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Mentality for being a pro


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Ive often wondered if i could have the mentality to be a pro poker player (not saying im good enough yet, no way at all!) but the mentality. To have all that money riding on your livelihood at the turn of a card. Also im thinking about bad beats. Getting a run of bad beats time after time, Im not sure if I could take it. Ive been knocked out 3 tournies in a row all in at crucial times when ive been about 70% fave pre-flop for pittence buy ins and it still annoys the feck out of me! Is it just a case of working through gaining more experience and moving into higher stakes tournies and games gradually so it feels natural? Are there any pro players here? By Pro I mean those gain at least a half income through poker playing.

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Re: Mentality for being a pro Jezza is a pro player MrMuze - the majority of his income comes from internet games I believe. Mockler claims to be a high stakes poker pro. I don't know him well enough to say if this is true or not though. Oh and Alien plays for a living too. But having witnessed his skill I doubt he's making much.

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Re: Mentality for being a pro I've read I'd say over a hundred gambling books from sports betting, horses and most recently poker. These have been both theoretical and also anecdotal/autobiographical. There are a few things that have struck me about the professionals. One is that most of them care very little for the money. Its a means to an end for them. If they are down they are down and they seem able to accept the consequences ofdoing without. Even if I had the ability/skill to triumph as a professional gambler I simply couldn't live with the whole hand to mouth nature of the life. I'd suspect that most people who dream of it are the same. Secondly I think there is an obsessve compulsive side to many professional gamblers. If anyone has read any of the great Nick Mordin (horse punters) books he comes across as almost completely engrossed by his punting with nothing else interfering. Even when he worked in an advertising agency half his time seemed concerned with new strategies for picking a winner in the next race. Finally the real gamblers seem to have the highest tolerance for risk there is. Even if you know the odds favour you how many people would shove across EVERYTHING they had on a hand / horse / football team? This would be my interpretation of what I've read but nothing better than hearing it from the horse's mouth I suppose so I'd love to hear Jez's views

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Re: Mentality for being a pro Thats an excellent post MM.:clap I've been playing fairly regulary for a couple of months. I fit the games in around work and social life so its more of a hobby at the mo but I 've always wondered how/when to take the next step. etc. I watch the poker on TV and always have the "it could be me" thoughts. I keep a record of all wins and losses etc and I run at around $100 profit which I'm more than happy with as I mainly play $5 STT. When/how do you take it up a notch? Does practice really make perfect?

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Re: Mentality for being a pro Its an interesting thread. i often thought i could make some good monney playing poker online. I do quite well at my local casino playing in the tourny's and I am well in profilt. However i cannot play internet poker. I like the challenge of being able to read people and I cant do that over the internet. I have the greatest respect for anyone makes money on internet poker but its not for me. I play very occasionally on internet but it's just for fun and only play with winnings from Local casino.

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Re: Mentality for being a pro Hi MrMu, Yeah as GETT1N says I am an online pro making my living at cards...If you check out one of my later replies in this thread http://www.punterslounge.com/showthread.php?t=11650 you will see a longer reply on the trials and tribulations (with regarding bankroll and negative swings) of being a pro poker player however I will try to answer some of your other questions here. What you say about living on the turn of a card of course this is true in a sense but you must be more professional than to get into a situation where that is possible. By this I mean the stakes and games you play must be relative to your bankroll. Even the best players frequently have losing sessions and you can go for long periods of losses - you must have a good enough roll behind you so you can cushion these blows and pay the bills for a long while before things start getting heavy - you have to give the long run time to show itself basically. As for bad beats I would say one of the BIGGEST things an aspiring pro (or someone wanting to be a real player online) must have is control over their emotions. I am practically untiltable when it comes to beats now - I have been there seen it all and had it all done before and it just does not anger me. So many people get furious at bad beats and throw their money away afterwards, a huge leak that happens to 98% of poker players a lot of the time - DONT let it happen to you. It's just the randomness of the cards, no limit hold em is a tremendously volatile game and the cards even themselves out over time so we all have to take the random distribution of them as it comes. If you do tilt then as soon as you get a beat walk away from the PC...it will save you megabucks in the long run. WSOP winners have been won and lost on the turn of a river, we get pissed off losing a few hundred dollars to a 4.5% outdraw? Imagine it for 1,000,000 and a bracelet - we just have to get over it. You are spot on with the experience thing....you just gotta play as often as you can learning the game (something everyone has to keep doing as well - noones game is perfect) low stake cash tables and sit n gos are perfect for doing this. People argue for and against reading books and articles but I reckon it can only be a good thing if you are dedicated to becoming a real player. As your confidence, experience and bankroll grows then yeah move up stakes but as you say only GRADUALLY and never to the point you are just pure gambling or feeling uncomfortable with the money involved. One thing that is true is that generally good/pro players will analyze their play. A bad player or one who is never ever going to get any better at least will always blame something else for his losses - "I got outdrawn" "It was a bad beat" "I cant stand players who play with bad cards" blah blah blah. OK so some of the time it will be a bad beat but you must analyze your play if you lose as to why and be HONEST with yourself. Are you playing too weakly? ARe you letting your opponents draw for cheap? Are you paying your opponents off too much? Are you not getting paid properly for your good hands when you have the chance?. Go over hands you have played in your head and be honest with yourself (or put them up on here) - we all make mistakes from time to time and the real winners are the ones who learn from them and not blame them on others. It's a great life and I am in the middle of the biggest upswing of my career at the moment so I am really loving it and away on holiday in a weeks time :lol - check out the other thread I linked to and post any questions up here. Jez

