What Separates a Good Player from the Rest?

MoscowRadio

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It'd be interesting to hear people's thoughts on this subject. Is it

  • Being able to make thin value bets?
  • Knowing the mathematics?
  • Consistently learning new concepts?

What, in your opinion, makes a poker player great?
 

abby99

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You got to know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em.
Or in my case, know when to walk away, and know when to run. ;)

Seriously, the OP reminded me of Ed Miller's recent book about elite players, Poker's 1%. I haven't read it yet, but in an interview Miller mentioned strong mathematical foundations, and lots of hard work to maintain an edge in an ever-changing game.
 
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nitzilla

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Well, if it's anything like my last 4-5 sessions, the "good" players catch their 2-5 outers while I don't............ :confused: :mad:
 

jbutler

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It'd be interesting to hear people's thoughts on this subject. Is it

  • Being able to make thin value bets?
  • Knowing the mathematics?
  • Consistently learning new concepts?

What, in your opinion, makes a poker player great?
the first two much more than the third imo. new concepts are meh unless you're playing super sophisticated opponents, which we almost never are. knowing the math is just a necessity, though, regardless of our opponents.

thin value betting is huge, but it's not just the betting; it's the many other concepts that go along with it that will improve one's game. being able to read which players even understand the calling range of an opponent or what goes into determining whether a bet is thin. in a sense, it's the classic leveling war. does your opponent know that you know how to value bet thinly? does he know that you know that he knows that you know how to value bet thinly? most might understand thin value betting in the abstract, but have little to no shot at a rational application of the concept to the game and so put little thought into it in the moment.

understanding when to value bet thinly also requires an understanding of the impact of board texture on your opponent's perception of your value betting range. if you lead and get flatted on the flop and turn with QQ on a 5672 board and then lead again on a T river, an opponent will often call you down with T8 or some such nonsense because he can't conceive of a player value betting QQ there.

most bad players and breakeven to slightly winning regs have established ranges. they'll never call off their stack to a 3-bet with one pair. they'll never turn top pair into a bluff when their opponent can very easily have run into something superior, but weak relative to the board. understanding which type of villain you're up against is the necessary information to determine whether a thin bet can be called by worse and all that information can be put to use elsewhere apart from thin value betting in ways just as profitable.
 

detroitdad

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What, in your opinion, makes a poker player great?
If your a long term winning player that keeps his bankroll on the positive side of things then I'd say your a good player.

Table/Game selection is pretty important imo.
 

grandgnu

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Awareness (of when you're playing good or bad, of when you should move down or up in stakes, if a table is profitable or bad, awareness of your opponents, of your skill level, of your strengths and weaknesses, etc)
 

DrStrange

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Mostly this thread is talking about what makes someone a good player - a solid long turn winner. Greatness is a whole 'nother thing.

I have never played vs a great player and don't have a clue what that would be like and I am not sure I want to find out. If I had to guess, I would say that the difference between a great player and a good player is that the great player has one (or more) parts of their game with a "genius" quality. Say a math genius or someone who can soul read everyone at the table or someone who can remember that hand we played in 2012 just like the one now. Greatness is rare, and something that you just don't learn (or at least not easily). We can all strive to become good, winning players but very very few can progress beyond that.

DrStrange
 

detroitdad

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Mostly this thread is talking about what makes someone a good player - a solid long turn winner. Greatness is a whole 'nother thing.

I have never played vs a great player and don't have a clue what that would be like and I am not sure I want to find out. If I had to guess, I would say that the difference between a great player and a good player is that the great player has one (or more) parts of their game with a "genius" quality. Say a math genius or someone who can soul read everyone at the table or someone who can remember that hand we played in 2012 just like the one now. Greatness is rare, and something that you just don't learn (or at least not easily). We can all strive to become good, winning players but very very few can progress beyond that.

DrStrange
well said sir.
 

eztrekker

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and an ever changing game within the game. Sometimes aggressive, sometimes slow play, sometimes tight, sometimes loose. AND it's better to receive than give tells.
 

