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How to grow up to play poker?


You started playing poker, learned its rules and more or less understand what the essence of the game is. But what’s next? How to grow up to play poker?

You dream of a poker career and an easy life with the money you win, but you don’t even fully understand what poker really is. How to take seriously what you are not yet able to fully understand and comprehend? Today I have some tips for beginners, and probably not only for them, because everyone should find something for themselves.

The old saying says that the darkest is always under the lamp, that is, there are truths that should be the most obvious, but our consciousness does not always want to accept them. Let this text become a lamp of knowledge that will light an even greater flame and light your path to the future! Most of the advice in this section applies to both poker and other areas of life, so the interpretation and conclusions are up to you. Welcome!

Money or knowledge?

If you read a few interviews with the best players in the world, then the answer to this question is very simple and, in fact, it suggests itself. Each of them will immediately say that the most important thing in poker is to work on yourself, constantly learn and absorb the changes that take place in this constantly evolving game. It definitely won’t be money. They are only a derivative of the knowledge, experience and skills that each player acquires with each new day of his game. Take a look at some of the best – Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Viktor Blom, Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen. Each of them must have been on the verge of poker bankruptcy more than once, each of them had cosmic fluctuations reaching millions of dollars. But money has nothing to do with it, they appear once, immediately disappear, and reappear in a moment. But it’s important to know so you can get back in the game and be on top again. Money in this game is just a tool, nothing more. No one can take away your knowledge and skills.

So you can not look at your own or someone else’s game only through the prism of winning or losing money. Is Phil Ivey, after losing several sessions and giving his opponents, for example, five million dollars at the tables, starting to be a weak poker player? Probably no. He probably doesn’t even consider it that much. What matters to him is whether he lost those sessions due to his own mistakes and bad play, or whether he did everything right every hand. The key to success here is to analyze your own game. And it’s not just about analyzing losing hands, you can also make a lot of mistakes in winning hands. So they should be looked for, draw conclusions for the future and eliminate them in the course of the next games.

Try to learn from those who are already successful. Nowadays, access to various types of education, poker schools and analyzes is huge, you just need to reach them with your hand. But the most important thing here is regularity and self-discipline. Watching one instructional video a month is unlikely to improve your game or crush your opponents. Talk to more experienced players about your hands, learn as much as possible from their knowledge and experience that they want to share with you. The world of poker around you has a lot to offer, you just have to listen to its voice. So what if you post your hand on the forum if you can’t accept criticism for playing it wrong? Or maybe you didn’t even bother to read the answers to your questions?

Grow up to play poker. And let it be not just an adult life at your usual pace. You usually play $5-$10 tournaments, but you have something on your mind and include a $1 tournament in your session, which you consider fun. However, in the same session, you are also playing a $22 tournament, which is slightly larger than your bankroll. Will you always play the same way in all these tournaments? Will you experience the same excitement from breaking aces in the $1 and $22 tournaments? Probably no. It means that you are not ready to play at higher stakes. And in this more expensive tournament, will you be free to play all-in cards of average quality, as you like to do in cheap tournaments? The fact is that money alone is not enough in the game, poker skills and the right attitude are also needed. And here we return to self-improvement, which will help us win in the future. The same goes for choosing the right games for you. There is no need to jump from flower to flower – one MTT, one cash, then sit and go and in a moment you will be in heads-up games. Do not confuse! Choose one or two options for yourself and learn how to play them in order to consistently win and move up the stakes.

Money or knowledge? If you are yet to be convinced of the final answer, then consider this question. In high stakes cash games played in Macau, for example, who will have a better chance of winning – Dwan, Blom, Ivey or any of the Chinese businessmen who will get hooked on them and be able to buy them individually or all together several times? The matter is clear. By focusing on your own development and learning, you can start winning and the money will come naturally. Focus on working on yourself and improving your skills.

