poker game, and successful players are able to calculate the odds of winning a hand on the fly. They know how much or how little they need to bet, and they know the chances of being dealt a good hand. You don’t need to be a master mathematician to be a good poker player, but taking the time to learn the math behind the game will definitely help you.
- Not Caring About Money
Good poker players don’t play just because they have the chance of winning a huge pot; they play for the love of the game itself. At the same time, they won’t think twice about making a huge bet if they feel confident that they will win. If they think too hard about the money they stand to win or lose, their heads won’t be in the game, and they will almost certainly lose because of it.
It’s important to have confidence in everything you do, but that goes double for playing poker. If you have any amount of self-doubt when you play, the other players will pick up on it and muscle you out of the game. When you play a hand, you have to believe you can win. You should still maintain a solid poker face and be smart with your bets, but you have to tell yourself that you have the best hand and the pot is yours.
- Accepting Responsibility
No matter how good of a poker player you are, you will lost occasionally. As much as you want to tell yourself that you’re having a streak of bad luck or other players are doing something to cheat, the truth is that you are probably losing because of something you’re doing wrong or because someone else is just better than you. Accept that you’ve lost, try to learn from the experience, and move on. There will always be more to learn about the game, and you won’t get any better if you don’t remember that.