Have you ever wondered what differentiates a recreational poker player from a pro? This article will help you understand how pros play, and what makes them great.
Most poker players, once they've got a decent number of hands under their belts, think that they're fairly good at the game. It's rare that you will find someone who has been playing poker for a while, and who sits down at the poker table expecting to lose.
Most people join a table expecting to win. Even if past experience suggests otherwise, each time they sit down they're optimistic. "It will be different this time", they think. "I'll be more selective about the hands I play", or "I'll bet more aggressively". The thought of losing isn't there.
The difference between the thought process of a recreational player and a poker pro is that poker pros take a more serious and clinical view of the game than recreational players.
When a recreational player sits down to play a game of Texas Hold'em poker, they look for an excuse to play each hand. They consider the best possible hand that their hole cards could give them, and cling to any chance to stay in the game. They don't analyze pot odds, or count outs, they rely on blind hope that the right cards will come up to make the hand that they need.
Professional poker players, on the other hand, approach each game - or even each hand - with clinical precision. Where recreational players look for a reason to play each hand, professional poker players do the opposite - the look for a reason to fold.
Professional poker players will analyse each hand - count their outs, and work out the pot odds. They practice manipulation of the pot to encourage others to change their behaviour, and they carefully consider the chance they have of winning each hand, versus the impact that hand will have on their stack.
If you want to one day join the ranks of the poker pros, you will need to do the same. Next time you play poker online, think more carefully about how you play mid-ranking hands. Can you really get that flush you are hoping for, or should you fold and save yourself the potential loss of the bets required to stay in.
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