So I was thinking about what makes a real poker professional. You know, what separates the fish from the pro. I have come to the conclusion that it all comes down to Poker Discipline. I have come up with a five key points to help you become a winning live cash-game poker player.
1. Have a good table image – Do not give off the image that you think you are better than the other players at the table. Having a cocky image will just cause other players to gun for you (headhunt). You don’t want multiple players calling you with garbage holdings. Keep a level head when you are up and also when you are down. Your table presents effects how people play against you at the table.
2. Get off Tilt Fast – If you find yourself on tilt get up and go take a break. Or get a table change. Being on tilt is part of the game. If you don’t do something to get yourself off tilt you will not become a winning player.
3. Make sure you are mentally and physically prepared – Setup a simple routine for yourself before play and during play. Make sure you take breaks while at the table. Only play 6-8 hours at a time. If the game is really good you can step outside your given time period by an hour or two at the max. Remember the fish will be there the next day. Make sure you exercise and live a healthy lifestyle. This will lead to you being more confident and comfortable at the poker table.
4. Understand Risk vs. Reward - Make sure you know your limit. Come to the casino with a set limit you have in mind which you will be willing to spend. Do not play more than 10% of your bankroll at once. Have a weekly, monthly and yearly goal where you want to get to. Do not necessarily leave the table because you are up a certain amount after an hour or so. If you leave after making 2 buyins you will never have a session where you make 5 or 6 buyins.
5. Make sure you have great table selection – Don’t just play at any table. Make sure you are at a table without many regulars. New faces are always good to play with. Most poker rooms have regulars playing from Monday to Thursday from 11am to 5pm. Adapt to that. Start playing weekends and nights and you will notice that you will start to see new faces at the table.
Respect these rules. Sure these rules aren’t graved in stone. You can adjust them to fit your poker routine. However I am sure most poker players agree that this foundation will improve your overall success rate at the poker table.