Often in life, we find ourselves stuck if things are not going our way. We are unhappy with how things are moving, and we start doubting our interests. It is good to have doubts; it makes you re-think everything and sharpens our minds rather than change it. Similarly, in poker, good players have gone through phases where they doubted their love for the game and at times even contemplated about giving it up. A poker journey is full of ups and downs; nothing is for certain. It is up to you to overcome it and realise your love for the game.
Here we take a look at some ways on how we can turn our poker careers around.
Learn, learn and keep learning
The willingness to learn and wanting more is what defines a poker player and his/her hunger for the game. Sometimes after some consecutive successes, you often find players confident of themselves and stop learning altogether. A poker game is always evolving, and new situations arise with every passing game. There is not a single player in the world who has truly learned every strategy in the game. Set yourself a poker goal every day and be self-critical. Be open to new ideas and suggestions from like-minded players and learning sources. Most people prefer to play rather than studying from books or different sources, but doing the latter will help you with the former. As much as everyone loves to learn on the table, it is equally important to learn off the table too.
Don't let it get into you head
Poker is a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. There will be losing streaks that can span for days, weeks or sometimes even months, and there may come a time where you may forget how it is to win and vice-versa. If you let it get into your head and dwell on the past, you will struggle to play your best poker. Focus on the present and use your past experiences to improve yourself. The ability to remain mentally strong is what separates the best from the rest. Overcoming these downswings is the hardest psychological hurdle every poker professional goes through.
Trust the process: Start small and climb up the ladder
After learning and practicing the game for a while, most successful players start their online poker career with smaller tournaments. Convert the hundreds to thousands to lakhs. If you start big without much experience, you are bound to struggle or fail. You need to win to pay your bills and if you lose- well losing is not an option. So it is better to start with the smaller poker tournaments and building your confidence rather than playing the bigger ones and crumbling under pressure. There is no shame in playing the small tournaments. After all, everyone starts small at first.
When you decide to start your poker career, it means that this game is your life now. You need to take it as seriously as you would take a normal office job. Approach the game like any professional would. When you are on the poker table nobody is with you; you are all alone. In poker, to make money, you need money. You need to manage your bankroll responsibly and wisely. As mentioned in the previous point, start small, and when your bankroll is ready, the bigger games will come.
On the poker table, you are alone. You are your own boss. While this may sound good, it can make you lazy and hinder your work ethic as you do not answer to anyone. Most professional poker players play every day. No days off. When you play online poker, it is very easy to get distracted and start surfing for other materials. Always remember when you have a goal in mind, it is very important to manage your time wisely.
It is okay to be unconventional sometimes
Life gets boring if you go through the same things every day. In poker, sometimes you have to challenge the conventional way of playing. But do it smartly. There is no "standard play" in poker. There are several ways to deal with every hand, and you will figure out each way the more you play. Professional players are always looking for different ways to play each hand. Copying the moves and strategies others make won't take you far away, you will end up with the exact same results as them. To separate yourself from the rest, take the unconventional approach.
Exploit the weak
When playing poker is your career, that means it is your primary source of income. To make quick and good money, you need to target and consistently play the weak players. So when it comes to online poker, game selection is a part of the job. When you see the fishes leave the table, it is time to look for another table.
Invest time in yourself
There may come times when you seriously start doubting your love for the game. It is fine; it happens to even the best of the best. Poker is a game that can take its toll on you mentally, and sometimes you need to clear your mind and focus on the other things you like to do. For some, it may be fitness, while for some travelling is a stress reliever. Make it a part of your life, and it will have a positive impact on you in many ways. Travelling opens your mind and gives you a much broader and deeper perspective on life. So travel once in a while, keep your mind and body fit, and when you get back into the game, you will be playing with a much clearer head.
As you can see, there are many ways you can get your career back to track. Setbacks are inevitable; how we bounce back from it is what matters. Unlike a normal job, there are no set wages in poker. Poker is a game of high variance. Hence there is no certainty as this is an unforgiving game. The life of professional poker is not easy, it can be the most stressful and demanding jobs out there but don't back out if things are not going right. At Spartan, try out some online poker games, go out there and start your poker journey.