Poker Pro Tips 2. Beweisen sie, dass sie ein Winning Player sind
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If I'm going pro, surely, I'll be winning mad p's yo'! Well, yeah, that may well be true - and I really hope that's the case — but annoyingly, downswings are as inevitable as Fedor or Bonomo winning the next high roller event.
As you might expect better players tend to have shorter losing streaks financially since their higher win-rates allow them far more wiggle room.
A three-month downswing with still require three month's worth of living expenses, and if you only have a six-month budget set aside, there's probably going to a couple bricks in your underwear by month four.
Since you're probably going to be thinking about going pro well before you're annihilating the games, your win-rates are likely to be lower than those of a more seasoned pro.
As you might expect, this will amplify the damage of being below EV. One has some money to pay the bills, the other doesn't!
As an inexperienced pro, the truth is that you're probably pretty likely to make some naive mistakes and perhaps even tilt a little too.
It really does take a while to get used to the lifestyle, and your cushion is designed to allow you to weather that storm.
It also enables investment in your new poker business, should you want to hire a coach, buy a new laptop, or even fund taking some time away from tables to hit the lab and improve your game if things don't get off to a great start.
Downswings DS can be really tough mentally too. I've been playing professionally for years now, and in the midst of a downswing, it's easy to doubt your abilities.
This graphs the ChipEV 0f all my hands from the last week or two spare a thought please! Since my EV line looks good and follows the same trend it usually does, it seems as though this is just typical run bad and that there was nothing I could do here.
I simply have to count the Sklanksy bucks and remind myself that although I'm losing money, I'm playing well. If I stick to the plan, things will turn around eventually — These are the best kinds of downswings.
This is actually the same graph as above, but with a huge chunk of value hands filtered out. However, let's assume it's a legitimate payer graph for demo purposes.
Once you've wiped the vomit from your chin, you'll notice this graph looks way different to the first. Yes, this player is also running bad, but the simple truth is that when you have an orange line looks like this, the most likely cause is that you are playing as poorly as you're running!
Interestingly, this is the kind of graph is what I'd expect to see from someone who had issues with tilt.
As a pro, this is the kind of graph that crushes your soul. Like a photo of an ugly ex-partner or an embarrassing childhood holiday, it's just so easy to see it, facepalm, and ask yourself serious questions about what you were thinking.
You're not just losing, you're getting crushed! This image is the kind of graph that has the potential to mess with your head. You might start believing that you've forgotten how to play, or paranoid that your opponents have made some super rapid adjustments and you can no longer compete.
Importantly though, even with a graph like this, it's entirely possible that our Hero was playing well.
Sure, it's not the most plausible explanation, but if we have an extended period of being on the wrong side of coolers, are unable to extract value with our monsters because we got no action , or if we ran particularly bad in terms of hand distribution, a graph like this could easily be the result.
This kind of scenario is another, less acknowledged form of a downswing, and believe me, it's the most brutal. It's important not to let a downswing like this cause you to doubt your abilities entirely because this might result in some rash over-adjustments.
It's important to realise that sometimes poker is just going to bend you over, and these kinds of downswings are a great example of that.
If you don't manage these situations well, they can be a devastating confidence killer and can cause you to re-evaluate everything from your bet-sizing to your future as a pro.
It's so easy to stress out, start making drastic changes to your strategy , or begin doubting your instincts altogether, all of which can easily weaken your overall game.
The easiest way to approach these kinds of downswings is to realise that sometimes it's not you, it's just poker. Although these graphs seem to be indicative of a winning and losing player at face value, that might not necessarily be the case.
As a professional, it's vital we review our game to discover the real cause of the downswing. I know that during a downswing the last thing you're going to want to do is trawl through hands and either replay how bad you've run or chastise yourself for playing poorly.
It's entirely natural to want to bury your head in the sand, or just try to just draw a line under everything and forget about the downswing altogether.
Trust me, though, going all Bridget Jones with a few romcoms and an unhealthily large tub of mint chocolate chip really isn't going to get you anywhere.
As you might expect, the trick to overcoming downswings is to dig into your database and spend some time reviewing your hands ideally with a friend to avoid bias and get some new ideas.
If you discover you're playing poorly, and you plan to keep grinding, then you need to fix things pronto! Fortunately, though, down-swinging is not necessarily just all doom and gloom: One benefit of losing is that, if you're actually getting crushed, you're likely to have a concentrated sample of sub-par play.
This data makes leaks easier to find, allowing you to start plugging and improving right away. As much as it won't feel like it at the time, downswings caused by playing bad can actually be a blessing in disguise in the long run, since they make it easier to discover and fix what you're doing wrong!
