What are five poker skills that turn an average poker player, into a good one. Additionally, what are five qualities that separates a good poker player, from a great one? Sure, it is poker skills. But what are the key ones you need to develop to dominate at the table?

It’s an important question because if you ask 10 different people that question, you are likely to get around 50 different poker skills named as being THE most important!

Some will value outright aggression, some think being more passive and picking the moments to attack is a better approach.

Some feel being the comedian or joker at the table helps them charm and disarm opponents, others feel that being deadly serious is important and can intimidate others at the table.

Many players like to try and establish a healthy chip lead early, others are not so concerned with that and like to build their chip stack slowly and ensure they stay in the game, rather than take what they feel are needless risks.

Others believe their chit chat at the table can put others on tilt and hand them an advantage. Others shut out all external influences, pop headphones into their ears and do not engage with table talk.

Part of the beauty of the many games of poker, a great number of which you can find at bet365 Poker, is that there is no definitive right or wrong answer to this question. Many people utilise many different poker skills in many ways.

But experience has shown me in particular that there are some poker skills that I feel are of greater value to more players than others.

That’s the case whether you are playing online at bet365 Poker in a Twister Poker game, or an online tournament right down to playing at home in a family and friends poker evening with the emphasis on fun and enjoyment!

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Five Poker Skills You Definitely Need To Succeed At The Poker Table

  1. Perseverance

The first rule of poker club is that you are going to lose. The second rule of poker club is that you are going to lose a lot, initially. As a beginner, you can study all the strategic books and tips available for the game, but there comes a time when you must head to the table and put that to the test.

And it WILL go wrong. You’ll make the wrong call, the wrong bet size, you’ll call when you should fold, fold when you should raise, and raise when you should call and all other permutations of the three. You’ll misread an opponent’s hand, you’ll have your bluff called, you’ll see opponents have a good laugh when they bluff you with 7-2 offsuit.

In short, you’ll make lots and lots of rookie mistakes and it can be a painful learning process.

But you have to go through it, as going through it is what gives you the experience and poker skills to improve. For that you need perseverance to keep buying into games knowing that perhaps you are not going to last too long. But that you are hoping to improve.

And by persevering, you will slowly, but surely improve and become a good poker player.

  • Patience

Almost every poker professional you can name has had to bide their time to get to the very top of the game. For every Chris Moneymaker rags to riches story, there are many more players who played as an amateur for many years before turning professional and earning their place in those big money games and tournaments.

Poker isn’t a game you can learn to play in a weekend and then be at a high level by the following week. Just as perseverance will keep you playing and improving, patience will let you adjust your expectations from your poker play so that they are more realistic.

Sure, it would be lovely to enter the £10,000 buy in £1m World Series event. But if you have been playing for six months and your usual buy in is £5 maximum, then you should not even consider playing in these games until you, your poker skills and your bankroll are ready.

Patience is also key at the table and in the game. But remember, you can be over-patient. The perfect hand seldom arrives, but you can use your abilities and poker skills to convince others that you may well hold that top ranking hand.

By being patient, you can pick the right time to strike and strike hard. Which brings us neatly onto the third skill.

  • Ruthlessness

When you reach a point in a game where you believe you hold the upper hand. Now is the time to open the taps and be as ruthless and as cunning as possible. Harvest as many of those chips held by your opponent as possible.

The moments you hold the nuts in a game are rare, so it is absolutely vital that you cash in on those situations to the maximum of your ability.

That doesn’t mean throwing your chips into the middle. That usually just leads to one fold after another. You may need to use cunning to eke chips into the pot from other players by under-representing the value of your hand.

Then when you have an opponent pot committed – then is the time to strike fast and hard.

Remember, there’s no friends at the poker table, just people holding the chips that you need to win! Prising chips away from them and into your stack is arguably the greatest of all poker skills.

  • Self-Control
Poker Skills

One of the ways opponents will try to upset your rhythm at the poker table is to try and irritate you. Once you know you have an opponent on Tilt, or even just starting to feel the nerves, you are on your way to beating them.

There is a reason why the very best poker players play for vast amounts of money, as if they were playing at a £0.01/£0.02 blind cash game. They can usually exert an inordinate amount of self-control, keeping a close lid on their emotions. Retaining the proverbial poker face at all times.

But self-control in poker is more than just keeping your emotions in check for the better or the worse. It is about being able to deal with the nerves when the hands get to a critical moment. Can you make the right call when you know the tournament is on the line and it is easier to fold? Can you control your thought-processes when the chips are down to focus on the right call at the right time in the correct situation?

Additionally, it is also about self-control when you win a hand. Nobody likes the Tony G approach of belittling an opponent when they lose a hand. Exercise respectful restraint around the table and your opponents will respect you, and fear you, more. Control is one of the very under-rated poker skills.

  • Intuition

Also known as having an ability to pick the right moment to make a move in a game against the right opponent, with the right hand. Daniel Negreanu is a master of this, with his ability to read what cards a player holds based on how they bet, their body language and their reactions to his actions in the game almost legendary.

It is hard to say you can train yourself to be more intuitive. It is certainly a skill that has a strong element of natural talent to it. However, by reading up on hand probabilities, watching lots of hands being played and how players tend to play certain hands in certain situations it is possible.

In the poker home game, a different kind of intuition can help you. You are far more likely to know your opponent’s well in home games. So, with this additional character information about each player, you can use your intuition to assess whether they are likely to be bluffing, or holding a strong hand, or even if they actually know what they are doing in the first place!

Sometimes these gut calls can prove to be the one that will be the turning point in a game so it does pay to hone your poker skills and instincts so that you can better sniff out the best opportunities for you when they arise at the table.