Top 3 Secrets of the Pros
You are much closer to achieving success in poker than you might think! In fact, there are certain practices that the best professional players in the world do on a daily basis that you can implement right away. If you are just starting out and want to learn more about how to become a professional poker player, check out this in-depth guide on how to start studying poker by clicking here!
Although the best poker players in the world have spent thousands of hours playing and studying the game of poker, there are still some very major things that they do on a daily basis that will help you reach their level even faster.
Making these changes will have a significant impact on your results, so make sure to pay close attention and implement these secrets as best you can immediately!
Let’s get right into it with the first secret:
1. Keep a Professional Environment
How can you claim to be taking poker seriously if your set up doesn’t reflect that? While live poker players obviously have less control over their environment due to playing at a friend’s house or in a casino, online poker players have a ton of control over their workspace while playing!
Many players will play for thousands of dollars every day while sitting in a creaky old chair, with noise and distractions all around them in the form of their TV, phone, animals, kids, and many other things. This is not an environment built for success!
A good start towards a better environment would be:
- Leaving your phone in another room (or at least having it on silent and put away)
- No TV or any kind of other distractions (like browser tabs, podcasts, etc)
- Clean surfaces
- Comfortable seating
- Healthy snacks and water readily available
- Quiet space specifically for work (if possible no animals, kids or other distractions)
Making these changes will immediately put you in a more relaxed and focused mode, allowing you to play your ‘A game’ much longer during your sessions.
2. Recognize Tilt Triggers
The second thing that most professional poker players do very well is they recognize tilt triggers before the ‘monkey tilt’ sets in. Poker is a stressful game; losing a bunch of hands in a row, running bad and other triggers will come up in almost every session you play. If you’d like to learn more about how to manage your tilt while playing, check out this in-depth guide on Tilt Management.
There are two types of tilt triggers; both mental and physical. Let’s take a look at a few examples of each of them.
- Opening less or more hands than normal
- Acting quicker or slower than normal
- Getting distracted (on your phone, watching TV..)
- Fighting an internal battle with anger over a situation
- Tapping feet
- Clenching your teeth
- Tense muscles
- Bad posture
- Chewing fingernails
There are probably other triggers that are unique to you, but these should give you a good idea of what to look for. Taking a break or just ending your session when you recognize these signs of pre-tilt can save you a lot of money, since you’re able to cut things off before you spiral into full-blown ‘monkey tilt.’
Recognizing tilt before it takes over is something the pros are exceptional at, so make sure to look for signs of tilt vigilantly in your next poker session.
3. Control What You Can Control
The third and final secret of the pros is the ability to recognize they can only control so much. In fact, a sure sign of a bad poker player is that they try to control exterior factors like the cards that come or their opponent’s actions, without ever trying to fix what they can control. Let’s take a look at some examples of what you can and cannot control at the poker table.
Things you CAN’T control:
- Other player’s actions and decisions
- The cards that come
- How lucky you or your opponents are
- Whether you win or lose money in a session
Things you CAN control:
- How much time and effort you put into study
- Your environment while playing (if playing online)
- Your mindset while playing
- Your reaction to the outcome of a session
Instead of framing things negatively and saying things like “this guy keeps getting lucky” or “I can even win a hand today,” focus on the things you can control instead. If a hand is really bothering you, save it for review later and move on! Then go over it later with a fresh mind and find what lessons you can learn from it.
You either win or you learn in poker, and the most valuable time you’ll spend is reviewing hands and studying outside of your sessions. Put in the work and focus on what you can control, not on what you cannot.
Bahman Zarghami is a mindset and performance coach who has helped poker players and other high-performing individuals achieve their full potential for over 7 years. He is the head mindset coach for Raise Your Edge as well as the lead mindset instructor here at Pokerstars Learn.
To learn more about Bahman and some detrimental issues most poker players struggle with (and how to overcome them), check out this in-depth interview with him where he tackles some of the biggest problems you’re likely to face at the poker table.