Poker is the battleground for mental warfare, and anybody telling you any different is lying. Because no matter how good a player you are, how many tournaments you have shipped, how many players you have surpassed, in the end, you will be humbled by this game. And this is a huge reason why many players quit early in poker, as they cannot handle the problems this game hurls at you. Everyone wants to be a poker pro, but many people don’t want to work for it.
But if someone wants to think and play like a poker pro, what should they do? Should they read books, watch games, go through tutorials or play regularly? We would say, do all of those things, and you’ll soon see the change in your game. But to get you started, we bring you some of the fine examples of how a poker pro thinks, and how you can think like one.
5 Ways To Think Like A Poker Pro
1. Learn To Let Go
The first rule of learning how to think like a poker pro is accepting that not everything is in your control. Sometimes, luck can go sideways for you, and you wouldn’t even know what hit you. We mean to say that there might be a period where you are just losing game after game, even after giving your best. Bad beats become common, the river card becomes your worst enemy, first-timers might beat you easily, and much more might happen. But believe in the fact that this time will pass, and once it does, you will be back on winning ways. However, it is essential you let go, and not let the losses tilt you in betting everything, and subsequently losing.
2. Consistency Is The Best Skill
Most poker pros did not become overnight sensations through a rag to riches story by winning a major tournament. They played consistently, continually improving their game and altering their gameplay till they found the perfect strategies, and won big. You too can start winning. Just be consistent with your gameplay, convince yourself to practice regularly, and be in it for the long haul. Poker might look like a get rich quick scheme on the surface, but it is a get rich slowly while you frequently lose too much scheme.
3. Learn And Improve Constantly
Everyone makes mistakes! You, me, poker greats, everyone! But what matters is what one does about it. In poker, if a player doesn’t learn from their mistakes, they have already lost their way. The poker pro thinking that you so greatly want comes with a constant yearn to improve and get better. Therefore, don’t deny you make errors, but embrace them. Every time you identify your mistake and improve upon it, you become a better player.
4. Know When To Bet, And When to Not
Many people believe that climbing the poker ladder is just about your skillset, concentration and self-belief. However, if you want to think and play like a poker pro, you should know when to bet and when to not. Betting in poker is based on odds, and while odds only do not decide a player’s fate, they cannot be forever ignored. If you feel that the odds are in your favour, do bet on the hand, and stick with your decision. Similarly, if you are not feeling your cards, there is no shame in putting them down and folding. Bet big when you believe you can win, but don’t lose money when you are uncertain.
5. Leave Room For Improvement, Not Self-Doubt
If you want to think like a poker pro, you have to analyse and improve like one. Unlike popular belief, poker professionals are not invincible, and even the greats have fallen. However, with each loss, they analyse what went wrong and act on it. Correcting one’s own mistakes is the best way to mature as a poker player, as we have said above.
However, many poker pros will also tell you that while self-improvement is good, self-doubt is extremely harmful. Doubting your skills or gameplay can lead you to a point from which you cannot improve, and just slump. Therefore, learn from your mistakes, but don’t let self-doubt creep in your mind.
Learning how to think like a poker pro might be the hardest thing to do in poker. This is because you need to change your thinking, suspend your logical thinking and trust the process that has made players poker superstars. However, many poker players want results instantly and refuse to believe that it might take months and years to get consistent results.
Think about it! What if Google shut down in four months because it was not working well? Or M.S.Dhoni quit when he did not get selected in the national team for a long time? Real poker players are in it for the long run, and if you believe you are not one for consistency and dedication, then you may never think and play like a poker pro.