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What makes an Online Poker Winner?
This is probably the most important question that you face if you are surfing this website. As this is the most important question facing any online poker player.
Annette "annette_15" Obrestad pictured on the left is one of the most successful online poker winners of the past five years, and she is only twenty.
She won many tournaments for large prizes, but we consider that her most remarkable achievement has been to win one online poker tournament with a field of 20,000 players.
It is very hard to be a profitable online poker player. We provide here our analysis of this subject matter. We list below the most important elements in descending order.
Love the game & play a lot of Online Poker
This is a truism, is it not? It does not matter, as this is the number one criterion. If you do not love the game, you cannot be a very profitable poker player.
But it is not enough to love online poker as millions of people do. You need to play tons of online poker in order to integrate the game into your soul. Annette mentioned above is known to play ten hours a day if not more. Not just one table at a time, but multi-tabling many tables.
Experience is always important in any field. But Texas Hold'em Poker is a game with so many unexpected situations, tough decisions & psychological warfare that only intense immersion into the action can teach you what type of situations might arise.
Study Online Poker intensely
This sounds like a truism as well, does it not? Sorry we are just telling the truth. If you play poker and do not study poker, it is very unlikely that you will become very successful. There is almost no known top poker player who does not put hours of study, day in and day out. If you are not willing to put the time into learning the in and outs of poker, perhaps you are better off playing online bingo where the risks aren't as great.
Studying poker consists first in reading the leading theoretical books. You can find a list of relevant publications in our poker book reviews section. You may not agree with everything written within these books, but if you do not know their content, you will not be in the loop. And your most dangerous opponents will.
Here again it is not a well guarded secret and not different from other fields. Poker books are often written by top poker players such as Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Daniel Negreanu or Phil Hellmuth. Note that these four players are all holders of WSOP bracelets, for an amazing total of 35 bracelets for just four players. They must know something if they win so often!
Reading books is just one part of studying poker. Other parts are reading forums, blogs, web articles and magazines. Books are like long thought treatise on a given topic, whereas these lighter reading materials provide snapshots of ideas or plays which complement book reading. Their content is more recent and more dynamic so to speak.
Also reviewing hands and discussing hands with your friends in online poker forum is what many online poker winning players said help them boost their understanding of the game. Texas Hold'em Poker is such a difficult and sometimes non-intuitive game that by arguing your views with other players, you can integrate a broader perception of the game.
Develop a winning methodology - Plug your leaks
Ok, now we are starting to talk about less trivial matters. But this is just a continuation of the previous two sections. In Texas Hold'em Poker, there is very often a "standard play". Know and execute the standard play or the optimal play.
Becoming a winning online poker player consists in mixing a very strong knowledge of standard moves with your own personal style. All grand masters in chess know the right or standard move especially at the beginning. Their personal style is what differentiates them.
Similarly in poker there are many standard actions. Say, if you play No-limit Texas Hold'em poker, the standard preflop raise is normally 3 times the big blind, and can range anywhere between 2 & 5 times the big blind. Everyone knows that. And you add one big blind for each limper in front of you.
This was simple. But there are hundreds of possible actions that you must know.
How often should you attempt a three-barrel bluff with air against a TAGfish regular? With what frequency do you steal the blinds in a mid-stakes full ring NLHE game? How do you play small pairs preflop within your set mining strategy? What is your range for calling preflop allin bets at the early stage of a MTT?
Use poker software tools to help you calculate all sorts of statistical measures and evaluate your tendencies. So-called poker tracker software such as Holdem Manager are mandatory if you want to bring your understanding of poker to the next level.
Determine your leaks and plug them. If the poker tools that you use determine that you are too passive, this is a leak in your game which will prevent you from becoming an online poker winner. You have to increase your aggression. If the software says that you lose money by betting too often when your AK misses the flop, decrease your betting in this case. Etc.
Develop the proper psychological behavior
The cornerstone of winning online poker is psychology. Everyone can satisfy the conditions defined in the first three sections. Beyond that, what makes the difference between the winners and the losers is psychology.
The problem with online poker is that is will expose you to all sorts of mental distress. Have you heard of bad beats stories?
You bet all your money with a full house, just to be beaten by a one-outer quad at the river. Or there is a maniac at the table, who drives you crazy. Or you are on a huge downswing which seems to never end.
Undying discipline is necessary to withstand the duress of poker and become a winning online poker player. The correct move in poker often results in a loss. This is part of what is called variance and this is why it is so important to be disciplined and to continue to make the correct move even though it may decrease your stack size.
In Texas hold'em poker, there are often very long periods without good cards. In such case, your stack will slowly melt like an ice cream in the morning sun. This is like a slow tormenting pain, which can drive you insane and make you deviate from optimal play. At some point you will lose your patience and make a costly wild move.
Your discipline, patience, fortitude, endurance & resolve must be unwavering. Control yourself emotionally and avoid tilting as much as you can. Use discipline to follow proper bankroll management and play at a suitable limit.
If you follow all the advice in this article, you are half way to becoming an .