Poker is a game that is so rich in subtlety and variety that the overwhelming majority of people never master it. This is why there is so much interest in learning what other people do because if one can mimic what a successful player does then it seems logical to assume that we can follow suit…….this is incorrect and wide of the mark. For example we could never blindly copy a composer and achieve the same results.
We also could never blindly copy a motor racing great like Michael Schumacher and do what he does. In poker there are many different ways to play and that is the games great appeal to millions. There are numerous different ways to play poker and so we need to find the style that suits us if we are to have an optimal effect in terms of making money. For example…..are you cautious about taking risks in real life?
Do you like the feeling of always being in control? Do you hate the thought of losing money or being worth less today than what you were yesterday? Is patience high on your list of virtues or are you impatient? All these questions not only need to be answered but they need to be answered honestly and objectively. The main issue here is that who you are as a person will dictate that you will be as a poker player.
You are already programmed to a large extent with regards to what you can do and what you cannot do. For example if you are prone to making rash decisions or playing too quickly then you may struggle to play six max games. Also if you hate having to play complex situations that involve a lot of thinking under pressure then you will struggle to play heads up games or short-handed.
This is akin to a chess grandmaster that performs optimally under normal classical time limits than at rapid or blitz chess. There are many winning styles that work in games like chess and poker as well. Being a successful poker player isn’t about discovering some set method and then copying it. The chances are highly likely that somebody else’s method wouldn’t work for you.
This lesson is one that it took me a long time to figure out in my poker career but it is also one that when I did figure it out led to me achieving a much higher level of happiness in my poker and thus my results. Under no circumstances should you listen to hype or blindly follow the methods of others without first undertaking to do your own retrospective self-analysis.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt then the analysis of what you do on yourself will be a thousand times more important than the analysis that you conduct on your opposition. This is because it will be you that will be responsible for playing every single hand while opponent analysis in games like full ring is less important.
Carl Sampson is an online poker player and poker ambassador for 888poker