Professional Poker Player Skills

by Ryan Tenney

What makes a poker a player a professional? Does it mean that by adding the word professional the person loses less money? Or does it mean that the player enter tournaments through out the year? If you are thinking about getting the word professional embossed on your 'poker resume', here are some skills that you should consider mastering.

1. The Mathematician

a. These guys have mastered the odds of certain combinations that comes out already. For example, they know that when you hold a pocket pair, you can hit the set with only one in eight and a half chances. Those pocket cards also give you odds of having one in three chance of completing a 'by the river' flopped flush draw.

b. Mathematicians also able to compute the number of “outs” because they know it is important. Outs are the number of cards that will improve your hand. They compute it by multiplying it by two and adding one and that’s the percentage of them hitting the pot.

c. Knowing outs will be useless unless it is translated into rational and calculated betting. When you figure out that you have a 20% chance of hitting, you then figure out your chances of winning or losing. You divide the size of the pot at the river by the amount you have to put in. I.E. the current pot and the amount of bets that will be added on in the future. If you have calculated that the bet to you will be 50 and have 20% chance of hitting and the pot at the river will be higher than 250, try to call for it. If not, fold. Confusing right?

d. Review these concepts if you really want to be an expert.

2. Discipline

a. Always try to find a table where you have an advantage. Try finding tables where there are more amateurs or "fish". Fish only want to win by being lucky. Poker players want to win by skill and by hoping that his opponents don’t get lucky.

b. Every different game, table or opponent set needs the poker player to have different disciplines or styles. He or she cannot always rely on one style. For instance, a player may play the better hands when there are not much pre-flop actions. The player can make a loose call with other speculative hands when lots of opponents are limping in.

c. A disciplined limit player has excellent pre-flop skills. However, the disciplined no-limit player is quite different. This player doesn’t care much with paying lots of blinds but instead this kind of player would not want to be trapped. The difference is that limit players avoid squandering their stack bit by bit while no-limit players avoids losing his whole stack in just one hand. A disciplined no-limit player can play a lot of hands. Even if he or she has cards such as 5 spades and 3 diamonds he or she will still be loose preflop. But expert no-limit players know how to quit as well when their hands are really bad.

d. The disciplined player knows when to quit even when the pot is really juicy.

e. A disciplined player learns from his mistakes and admits that they will still make them later on. Disciplined players will just keep on learning because nobody is a perfect poker player.

There is a ton more to learn about poker and gambling, this is just the start.

About the author...

Ryan Tenney writes for Learn all about poker and casino games today.

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