Jason Koon, the creator of Poker and now, Secrets of How to Play Poker, has some intriguing theories about what makes a player successful in this game. He suggests that, in order to be a good poker player, you have to learn the many different skills associated with the game.
First, don’t play just for fun. It is often said that you should play to win and Jason says, “Playing to win comes naturally to the most successful players.” If you’re playing casually, you won’t be at your best, if you are playing for cash, you’ll be at your best.
This goes both ways. You can’t play casually without competing. Playing poker for fun takes more skill than playing for cash, and vice versa.
Second, you should think about how to win, not only in the physical sense but also in the mental games. Poker isn’t a simple game of luck; it is a mental game as well. You should use your head when you play, but remember, if you can use your head to your advantage, you will be much better.
While Jason stresses that you need to think of winning as more than luck, I believe it’s an important part of playing. That’s because if you only think of winning as luck, you won’t make a habit of it. Some people play the game for pure enjoyment and go into it with a mindset of thinking, “I’ll just have fun and win for fun.” This does work, but for me, it’s not the best approach.
It’s far better to learn to think of winning as something that you can control in the game. You should know what it takes to win and how to improve your chances. You want to know how to improve your chances so that when you do play, you improve your chances in a short period of time. It’s like a training program. You make the improvements so quickly, it doesn’t seem like work.
Third, when you’re in the game, you should take care of yourself. You should be able to manage yourself so that when you’re in the heat of the moment, you can let the emotion of the game overcome you. You should learn to let yourself relax and let other people try to take over.
Fourth, you should learn to play for the long term. Jason says, “It is much more fun to be around a winner, and the anticipation of winning is such a high, that the game goes by much faster.” If you want to be in the game for a long time, be prepared to not just enjoy the fun of the game, but enjoy the financial rewards.
Fifth, you should play with the idea of a long term goal. This will make you better at playing the game.
Sixth, Jason knows all the resources you can use to become a great poker player, including the books, the clinics, the other players, the magazines, the seminars, and the internet. This is the best of all possible resources for your success. You should make sure you are using all the resources available to you to help you get better at poker.
Jason doesn’t believe that you should be playing poker to make money. He says, “People who play poker to make money do not have fun, and they certainly do not play to win.” In addition, he says, “The true poker player will play poker to enjoy the challenge of playing a difficult hand, even if he or she loses.”
Jason Koon is a psychologist who also has a background in the casinos. He has been a professional poker player for over 20 years. He has a PhD in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.