Every poker player needs to read this.
I have been lurking on various internet poker forums
, including this one, for many years. I have never participated in the discussion or signed up for a single forum. This will be my first post and I hope it helps someone out in some small way.
Forget the books, forget the tips, forget the hand analysis, forget the peer reviews, and forget what you see on TV. If you do not possess the ability to sit down by yourself, take a deck of cards, learn the game, figure out the odds
, and develop your own strategy for winning within the first 3 months of dedicated play, then you need to come to the realization that your only future in poker will be, more likely than not, recreational. There is no shame in admitting that to yourself, poker is a fun game for recreational players.
The rules of poker are extremely simple, as we all know, it is the table that you are sitting at that adds the complexity. If you are unable to sit down at a poker table (online or live), recognize the patterns in other players and as a result, beat the game consistently, then you will not be successful at poker. This is a skill that cannot be taught with practice, just as athleticism cannot be instilled by any amount of training. Without this ability, your ability to win consistently will be non-existent.
The ability to learn the game, learn the odds, and develop your own successful style of game play that is adaptable to every table you sit at, is the key to winning. If you have to study what other people do, then you can place yourself in a limited-success at best, or a no-success (which is more likely) category right now. You cannot study or practice your way out of a natural ability deficit.
Winning or losing on a consistent basis is, ultimately, the barometer for success. Being able to honestly self-evaluate is the key to limiting your losses. The majority of human beings do not posses this skill. Throughout history it has been one of the hardest for people to master. The worst case scenario that can be created for a poker player is to not have the abilities listed above, in combination with not having the ability to self-evaluate. The end result of this combination is to continue losing play, while continuing to strive to become something, that you have no hope of ever becoming.
I played basketball when I was younger, however, I am not 6'4, I am only 6'0. I can jump high, but not high enough. I can make jump-shots, but not as many as the majority of players. I have ball control, but I am not the best at it. I realized these things at a young age, and instead of trying to grow 4-6 inches, jump higher, shoot better, and dribble to a level that I did not possess, I changed sports and as a result, paid my way through college with a scholarship. Sure, I play basketball recreationally, I play it for pure fun and with no expectations. I actually enjoy it now as a hobby because all the pressure is completely removed. I urge you to do the same thing with poker. You cannot force yourself to be good at any skill-set. So why would you try and force yourself to be good at poker?
Don't be that guy, don't be that guy who asks the question, "why am I not winning at XXXNL", or "Someone review this hand and tell me what I did wrong". If you do not possess the ability to figure that out on your own, then you are destined for failure.
I wish you all the best of luck in accurately self-assessing your poker abilities and making the hard, but beneficial decisions.