In any case, upon reviewing your hands, you might realise that you've been playing pretty well and have just been running terribly which should help you regain some lost confidence.
If this is the case, then dust yourself off and get back to work. Yes, it's rough, and probably the last thing you want to do, but realise, there's a reason they call it 'grinding' - It's work, not pleasure.
Whatever your orange line looks like though, remember, in the short term, results can often be meaningless which is why you should review your play during your upswings too!
An ability to handle swings well is an absolute necessity for any budding pro. In fact, I 'd argue that that finding effective ways to deal with a DS pragmatically is one of the most underrated skills you can develop as a poker player.
I reckon that for every poker pro, there are probably at least 10 others who have the ability and talent to take his place but lack the necessary discipline.
Methodically approaching your downswings can help alleviate tilt and allow you to plug leaks properly, both of which help you make more significant strides towards reaching your poker potential.
TIP : If you struggle with tilt, a great way to tackle it is to start each poker session with 3 loose poker chips — These represent your 'lives'.
If you make a mistake, you lose a life. Lose all 3, and you take a break. Since 3 errors is not normally enough to make someone lose their head, this should enable you to control your tilt before it gets out of hand.
There are so many ways you can fashion your own poker career rules, but credit to my boi ZOMGHangover for this gem!
One of the most challenging things to come to terms with when you start professionally playing poker is the loss of a steady, stable salary.
There are plenty of benefits of course, but one of the ridiculous things about being a grinder is the fact that you can work for extended periods and actually lose money!
Additionally, as we discussed earlier, a poker player will probably perform sub standardly if they have one eye on the financial impact of their decisions especially when down-swinging , and this can compound the problem.
A great way to disassociate yourself from the financial consequences of your results is to consider being staked. As a staked player you will basically play poker with someone else's BR.
Since your losses go into 'make-up', this negates any direct potential risks to the player's immediate personal finances, which allows them to concentrate on making the best decisions at the tables.
Knowing that you played well no longer becomes a mere comfort blanket during a string of bad results, it becomes all that actually matters.
For a new pro, who may struggle to disassociate their BR and personal finances, this is a really healthy option for mental and financial well-being too, because it minimises the immediate financial trauma of losing.
It gives a clear distinction between your bankroll and life roll and allows you to benefit from the improved results that come as a consequence of being able to make better, unclouded decisions during hands.
Sure, you'll have to win the make-up back before they can take any money from the stake, but at least being staked means a big losing session won't eat into your living expenses.
If your game is strong enough for you to be considering going pro, getting staked should be relatively straightforward.
Most backers are actively seeking players via poker forums, social media posts or banner adverts. So, assuming you can show a strong set of results to demonstrate your abilities and prove you're a long-term winning poker player which shouldn't be a problem at this stage of your career , you'll probably get snapped up.
It's worth noting too that depending on the format and coaching that comes with the deal , some stables will be more competitive than others.
The best stables can often request a sizeable sample of results and may ask for permission to ghost a session and watch you play. This set-up is relatively normal as is a formal recruitment process and an official staking contract.
The downside of being staked, of course, is that you will lose a percentage of your profits. The truth is that staking is not just about the money either.
Many players me, included see how a profit share can be a worthwhile price to pay if it enables you to do some or all of the following:.
The final thing I want to look at is the social life of a poker player. One of the most underestimated aspects of playing poker as a full-time professional is the solitude that comes with it especially online.
Sure, you might be sat at a table with a group of individuals, but for the most part, you're the only guy at the table that sincerely cares about you.
Long sessions, especially losing ones, can be soul-crushing and this can take its toll on your overall happiness and mood.
The irregular schedules of a lot of the games can make it difficult to balance your relationships too, and so it's vital you strive for a healthy work-life balance.
I look at how you can manage your relationships in more detail here , but the trick really is to surround yourself with a good support network.
As suggested already, this is something you can get through staking, but if you do decide to go alone, try to surround yourself with other professional poker players better than you if possible!
That way you can easily share hands and bounce ideas and theories off each other. This partnership will increase the effectiveness of your study time and ensure you remain both sharp and up to date with the latest population trends.
Remember, a competitive obsession is required to succeed, but it shouldn't be at the expense of a healthy work-life balance. Be professional on and off the tables, strive to be the best player you can be.
If you do, you'll quickly realise that being a poker pro is one of the most liberating and exciting careers in the world. Top Menu. How to play. Download Now.
Category Menu. Want to be a poker pro but no idea where to start? Poker World. Follow along as poker goes behind the life of a High Roller and charts the inspirational career of poker ambassador, Dominik Nitsche: Falling in Love with The Dream We begin to fantasise: How hard can it be?
