We all aim for success in just about every area of our lives. When we are successful, whether it be with friendships, our careers, our physical health, or our sex lives, our overall sense of well being increases. Whether you play poker recreationally or for a living, undoubtedly most of you are trying to achieve a high level of success at the game.
We all have different goals: some of us just want to be winners at the $10 husng level, and others are aiming for $500,000 years. As such, while we can make statements like “Spamzor has had a successful couple of years of poker” or “[insert random fish] should probably consider giving up the game or getting coaching”, success is something that can only truly be felt from within.
At the same time, certain players achieve a high enough level of achievement that they earn the respect of the greater poker community, or in the case of HUNL, the greater sub-community. Players like Skilled_sox, Livb112, Jungleman or Durrrr have achieved such high levels of success that nearly anyone in the know would label them an excellent, and highly successful, heads up player. Being well respected by your peers is a strong indicator of success in any field.
While the skill sets required to achieve that particular level of success are likely beyond the scope of my knowledge, I feel I have a pretty good understanding of what it takes to be a successful poker player. In some respects, I’ve achieved a good amount of success in poker, but ultimately I feel that I’ve fallen short of my goals so far in my career.
Nonetheless, I have a good grasp on the areas in which I’ve struggled, and believe I have a solid understanding on the qualities that build a successful poker player. I’ve broken these qualities down into four pillars, each of which is critical in furthering your success as a player.
It’s extremely difficult to determine which of these pillars are more important, but because I have a fascination with numbers and percentages, I’ve decided to give it a shot. Note that these percentages are just estimates and that they may vary depending on your personal goals. For exmample, to achieve a Jungleman-like level of success might require more of an emphasis on “Natural Talent”.
1. Natural Talent – 17%
2. Work Ethic – 25%
3. Professionalism – 40%
4. Life Balance & Confidence – 18%
It would be almost impossible to achieve a high level of success in poker with high marks in only two of these pillars, and even being weak in one area can be a huge setback.
I will now go into detail about each of the pillars, and discuss how they have related to me personally in my poker career.