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5 Skills that Top Poker Players Share

13,780 Views 4 Comments on 11/2/14

Top Skills and traits that the best poker players have in common!

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1. Focus


You don't think poker is a skill? Well you are wrong! Focus is everything in poker and life. Watching every move players make, not becoming distracted and being fully immersed in the game is a must and yes, it is very tough to do. We need focus because sessions can last long. When we get tired we focus less so the untrained player will start to get sloppy at the table and play too robotically.

The pro will prepared for this and can start to seriously turn up the pressure. If we lose focus we lose money.

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Have you ever found yourself sat there wondering how the hell you are in the pot? Who opened? What was the bet on the turn? We need to know all of these things as they help us play the hand more profitably. Focus on who is who at the table. Online we can make notes and have HUDs to pretty much tell us all of this, in live poker we just have our mind. Did player 1 cross his arms the last time he went all in? Did he throw his chips into the middle like this? These little pieces of information we pick up on gives us tells on our opponent. On TV you will see the best in the world just following the action around the table. Looking how each player looks at his hand, if they come into the pot and in what way all of this has happened. 

2. Learning


The best in the world are not always born with this great talent for playing poker. They have continuously learned and perfected their game until they have become the best, and the learning never stops. Doyle Brunson who is 85 (?) says repeatadly in interviews that he still learns to this day. He has played more high stakes poker than anyone else in this world. He started off playing Limit Hold'em vs Texans back in the day and is now playing and beating the some of the best online superstars in the game.

We have great tools to use nowadays such as holdem manager to let us review poker sessions. Why would we not take huge advantage of this? Go over your sessions and see how you won or lost and what you could do better in the future. Analyse your opponents! We have all this information on them so it's just as important to see what they are doing right or wrong. Having some solid reads makes us money and its as simple as that.

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3. Volume


Play longer and work harder than the next guy! Poker contains variance, but variance evens out the more hands we play. It's the greatest way of learning - sitting at a table and just playing hand and after hand will get us into similar spots which we can recall and think about how we played it and was it profitable.

Playing high volume also keeps us in the game. Poker changes so drastically over months and years that we can easily fall behind. Also playing just 1 game may be costing us money. Poker has many forms and variants and some can die out. For example Full Ring NLHE players are now almost extinct as everyone has started to play 6-max poker. Transitioning to these games will be tough so always look to see which games are going to die out or become more popular over the years. This will keep you one step ahead! 

4. Determination

Some players have great natural talent but don't have the drive and determination to succeed. They make bits of money here and there and are easily distracted or don't have the passion for the game. This is a waste of talent and players like this may need to realize that this money will not be around forever. The best poker players in the world who crush their opponents have this strong drive and determination. They have clear goals marked out in their minds and they strive to achieve them.

They don't let the losses get them down and they have a clear cut picture of what poker is and what it takes to succeed. The less talented players who may just be starting out can gain skill levels so fast as they breathe, eat and sleep poker.

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5. Discipline


Probably the most important factor in great success. We need to have correct bankrolls, schedules of playing, goals & aims and make sure we are always doing the right things and making good decisions. This mainly comes down to bankroll management and playing in the correct games for us. It is easy to get ahead of ourselves and jump into a higher game. We need to have an understanding of BRM and use it correctly otherwise we may find ourselves taking painful hits. Having the discipline to grind and work on everything consistently every week. We are self employed as poker players so need to make sure we keep ourselves on the right track and doing the correct things constantly. No one else is going to do it for you! So do it yourself"!

Good Luck becoming a poker great!



Jon PokerVIP

10 years and over 10 million hands of cash game poker Jon-PokerVIP brings a wealth of experience to team VIP. If he isn't winning 150k a month prop hands challenges  then he will be probably posting in our forum, streaming on twitch or making coaching con ... Read More


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LecrystalQCon 30/10/17

Thanks for the article.


faniciaon 1/10/14

incidentally these skills are shared by anyone who's good at anything (almost at least). practice makes perfect


vatopkron 12/8/14

Thanks a lot for sharing. Very good article.


Jamieon 8/8/14

Great article Jon - really, really insightful. Thanks for the good read mate :-)

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