Sometimes you read things online and they sound good.
But that is until you try to figure out how to do them.
One of the best sounding pieces of advice given to poker players is to engage in more poker practice and to learn the art of visualization.
If you have no idea what the heck the art of visualization is, you won’t know where to begin.
If you look it up online you will find a lot of stuff about visualizing happy little lives and peace on Earth, which won’t get you too far in a round.
So how do you use the art of visualization with poker practice?
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First, learn what poker practice is
One of the things it is easy to confuse is what is meant by poker practice.
Just playing a ton of games and losing (or winning) doesn’t count as practice – that counts as playing.
With poker practice the purpose of you sitting down to the round isn’t to try and win; it’s to try and understand the game better.
Good poker practice begins with friendly games.
Maybe not so friendly, it’s a good idea to throw some games into the mix with people willing to critique your tells and play as well.
There are a lot of advanced players who are more than willing to do this for you.
Once you start to get a good round of poker practice going in your routine, it’s time to work in the art of visualization.
The art of visualization
As hippy-dippy as it sounds, the art of visualization is exactly about imagining life the way you want it to be.
Studies have shown that if you can imagine something as being true, you are more likely to do all sorts of conscious and subconscious things to make what you imagine a reality.
So when you are practicing the art of visualization, what you are really doing is imagining yourself playing poker and winning.
But it goes beyond that.
One of the secrets to winning any poker game is to know the hand that beats what hand.
It is difficult to master the betting rounds sequence of in a game but relatively not difficult to learn.
The distribution of hands represent the distribution of the hands your opponent is credited with, and as it is not easy to absolutely determine what your opponent has, you should put him on the range of likely hands.
For instance, it may be assumed that an opponent who is just betting is very likely to have Ax, QJ, KQ, JT or any pair between 22 and 88.
If you are a beginner at visualization, you could start with small bets, and after becoming an expert at reading the hands of opponents, you could move up to $20/40 or maybe $15/30.
As the game is getting to the stage where real experts could be interested in placing bets, being careful is a necessity to prevent losing more than you had bargained.
The reason is that as a poker player, your main goal is not to simply win lots of hands, but to win as much money as you could.
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After playing many deals, a player is said to be successful when he maximizes his winnings on the deals won, while minimizing his losses on the lost deals.
The mindset of quantity over quality is one of the mistakes beginners often make, and you should not be one of them.
Beginners make this mistake when it comes to multi-tabling.
The basic rule you should always follow is that for instance, playing averaging $20 per hour with 12 tables is much better than playing 20 tables and averaging $30 an hour.
If you really want to improve your skill, it is better to focus on the long-term benefits of playing higher stakes and being a better poker player, than the short-term benefits of playing the micro stakes and with high hourly rate.
You have to see yourself as the player you want to be
By visualizing how you appear in the context of playing poker, you can begin to master your tells and undue bad habits.
The more you can visualize yourself handling bad hands and monsters in a way that is calm and controlled, the more your brain will force you to act that way in real life.
You don’t even have to be playing an actual hand of poker to get this practice in.
You can visualize yourself playing while driving, on a break from work, or while you are pounding out some time on the treadmill.
The trick is to also visualize the positive reinforcement that comes at the end of acting the way you want.
In other words, visualize yourself winning with mastery, and then visualize enjoying the reward you want.