Poker is a fun pastime but to be an excellent poker player you need to take your game to the next level. It’s great to play poker for the entertainment value but when you want to win (and win often) you need to build your skills. What do you need to be a winning poker player? Check out our list of prized capabilities for poker champions.
You don’t have to be a maths genius but most winning poker players have a good grasp of probabilities and the importance of calculating the value of your outs. When you win more often than others you understand the chances you have of hitting a set by looking at the cards you hold in your hand. The outs are the number of cards you could possibly draw to improve your hand. To calculate the percentage shot you get at a hit, count your outs, times by two, and then add one. But you also need to be able to work out the pot odds so you can decide what to do when you have worked out your percentage of hitting. You need maths skills to win big at poker but you don’t have to worry if you are not a maths genius – the basics will be fine.
And while maths is essential, you also need to have some expertise in psychology. But before you think you need to get another degree in the subject, again, the basics will serve you well. The main thing you need to have is an interest in other people – mainly, the other people in the game. You do not only think of yourself when playing poker, despite how self-centred you may be in real life. You need to figure out what your opponent has, what he thinks you have, and what he thinks you think he has. Sounds complicated? It can be. And it can also be disarmingly simple. To be a winning poker player you figure out the answers to those questions then you manipulate the answers to win, by bluffing, fastplaying, slowplaying, and other tactics. Poker Games are most often won by dominating the other players psychologically.
You may think that poker is a free and easy, entertaining way to spend a few hours but the fact is you need to be disciplined about your play. You also need to think that you will win. You can’t just hope for the best and that you will get lucky somehow. Understand that different poker games require different disciplines. For example, no-limit play and limit play are different and you need to understand how to manage them. And while we’re talking about discipline, you need to know when to leave the game. A winning poker player knows that he is not perfect and that in certain situations it is better to leave the game than to keep trying to buy himself back in. Learn from your mistakes, and come back stronger for the next game where you will undoubtedly have a better experience.