What do you want to get out of poker? What’s your motivation? For most people the answer is plain and simple: money. Money-motivated players are vastly different from others who are driven to challenge themselves against the best in the world.
If winning money is your only goal then game selection is extremely important. You should avoid games loaded with professionals, while also making sure that your skill level matches up well with opponents.
The best places to win easy money would be in lower-limit games. Whether it's Las Vegas, California, Atlantic City, Tunica, or playing at home, finding soft games isn't that difficult. You might consider some of the lesser-known poker rooms where you’ll find plenty of tourists just out for a good time.
Other casinos, however, are known for high stakes action. That’s where the sharks look for chum. If you’re trying to avoid the pros, don't go to their house. Play where they won't.
Before you sit down in any game, watch for awhile. Get a feel for the action. A game with lots of raising and reraising might not be the best place for you. Instead, look for a game with lots of callers and passive play. A game like that is much easier to beat, and your bankroll won't fluctuate as much as it would against aggressive players.
What if your motivation is to become the best player you can be?
If that's the case, and you want to fast track your way to the top — start there!
Seriously, if you want to improve your skills quickly, ignore the advice I've given up to now.
To get good fast, it's going to cost you. Don't even think about jumping into the shark tank unless you’re wealthy enough to handle the huge swings of high-stakes poker.
Recently I was invited to play in a game with some extremely wealthy guys. They just love to play and can afford to bet as high as the sky. When I play in a game like this my motivation is purely financial. I'm not going to learn much from these guys, but I'm happy to help them improve their games — for a price of course.
But that doesn’t define what motivates me. You see, my motivation is to be the best player I can be. The only way I can do that is to play against the best.
Many people don’t understand why five sharks would play against each other when there are easier games to beat.
Well, I can answer that.
When sharks play against other sharks, they all get better. It’s almost like sparring. As a result, it makes it even easier for them to dominate in other games.
Of course, most people don't have the bankroll to sit in the biggest game in the room against the world's best players. But that doesn't mean they can't take some shortcuts to improve their games.
The only way to improve is to play against great opponents. Do your best to hang in there with them. Yes, you'll probably lose, but it won't be a wasted effort. The lessons you’ll learn from top opponents will help make you a better player quicker than grinding it out for years in small games.
For an aspiring professional, try a steady regiment of playing in soft games for money about eighty percent of the time. Play the remaining twenty percent to improve your skill level against the best players you can find.
Visit www.cardsharkmedia.com/book.html for information about Daniel Negreanu’s new book, Hold’em Wisdom for All Players.
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