Do you feel as if your poker game has stagnated? Have you gotten used to playing low and mid-stakes games, and your once achievable poker goals are nothing but lost dreams? Do you feel as though playing poker is pointless? Sometimes, you have to start low to ride the waves. You’re not alone, though –– these are common sentiments shared by people who have long struggled before perfecting their poker game. One of them is Doug Polk, a renowned professional poker player who played under the alias WCGRider. Similarly, his journey to fame was paved with difficulties, which caused his confidence and faith in poker to be vastly shaken.
Feeling as if you’re stuck in a rut is a common experience that plagues many aspiring poker professionals, but the way you handle it will either make or break your career. If you’re wondering how to turn your poker journey around, read on more to find out.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you aim to become one of the best poker players, you can’t let your hustle die out. Not only should you be practicing consistently, but you must keep a lookout for new strategies that will boost your gameplay –– such as looking through game plays like this shows big prizes at Global Poker. Many people often believe that their skills are enough to stop ‘studying’ poker –– they believe that churning out the volume is what will rake in winnings. However, this strategy will get you nowhere. Poker isn’t a ‘solved’ game; if know-it-all computers and artificial intelligence can’t completely beat poker, what makes you think humans can?
Professional poker players never stop studying poker, as there is and always will be a new strategy to improve your gameplay –– such as running stimuli, chatting with friends, or observing previous plays. We recommend creating achievable objectives within poker, such as aiming to learn something new every day. You can do this by taking an objective approach to your games, being self-critical, and embracing constructive criticism or advice from players or learning sources. Simply ‘grinding’ without practicing these techniques will never be enough to help you break through into the professional market. After all, poker is a mind game; it isn’t enough to simply play the game –– you have to know how to play the players too.
Your Money Is At Stake
It can be easy to forget that wagering with poker chips is equivalent to playing with money, especially when you’re in the heat of the moment. In a game where capital is king, you can’t afford to bust your entire bankroll over one match. Hence, we strongly encourage you to maintain responsibility and be smart when dealing with bankroll management.
Poker is a game full of highs and lows, so you need to find a balance where both your emotions and your bankroll can handle the swings. For example, cash game players are recommended to have 50 buy-ins in a game, whereas tournament players have 250-500 buy-ins per month. However, proper bankroll amounts can fluctuate, depending on the specific game you’re playing. The higher the variance of your game, the more buy-ins you will require.
In general, good poker players need to know where their limits lie –– knowing when to quit can save up on huge losses, and is an extremely valuable skill for those looking to play professionally. Poker is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed if you’re starting a game with lower buy-ins –– in fact, it’s a sign of a responsible and careful player.
Don’t Forget The Outside World
While you practice your hand at the poker table, don’t forget to invest your time in the outside world as well. If you’re serious about going professional, you can’t afford to just play poker, but you need to live, breathe, talk, play, and watch poker.
This is where networking will produce the best results. At the poker table, players are not just your competitors, but they can also be your teacher and confidante. Make use of the opportunities to connect with like-minded players who can learn and grow from each other. Of course, all of these should be done away from the poker table lest your opponent overhears and adopts the techniques for themselves!
If you’re primarily an online poker player, you may want to consider setting up a study group with other poker players around the same level as you. These can be conducted through various video-sharing platforms, such as Zoom, Skype, or Discord. Don’t underestimate the importance of studying! There’s nothing more rewarding than testing out a new trick at the poker table –– and then watching yourself reap the benefits of your hard work.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
Poker is a mind game: you win by playing the players, not the game. Having down spells can feel like forever –– bad weeks turn into bad months, and maybe even bad years. Let yourself go, and you may barely even remember what it feels like to win again. Being able to compartmentalize these down spells is important if you want to emerge victoriously.
Instead of focusing on the past, look into the present, and make conscious strategic decisions that can hopefully turn your game around. Study your opponent and analyze how they react to certain moves, what lying tics they possess, and even their slightest movements. Look closely enough at their body language, and you might just guess their next choices. Similarly, whilst you’re busy analyzing your opponent, don’t forget to manage your bodily expressions. If you had a bad day or have been through a losing streak, never let it show on your face. Keep your negative feelings aside, and clear your mind completely during a game.
Focus On One
Jack of all trades, master of none. It may be tempting for players to jump from high-stakes games to high-stakes games so that they don’t end up feeling stuck on one. This may be the case for experienced and successful poker players, but if you’re struggling to make ends meet, it’s better to focus on one chosen game type. Poker is a game of boundless strategies and techniques –– hence, if you dip your feet into too many types of games, you might end up making greater losses instead.
Players with no fixed direction and drive are often easily defeated by others who devote their time and resources to one sole game type. Hence, we strongly suggest finding a game that is most suitable for you and staying loyal to it –– at least, until you feel that you need a change of pace.
Without a doubt, poker is an immensely complex game that requires sufficient amounts of time and money to become proficient. If you’re feeling stuck within your poker game, or currently aspiring to become a professional player, do take note of our tips. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The one with the best strategies and strongest willpower will eventually triumph, at the end of the day. to