E) Skill; Skill is attained through studying, practicing and refining your play. Good players...
1) play tightly - tight play is one trait of an educated poker players repertoire, in ten handed play it’s an essential element, but as players get knocked out, the tight player needs to learn to loosen up; this is especially important in 6 handed play.
2) play aggressively - selective aggressiveness is essential and is even more important short handed. Tight to get into the pot, aggressive once in it. Another part of aggression is taking the initiative too.
3) vary speed of play - poker is somewhat like chess and some decisions take longer than others. When it’s your turn to act, THINK and adjust your play to every move made by others
4) mix it up and play the same hands differently - how you play hands will be noticed by better players, mix up your play depending on your hands, position, and how you played it before. Sometimes making your exact same continuation bet when you have the nuts, just might help you win the big pot.
5) fold the blinds - don’t defend 100 percent of the time. Chips are the tools to get you to your goal. Use your tools to maximize your advantage and don’t waste them.
6) understand and use math to help make decisions - while some good players can figure out the math on the fly, other good players might memorize the essentials needed for success.
7) learn hand reading skills - putting an opponent on hands based on betting patterns, position, board texture, and the way previous hands have been played is an essential skill
F) Other aspects; Good players...
1) realize the truth of this David Sklansky quote - “When we play, we must realize, before anything else, that we are out to make money.”
2) use programs to improve - Wilson Software, Poker Stove, Sit and Go Wizard, Leak Buster, etcetera
3) use programs to help with online play - while this isn’t essential, it is a part of what many winning online players use. As long as it’s within the rules of the site, it’s okay. Programs like HEM, Poker Tracker, the Indicator series, and even on-line data bases.
4) keep notes and learn how specific people play… look at stacks, notice who has little or no chips, who has the big stack… always assume at first that players are better… then as you observe, you can modify your opinion.
5) keep a poker journal - to track play and win/loss.
6) are patient and keep focused - if needed take breaks, eat, take a walk, diver attention…. Simmering and being impatient can cause you to play bad cards and lose.
7) are observant of their health - part of maintaining focus and being able to play poker for hours, is being healthy. Physical training and a good diet is more of a must than you might think.
There are a ton of factors that make a good winning player. I did a lot of research on-line, but also compared well known players and have read some of their blogs. I’m pretty sure that I got quite of information down in this blog, but with anything, there may be factors I overlooked, or didn’t see. Feel free to comment, add, or improve upon what I’ve already done.
How am I doing so far? Oh, one thing a good poker player does is have fun, don't forget that either.
Ric, AkA Punky159