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Making a poker style your own

By Smokin | January 10, 2011

Just why should you develop your own style of play in poker? Well there are numerous reasons but first I need to answer the question as to why you need your own style and why you simply cannot copy someone else’s style. Firstly there are many reasons as to why another good player’s style of play may not be compatible for you. We will take a look at a good solid pro who we will call “Jake”. This guy is a respected coach of a poker coaching site and makes a decent living from the game.

However his style and methods are for his game and if that game is say NL400 six max then there are many reasons as to why what he does in those games would not suit you. All poker styles have an element of variance attached to them meaning that some styles incur far greater swings than others. Now this may not be a problem but then again it could be. The person who you are receiving the knowledge from may be very successful with that style but if their attitude to risk is substantially different than yours then you may have problems somewhere down the line.

Another factor that can have a huge effect on your play is the number of tables that you play. If you learn a style of poker from a good player and then try to replicate that style on too many tables at once then you may have trouble. I found this out to my cost when I tried playing more and more tables. I found that my normally winning style when I played up to six tables suddenly started to struggle when I played 10 or 12. This was basically down to the fact that my concentration levels were not what they should have been and so I was getting lost in pots once I hit a certain level.

I was fine playing fewer tables because there were fewer situations where there were big pots that converged. But with ten or twelve tables on the go at any one time then there would often be big pots converging and my playing decisions were getting worse. I found that I would blow hours of accumulated profit in a very short space of time. So even in this instance then you have to respect the fact that there is a large amount of individuality involved with poker styles.

If you receive advice from a top pro who shows you a very effective poker style that would give you an earn rate of $60/hr in the long run then this is still not the end of the road so to speak. The problem is that it could take 200k-300k hands before that earn rate normalises but if you incur a losing run early in your career then this can totally and utterly destroy your confidence. It is for this reason why I think that variance is the poker player’s biggest enemy.

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