Why Professional Poker Players Are Successful
Many people watch professional players on television and believe that they are just naturally talented, and that a long time ago they became good at the game, and that's why they're still good today. The truth is, most professional players study the game religiously behind closed doors. They study computer programs, evaluate hand histories, and reach out to other players that are better than themselves... yes, many of the professionals you see on television know players that are clearly better than they are. By no means are these players bad, in fact, they are probably amazing, but once you get in deep with the poker community, you will find many players better than yourself - professionals included.
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Don't think professionals watch training videos online? Think again. Many of them have subscriptions to all the major training sites, and do their best to keep up with the evolution of the game. Every year the game evolves tremendously, and things that were viewed as correct in previous years have become obsolete, today.
They Practice Bankroll Management
The absolute best way to manage your bankroll is actually very difficult to quantify, but the bottom line is that most professional players have a plan as to how much money they can risk on any given tournament or cash game. Cash games are easier to figure out. Patrick Antonius once said in an interview that he'd need at least 20 buy-ins to play in a specific cash game; while many players believe you need at at least 40 buy-ins. Basically, the reason why it is difficult to figure out the absolute correct formula, is because the only way to figure out how many buy-ins you should have for a particular game, is to calculate your ROI (Return on Investment) in a given setting. For example, if you were going to play in a very soft game, then you wouldn't need as many buy-ins behind you because you are going to make more money, and lose less on average. Likewise, if you are going to play in a tougher game where you only have a slight edge over the field, then you may want to have more buy-ins in your bankroll for that particular game.
Though most people have their own personal styles of managing their bankroll, the key factor is that they manage it at all. Many amateur players have a hard time playing within their means, and want to risk more than they should in a particular game
They Sell Equity
If you follow social media, especially in regard to outlets like twitter, you will notice a lot of professionals selling equity. Or simply, they are selling shares of themselves in a particular game. Most of the time you will see this out in the open in regard to tournaments, but many of the professionals you see on television playing nosebleed highstakes have actually pieced themselves out to other people behind close doors.
In regard to tournaments, players may sell packages that consist of a conglomerate of tournaments during something like the World Series of Poker. Players reduce their variance by selling equity, and if they are lucky enough to get someone to buy at a markup, they will be gaining free equity in themselves. For example, most players tend to sell at a markup of 1.1 - 1 or 1.4 -1. In other words, they are charging anywhere from a 10% to 40% markup in themselves. Investors will generally pay a higher markup for a better player, and a lower markup for a worse player. So if a player is playing a $1000 No Limit Hold'em event, and they are selling 10% of themselves, then an investor would usually just pay $100. But if the player is charging a markup of 1.2 or 20%, than the investor would have to pay $120 to attain a 10% stake of the individual they are buying from.
Almost every professional tournament player you see playing super high buyin tournaments have sold equity. So the next time you see a main event winner win 9 Million dollars, think to yourself, "I wonder how much equity they had pieced out."
They Have The Right Friends
The average amateur poker player has no idea that many of these professionals have gone through down spells in their lives. Mostly, this is because you read about them in magazines or see them on television year after year playing with staggering amounts of money. But, the reality is that some of these players have backers or even have to take loans from some of their friends. In the poker community, it is not unheard of for a player to get a $100,000 loan from a friend. So sometimes when one friend is doing well, they will help the other friend that isn't, and down the road if that same friend is in a jam, the other friend will help him out as well. Money is shuffled around constantly in poker.
Some of the professionals you see on television may be technically broke while you are watching them play, but other people in the poker community who are their close friends will always help them out until they win another tournament, or get back on track in cash games.