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Confession #7 - I'm a good player, NOT!!! Before I begin, there are many different types of players and many different types of play styles. What works for one skilled player, might not work for another. But there are elements that identify all good and winning players. Remember that poker is a game of incomplete information, so you need to use everything at your disposal to give you the edge needed to win. Back to my first key point from my last blog, and wow, it's been an eye opener. There are so many aspects of being a good player or more aptly put a good and winning player that it can make your head spin. A) Science; This is probably a basic concept that isn’t often thought about, but good players... 1) understand poker is a science - poker knowledge is attained through study and practice. All one has to do is look at concepts like game theory, expected value, statistical probabilities, psychology factors, the Independent Chip Model (ICM), etcetera, and you are on your way. 2) understand the information is out there to help - but you also have to take some responsibility and identify what aspects of the science you need to improve. 3) understand science can change and learns to adapt - the interesting thing about science is that it can change as more information becomes available through studies, or the addition of new concepts. The good player recognizes that change is inevitable and they adapt to it. B) Math; Poker is primarily a game of math, where understanding the math can help you make good decisions. Good players... 1) practice good bankroll management - one of the most basic and key concepts to being a winning player is the practice of good bankroll management. Don’t play with the rent money and do play within your means. 2) know how to calculate pot odds - this is the easiest part of the math, but donkeys will often ignore pot odds and in the long run, they will be losing players because of it. 3) know how to calculate outs - this goes hand in hand with pot odds and helps in making correct poker decisions. There’s even an easy method (rule of 2 and 4) for those of us who are math challenged. 4) understand and properly apply the concept of implied odds - simply put, implied odds are an estimate of the money you think you will make should you hit your hand by the river when you don’t have the actual pot odds to call. It’s subjective at best and based on what you know about your opponent. 5) understand and apply other forms of poker math - what are the heads up odds and probabilities of QQ versus AQo, or TT versus AK. Good players will have a good knowledge of the math and use it to their advantage. 6) apply the math needed for the game they are playing - good sit and go players understand and use the Independent Chip Model (ICM) to help with decisions, while good cash game players will apply SPR (stack to pot ratio) and REM (Range, Equity, Maximization) processes. Name the poker discipline and there is some type of math behind it. (to be continued)
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