When you remove the various factors which pertain to luck in poker you’re essentially left with a somewhat cerebral game. Sure, it’s not quite as demanding or complex as something like chess, but nevertheless poker can still offer up a intellectual (or psychological) challenge from time to time. In other words, for all intents and purposes, it would seem that “learning” plays a significant role in one’s success with poker.
Even those who claim or demonstrate some natural ability are overlooking the fact that a number of other factors have likely congealed to make it possible for them to understand the game better. In fact, their proficiency in poker is probably related to their aptitude in various other fields – the fact that they’re a good card-slinger is just a fringe benefit. Having said that, it’s probably a good idea for all aspiring poker pros to take a good, long and hard look at themselves and how they personally approach the game.
For starters, it’s always a good idea to keep on accumulating knowledge. One of the biggest mistakes that any person can make is to let their ego get so big that they just stop growing altogether. Of course this notion doesn’t just pertain to poker, it also applies to virtually every other activity throughout life. Needless to say, if you have BIG aspirations, you really need to think big as well. So, whenever you encounter a new strategy or another player dupes you expertly, take it in stride and try to learn from them. Doing so will turn you into a much better, more well-rounded opponent.
Next, take an honest look at the way you make decisions at the poker table. For instance, you don’t want to just play through several hands on auto-pilot. Similarly, you really shouldn’t avoid going over some of the more mundane decisions before making a move. Conversely, you need not let over-analysis hamper your approach or instincts for the game, but instead of being ruled by pure luck, why not take a second or two to ponder things before making a move. After all, a more informed decision is always better than a guess, isn’t it? Additionally, it goes without saying that you should consciously decide what to do each turn based on an overall strategy as well.
The path toward becoming a true poker master is one that’s paved by experience, never forget that. Even though you might have had a number of great wins, you should never let your guard down or stop increasing your quest to improve. Moreover, if you feel as though you’ve hit a wall in your overall approach, the most prudent thing to do would be to pick up a few strategy books.