Well not quite Let's go into a bit more detail about playing poker full time. Set Yourself Up Financially Since there's no guarantee of a stable or reliable income as a poker player, it's vital that you have enough money set aside to cover your living expenses for an extended period before going pro.
I was jumping from one format to another for a couple of years, and it was holding me back. Now, I can easily say that the moment I chose my game and put all the effort to improve in that area, my results skyrocketed, and you likely should follow this path as well.
No matter what you play, poker is a game of math, and if you do not know your numbers it will be very hard to reach any kind of success, maybe even impossible.
How to become a professional poker player — five essentials you need to know about your chosen game:.
Assigning your opponent a specific hand instead of a range of cards is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, and one that almost everyone makes at the beginning.
When you understand frequencies and know how likely your opponent is to have one holding or another, you will be able to assign them a realistic range of cards and avoid the most common mistake.
Start by analyzing the preflop situation and assign your opponent a specific range based on their position, the action they took, and bet sizing.
After that, narrow down that range based on every action they take on following streets. If you do that correctly, at the end of the hand, you will always know where you stand.
You either have to call or raise their bet if your hand is ahead of their range, or fold if you are behind. As simple as that. I was simply playing and sticking with my assumptions without analyzing other players, or trying to put them on a range.
So please, do not repeat my mistakes. When you know your odds and the game inside-out, you should easily be winning in lower stakes games and can practice a lot without burning your bankroll.
This is great because your ambitions and goals will help you reach long-term success. Obviously, you can get a lot of resources for free, but it will never be as good and most likely without any structure.
If you stick to reading random articles, watching Twitch streams or YouTube videos, it will probably never help you reach anything meaningful.
I am not saying this just because I have a training site myself, but this proven to be true for many players, including myself.
My real progress started when I invested in my first coach, and big results came soon after that. I know plenty of such examples.
All top professional athletes and high performers require coaching and constant training. So, just like with anything else in life, you should not expect to reach exceptional results without investing in yourself at the beginning, and maybe even more so in poker.
A good course can help you save a lot of trials and errors time, and even money on the way. So I would recommend gathering as much information as possible, even if that means investing in several paid programs at the beginning.
When you start playing and winning in serious games, do not make the mistake of thinking you know it all. It will never be the case.
It is a very challenging and dynamic game, meaning that the moment you stop improving, you will be falling back — and others will be quick to catch up.
Poker changes all the time. With many learning resources becoming available every day, players are getting better and better, new ones are joining the action, and they are hungry for the win.
This list goes on and on. Basically, just try to become the best version of yourself every single day, and you will become excellent.
Many players lose a lot of money due to tilting, emotional decisions, or simply lack of concentration during the games. If you end up spewing one buy-in every session because of sub-optimal play, the results at the end of the month will not be something you want to see.
Most of the time, this part could be a deciding factor between crushing the games and barely surviving. While this is important, it is just a very small part of the whole picture.
Take your time and evaluate all available information, put your opponent on the range, and think through all the hand before making your final decision.
Remember that every time you make a sub-optimal play for any reason, you are simply leaving money at the table. And to be honest, I was struggling with this part long after I started playing poker.
The thing that helped me the most was realizing that I need to build structure into my life and grow habits that would help me along the way.
If you have to fight with yourself every time you need to study or play, your efforts will not last very long. If you are better than your opponents, you will win in the end.
Mastering the soft side of the game will help you do exactly that — become a better player than most of your opponents. Yet MANY poker players fall short because of a lack of discipline in this area.
Also, never think that you can outsmart the variance or that it will not hit you. Based on your win rate, the variance can be huge, probably bigger than you ever imagined.
This graph is based on calculations of possible variance over , cash game hands where you have 2. Each of these lines represents a possible outcome, with different probabilities of happening.
You can see that after , hands you can be down a couple of hundred or thousands of big blinds, even if you should be winning.
At the worst-case scenario, you can be down as many as 80 buy-ins. The same can be said about tournaments, SNGs and other formats.
This is why it is vital to have funds to cover your living expenses and big bankroll to outlive the swings.
Do not cut corners in this area. We already covered how to become a professional poker player and avoid many mistakes on the road, but before making your final decision, you should understand what life in this line of work is really like.
But to reach a high level of success, you need to devote a lot of time to playing and studying the game. As the saying goes:.
From a distance, the life of a poker player may look like a dream, but no one sees how much effort goes into reaching that level. Playing poker professionally is completely different from playing poker for fun, and you need to understand those differences.
The game is not about huge scores that you see on TV or in the movies, but much more about showing up every day and putting the grind on the tables. So before making any decisions, be sure to weigh up all the pros and cons and see if it suits who you are, or who you want to become.
Now you can decide for yourself if this is something you want to do for a living.