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Cigars, Beer & Poker Ground >> Learn me on what makes a great poker player


12/25/10 12:44 AM
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The Sultan
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 I'm honestly interested in learning what are the traits of an awesome poker player?

What are the best attributes?
12/25/10 4:20 AM
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andre
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Do you mean a winning player, or someone who can play brilliantly but is a degenerate? Stu Unger was supposedly the best, but couldnt keep a dollar in his pocket.

If you are talking about a winning player, then my opinion is that these are the most important qualities:

1) High level of self-discipline.

2) The capacity to learn and apply the math calculations necessary for making the right decisions.

3) The ability to play fearlessly. If you think of the chips on the table as real money, and play accordingly, you'll often make emotional decisions rather than rational ones.

4) The ability to remain focus. Poker is a grind, even in a tournament, and you will be playing for many, many hours straight. If you cant do one thing for hours without needing to distract yourself then you are going to play automatically and miss really important cues that would normally help you define your opponent's range and determine the proper play.

I'm weak in all of the above areas, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
12/25/10 12:47 PM
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The Sultan
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 Hey Andre,

Yea that's pretty much what I'm asking.  I've been getting in to Poker a ton lately and I am looking in to starting an online account and starting to play for real money.  I'm practicing all the time and working on my game.

I guess I'm still pretty new and would like to know what makes a great player GREAT.  And, IMO, a winning player is the common denominator. 

If he wins in poker easily but blows all his money on hookers, strippers and blow, then that's still a winner in my book, LOL because he's still winning in poker.
12/25/10 12:54 PM
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The Sultan
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andre - Do you mean a winning player, or someone who can play brilliantly but is a degenerate? Stu Unger was supposedly the best, but couldnt keep a dollar in his pocket.

If you are talking about a winning player, then my opinion is that these are the most important qualities:

1) High level of self-discipline.

2) The capacity to learn and apply the math calculations necessary for making the right decisions.

3) The ability to play fearlessly. If you think of the chips on the table as real money, and play accordingly, you'll often make emotional decisions rather than rational ones.

4) The ability to remain focus. Poker is a grind, even in a tournament, and you will be playing for many, many hours straight. If you cant do one thing for hours without needing to distract yourself then you are going to play automatically and miss really important cues that would normally help you define your opponent's range and determine the proper play.

I'm weak in all of the above areas, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
ok cool, great list....These are basically some of the same things that I've been reading about and listening to when watching poker games.  I watched the world series of poker for a few years and have been learning.

What I think will be difficult is when some guys can predict a hand to the T.  Just seems really hard to do.  Betting patterns based on flops, turns and rivers can clue you in, but it's gotta be pretty hard to accomplish sometimes.

I'm learning how to chop people down and lean on them a little.....I still want to practice a ton before I start playing for real.

Which online poker sites do you like best?  I'm at Full Tilt Poker....I think it's ok.  Sometimes the streak of cards I get are pretty cold there though, lol.
 
12/25/10 1:09 PM
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The Sultan
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12/25/10 1:09 PM
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The Sultan
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12/25/10 1:36 PM
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mpthief
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1) Learn the math involved.

2) Always play within your bankroll.

3) Be satisfied with making the right play, and not the outcome. It is inevitable that you will get beat even though you had the odds before all the money is in the pot.

4) Be honest with yourself and quit if you cannot find a way to beat the game.
12/26/10 2:35 AM
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andre
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mpthief - 1) Learn the math involved.

2) Always play within your bankroll.

3) Be satisfied with making the right play, and not the outcome. It is inevitable that you will get beat even though you had the odds before all the money is in the pot.

4) Be honest with yourself and quit if you cannot find a way to beat the game.


Great advice.

Actually the best thing I can recommend, which is hard as hell, is to deposit as much as you are willing to lose in the game and start at the level that the deposit demands. That will usually mean playing the micro-micro stakes. If you can grind your way up from there, I think you have what it takes to make it (and for very little risk). If you cant, like me, then you probably arent cut out for it and you will lose your ass.

Poker will literally tear you apart if you arent extremely careful. It isnt just the money, but also the time and the lifestyle.
12/28/10 12:44 PM
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The Sultan
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andre - 
mpthief - 1) Learn the math involved.

2) Always play within your bankroll.

3) Be satisfied with making the right play, and not the outcome. It is inevitable that you will get beat even though you had the odds before all the money is in the pot.

4) Be honest with yourself and quit if you cannot find a way to beat the game.


Great advice.

Actually the best thing I can recommend, which is hard as hell, is to deposit as much as you are willing to lose in the game and start at the level that the deposit demands. That will usually mean playing the micro-micro stakes. If you can grind your way up from there, I think you have what it takes to make it (and for very little risk). If you cant, like me, then you probably arent cut out for it and you will lose your ass.