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Re: Mentality for being a pro CJ you make a couple of very good points there mate:eek You got me spot on when you say totally obsessive about it. I am a total geek when it comes to poker - I play for 8 hours every day (and love every second of it) and have about 30 books in my poker library :lol . To top this off I am constantly thinking about hands I have played and how I could have MAXIMISED my profit or minimised my losses - I analyze how people bet and what this generally means they have and infact just about everything going. I watch all the poker programs on TV and consider the plays the top pros are making and why (and also what I would have done in that situation). The maths etc of the game is also grounded in my head. Basically what this means is yes I am sad as fcuk and am obsessive compulisve about poker like you say CJ :lol With regards to money...whatever I am sat at the poker table with I am totally removed from yes. I dont see it as money more as a tool to gamble with - nothing fears me with it, like you say I just accept the results without caring and it goes down in my books. However I DO take a very careful approach to how much I take to the table with me and this only increases as my ability to afford it increases. The same would apply to what you say about risk, obviously my whole way of life is basically just a big risk and when it comes to gambling and money I really dont give a fcuk....but I would never put my existance at risk...its all about calculated returns. Jez

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Re: Mentality for being a pro Gett1n is a cheeky cnut indeed. I do ok. There's plenty "easier" and less stressful ways of making money than playing poker. You have to really want it. Thing is poker is luck combined with skill, long term luck evens out but it's still frustrating meantime. Some of the most skillfull games like snooker still have elements of luck, how the ball disturbs a pack etc. Actually that's one reason why I like chess, no luck at all, no such thing as a lucky move or anything, no randomness about it. Anyway, I digress. Patience is a quality which is underrated. You have to be very patient and wade through hours of garbage cards, eventually you get something and almost double through only to be killed on the river by a 16-1 outdraw or something. It can seem pretty pointless and frustrating then. You just gotta be patient and accept as long as you are making the right plays, the money will come to you eventually. I think you are defintiely right about the money thing CJ. To all forms of gambling I think. It's almost as if the money has become de-valued somehow. Twas the same when playing fruit machines, I'd think nothing of being 50 quid in one, was a common occurence. The money was just a tool used to play them. Similarly I knew long term I was making money hence you may suffer the odd "bad beat" on a machine but you were making money overall. Although I must say playing fruit machines was alot less volatile than no limit hold 'em. It's also interesting to note the similarities between the people that know what they are doing from all aspects of gambling. In the fruit machine world there are of course big headed loud mouths that think they know it all, just like in any other aspect of life. Often they did know alot. You get similar people in poker. For me the true skillful players realise no matter how much they know they can still know more, and are always willing to learn. Always looking to ways of how they can do things better. You also gotta be smart enough to know you can be fooled. You are only human.

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Re: Mentality for being a pro Some very good replies lads to a very good question, totally agree with Alien, good post. I would just like to ask something and disect the question slightly, something that Staffy touched on. The way i see it there are two types of Poker Pro's, 'On-line' and 'live'. I would imagine its far 'easier' to make it as a full-time Poker player on the net, when i say easier i mean access to tournaments, level of play, buy-ins, convenience etc... I would like to know how you go about earning a living from 'live' tournaments, all the added expense of travelling, hotels, larger buy-ins, getting in to the big tournaments. I know the 'big' names are all sponsored nowadays and dont pay to enter any games but how do you break into this exclusive field. I imagine your bank roll would have to be around 50k just to consider it? I'm only guessing coz i dont know anything about 'live' poker, just wondered if Jezza, Alien or anyone else knows the score.

