Here’s a news-flash: if you really want to rise to the highest levels of online poker, you need to deal with a lot of failure before you make your way up to the top. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think that you don’t have to deal with anything when you decide to play poker online, because it’s so easy to rise up in the levels. This isn’t the case. Perhaps in the beginning when poker online was new and you didn’t have so much competition this might have been the case. However, today is a new day, and this new dawn upon us means that the players you’ll sit across from in the virtual poker rooms are going to be well-read, well-read, and well-trained.
If you’re not willing to put in long hours, you won’t develop the talent for playing high stakes poker.
Of course, this is all pointing towards obvious points that everyone else has probably already spoken to you about. What if there’s something else that you really need to know? What if there comes a time where you really need a little more advice?
…what if you’ve already failed miserably? Is this the time to pull up stakes and get out of Dodge?
Slow down, pardner. There’s a lot of reasons why you might be having some rough patches in poker — we’ll cover those another day. What you need to learn today is how to actually move on past your mistakes in order to become an even stronger player. Now, we know that this isn’t going to be easy. If things were easy, then everyone would be making Scotty Nguyen type money, and we know that’s not happening, right?
So, the first thing that you need to put into your head is that everyone makes mistakes. Now, you probably idolize a few poker players, both online and offline. Instead of thinking that these people are perfect and they don’t make mistakes, look at moments where they have. If you follow the WSOP like we do, you’ll see times where the poker players make mistakes. The top players don’t let defeat stop them from reaching their goals, so why should you?
If you have the ability to look back on past games, you should definitely review your old games. Even if you don’t have that ability, you can always start paying more attention to what you do in poker. Do you go all in without really calculating your pot odds? Do you raise just to try to play psychological games with opponents that have probably already seen that bluff one too many times? In order to become great, you have to start thinking about your own strengths and weaknesses. Even if you have a lot of strengths, getting too cocky about them can make you a weak player overnight.
It also cannot be stressed enough: you cannot play great poker in a vacuum. It’s a social game and there’s nothing wrong with comparing notes. You don’t want to feel like you’re just going to get with a bunch of people online who are going to tear you apart. As long as you ask smart questions and you’re really dedicated to playing better poker, you should be welcomed by the community with open arms. Of course, we can’t speak for every message board and forum that you will run across online. Every place has its own pool of people that thrive on negativity because it lets them feel like they have plenty of power over you. Don’t let them win — conquer them by staying polite, eager, and ready to learn more about your poker strategy. You’re not playing against them socially — you’re playing against your self every game to see how your performance changes. That’s what top athletes do in any sport — why should poker be any different?
At the end of the day, you simply have to accept the mistakes that you make with grace and strive to be better and better over time. It might not happen today, and it might not happen tomorrow, but you will grow as a poker player over time!