Poker will literally tear you apart if you arent extremely careful. It isnt just the money, but also the time and the lifestyle.
Yea man, that's what I was thinking of doing....Starting really small and building up my bankroll over time.  I just figured that it would be the smartest way to play.

I practice on my blackberry phone's version of the game all the time.....I play online.  I watch it whenever I can when its on TV....I just want to be somewhat solid before I begin playing for real money.

The other beauty of playing for low stakes in the beginning is that if you lose later, it's not your money to begin with, haha.  Either way, I keep building up my blackberry game, but it's easier to play than online I think.  It still teaches you how to predict cards, but the computer makes obvious plays and doesn't seem to bluff a ton so we'll see.
 
12/30/10 2:42 PM
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alley
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Does anyone else think the sultan is in for a rude awakening?
12/30/10 3:02 PM
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andre
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I think it's inevitable for almost everyone. Especially if they run good in the beginning, which almost everyone seems to do.

It's a cruel game but there is no way to properly prepare someone for it, imo.
12/30/10 11:02 PM
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kinsey3745
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Sultan, before you go any further with creating online poker accounts do some research. Dont just go to the websites and download software. There are tons of sites that give bonuses or incentives to sign up for an account through their site. Sites like how-to-get-rakeback.com, Rakeback.com, RaketheRake.com, Rakeback.org enable you to earn money back from what you play on the tables.

You can also get different poker software that gives you an advantage over other players at the table for free by joining through their sites. You can learn more about these at pokersoftware.com. Of course, before signing up for these software incentives read the terms of service for the sites that you plan on playing at to ensure they're legal to use there.

This is just a couple of things I wish I would have known prior to signing up for my FTP account. If you have any questions these fine OG'ers can definately help.
12/31/10 4:59 PM
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PR
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I agree that everyone goes through a rude awakening. In a way, it's kind of like MMA... everyone overestimates their abilities because they don't know what they don't know.

Except me lol. I was lucky in that I started poker right at the beginning of the popularity wave, and had a background that let me learn poker quickly, so I was always ahead of the curve.
1/1/11 4:55 AM
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stillmatic
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I picked up poker pretty naturally and had good hand selection and aggressiveness from the start and figuring out the math stuff wasn't difficult. My first time ever playing was in a 10/20 live underground game while I was just starting school. I didn't have much money at the time of course, but I was never afraid of gambling, even with money I didn't have lol. Despite it obviously being a terrible idea to play this high when you're new to poker, I was probably still one of the better players in this game. Live poker is and still is a joke for the most part. I ran pretty terribly to start though and was probably a couple grand in the hole to start my poker career.

I jumped online after playing a few weeks in that live game and never looked back. I went on probably the best heater I've ever had right from the start and built up a good sized bankroll very quickly.

Losing the amount of money I did early on helped me deal with the swings I have had to go through later on. Being able to dig myself out of my debt was also what gave me the confidence that I could be good and make a lot of money at poker.

As far as traits go in poker, I think a lot of them are natural and get applied on their own as you start playing and gaining more experience. I don't personally know of any players that became good without picking up the game quickly. I'm sure it's probably possible, but it would be difficult to do. Turning into an average player that can break-even or slightly win, I think that's certainly possible for most to accomplish.

It sounds kind of grim, but that's just the reality of it. I would guess that less than 5% of players win money at poker and another 5% or so are about break-even players. Even just breaking even is an accomplishment in a sense.
1/1/11 5:04 AM
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stillmatic
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Oh and just my opinion, but I would play limit Holdem at some point when you're starting up. Limit forces you to play post-flop and make decisions on those latter streets that you're often not doing in NL. You're also calculating pot odds through each street, which heavily influences your play more so than it does in NL. I think most limit players can adapt to pretty much any game, while NL players struggle mightily when they get away from NL games. Limit Holdem is the game that will improve your poker fundamentals the most.
1/1/11 1:48 PM
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andre
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I wish I had started with limit. Seems like it would be, as stillmatic said, hard for me to try picking it up right now. I played a limit cash game once and it drove me nuts. Couldnt protect my hand!
1/1/11 4:41 PM
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PR
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Interesting opinion stillmatic. I started with limit.
1/1/11 4:59 PM
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wreckker
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 limit was all there was to play when i started playing in CA 15 years ago..

You must have ALOT of discipline to play limit..good for building a poker foundation


1/25/11 12:30 AM
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billid
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Definitely learn playing limit.

As for what makes a great poker player. I think after all the math, strategy and fundamentals you can push down somebodies throat, it comes down to a few rare personality traits. A player who can keep their emotions in check and consistently think clear pushes a player higher in the ranks. After that the most rare trait of all is the natural ability to quickly break down what is the best play you can make in every spot you're in, THEN... actually execute that play.

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