ArticleMastering the Game: 5 Steps to Cultivating Winning Poker Habits

As a poker player, refining your strategy and mindset is crucial for long-term success.

By Gio | 12 Apr 2024
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The journey to becoming a better player is akin to the process of forming new habits, a transformation that requires intention, visualization, emotion, action, and realization. Let’s explore how you can apply these five steps to develop winning poker habits.

1. Verbalize It

Start by clearly stating your goal. For a poker player, this might be improving your probe turn percentage or folding from the Big Blind against late position steal. Verbalizing your objective not only clarifies your aim but also commits you to it.

2. Visualize It

Visualization is a powerful tool in a player’s arsenal. Picture yourself executing the perfect action when discipline calls for it. Visualization helps in solidifying your goals and preparing your mind for the actions needed to achieve them.

3. Emotionalize the Creation of the Habit

Connect emotionally with the habit you’re trying to form. For instance, imagine the satisfaction and confidence boost you’ll feel after mastering a new skill. This emotional connection can significantly reinforce your commitment. Practice to get into the feeling of when you probe turn with the bottom of the range, opponent folds and you win a pot which for the most part in your previous session you never managed to win! How does it feels now? Try keeping this feeling as long as possible and make it as strong as possible.

Here is a video featuring Jason Su, in which he touches on the topic.

4. Actualize It

Act as if you’ve already incorporated the habit into your gameplay. This step involves three key points:

  • Preparation: Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills necessary for your new habit. This could involve studying hand ranges or analyzing past games. (Make sure to check our Postflop Solver and explore different strategies with it)
  • Practice: Implement your new habit in real game scenarios. Start small and gradually increase the complexity as you become more comfortable. (We often overdo it the first time we grasp a new concept, so be careful about that, but remain open-minded.)
  • Persistence: Stay committed to your new habit, even when setbacks occur. Remember, consistency is key. (When it doesn’t work out and you face negative feedback, don’t let it deter you; keep pursuing your goals.)

5. Realize It

The final step is acknowledging and solidifying the habit within your poker strategy. Reflect on how this new habit has impacted your game and what improvements can still be made. This realization will help in further refining and evolving your gameplay.

Incorporating a new habit isn’t just about the initial implementation; it’s about transforming your approach to the game. By verbalizing, visualizing, emotionalizing, actualizing, and realizing your goals, you can elevate your poker play and achieve new heights.

Remember, poker is not just a game of cards but a continuous journey of self-improvement. Embrace these steps, and watch as your game transforms, one habit at a time.

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