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Poker Sharks Skills

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Try this Top five skills to becoming a poker pro

Attention to Detail

Amateurs pay too much attention to themselves – worrying about what they have, what they don’t have, worrying about what hands they are in, etc. Professional poker players however are watching everything and everyone. Even when they aren’t in a hand, they are watching the action. They’re like a sponge – every little bit of information you give at a table, they soak up.

How you react to turn raises. What hands you show up with at showdown from a given position. How often you bet out with a big hand. Are you the type that likes to check-raise? What strength hands do you stack off with? Do you fast-play draws? Pros use all of this information against opponents, to maximize their expectation of your moves in a future hand.

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Emotional Control

Professional players have an understand the game. They don’t let bad beats get to them – thats just part of the job. What happens in one hand is of little meaning – they know poker is a long-term battle. Pros also understand that money is just the tool of a poker player. Not sweating the bad hands, games or mistakes makes you a better player. Trust yourself.

Ability to Vary Play

Taking unconventional lines so as to not be easily read by opponents is part of poker pro 101. If played in too straightforward a manner, savvy opponents will pick up on this – good player strives to play unpredictably. If you are aware of how your opponents play, you can tailor your play against them. If you know what they will do in certain situations, you’ll own them in the long run. Pros avoid this by mixing up their play.

Range-Balancing

This is part and parcel of No. 3. Professionals know that if they make one move all the time, they become extremely predictable. To fight this they “balance their ranges.”

Simply put, you must play in such a manner that whatever play you make, your opponent is thinking, “He could have anything; he could have the nuts, or a total bluff.” If they check-raise the flop with a big hand, they also have to be able to do that as a bluff, or as a semi-bluff. If you check the action on the river when you give up, occasionally you have to check the river with the intention of raising. If you’ve got your opponent second-guessing himself, his stack is yours, whether it be sooner or later.

Ability to Adapt

Poker is a game of ever-changing variables. The best possible play depends on so many different, changing factors: what your image is at the moment, how your opponent has been playing in this session, previous hands and similar situations, etc.

Professionals take all of this into account and adapt their play to their specific opponent and their playing tendencies,which may change several times throughout a session.  The pros recognize this and can switch gears quickly, adapting to their opponents and staying one step ahead.

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