Being a consistently profitable poker player is far more complicated than it looks. It’s difficult not because the cards are rigged against you, rather it’s because your own mindset is rigged against you.
Consistent poker players know this. They know that often the only things keeping us from playing with confidence and making decisions without doubt, fear or second-guessing are the stories we tell ourselves. Therefore, these players have principles they follow.
We can protect ourselves against our own inconsistencies by following our principles. Principles are fundamental propositions that underpin our beliefs and actions. They make sticking to our poker strategy easier.
To break away from the crowd and to become a consistently profitable poker player, besides a winning poker strategy (which I assume you already have) you also need principles.
In this article we’ll share 8 principles that long-time professional poker players use to stay on top of the game. Enjoy!
You Do Not Control The Cards
The bad news is we don’t control the cards. The good news is we don’t need to control the cards, just our process and behavior.
Poker = Uncertainty
At heart, “uncertainty” and “poker” are synonyms. If you’re not embracing uncertainty, you’re fearing it. Fearing it leads to poor judgments.
The hard, cold reality of poker is that every hand has an uncertain outcome. Unless you learn to completely accept the possibility of an uncertain outcome, you will try either consciously or unconsciously to avoid any possibility you define as painful. In the process, you will subject yourself to any number of self-generated, costly errors.
Poker Is A Journey Of Personal Growth
As a poker player, you will learn lessons about the game, about yourself, about psychology, about variance, about long-term thinking… in essence, you are attending a full-time, informal school.
Some of this lessons will be painful and depending on how you interpret and use them, you will either succeed or fail.
Remember, when you choose poker as a career path, incidentally you’re choosing a lifestyle dedicated to growth.
Losses, Fails, Mistakes = Lessons
Your greatest poker lessons will come from your worst mistakes, at your worst times. Understand that mistakes are going to happen. The bigger mistake is letting one mistake turn into more.
When you screw up, instead of blaming yourself for hours, it is much smarter and productive to write about what happened in your poker journal, the lessons you’ve learned and how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Fail forward. Embrace it. Learn from it. Grow from it.
Click here to read our article about how the greatest poker players handle losses.
Poker Is Hard
Poker is hard. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been playing poker; how much of an expert you are, at times poker will be strenuous. It’s in the job description. So, you might want to maintain poker-life balance by making sure you spend enough time with friends and family, exercising, practicing mindfulness meditation, journaling or doing something for yourself.
There Will Be Downswings
Consistent profitability does not equal to an absence of losses and downswings!
Downswings are inevitable. I keep repeating this over and over again, because this is the reality of poker. You may spend a lot of time and effort with nothing to show for it … only losses.
Genuinely accepting that downswings are just parts of the journey to poker success, will greatly decrease the pain when they eventually come. Remember, a downswing does not erase the successes you’ve had and all the progress you’ve made and continue to make. A long-lasting poker career requires lots of patience, perseverance and perspective. Keep moving!
There Is No Secret Formula
It’s common for new poker players to dream about a secret formula to success in poker. However, there is no such secret. Some people may read a little or watch some training videos and hope to find some simple strategies or formulas to follow, that will make them winning players. It’s easy to fall in this trap if you don’t understand poker’s complexity. If there were a ‘Secret Formula’, then everybody would play the same way, and poker would become unprofitable for all of us.
Poker is a constantly changing, dynamic game, meaning that what strategies worked two years ago may not work anymore today. You have to consistently work on your game. Lifelong students of poker will do very well in the long-term. The “Secret Formula” players will leave the game broke, sooner or later.
In conclusion, the only secret to long-term poker success is: Consistent hard work.
Your Poker Graph Is Your Mirror
The single best advice I can give you if you want to become a great poker player is to take full responsibility and accountability for your results. Many try to blame luck or other players for their failures, but the sooner you take full responsibility for your outcomes the better.
Make the effort to become a great poker player; learn from the lessons, whatever they may be, and complain as little as you can. Understand that nothing is owed to you, and that nothing will be handed to you.
Are there any other principles that we missed? Comments are welcome on our Instagram page.
Note: Do you need a quick poker mindset boost? Click here to get my eBook called 25 Poker Mindset Tips Every Player Should Know!