4 Poker Training Tips That Professional Players Use

Although it may not receive the same levels of coverage as many other sports, the game of poker is for some a lifelong undertaking.

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Dedicated career poker players often travel to high-profile tournaments around the world to compete for glory at massive and glitzy industry events. But what is it that makes the most skilled poker players so good at their craft? Professional poker is an immensely competitive field, stacked with players who have spent years and even decades honing their craft.

Curious to see how the world's best players approach their own training. Let's go through four essential training areas that the poker experts themselves focus on.

1. Learning the Rules and Hands Inside and Out

Understanding the myriad rules and plays of poker is an essential component of a winning strategy. Poker is so much more than pairs and flushes, and knowing the more niche hands will prove the difference between success and failure. When not playing competitively, a player might print out a poker hand chart and have it in front of them, for example, or in the early days they may have played practice rounds with more experienced players who could walk them through the rules in real-time. Professional poker player Chris Moorman says that knowing your game inside and out is one of the single most important steps a player can take when building a strategy, even acknowledging that some professional players do not necessarily remember all of the rules of the game.

2. Picking a Game and Stick with It

There are many different variants of poker, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. There is Texas Hold 'Em, Seven Card Stud, Omaha, and Razz, to name just a few. Each game has its own appeal to certain types of players, which is why players take the time to find the one that is right for them and that they feel the most confident playing. As this comprehensive guide to the best online poker sites explains, all of the main variations widely played at major tournaments, can be found online. That provides plenty of opportunity for practicing the game of choice at online casino sites in preparation for high-stakes tournaments.

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3. Assessing Emotions Before Playing

This one is an ancient poker truism that many seasoned players still swear by. While some sports recommend that harnessing any anger or excitement you have and using it to improve at the game, this rule does not really apply to poker. A player feeling negative in any way or in an emotional state that might cloud judgment should walk away from the poker table immediately. Poker pro Jason Wheeler has repeatedly stressed the importance of coming to the table with a clear head, and says that he will generally try to avoid playing is he is not feeling in top form. Poker requires razor-sharp attention to detail and an ability to hide thoughts and feelings from other players. Anyone feeling anything less than calm, collected, and positive, should not be playing any kind of poker.

4. Knowing When to Fold and When to Play

This might sound obvious, but it's easier said than done. Everyone has their own distinct folding strategy, but there are some common threads in all of them. For one, the top players tend to fold when feeling anything less than confident in their hand. Against players who have been keeping quiet only to suddenly start raising their stake, it's best to just tap out. However, someone who feels they have a winning hand could be well place to fast-play those hands in order to build up the money pot. As famed professional poker player Arshad “Sheddy” Siddiqui has explained, a winner needs to be able to constantly assess the shifting odds and the table and make the right decision at exactly the right moment.

These are some of the essential training areas on which some of the most experienced players in the world place their focus.