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Learning No-Limit From Scratch ­- An Overview: What You’ll Need to Develop a Wining Poker Game.

by Roy Cooke |  Published: Mar 02, 2016


Roy CookeMuch is said about the importance of the will to win. But what is often overlooked and of greater importance is the will to prepare to win. Developing a winning game requires developing the skill sets required to win. And it’s not going to be easy!

There are many facets to growing a winning game; two of major importance are developing your knowledge and thought process. Defining what you need to learn compartmentalizes the issues, allowing you to focus on their most important aspects and simplify the learning process.

What are your poker goals? Do you just want to gamble and have fun? Or do you want to make poker a career? Whatever your goal, a different level of skill-developing effort will be required. Furthermore, the requisite skills are likely to be very different from skills you’ve previously developed. For example; few are trained to calculate in expected value (EV) terms. Think about the effort level you’re really willing to put out when determining your goal. If you want to win at a professional level, it will take a huge amount of time and energy.

Additionally, you’ll need to be intelligent. Good recall and logic skills are a must to compete at a high level. You don’t have to be a genius, but natural intellectual talent goes a long way. Do you have the intellectual capabilities to compete against other smart people in our demanding game?

Fundamentally, you’ll need to develop strong strategic knowledge to play well. Knowing the right play to make at any given time is the foundation of good poker. Strategic learning will be a never-ending process; there is an immeasurable amount to absorb.

The good news is that there are many good books, videos and computer training materials available to acquire this knowledge. The bad news is that some of the information is so bad that it can put you on the path to ruin. Don’t think that poker is about common sense, and you can play winning poker just by familiarity and basic wisdom. Those who believe that are the folks you’ll want to beat up after you’ve studied up! And don’t underestimate the level of knowledge required; it’s considerable.

Additionally, you’ll need to develop concentration and awareness. Poker requires that you gather and process information and think independently on the fly. Learning a set strategy by rote will only take you so far. You’ll frequently have to adjust to non-standard situations. And if you’ve concentrated and are aware of your opponent’s tendencies, your high level of information will formulate better decisions. Concentration, the art of keeping your mind singularly on the task at hand, in this case poker, is a combination of developed skills and a habitual process. Develop it!

First and most importantly, focus on the game! Put away your phone and iPad, and practice single-mindfulness. Rethink through all your decisions afterward. Was your thought process logical? Did you notice any tells? Consider your opponent’s thoughts. What was he thinking as he played his hand? If you learn how your opponent thinks, you’ll own him at the poker table!

Over time, with practice, you’ll strengthen your concentration endurance. Well-being is another component of focus. Being well-rested, exercising, and eating well will all benefit your concentration. And from your improved concentration, increased awareness will arise.

Develop your people-reading skills. Learn to analyze opponents’ thoughts and emotions. It’s the road to reading their holdings. Get good at this, and you’ll be able to read, not just their current hand range, but also their potential future actions. This is the most powerful skill in poker!

Once you’ve improved your awareness, you’ll need to make sure you learn to come to accurate conclusions based on those facts. You’ll need to develop a linear analytical process, to define and think through situations and be able to logically analyze complicated poker circumstances.

This is where learning the fundamental concepts of poker is especially valuable. Highly skilled use of the correct concepts will greatly improve your decisions.

You’ll also need to develop emotional stability. Learn to deal with your poker fears and adversities without letting them affecting your judgment. How to do this is a personal thing within each individual. Some can never master it. If you can’t overcome it, take a break. And if that doesn’t work, quit and come back when you can think logically. I’ve used self-talk to numb myself to the emotions associated with poker and found it effective. Just taking a deep breath and telling myself to relax often calms me down. Confidence is also crucial in maintaining your emotions. The knowledge that you will win over time goes a long way in maintaining stability. That said, l still have moments when my emotions are determined to take control.

Poker is a game of logic, odds, and mental consistency. These mental skills will come with education, focused application, and practice. Learn the strategies and utilize them at the table. Use your time at the table well; grow your game and mental skills by keeping your mind on the game, going over every hand played and your opponents’ thought process. Stay logical and avoid emotionally reacting.

Do this and over time you’ll progressively develop better skills and feel for the game! Then, you’ll kick their asses! ♠

Roy Cooke played poker professionally for 16 years prior to becoming a successful Las Vegas Real Estate Broker/Salesman. Should you wish any information about Real Estate matters-including purchase, sale or mortgage his office number is 702-376-1515 or Roy’s e-mail is His website is Roy’s blogs and poker tips are at You can also find him on Facebook or Twitter @RealRoyCooke