May 21, 2024

The 7 Qualities That Can Make You a Great Poker Player


The 7 Qualities That Can Make You a Great Poker Player

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In recent years the numbers of people playing poker have hugely increased. Much of this has been down to online poker which has helped to introduce millions to the excitement and challenge of the game.

Many sites include tutorials showing how to play and offering basic strategies. But what can’t be taught are seven innate qualities that separate the great players from the merely good, Yes, some of these can be developed over time with practice and experience, but the initial spark has to be to be there in the first place. So, in no particular order, these are the big seven that you need.


For many people, the common perception of poker is that it’s a fast-moving game, and it can be. Despite this, a great deal of success comes from being patient. That way you will both be hiding your true playing style from other players round the table and biding your time until you’re ready to strike. It’s a statistical certainty that only a certain number of your hands will be winning ones. Being able to wait it out until the cards fall your way is yet another example in life of the tortoise beating the hare.


Closely linked to patience is the characteristic of self-discipline. The great poker player is the master, or mistress, of self-control. This manifests itself in many ways. For example, when you have a great hand it can sometimes be hard not to transmit this fact through body language and other behaviour and the same is true of a bad one. But self-discipline can conceal this from your opponents. By keeping a close check on your emotions it will also help you to ride out the period in any game when things aren’t going your way, and save you from losing your head when they are.


Poker is a game of balancing risk and reward – ask any professional. To do this effectively, you need to have the courage of your convictions. The best players gain much of their confidence from experience – they have been in similar situations in the past and know how they are likely to play out. There’s also the need to block out thoughts of self-doubt at moments of extreme pressure. On top of this, it’s vital to exude this self-belief to telegraph the information around the table.


Although no two poker games are ever the same, there are certain to be some situations that are similar. By memorising these, and how they eventually played out, it gives a good idea about how it will go again. It’s also important to be able to remember the playing styles and habits of other players who you may well meet again in future games. That way, you’ll be able to anticipate how they may choose to play a hand, and that could put you in a potentially winning position.


There are always going to be times when being able to approach a situation from a different perspective will prove to be invaluable. Sometimes this is referred to as lateral thinking – or turning a problem on its head to come up with an innovative solution. To do this it’s important to break out from rigid and inflexible patterns of thought and behaviour to conjure up novel solutions. It can also sometimes defy traditional logic and, as such, it can also fall under the category of risk-taking in play. Most importantly, it’s something that you must be able to do on the spur of the moment if you’re going to seize the initiative in a game.


Anyone who has ever played poker will know that there are often periods when things don’t seem to be going your way. Other players are getting better hands than you, your bluffs are failing to land and your bankroll is steadily diminishing. It’s when the going gets tough that you can find yourself being tested the most. This is when having the resilience to roll with the metaphorical punches comes into play. Because if there’s one thing that’s for certain in poker it’s  that a quitter never wins.


Last, but not least, the successful poker player is a sponge, always looking to absorb new information about the game. This may be from reading books on strategy from other leading proponents and even looking to other disciplines to see what can be learned. In many cases it’s a question of following the gameplay and tournament skills of others to pick up tips. Because the successful player is never the finished article, they’re always striving for perfection.

So there you have them. Seven facets of a great poker player, and the more of these you can develop, the better at the game you’ll be.

author avatar
Bernard - Side-Line Staff Chief editor
Bernard Van Isacker is the Chief Editor of Side-Line Magazine. With a career spanning more than two decades, Van Isacker has established himself as a respected figure in the darkwave scene.

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