The four main requirements for no-limit success

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I see it all the time, players jumping into no limit hold’em deep stacked games with 100bb+ stacks and losing their money. How do these people lose their money time after time? Well the obvious answer is that they are not good enough players but we need to go deeper and answer why they are not good enough.

This then boils down to just three basic areas and if you are falling short in any of these areas or you have a question mark against any of them then your ability to be able to make money playing relatively deep stacked poker is seriously questioned whether you realise it or not.

The first is having the required knowledge. You simply cannot beat any type of poker game without having the specific knowledge of how to do so. However, knowledge by itself isn’t enough and can be proven in not just poker but any other profession or pastime that requires a combination of skill and knowledge in order to do well. Learning poker isn’t like studying to pass some examination. Passing an examination is a simple process of acquiring knowledge and then imparting that knowledge on the exam paper.

Poker is different because you are the one responsible for getting the knowledge and that may or may not be relevant to the exam that you are about to take. Also you then have to execute that knowledge within a dynamic and constantly shifting multi-dimensional environment that demands an accurate execution of that knowledge… this is the really hard part. Finally, you need to have the unyielding temperament to withstand the worst that poker can throw at you and this means variance. Skill and experience are linked very closely and experience produces skill.

If you were to ask me which one of these three was the most important then imagine a three legged stool with you sitting on it. I then asked you to tell me which one of the legs you would like me to saw off and which one was the least important. Clearly each leg helps to support the stool with you on it and each leg has equal importance. No-Limit Texas Hold’em is like this because each of the three areas is of equally vital importance. Without experience, you cannot have skill, as skill can only be a result of having physically participated in something for a considerable length of time.

This is why many people that study the game without playing have knowledge but they don’t have skill and based on how the game constantly shifts then the knowledge that they thought they had isn’t always relevant anyway. If you have no meaningful results to back up your knowledge then you cannot assume that you have skill. In fact, if your results are poor then you must also examine the knowledge that you have because the chances are that you don’t know the game anywhere near as well as you may think that you do.

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