Is There an Argument for Building up Base Skills in Other Pursuits Before Taking up Poker?

This may sound like a crazy and counterintuitive idea, but there may be a way to get good at poker without playing poker.

This doesn’t mean to say that some Texas Hold’em activity isn’t involved in the latter stages of development, but it may be beneficial to master core principles in other activities. There are various reasons for this, with the avoidance of burnout a key factor. Numerous stars at the top of the game got into poker after playing other games, and this could be the way forward for anyone wanting to make it to the upper echelons of the Hold’em scene.

Some of the World’s Best Mastered Other Games First

For someone wanting to make it to the zenith of anything, be it sport, business, or games, they need to look at those who have already made it to where they want to be. So, when it comes to poker, ambitious players should examine the path that the stars at the top of the all-time money list took. Bryn Kenney and Justin Bonomo lead the way by some margin in terms of overall Hold’em winnings, having earned just over US$56 million and US$53 million respectively.

The interesting thing to note about both these players is the fact they were professionals at another card game before taking on the poker world. As many know, the game in question is Magic: The Gathering, a fantasy collectible card game that is governed by similar rules to traditional 52-card deck offerings. The major difference is that cards in this game have magical abilities to add another component to the gameplay. Playing these games at an expert level enabled Kenney and Bonomo to hone their strategical and analytical attributes to a high degree, as they were playing against the greatest players in the world.

These, and numerous other poker professionals found that they could develop skills away from poker that could then be used to great effect at the felt. ElkY is another famous example, and the Frenchman made a name for himself in eSports as one of the top-ranked StarCraft players in the world in the early 2000s.

Other Entertainment Options Can Help with the Theory

There’s a major reason why a large portion of a driving test is down to theory. Budding drivers must know all about the rules of the road and how to spot potential dangers before they can take on the practical side of the exam. Similarly, in poker, a robust base knowledge of the theoretical side of the game will give players sturdy footing to excel when they reach the felt.

There are numerous entertainment options that poker players can indulge in to build up one of the most important facets needed to succeed at the tables: an understanding of odds. When playing poker, players need to be able to calculate their pot odds so they can deem whether it makes financial and logical sense to stay in a round. This requires an understanding of all the different possible hands, as well as a fair bit of fast-thinking mathematical ability.

One activity that can give players a crash revision course in basic math is darts, as this requires a lot of quick calculation between throws. Nowadays, it’s possible to play darts online at sites like To up the ante a bit more, online casino options at Betway task users with calling on their advanced math brains to work out the probability of winning. This is certainly true in roulette, and it can also be applied to slot games that have a set RTP like Odin’s Riches and Temple of Medusa.

By pursuing these activities outside of poker, it is possible for wannabe poker players to train up the math skills they need without it feeling like they’re studying. They can enjoy the entertainment and then find that, when they hit the felt again, they have a much better understanding of the odds involved.

Poker Players Need to be Built from Various Parts

The game is changing, and the days of players grafting at poker alone to get to the top seem to be over. It’s best for players to view themselves as robots, constructed with various parts. Each aspect of their overall build contributes to their playing the game of poker to the best standard possible.

To develop in this way, players can take part in other card games to work on strategy. Playing offerings like chess that require deep thought would also be beneficial. Adding math proficiency to the mix through entertainment options that are governed by odds is crucial.

There is clear evidence that to rub shoulders with the greatest players in the world, aspiring professionals need to build up their skillsets away from the felt. This can come in the form of various other pursuits. It would also be advantageous to delve into some theory surrounding psychology. Learning this way rather than by constantly playing poker can lead to less burnout at the poker table from playing too much.