It’s easy to get caught up in learning starting hands and strategy while you’re trying to become a winning poker player.

While these things are important, one thing isn’t talked about in most of the popular books:

One of the most important things most top poker players have is a proper mindset. Mindset includes your determination to continue improving and how you let things affect you at the table.

Here are some additional details about both of these areas:

Are You Willing to do Whatever it Takes to Be a Winning Poker Player?

You have two choices as a poker player:

You can play as a hobby or you can do the work required to become a winning player.

Nothing’s wrong with playing poker as a hobby, but at least be honest with yourself if that is what you’re going to do. If you want to be a winning player you are going to have to commit to doing the required work. This is where having the correct mindset comes in.

The poker world is filled with players who say and act like they want to win but aren’t willing to do what it takes. True professional players make a great deal of money off these players. Saying you want to be a winning player is a far cry from actually doing the work required to become one.

I read a quote recently that said something like losers dream and winners do. It wasn’t about poker, but it fits nicely. Losers say they want to be winning players but winners actually do what they need to do in order to become a winning player.

Poker as a Job

One of the main issues with becoming a winning poker player is that it’s much closer to a job than most people want to believe. They think you just sit around playing a game all day and having fun.

The truth is more like this:

You’re forced to play wherever the best games are, no matter what time it is. When you have a table full of fish with deep stacks you have to play however long it takes to win as much as possible. The only reason you stop playing is if fatigue has stopped your play from being profitable.

When you aren’t in a great game you have to grind out profits hour by hour. Some players do this online and others at their local card room.

It’s fun to play poker as a hobby, especially when you have winning sessions. But when you’re forced to play hour after hour, week after week, it can start feeling like a job.

Some players are long term winners with regular jobs, but most winning poker players are full time players. That’s the level of dedication required to beat the game.

The Next Step

Once you make the commitment to get to the next level as a poker player, you need to develop a plan.

Here are the two main things you need to do:

  1. Play poker.
  2. Learn more about poker.

The good news is you can do a lot of learning about poker while you are playing. You should also read as much as you can to learn new ways to look at playing situations.

Many books won’t offer much in the way of new strategies, but if you can learn just a single thing from a book it may be able to help you win more money in the long run.

One big area that is often overlooked is you need to keep your body and mind in the best shape possible. The healthier you are, the easier it is to concentrate and stay alert for long periods of time. Start an exercise routine of some sort and stick with it every single day. This can be as important as anything else as a poker player because if your health fails you it won’t matter how well you play at the poker table.

Avoiding Tilt

It’s easy to get upset when things go against you at the poker table. When poor players do stupid things and still beat you, it can be enough to drive any player over the edge.

The best poker players understand that letting emotions get in the way of good play is not a recipe for winning poker play. If you hope to be a long term winning poker player you have to avoid going on tilt at all costs.

If you can’t control your emotions, be mature enough to walk away from the table until you calm down.

Remaining calm and thinking clearly in all situations is one of the best weapons you can develop for your poker career.


Until you decide to do whatever it takes to become a winning poker player, you’ll be stuck being an average player or worse. Nothing’s wrong with playing poker for fun, but don’t act like you want to be a real player unless you are willing to commit to the work.

You can become a winning poker player. All you have to do is get the right mindset and take action.

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