You don’t become a professional poker player out of sheer luck. Also, poker is not purely about skill. The ability to deftly read your opponent’s hand is a gift but it can only take you so far in a game or a tournament. As with most sports and competitive games, you will have bad nights no matter how good you are.
Therefore, aside from skill, successful poker players share characteristics that allow them to recover from bad games and become better poker players moving forward.
If you want to take your professional poker life seriously, below are three of the most important character traits that great poker players have which you should learn as well.
Five characteristics of a really good professional poker player
1. Willingness to learn
This character trait applies to all professions but it is worth mentioning anyway. You simply cannot become a professional poker player if you don’t warn to improve your craft. You can’t stick with the same strategy on different tables or tournaments since you first started. Along the way, you should pick up new poker techniques that will help you make better decisions against arguably better opponents.
Also, it’s easy to give up poker when the going gets tough, which happens more often than not. Therefore, you must learn from your mistakes and make changes in your game plan to break your losing streak.
2. Great control of emotion
At the poker table, your emotion will be the death of you. It doesn’t matter if you mask your face by wearing sunglasses and hats – your emotions will manifest in the decisions you make. Once your opponents pick them up, they will take advantage and toy with your emotions until they have all your money.
To be fair, keeping your emotions in check for a game that is dependent on probability and randomness is difficult. However, it is simply what separates successful poker players from mediocre ones. You need to always have a logical approach to playing poker and not let your emotions take control of your moves.
3. Thinks on his feet
Related to the previous point, you need to make sound decisions with your every hand. This seems impossible since you will eventually make mistakes along the way. However, you need to be fluid with your game plan and adjust accordingly to the flow of the game.
You can’t play conservatively if you’re about to run out of cash, for instance. You need to prepare for possible scenarios that might happen during the game and consider potential moves that you need to make to survive. Adaptability is key and you won’t get far as a professional poker player without it.
For the lack of a better word, you need to make balls of steel to make tough decisions and win at poker. Some of those choices border on insanity like going all in pre-flop. However, there’s a method to this madness – you need to successfully walk the tightrope of poker’s probability and randomness. If correctly done, illogical moves can help throw off your opponents and cause them to make the wrong moves. However, your gamble can also backfire and might get you booted out of the table.
These tough decisions are part of what makes poker fun and exciting. Therefore, you need to learn how and when to make ballsy moves to help you carry out your strategy much more effectively.
You cannot develop all the character traits above if you don’t love poker enough. You can only get better in playing poker by, well, playing the game more! You need to find places and channels where you can play poker at your convenience whether it’s playing with friends, on a casino, or even online.
With experience comes the willing and the losing – there’s no way around it. In fact, the losing will help you become better if you want to win more. As mentioned above, it will force you to want to learn better techniques and strategies that will improve your skills, or not. With the right mindset, your experience will only encourage you to take your professional poker life seriously and turn it into a career.
Do you have what it takes to become a professional poker player?
Let’s face it – not everybody can be great poker players and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you truly want to strive for greatness as a professional poker place, then the character traits mentioned above help build your foundation to a rewarding and profitable career playing the game you love.