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Re: Mentality for being a pro Something I would say Billy live Pro's dont just play Touny's. A lot of them play live cash games. I have heard several stories of Pros not getting games anymore because of the way the play. Normally play badly to begin with then up the stakes to stupid money and go away winning.

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Re: Mentality for being a pro (Jezza) Im sure you have but have you ever tried playing Limit Poker much? It strikes me as a much more less stressful form of poker if you were playing all the time. Although bbviously you dont get massive pay offs as often. A lot of writers of poker books always are going on about limit poker you see. Also, do you see tournys as a decent part of your profit? Do you just enter then as you want/desire or are they a regular part of your poker play?

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Re: Mentality for being a pro Billy, I would say most poker pros nowadays use the net the majority of the time. You can play any game at any stake against a wide variety of opponents at any time - this has obviouos benefits! However you are right when you say for some live play is still the major facet they concentrate on. This is usually the case for the "top" names, the devilfishes, phil hellmuths and daniel negranues of this world. Winning the big tournaments, especially the TV ones such as the WPT carries a lot of prestige with it and of course the biggest prize pools. The players that concentrate on these games as their sole source of income are either at the top of the food chain in the poker world (and the competition to get there is highly fierce), being backed/sponsered to play in it or living a lie. For someone like me, I may well qualify in a sat to play in something like that but I would not see it as my income, the biggest game I might enter off my own back live would be something like a 500 pound freezeout. The big name pros who are there at the moment are either there through past successes and having a "name" for themselves or through there own determination and skill. The bankroll required to fund a years worth of travelling and playing in 10k buy in tournaments as a means to an income ontop of living expenses - well it is not to be sneezed at lets put it that way! I do play a fair bit of live poker and of course I take it seriously but I would never class it as my major income like I do internet poker. Mr Muz, Yeah I have played limit poker in the past, but to be quite frank Its pretty gay (:lol). You are right in that, although bad beats will happen slightly more often (as its more correct to draw usually in limit poker and you cant charge your opponents as highly for doing so) that when they do they will hurt less as you wont have invested as much in the pot. However the fact is a good player at NL has more of an edge as he can "Punish" the weaker players more and as you say, get far bigger pay offs. NL is a far more complicated and deeper game than limit poker and the techniques and thinking strategys behind it are a lot more complex and require a hell of a lot more thought. Being able to accurately put your opponent on a hand (something quite difficult to do on occasion) is for example critical in NL hold em if you want to become an excellent player. NL poker is NOT a friendly game but if mastered the rewards are far greater than limit poker. It's also a lot more fun to play and is considered the "Purest" form of poker (the WSOP championship is not decided over a limit hold em table!). The reason a lot of poker books talk about limit poker is that limit poker is an american game and the majority of poker books have come out of america. Limit poker was only born due to rules in legislation over there about the amount that could be wagered one any one thing in the past. As for tourneys well yeah I do play them when I cannot find a decent cash game/am bored/fancy a change from the norm - but thats not very often and I dont look to them to provide my income (Thats cash games). Some people do very well in MTT's and it is possible to make a lot of money playing them, I just prefer cash games is all. (Although huge tourneys are of course great fun!) Jez

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Re: Mentality for being a pro Great discussion here. I think this is the key though...

One thing that is true is that generally good/pro players will analyze their play.
I'd say forget natural talent - that's secondary...you have to put the work in to improve your standard at any sport. And the most efficient / fastest way is to analyse your own game - with someone else who is better if you can. I'd say if your not good at accepting constructive criticism or not able to be self-critical when necessary - then just to stick to poker/gambling/favourite sport as a fun hobby - forget turning pro. Suppose that's why all these things are just a bit of fun for me + no natural talent too:D
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Re: Mentality for being a pro Yeah equinoxx, I think anyone who REALLY wants to be a pro poker player and has a bit of intelligence + dedication can succeed at it. Mr O you are absolutely spot on with everything you say imo. A lot of pure natural talent is needed to be the absolute best of the best at anything of course but it is perfectly possible to succeed without possessing gazza like raw ability Jez

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  • 2 weeks later...

Re: Mentality for being a pro Hi Wizard..... I only started playing 4 years or so ago now (on freeplay sites). I am far from being one of the top players on the net and you are right when you say a lot of them started young. A guy I met on the ladbokes cruise (online name the salmon) started off by playing on his dads credit card when he was just 13. Soon he escalated through the limits and by the time he was 18 and had his own credit card he was playing in games with buy ins of 20,000. This sort of natural talent is rare to find in anything and can only be really nutured in youth as you say.. Jez

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