A few years ago I used to coach Texas Hold em poker but the more I discovered about poker made me believe that many of the coaching methods are wrong. It is a little bit like trying to coach someone how to drive a car and showing them nothing but manoeuvres like three point turns, reversing, parking and so forth. These are clearly such a minor part of driving that being very good at them does not even begin to come close to being a skilled driver. The more I discovered about poker then the more I realised that in order to be the best that you can be then you had to concentrate on your mindset more than the technical side of the game which is more easily learnable.
There are many psychological factors behind why many players fail to be successful in poker. Although one of the reasons why things get rather hazy when it comes to the definition of “success” is that many define it differently. There must be millions of people the world over who define themselves as successful poker players who in my opinion are not. This will mainly be to do with them having had some decent or half decent tournament results. With the very high level of variance in poker tournaments then I would never define someone as merely successful simply because they had won a couple of events.
I have heard of WSOP bracelet winners being so broke that they had to sell their bracelets and tournament players needing people to stake them because they had no money. But yet these are the same people who would have called themselves “successful poker players” and who would have been looked on as “successful” by other people. In tournament poker then the definition of success is always dollars won over dollars spent over a very long period of time. The online databases that give tournament winnings do not even begin to tell the real story. Most players sell pieces of themselves, have backers or people who stake them or they simply owe money to people and so their tournament wins are rarely their own money.
You are faced with a very difficult problem when someone perceives themselves as “successful” because these are players that would never ask for coaching. Once again this is down to mindset and is something that I try to alter whenever I coach. Most people these days look for ways to play hands better but yet this isn’t really where the money is for most people. If you do not have the correct attitude to risk then you will never play high stakes poker or even middle limits for that matter and so this means that working your way up through the levels will be impossible. Irrespective of the mindset and the level of understanding then you will never reach substantial levels. But once again this gets back to mindset and knowledge of not just the technical side of poker but on the other factors that go to make a good poker player.