A game which has become almost a global phenomenon and popularised over the years by such fictional characters as James Bond, the skill game of Poker requires a number of attributes besides luck to win.
You don’t need a tuxedo and Martini to be successful when playing Poker; more often than not, hardly any drinks are consumed in professional games to save toilet breaks, while wearing what you feel comfortable and most relaxed in can increase your chances of winning.
We take a look at what we think are the 10 most important attributes that can be successfully applied to Poker!
While counting cards is illegal, it does always help to know what percentage you or your opponents have of getting a straight or full house on the last card. Math is used in every activity and many times on a daily basis, so applying it to the game of Poker can give you that crucial advantage that you need to win!
Sounds simple right? Everyone communicates on a daily basis, but being clear and succinct in Poker is fundamental, especially for a game that moves at a considerable pace. Making sure you are paying attention and that you are fully aware of the rules will enable you to communicate effectively and more importantly for yourself, confidently. Ensuring you have swatted up on the terms will help to give your game more authority.
Being able to read your opponent, according to some people, is the key to winning a game of Poker. Not just this, it is also how well you play your game. What is your body language? Which facial expressions are you using at certain points in the game? How long do you spend deliberating over your next move? What are you saying and how you are saying it in an effort to bluff your opponents? Without a doubt, psychology plays a vital part in Poker, though should be applied with caution. Your opponent could be doing exactly the same to you!
Many things in life require us to understand etiquette. Knowing which cutlery to use during a four-course meal, how to conduct yourself in a job interview – these are both situations which require us to politely follow a procedure. This is no different in Poker. Knowing who is big and small blind, what the stakes are and who dealt last all crucially contribute towards the etiquette of the game, while a lack of it can frustrate seasoned professionals.
There is nothing no one likes less than a sore loser or smug winner. In the vast majority of cases, some of sports best and most successful stars are humble to the core. Tennis player Roger Federer a prime example. In Poker, gloating gets you nowhere. Should you win, buy your opponents a drink as a show of respect and accept it with grace and dignity.
A rare and amazing trait in life, though perhaps in Poker it can be used to gain an advantage on your opponent. The better you understand who you are playing against and why they act in a certain way in different circumstances will enable you to play a better game. That is empathy.
As with most card games, dealing is an important skill that everyone should be able to do. Being dexterous and having good hand-eye coordination will not only help you deal better but shuffle in a variety of ways. If you are wanting to make it to the top table, practice dealing and shuffling on your own!
By listening, watching and remembering, you can equip yourself with all that you need in order to increase your chances of winning. A key skill in all areas of life, being observant in Poker could be the most important trait that you apply from now on.
Being able to quickly understand what is going on in the game at any given time will give you an edge over other players. It will also help you to re-strategise your game if necessary and adapt to each move.
Being in a new environment can be a strange feeling, though making your opponent feel at ease is a great way of ensuring that they treat you with respect from the first hand. Being hospitable in both life and Poker, can go a long way.
While some of these might be outside of the box, it is worth considering each of them, the next time that you sit down and play!