Learn from your game

Think about your approach to the sessions you play. How does a negative poker session affect you and how does it play out when you win? Are the emotions, feelings and thoughts the same for both? Imagine a situation where every session or participation in a live tournament will be a plus. When you don’t understand the game and how many hands you play, you always win. Is such a surreal vision of poker possible? After all, if you continue to win, then your opponents, on the contrary, must always lose, and this is impossible. Therefore, you must understand a simple truth – there will always be a losing tournament or a negative session.

Do not be afraid of failures, fear of them can turn into a fear of making the right decisions and they will not be optimal in your future game, which in turn will affect your profits. Treat missed classes like tuition fees. Analyze hands, look for your mistakes – if you have already paid for them, then at least take advantage of them. By making mistakes, you will learn things that you may not have known before. However, it is important not to repeat the same mistakes. That’s when you start winning and making money instead of losing it.

At the end of the session, do not visit your online cashier in the poker room. You already know that the result of one session does not affect whether you win or not. It doesn’t show how good you are at the game, or if you are at all. Instead, after the last table closes or just after the end of the tournament, think about what you learned while playing. Maybe you have noticed a cool, unconventional play from your opponent with which you can expand your arsenal of draws. Or maybe in a regular player you play quite often, you notice a different line of play that you think is unusual than he usually imagined, and from which you can get additional value in the near future. Remember it, write it down, write it down so you can earn more in your next poker match.

Everything is possible

Someone once said that everything is possible in life, and only our imagination limits our possibilities. You do not believe? Okay, but for example, in the sixteenth or even the nineteenth century, mankind planned to fly into space? Is it possible for a journey from London to Paris to take a few hours rather than a few weeks? And is it under the seabed too? No, someone wanted it, someone dreamed about it, and he did it. Today this is the usual norm, the standard, it happens every day before our eyes, and not so long ago people were burned at the stake for treatment with herbs collected in the forest. Then where do our possibilities end? It’s simple – everything ends where our imagination ends. There is only one problem – faith! It is up to you to decide whether to believe that what you dream about is within your reach and up to you. You must get rid of all negative thoughts because they prevent you from achieving your dreams.

How many records have been said and written so harshly that no human can improve on them? In the 1950s, people did not believe that one mile could be covered in less than four minutes. They even believed that it was pure heresy, that it was unattainable for the common man, and treated anyone who otherwise claimed as crazy. In 1954, Roger Bannister convinced all doubters that it was possible. Then he achieved a time of 3:59.4, which broke the stereotype that this was impossible. To do this, it took him many hours of training, sacrifice and sacrifice. He worked both on the physical aspect, but the psychological attitude was also important – he simply absolutely believed that he would succeed, contrary to all opinions and numerous skeptics.

What did he do? This was a great achievement in the history of athletics, because if one can, then why can’t others? The following year, about a dozen runners broke this supposedly magical border. Currently, the world record for this distance is already 3:43.13 and since 1999 belongs to the Moroccan Hisham El Guerrouj. Now, sixteen years after he broke this record, there are still those who firmly believe that it is possible to break this result. Just this year, a similar fate befell the world record in the marathon and the previously unimaginable limit of overcoming this distance in less than two hours. Eliud Kipchoge did this in 1:59:40.2, proving once again to the world that “the impossible does not exist.”

Of course, faith must be meaningful, and one should not go to extremes. Simply thinking about our great successes will not make us suddenly achieve them. Sitting and looking at poker articles on the Internet, we don’t get involved in high stakes. Faith is the basis, a certain foundation of our further actions. Faith gives you motivation, strength and a desire to work, you just need to ignite it. If someone has achieved something in life, then it is available to a person. The only question is how much you want to achieve this and how much work you put in to get to this peak.

Progress evaluation

How to evaluate your own progress? Contrary to appearances, this is one of the most important questions we can and should even ask ourselves. Since we’re talking about poker and we’re mostly connected with it, why not choose one of the poker jerseys, follow his career very closely and compare his results with ours? Or maybe take a more modest path and choose for such a comparison one of the friends who also plays poker, but at a few stakes higher, and by comparing his story with yours, we will have a starting point? Will this choice be correct? Absolutely not! Why? For example, can you compare Michael Jordan and Michael Schumacher, two great athletes, great undisputed champions? Try to compare them and choose the best one. You can do that? Can it be done? Probably no. Despite the fact that they have much in common as people and athletes, they differ too much for comparison and conclusions to be reliable and correct.

