Jun 24 2010

The Difference Between Winners and Losers

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

In poker, many players like to point to a skill set as the reason why someone wins or loses. In reality, however, actual poker skills can play a small role in a player’s success. One of, if not the, biggest variables in poker is the ability to remain emotionally stable. Even if you play perfect poker, you are going to lose if you can’t handle the inevitable losses. Absolutely no true poker player wins every single day. Actually, even the best players in the world go through sustained losses from time to time.

A great poker player is able to weather the storm. This might be accomplished through a temporary break, or playing even when things aren’t going well. While it makes no sense to play poker when you are not feeling comfortable or mentally into it, there are times where it is OK to play even when you are losing. Some players are able to play through the good and the bad with emotional indifference, but those players are a rare breed. Even players like Phil Ivey admit to getting burnt out from time to time. Poker is no different than most anything else in the world. Some days you are going to lose no matter what you do, and the game can become incredibly frustrating.

Breaks, Quitting, and Coming Back

Few players really need to quit poker altogether. There are certainly circumstances that would suggest a player should completely quit the game, but this isn’t the case for most players. If you can afford to play and are not overly stressed out about losses, there is nothing wrong with taking a break when things aren’t going your way. For some people, a break might only be a few hours. For others, a break might last for weeks, months, or even years. It always depends on the individual player.

Breaks serve as a cooling off period for just about every poker player who has ever lived. It is incredibly tempting, and sometimes even comforting, to think about what “could have been.” If only a player folded, or if only a heart came, if only you flopped a set, and so on and so forth. This, however, is the wrong way to approach the game. Let the cards fall as they may, and do your best to make them profitable. A lot of poker players like to force the issue when they are losing. This is commonly referred to as tilt. There are subtle forms of tilt where a player might just widen their range a little bit, or a player can go crazy and start open shoving with junk hands. The former instance is much more difficult to identify, and, as a result, can be very costly.

Coming back is just as important as taking a break. If you took a break from poker, the odds are that it was because you were losing. When you step back into the ring, you need to play your best. Forget the past, learn from your mistakes, and use your losses to motivate you for future earnings. It is never a bad idea to contemplate plays that you make, but don’t live your poker life in regret. Mistakes can make you better, or they can destroy you, it is all about how you look at them.

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