Winning Poker Players value Good Decisions over Good Results


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When it comes to most pursuits in life, you can set realistic goals and gradually see your results improve over time. For example, you might want to increase your bench press by eight pounds over a five-week period. And you could easily determine the success of this plan by how close you get to reaching your goal.

Unfortunately for poker players, success isn't this cut and dried. Sure many beginning poker players are convinced that their short-term profits indicate how well they're doing with the game. But profits are by no means the barometer by which online poker success should be determined. Instead, you really need to focus on the decisions you make and we'll explain why.

Good Poker Decisions don't Always Pay Off

Regardless of their experience, all players realize that online poker is a game with uncertain results. However, the mistake is in assuming that this uncertainty can't be controlled. In reality, luck does play a big role in short-term poker results, but good decision making will make you a winner over a prolonged period of time.

To illustrate this point, let's say that you go all-in preflop with pocket aces and your opponent calls with pocket kings. Aces make you an 81% favorite in this instance, which means you'll win approximately four out of five times. But what happens if you encounter this situation once in a tournament and lose? Does it mean that you have bad luck and are doomed to fail?

Absolutely not because you made the best possible play at the time. And if you continually made this play again and again, you'd be winning at an 81% rate. So the key point here is that your decision was correct and would be profitable over time, despite the fact that you lost.

Now let's say that you shove preflop with 9-T on a bad bluff attempt and are called by pocket queens. In this case, you only have a 16.3% chance of winning the hand; but you get lucky and land a full house. Now just because you won the hand doesn't mean that you made a good play, especially if you got caught on a careless bluff attempt. So over time, you'd lose a lot of money with this decision.

How to Improve your Decision Making

Assuming you plan on playing poker for a long time, it's definitely important to better your decision-making skills. And the first step towards accomplishing this feat involves learning as much poker strategy as you possibly can.

There are plenty of different outlets for you to improve your game, including training sites, books, articles, software and YouTube videos. The key is that you spend the time to better your poker skills and apply these teachings in real money games.

Of course, it's worth mentioning that just because you make good decisions doesn't mean you'll automatically win. However, you will certainly become a successful player over time by continuing to make smart decisions.