While luck certainly plays its part when it comes to poker, there is one thing that will have a huge impact on how you perform: skill. The world’s best poker players have spent years honing their craft and practicing repeatedly.

The world’s best poker players have spent years

Their success didn’t happen overnight. Instead, they had to endure the highs and lows, learning with every hand they played.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s also something that you can aspire to. There are a few characteristics that the top poker players share and even if they don’t come naturally to you, you can learn to develop them over time.

Mental toughness

Poker isn’t a physical game. It’s all about your mind. So it should be no surprise that the top players have developed a certain level of mental toughness and durability to allow them to operate at the elite level.

While it’s undoubtedly thrilling, poker can also be stressful. Particularly when there’s a lot of money at stake in big competitions and tournaments. Pressure can come from other players using aggressive strategies or by just the fact you’re down to your last few chips. The best players are able to focus on the task at hand and remain calm.

Outside of individual games, these players are also able to take the rough with the smooth. A run of bad form – or bad luck – will affect every player at some point, but the best know how to ride that period out without it damaging their overall game.

Money management

Your bankroll is the amount of money you’ve allocated for poker usage. Proper management of this bankroll is crucial to being a good player and also a responsible one. It prevents you from playing beyond your means and drastically lowers your chances of chasing losses and acting out of desperation.

The top players save and set aside deep bankrolls for poker to account for any unfortunate scenarios. That way, a losing streak won’t leave you in the red and you can still bounce back. These players are also always on top of these finances; they know how much they’re playing with and what they’ll be left with should they lose.

With this control over your money you can focus on the poker game itself rather than worrying about your bankroll. The moment you begin to get concerned about your funds, your game will be affected.

Emotional control

Just as they keep their minds focused, the best poker players also keep their emotions in check when playing. This is what’s known as a poker face. Their expression and mannerisms give nothing away to their opponents – or they only give away what the player wants them to, perhaps as a bluff.

A poker game can be a rollercoaster of emotions, and if you wear your heart on your sleeve, then it’ll be easy for your opponents to read you and respond accordingly. Any tactics you’re hoping to employ will go out the window.

The top players keep these emotions below the surface. They still feel the thrill and agony of games; they just don’t show these reactions to those they’re playing against. That way, they can stick to their tactics and keep others guessing.

Ultra focus

Poker games can go on for a long time. They require mental endurance and the ability to focus for extended periods of time. That’s because you’re not just involved in the game when it’s your turn; you need to pay attention to what other players are doing. The world’s best players stay on top of how much is at stake, and who’s gambled what, and use this information to calculate probabilities.

They also pay close attention to the physical cues of their opponents. Some reactions are almost impossible to hide and the best players will see them a mile off and use that information to their advantage.

As poker games drag on it can become easy to get distracted or lose focus but the best players keep their attention solely on the game being played.

Adaptability

We’ve spoken a lot about tactics and how important they are, but it’s also crucial to be able to deviate from them when they’re not working. The best players can adapt their playing style to suit the game going on.

Sometimes your game plan just won’t work so you need to know how to adjust in the moment and set yourself up for victory.

The world’s best poker players have developed an array of characteristics that mark them out from the rest. From adaptability to emotional control, these skills and traits allow them to win major tournaments and consistently find success at the table. So when you have some time way from the little ones whilst they’re distracted by Disney Plus Access, apply these techniques above when you try your hand at poker.