What Separates Good Poker Players from the Best - Part 1


Only a small number of poker players become truly knowledgeable about the game, and an even smaller number learn how to apply that knowledge correctly. After all, putting theory into practice is not as easy as many think.

But those few players who become real poker gurus are not hand-picked to be the best by divine providence, nor were they born with a rare poker gene. Hard work, passion, and self-evaluation – these are a few of the qualities top card players share between them.Download WPT Global today to your device and keep building your poker skills.

If you analyze the best in the business, you’ll notice certain strengths (and rarely weaknesses) that distinguish them. But at the end of the day, they are all-round players who only bring their strengths to the forefront while staying alert to every other part of the game at all times.

How do you become a player of (approximately) that caliber? We’ll tell you!

Dedication is the Starting Point

It’s a well-known cliché that success requires only 10% talent and 90% hard work. But this precept holds a lot of truth. In fact, you can have 0% talent and 100% work ethic and still grow to become a formidable rival to your opponents.

Determination is key to success in poker. It’s an umbrella term that encompasses various minor elements that should be practiced daily. However, just playing poker is not enough. You need to become immersed in every aspect of the game-play and consistently re-evaluate you and your opponent's performance.

Dedication is essential for beginners with big ambitions. In the beginning, it’s easy to get run over by more experienced opponents, and you can make the most of it by learning from your experience. With enough dedication, talent becomes unnecessary. We’ve all heard about 'wasted talent,’ but 'wasted dedication’?

The Art of Composure

One of the fundamentals of poker is to have your emotions in check at all times. At least those you don’t want your opponents to feel. All players, even the best, can experience vexation or excitement at any point in the game. The key is to stay calm, even when you’re not.

Not showing your emotions to specific outcomes will make it harder for your opponents to size you up. You might still win if you have a strong hand on the flop and start to play aggressively by being too quick to raise and re-raise. However, maintaining your composure and playing less aggressively might lead to longer rounds of play, meaning more cash in the pot.

But great players don’t learn only how to hide their emotions; they also learn to manage them. After all, feeling anger even without showing it will undoubtedly affect your decision-making process.

Working to Improve Away from the Table

As much as they learn playing on the table, professional poker players draw a wealth of knowledge when they’re off the table.

This includes re-watching (if possible) their performance and that of their opponents and coming back to mental notes they’ve taken during the game.

Play on Your Level

No great poker player started as a professional; even the best start from the bottom and work their way up slowly. You can;t expect to make a sudden great leap one day and compete at the big boy's table. It takes patience to achieve a level of poker proficiency on par with that of the best players.

First, think objectively about your understanding of poker and play on tables that will suit your level. Also, if you’ve just started learning a new strategy, apply it with caution and don’t overdo it.

But playing only within your capacity will yield slow progress. Eventually, you will have to think about taking risks if you’re serious about stepping up your game.

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