The three Stages of a Poker Player Part 3: Enlightenment

The journey from a fish to a shark in poker is not an easy one. The path you take will be filled with pitfalls, enticing shortcuts, and setbacks, but for the few who players that manage to not stray from their chosen path the reward at the end is often well worth it –both financially and spiritually. In this series I will examine the three stages players will reach along their journey as a poker player, and what skills they have learned and what they need to work on to improve.

In the final stage of you evolution you will meet a new set of tests, but you should have the deep understanding of the game at this time to overcome any potential roadblocks; we’ll call this stage Enlightenment…


What you know

At this point your poker education is basically complete, although you will have to keep current with some continuing education courses from time to time; yes poker is one of THOSE fields! You should be able to switch from a TAG to a LAG on a dime, and adjust to each individual opponents’ strengths and weaknesses in real-time.

At this stage of your poker career you are a pro. The mental mistakes and strategic errors should be all but eliminated from your game entirely. The only errors you should be committing from here on out are from missed reads.

What you don’t know

As a player who now knows everything about the game the one thing you don’t know is that, YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING! Complacency will destroy you at this stage of your career because all of your opponents will have the same skill set, and the hardest workers will continue to improve and develop strategies counteract the ones that are currently en vogue.

What you need to work on

At this point in your poker career your main enemy will be yourself and your habits. It’s important to plan for the future and make the necessary contingency plans for virtually any conceivable outcome (UIGEA, Black Friday, a hacking or robbery, etc.) because given enough time it’s inevitable that a Black Swan will cross your path.

You should also be very careful with your habits and lifestyle, as poker will bring you into contact with an oddball group of people. The poker world is full of non-conformists, swindlers, drug-users/partiers, and psychopaths, and it’s easy to fall in with the wrong crowd and find yourself cheated, scammed, or in a very bad place.

Part 1

Part 2

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