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Top 10 steps to ensure permanent success in poker

5 Feb 2018

By Tadas Peckaitis
Many players think that it is difficult to obtain consistent success in poker. However, this is not necessarily true if you know how to study and are ready to dedicate some serious time to your play.

Obviously, you have to understand many crucial topics to see good results, but it is doable with some determination and proper guidance. Therefore, today I want to highlight 10 steps that will surely help you build a solid strategy and become a winner in any poker game you choose to play.

10. Picking the right game
As I mentioned, you can beat poker if you are persistent with your decisions. Let me tell you a quick backstory that perfectly illustrates this point. Until I met William, my first coach, I was playing all kind of games. I used to play Sit and Go's and cash games at the same time, occasionally launching multiple table tournaments (MTTs) as well. This led to disaster. I was not able to learn efficiently because I was doing too many things at once.

Only after I realized the importance of concentration and choosing one format as my main game was I able to become very good at it. This led to incredible results within the same year, and the cool thing is that this works for everyone, not just me.

It does not mean that you cannot play or enjoy other formats, but you have to stick with one as your primary game and should not play different formats at the same time. So, if you are playing cash games, do not open other online tournaments on the side, and vice versa.

Pick the right game.

Pick the right game.

9. Finding where to play
When you identify your strengths and make the decision about what game to concentrate on, you have to choose where you want to play, be it live or online. This is a vital part that many players miss, and they simply play in a random room without doing any research.

Even in live events, you should carefully pick what you play. But the differences in online options are devastating. The ability to have 50% rakeback versus 10% in the same games can mean the difference of making a few hundred dollars per month or making $3,000, and there are plenty of these examples.

Obviously, the rakeback is not the only thing you need to consider, but it is an essential one. Moreover, you really should choose rooms based on your preferred game, as well. Some that are good for MTTs are pretty bad for cash, and vice versa. Thus, spend some time on this and find the best poker sites online for your game!

8. Getting the right tools
I will not talk much about this one, but you probably are fully aware that most of your opponents online are using trackers and other software to gain additional edge.

Therefore, make sure not to fall behind by missing the advantages these tools can give, and have at least basic tools such as tracking software at your disposal.

7. Mastering the mental game
I used to struggle with this a lot in the beginning of my career, and I lost a lot of money due to tilting, not controlling my emotions and spewing cash after some bad runs. I was always under the pressure and illusion that I had to win today — and if I was not able to achieve that, everyone suffered because I was feeling bad, was angry or was continuously in a bad mood, which lead to many stressful situations.

To avoid that, you need to employ proper bankroll management strategy and even learn to prepare for your games. As ridiculous as it sounds, spending few minutes before the session to go over your leaks or things that you want to improve will help you concentrate on those topics in-game and make much better decisions.

Moreover, you have to learn how to identify your emotions in-game to make a break when needed and never start playing when you feel bad in the first place, and this alone will prevent you from making costly mistakes.

6. Understanding advanced GTO play
Probably you are familiar with the idea that you need to balance your ranges and develop unexploitable strategy. However, many miss the most important part – that game theory optimal strategy should only be used as your starting point or when you are playing against tough opponents. If you stick to this approach against weaker players, you are leaving a ton of money at the table, and unfortunately, many players fail to realize how to get the most out of it.

Of course, you have to learn game theory optimal strategies, but not because you are going to play according to them all the time. The primary goal of that approach is to understand how perfect play looks, so you can see what mistakes your opponents are making and then concentrate on exploiting those errors to the fullest.

5. Creating the plan
Well, without a plan, you will be suffering from information overload and likely even waste your time by watching random videos or reading blogs, books or anything else you can get your hands on. However, it will not help you much, because you will be getting a ton of different content that will not fit into one strategy.

Therefore, the first thing you should to is clearly define your schedule and list the times when you are going to play and when you will be concentrating on learning new things or improving your strategy. This will quickly help you build new habits, and it will pay big dividends in the future.

On top of that, you should decide how you are going to improve every part of your game, and then stick to that plan.

4. Mastering preflop strategy
When all previous work is done, you should spend some time mastering preflop strategy. Without understanding which Texas Hold’em poker hands you should be playing, and most importantly, knowing how to adjust versus different players, you will never win a lot of money. If you end up making mistakes preflop, it is close to impossible to play the right strategy later on, so this part is essential.

It is like building a house. If you lay bad foundations, there is no way to create everything else, and even if you manage to do that, it will eventually fall down. It's the same here: If you make mistakes preflop, you will end up in many dangerous situations where you do not have enough value hands, your ranges are very unbalanced, or you simply end up not bluffing enough, which are bad in all cases.

I know that many players have misconceptions about playing from charts and think that it is not a valid strategy, so let me answer this once and for all and tell you the secret. Every single good poker player in the world plays from charts, be it printed ones or in his head. There is just no way around it.

Therefore, to get that jump-start, you can always get my poker cheat sheets with opening hands and odds to see how they can help improve your game and learn what adjustments you should be making when you play.

Analyze your play.

Analyze your play.

3. Analyzing your play
There are a few options for how you can go about it. The easiest one is to record your session using any free screen recorder and then review how you played. You will see things in a different light when watching your play from the side without being in the heat of the action, and it will help you identify some of the leaks.

Moreover, you can analyze your stats using popular tracking software such as HM2 or PT4. Those programs allow you to create custom filters and reports and use a power HUD to see all the information in one place. Thus, you should take advantage of the available tools or get some professional help from the side.

2. Mastering the strategy
Obviously, strategy is a crucial part in reaching consistent success, and you should take this step seriously. After many years of playing and teaching others, I can explicitly say that it is essential to learn the reasons for every particular play that you make.

When you know, why you are making one move or another it becomes effortless to identify what you should be doing and concentrate on relevant things. Therefore, take it slowly and learn when you should be betting, how to play aggressively versus missed c-bets, when to raise as a bluff, how to bluff catch and how to manipulate your opponent's play using optimal bet sizing. This alone will take your game to the next level and ensure your success.

1. Continue learning
Lastly, you need to remember that poker is an ever-evolving game, and you have to continue learning and improving your strategy to stay ahead of your competition.

Now, you know what you have to do, and if you want to learn how to do it, you can take a look at my advanced poker training program, where we will cover every step on the road together. Just remember that it is crucial to follow steps in the right order to have better results, and you will surely have success at the tables.
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