Traits of Above Average Poker Players

Tom Dwan: The Most Aggressive Poker Player on The Planet

90% of all poker players are long-term losers.

Only 10% of people who play poker are proven to be winners over the long term.

Why is this?

What separates this small percentage of players from the rest?

The answer is simple. They have studied and applied their game more than 90% of their competition.

When I first started playing poker, I belonged in that 90%. I knew how to play the game, and I knew what it took to win, but my wins weren’t sustainable long-term. I knew I would have to study and constantly adjust my game to get better.

It was a long process, but it was well worth the time and I have gained a lot of life lessons from becoming a better poker player.

In order to be a long-term winner, you will need to develop the following traits:

1. An ability to maintain attentional focus for long periods of a time.

2. An understanding of the deeply statistical nature of the game.

3. A sense of confidence and trust in your abilities

and most importantly:

4. A near RECKLESS disdain for money.

Money has no value on the poker table. The game is played with chips.  Whatever money those chips represent doesn’t and shouldn’t have any effect on how you play the game.

If you are concerned with money, you wont be playing poker the right way. You will be playing with scared money and as the saying goes,

“Scared money don’t make no money!”

To be a big long-term winner in poker you must develop a SUPER-AGGRESSIVE playing style, sometimes known as LAG (Loose-Aggressive)

Here is my article on how to develop into a LAG.

Being aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean success. You have to know when to be aggressive, and when to slow down. Against certain opponents, especially ones who can’t fold a hand, being aggressive will lose you money.

Poker is always about adjusting. You need to adjust to each player at the table and your perceived table image.

Being aggressive has a few benefits:

1. You will win more pots where you don’t have the best hand

2. You will make more money in pots that you have the best hand

3. Your opponents won’t be able to accurately deduct your hand-range

If you are playing tight, you opponents will know you have the goods when you bet, and you wont win big pots. You will also not be able to pick up pots where you don’t have the best hand because you won’t be willing to bluff a lot.

That’s the beauty of poker.

You don’t need cards to win.

In fact, cards are somewhat meaningless if you have accurate reads on your opponents and you can figure out what their cards are and they have no idea what you have.

Annette Obrestad

Annette Obrestad is a young professional poker player that proved this.

In one online tournament of 180 players, she covered her hole cards the entire time. She never once looked at her cards.

Guess what?

She won the entire tournament.

She demonstrated perfectly how important reading abilities are and how unimportant cards are.

Just imagine how good this girl is when she actually looks at her cards.

She built a bankroll from $0 to over $1,000,000 by the time she was 18. She never made a single deposit online. She won a free roll tournament to start her bankroll, then NEVER LOOKED BACK.

Quite amazing if you ask me.

When people argue if poker is gambling, they should consult Annette to see what she has to say about that.

Players like Annette, Phil Ivey, and Tom Dwan are perfect examples of players who EXCEL in the aforementioned 4 traits and love to play super aggressive.

They simply don’t care about money.

If you want to be OUTSTANDING at poker you must STAND OUT from the rest of the competition.

Phil Ivey was once quoted as saying “If I have to bet $300,000 on the river with queen high, I don’t care, I fire the trigger.”

Simply Doesn't Care About Money.


Phil Ivey is basically saying here that he is willing to slide in $300,000 worth of chips (the price of a house for some people) on a complete bluff.

I bet if Phil figures he has a 51% chance to win the hand by betting that much on the river, he will make that wager EVERY SINGLE TIME.

That kind of sickness separates the winners from the losers.

You cannot play passively to win in poker.

You must get in there and gamble, but realize when you need to switch gears.

Good luck at the tables! 🙂


About TD
Live Consciously, Expand Your Awareness!

9 Responses to Traits of Above Average Poker Players

  1. Kit says:

    Hey, good read. I am interested to know how did you deduce that 90% of poker players are long term losers?

    • 90% is a rough estimate, not exact. Based on statistical data kept by online poker sites over a period of multiple years, they figured that to be a close estimate. Not sure of the source of where I read that but I am sure you can search for it and find it on Google.

  2. Harry Weston says:

    90% to 10% that is probably the world average losers/winners ratio. It is the same with FOREX market.
    Good article my friend!

  3. Charles Hice (Tenn Man) says:

    Not a poker player. But, I wanted to let you know that the Post on Mitt Romney did not appear!!!!

    Political and/or a mistake?

    Hello World!
    Charles Charles

  4. I made a comfortable living playing in tournaments on Poker Stars – until the feds closed it down. I agree with your loose-aggressive comments, as do David Sklansky and many others. For people who don’t realize it – these rules apply only to no limit games and do not apply to fixed limit games. However, after about eight years at the tables (live and on-line) I honestly think that poker is a game of luck, punctuated with an element of skill. Otherwise we would see the same great players every year at the final tables of the WSOP – and we would never have coined the phrase “bad beat.”

    • @dieselpokers says:

      Yes they do apply to no-limit specifically. The reason why the same players don’t make the final tables every year is because the player fields have EXPLODED at the WSOP in recent years. To final table a tournament with 6,000 is an amazing feat but look at what Ivey, Mizrachi, Ben Lamb and other pros have done at the WSOP in recent years and I think there is no argument that skill outweighs the luck factor. The bad part is you can get unlucky on one card and it will cost you your entire tournament! 🙂

      • I was at the final table of a small (150 entrant) live tourney. Kept getting drawn out all night but I finally won a few hands and struggled back. I made it to the final table as low stack. My first hand I was dealt QQ. Before the flop I called the next smallest stack who had gone all-in with AK off. The flop came Q – Q – K. And would you believe K-K were dealt out on the turn and river. Day trading is far more profitable and predictable – but I wish you the best in your poker career.

  5. Ann Novek says:

    Interesting insight into the poker world. I have been in horse racing, also a gamblers world, never gambled, too insecure….. Ann

    • @dieselpokers says:

      Yeah gambling can be fun but make sure you set aside a bankroll just for gambling that you can afford to lose! 🙂

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