Poker Intelligence

Poker Discipline

Poker Success

Three Traits of a Successful Poker Player

by Halli Pinson
Poker Confidence

Successful Poker

Poker SuccessIn the world of poker, it often appears that some people have a natural talent for the game, while others are never able to consistently win. The bad players usually attribute this phenomenon to luck, but in reality, there is a very good reason why a select few are steadily successful in poker; they simply understand what it takes. To be successful in poker, a player must possess three important traits: intelligence, discipline and confidence. If a player lacks even one of these critical attributes, it will be extremely difficult for them to find consistent poker success.

Intelligence is perhaps the most important trait of a successful poker player, and the foundation on which all their skills will lay upon. Without an intelligent mind, the chief poker fundamentals cannot be understood and applied, not to mention more advanced strategies that require deeper thought. Intelligence in poker is not only about being “smart” - a successful player must be able to think critically, absorb and apply information on the spot, and have at least some aptitude for mathematics. If a person is a poor problem solver, they will likely have a hard time winning at poker, as the game will require them to make decisions by utilizing incomplete information.

The second tier of poker success is where so many brilliant minds flounder. Any poker professional will tell you that discipline is absolutely essential to doing well, yet many competent players struggle with it daily. When we talk about discipline in regards to poker, there are many aspects of the game where it comes into play. First, and perhaps most importantly, a player must practice discipline when it comes to how they technically play poker. Because playing correctly can be boring (as it requires so many starting hands to find their way to the muck), it takes discipline to be selective with your plays and not chase draws when the odds dictate a fold. A player must also exercise poker discipline by keeping their cool after taking a string of bad beats in order to avoid tilting (letting your emotions dictate your actions). Additionally, poker discipline comes into play in game selection; it can be tempting to play a game that is too big for your bankroll, but disciplined players know better. Taking shots at games that you can’t afford will often end in disaster; a lesson that many poker professionals have taken years to learn. Also, for professional players, it takes discipline to not only maintain motivation but also treat poker as a job and consistently put in the required hours at the tables. Finally, it is necessary for a winning player to exercise poker discipline off the felt as well. Playing poker regularly tends to fill your wallet one day and leave it much thinner the next, as variance rears its ugly head. Although it sometimes seems that the heater will never end, and buying all sorts of toys is warranted, it takes discipline to remain grounded and remember that a bad run could be just around the corner.

The third and final trait that a successful poker player must possess is confidence. Make no mistake; confidence in poker has little to do with how one feels about their appearance or their ability to talk to the opposite sex, but rather how they feel about their decisions on the felt. Poker is not for the timid, and a player’s profits will most definitely be affected if they cannot trust their reads and get behind their decisions. One of the most important concepts in poker is selective aggression, which requires a player to not only make bold moves at the table but also be confident in their abilities to choose which situations warrant aggressive plays. A timid player will often back off, give up pots and ultimately leave money on the table.

Finding a person that possesses the three traits of a successful player is quite rare, which is probably the reason why there are so few long term poker success stories in this industry. The fact of the matter is that many players possess two of these traits, but usually are lacking in a third. As previously mentioned, many good players will never realize their potential due to a lack of discipline, perhaps because the combination of discipline and selective aggression is extremely rare to find in a human being. Those who are able to balance the two atop an intelligent foundation are a rare breed, and are most likely capable of becoming a long term profitable player.

The combination of the three traits that we discussed is what lays the foundation for a talented player. While talent can go a long way, much more is required to be ranked among the best. One of the most common sayings in poker is “There’s no substitute for experience,” and although it may sound like a cliché, it is absolutely true. When you first start playing poker, it is easy to lose your footing when you encounter new situations that might fluster and confuse you. However, after you’ve seen these types of hands countless times, you start to see patterns in the way they play out. This experience is invaluable and extremely hard to teach. While studying and talking about poker will play an important role in the evolution of your game, some concepts will never hit home until you’ve witnessed them first hand, several times. If you want to learn how to win playing poker, you will need to learn through experience. Successful players recognize that there will always be something new to grasp, and therefore they will never stop learning.

Poker Personality Traits

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