Godzilla28

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And amazing luck...look at Dan Colman. It was just his time to go on a crazy heater.
 

B.C.

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And amazing luck...look at Dan Colman. It was just his time to go on a crazy heater.
Not too sure about crazy heater.

Only 24 yrs old, live tournament cashes outside of the One Drop (15.3 mil) of nearly 6 million, 7 cashes at the WSOP, 2 cashes in WPT events.

SitnGo winnings over 1 million in 2013. Online heads up specialist, 2nd in the 2013 SCOOP Heads up High Roller for 160k.

Might be a dick but he can play.
 
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MrWitti

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Besides all other skills, discipline. U can loose quick what u've earned hard.
As well Poker tells - especially the ones you're giving away...
 

MoscowRadio

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Might be a dick but he can play.
I'll second this.

I think one of the best things you can do as a poker player is to never stop becoming a student of the game. There are new theories and practices being into use all the time. If you fail to keep up with these then you're essentially not even playing the same game as your opponents.

What about this question:

Do you believe that there are people who have a natural talent for playing poker?
 

Starem Down

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The ability to be honest about self's game, to check your ego. Too often we scratch a losing hand or session because villains, because of bad luck, the poker gods' vengeance, to a myriad of things, to rationalize defeat, because it feels better, and it's easier, to lay blame rather than objectively and honestly criticize/critique our own plays, our own mistakes earnestly, without prejudice nor denial.
 

Mental Nomad

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A great player is someone who has a great A game, but more importantly, can play their A game almost all the time. Most of us, even the very good players, aren't on our A game a lot of the time.
 

Mojo1312

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And amazing luck...look at Dan Colman. It was just his time to go on a crazy heater.
Yeah, all luck, that guy. I am sure you could give ol' Danny a lesson or two. After all, he is probably not as good as Jamie Gold or the hometown crowd you play with.
 
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The ability to take the information they have, figure it out, and make the correct decision. The player that can make the most correct decisions, has the biggest advantage. The great ones rarely make bad decisions.
 

xt!

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First, there are two questions in the OP, good and great. As someone else here mentioned there is a huge difference. There are a great number of good players breaking even to small winner in casinos around the country these days, the very good players are making money, the great players are few and far between.

For the very good to great debate... Marsha and dr strange nailed it. Natural ability teamed with tons of hard work and dedication to learning and adapting to ever changing games. I know the 1-2 game in your casino hasn't changed in 5 years, but the big games in Vegas, LA, San Jose, Miami, and Cincinnati (yes, Cincinnati, Ohio) are constantly evolving. The reg v reg battles that the very good to great players have to fight every day are incredibly complex with tons of history and overt aggression. Not to mention that the players have to worry about the ever-increasing skill levels of their marks. It's a tough world out there for the want-to-be great players.

I'm far from claiming to be great, so don't misunderstand this - I learn a ton every time I go out to Vegas. It is fascinating to learn new techniques, range balancing ideas, bet sizing, and position raising concepts.
 

manamongkids

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I feel like for me personally, all the things described in this thread are pretty accurate. But I have learned that not bloating pots to be the single greatest adjustment in my game from the first day I played to today.

When I first played, there were soooo many pots where I would just bet every street and bloat the pot with no understanding as to why I did this.
 

MoscowRadio

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I feel like for me personally, all the things described in this thread are pretty accurate. But I have learned that not bloating pots to be the single greatest adjustment in my game from the first day I played to today.

When I first played, there were soooo many pots where I would just bet every street and bloat the pot with no understanding as to why I did this.
I think Ed Miller wrote in his book Professional No Limit Hold 'Em: Vol I that you should ALWAYS ask yourself, "why am I betting here?" There are plenty of instances that betting trips could be considered thin and I think that's a lesson that not enough people understand.
 

Ben

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I think the single biggest difference between the average player and the "good" player is thinking about the game in terms of equities and ranges, and not who is ahead at any given point in any given hand. If the word "suckout" is any part of your internal poker monologue, you aren't going to progress very far.
 
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