So, we return to the question – how can we correctly, objectively and fairly evaluate our successes, how and with whom to compare? The answer is very simple, even trivial. Let’s compare ourselves to ourselves! Each of us is an individual, and although we play the same game, by the same rules for everyone, only our own personality will be a true benchmark for measuring progress. And it doesn’t matter that a friend jumped a month later to the next limit or that he plays tournaments at higher stakes, and we have been playing them for the fifth month. Does it make us worse or better? Neither one nor the other. There are so many circumstances that we make a little weaker or different than his that there will never be exactly the same point of reference for such a comparison to be true.

Look at yourself and control yourself. What we were a year ago, six months ago, a month ago. Sometimes it helps to just start a blog, because after a while, reading your old posts, you will see that even their level has become more professional now. Then you will see what mistakes you made then, compare them with those that you are doing today. Have you made any progress? Has your game become better, smarter, got rid of old mistakes and habits, or is it completely different and you stand still? Maybe your level is even lower than a year ago? If you do it solidly and know how it was before, then your conclusions will surely be correct. You can correct mistakes, make adjustments to the game and choose the direction that will take you further – to higher stakes, to higher limits, to your next wins.

Find your worst enemy, fight him and defeat him. He is always there, he sits where you are, he sleeps with you, he goes to work or school. Because your biggest enemy is you! Only you yourself throw logs at your feet. Only you yourself continue to make excuses and look for superficial excuses everywhere except at home. Only you during the game, for example, browse social networks, watch TV shows, call friends, check sports results, and then complain that the session was not successful, that you were knocked out of the tournament, that your aces were broken. None of you will say then that you did not concentrate on the game and did not notice that your opponent always raised only the nuts on the river. You can’t write or say out loud, because you have to make excuses. Tell yourself directly and clearly: “Enough! I will overcome myself, I will overcome my weaknesses, I am doomed to success! And do it.

Actual control

Many of us forget at times that we cannot control everything we come into contact with in our daily lives. Examples can be multiplied and listed endlessly. Late bus, just when we are in a hurry. Closed ATM when we need cash for purchases. It always rains when we don’t have an umbrella with us. Bad mood of the boss in the morning and much, much more.

Since we don’t control so many things, what do we have such real influence over? What in our life depends on us? The answer is one of the simple and even banal. We control only ourselves. We only influence our words, actions and behavior. For your present and future. It depends only on us how our life will turn out, because we direct it and make decisions that lead us in a certain direction.

Many of you will immediately think that this is not entirely true, because there is a wife, boss, children, work, teachers, family … In a word, other people or things decide about us no less than ourselves. But are you sure? If you don’t like your job and your boss, why don’t you change it? If you earn little, why don’t you do anything to earn more? Are you not looking for new ideas for yourself, even if only a new or additional job, but just sit and watch the next episode of a stupid series or go to Facebook for the hundredth time in a day? You must take control of your life, because only you have the right to decide about it and shape it properly.

Okay, but what does this have to do with poker? You can do the same analysis for our game. Think about it for a moment – what can we control in poker? For your convenience, a few examples:

number of tables we play
our rates
game type
selection of tables
choice of poker room or casino
the bankroll we want to start the game with

You can work on the rest yourself, it is best to write them down on a piece of paper. On the second sheet, write clearly what you no longer have any influence on. Again, a few simple examples:

on the exposed cards
on the decisions of opponents
to your place at the table
profit or loss per session
dealer who deals with you
And so on and so forth… The main thing to understand first of all is that you have no influence on the profit or loss during the session. You can play every hand perfectly, but that doesn’t mean you have to win them. There are days when we play less and get more profit. There are times when we play great, but we don’t get along and lose everything along the way. Thus, we smoothly move on to the next point, which …

