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Internet Poker Strategies

CONCEPTS COMMON TO ALL POKER GAMES

Some poker players, like prodigies in other fields, have an innate genius for the games. Mozart was composing symphonies by the time he was six, and every so often you can pick up People Magazine and read a story about some 14-year-old who's about to graduate from Yale. It's the same in poker: Legendary players like Stud Unger had this same uncanny prescience.

Don't take it personally, but we're assuming - at least where poker is concerned - that this doesn't describe you. It doesn't describe us, either. But even in the absence of genius, poker is a learnable skill. It can be taught, even to levels of expert proficiency. Inherent ability helps but although some innate talent is needed, you don't need all that much - anymore than you must be Mozart to play music, Picasso to paint, or Kobe Bryant to play basketball. What you do need is a solid plan for learning and playing the games, and - just as important - the discipline to stick with that plan no matter what. In fact, many experts believe that discipline is the single most important factor in achieving poker success.

Poker can be a gut-wrenching game. After you've lost a few stacks of chips to players who had the worst hands all the way, only to catch miracle cards and beat you, it's easy to lose discipline and begin playing as poorly as your opponents.

We can tell you about discipline and why it's critically important to winning poker, but only you can exercise it. When you're sitting alone in front of your computer playing poker against opponents from all over the globe, you're the one in charge. If you lose a few hands you were favored to win, there's nothing anyone can do about it except you. All too many players lose discipline after losing several consecutive pots. They become emotional and then make poor decisions based on those emotions. Poker players call this "being on tilt.

Some pundits say that poker builds character. We're not so sure of that, but we're absolutely certain of this: Poker reveals character. Success at poker, as in most things, demands a certain quality of character. Players lacking self-discipline won't win consistently. For example, lack of will to fold poor starting hands is a liability you can't overcome, no matter how knowledgeable you are. Vast strategic knowledge doesn't guarantee success. It's a precursor to success, since know-how is essential. But personal discipline - "true grit" - is crucial. Without discipline, knowledge is merely unrealized potential - and in poker, that's the road to financial ruin.



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