Risk in poker

Experienced players have long known that poker, as a game that has both random and skill elements, involves risk. Variance and randomness are integral elements of this game, especially in short periods of time. Many of us are aware of this, but subconsciously repress this knowledge, forget about it and do not apply it. How many times have each of us asked ourselves: “God, what did this donk do, how could he play like that?” We get angry at such players and leave them at the worst moment. At this point, everyone should ask themselves the question – why am I playing with these fish? Why aren’t we looking for tables where only regulars and pros make the right decisions? Why don’t most of us do this? I think we all know why…

The basis of the correct approach to poker is the recognition that a weak player sometimes has to win with a weaker hand or by playing stupidly. The thing with variance is that aces or kings can beat you dozens of times because that’s what simple math does. There is a small percentage chance for this, but it can happen. If we don’t understand this, if we don’t realize that AK only has 70% equity against J4, which in practice means that statistically three times out of ten we will probably lose, unless this poker truth enlightens us, then we will never not reach the stakes and limits that we dream of in our heads.

Let’s love dispersion, although it is a creepy whore that gives us a lot of nerves and shortens our lives due to constant bad emotions. We will rejoice when the donk wins against us, because it means one thing – soon the statistics will speak in our favor, we will win and earn more and more from him and his like.

positive attitude

There are two people in front of you. The first of them is a strong optimist in life, he always knows how to see the good, looking for pluses in everything, even in seemingly hopeless situations. He smiles and radiates a good mood, infects those around him. The second is eternal grumbling and drawn-out. Energetic vampire. He starts the day by saying that life sucks and nothing will work out. In each new idea, he sees only those problems that will inevitably arise. The smile only appears on his face when something goes wrong, because he said it would happen from the very beginning.

Running your own business and choosing a new partner from these two, who will you choose? Well, certainly not the last! How’s poker? Poker is your business idea, your main or side job. Who is your poker partner in you? What type of people will you be? The optimist who believes that variance is temporary and will pay off with a vengeance, or the dissatisfied one who says that the first downswing will be “in the bag” and all adventures with poker will go to hell?

Change the way you think. Always think positively, believe in yourself and your abilities. It will work if you prepare properly for it. Don’t even sit down to play when this unhappy one sits in you that day – angry, tired, tense, sad, dissatisfied. Then your decisions will be far from optimal, and bad decisions will bring losses. This, in turn, causes tilt, bad mood, anger, sadness, and the circle is complete. You enter a road without a quick exit, a highway of stress, depression and regret from which it is difficult to choose another road. Avoid her!

Poker Responsibility

We must always take responsibility if we want to achieve any success. As the boss or owner of a company, we make decisions that affect its profits and image. Its further fate and functioning in the future will depend on our efforts. Poker is like a business, although it’s a little simpler – we have to take responsibility only for ourselves. We must learn to control our emotions, for example, because how many times have they taken our money? How many times has a decision to tilt resulted in losing hands? How? Many, far too many times we have lost what we have accumulated over many hours of play.

How true are the statements:

I lost because my opponent cheated me on the river
Soft stole money from me today because my opponent had a set three times higher than mine
today they broke my aces twice and my kings four times, and AK didn’t beat me even once
software overclocked
How much truth is in these statements? We have long known that a little. More precisely, they are completely untrue. So where is the responsibility here? Such things must happen because it is an element of chance and we have no influence on external factors. However, by taking responsibility for our emotions and decisions, we limit the impact of tilt on our game and thus increase profits.

How to grow up to play poker? conclusions

The most important thing is self-education. Money will come in as you continue to improve your game.
Failure, exit from the tournament or a negative session is a payment to the coach for additional training and pointing out mistakes.
Imagination is power, so use it and visualize in your mind what you want to achieve in the future.
Compare yourself only to yourself, because only in this way you will see your development.
Remember that you can actually control while playing.
Risk and variance are inherent in poker.
Be optimistic as it always attracts success.
Bear the consequences of your games, take responsibility for them, do not blame external factors for them.

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