The following is dedicated to 4 of my students sebumd, mini-mentor,
peatr99, and eburnside:
After working with many lower level players I have learned of a
concept that I deemed the "Noobie Barrier". It happens
to players with actual skill level around $.5/1 - $2/4 who are stuck
in .5$/1 and occasionally stick their heads out to $1/2. Almost
every single lower level played that has come to me seems to have
it. Only a small % of online players are consistent winners and
here is why (many are interrelated):
In Order of Importance
Discipline: This is the most important factor
in differentiating a winning player from a losing player I cannot
stress it enough. Being disciplined means following all the below
things without wavering. It means not punishing yourself when you
get a couple bad beats by going on tilt.
Nomad Syndrome: Focus all your skills on 1 specific
type of poker. This is a big one, lots of beginning players jump
around to wherever there mood takes them that particular day: they
might go from limit ring to limit tournies to shorthand, to multi-table
tournies, to no limit, and then randomly play some heads up when
they think they've found a "fish". This is NOT good, stick
to one thing and master it. This is similar to wanting to spread
your skills between the different games like omaha, hold' em, and
stud. Some players justify it by saying, "I want to be flexible
so I can play at any table in the country". However, this is
unnecessary as there always plentiful games of whatever you want
available online. You do not want to be a "jack of all trades",
you want to be a Poker Master, hold' em specifically.
Tilt: Almost anytime you are playing noticeably
different something is wrong, you have not had any poker revelations,
you are on tilt... real learning is gradual. Some players tilt into
playing loose aggressive and others into tight passive/scared, figure
out which you are. To read more on preventing and dealing with tilt
Limit Selection: Break down your tables into the
smallest possible denominations: don't play 2 $2/4 play 4 $1/2.
The amount of skill you lose by playing more tables is more than
compensated by the decrease in skill of the other players by playing
a lower limit. Also by playing more hands at lower limits you spread
out the variance of bad luck because you are playing more hands
Insufficient Bankroll: This one is immensely important,
not having a large enough bankroll is catastrophic. Be sure to play
within your bankroll level, to find out more about this click
here. Often times beginners will move up limits way too fast!
I am all about pushing one's self but you still need to be cautious.
State of Mind: Never play intoxicated, it lowers
your inhibitions and play level (most of us can empathize with this
one). Similarly, never play poker if you are in a bad mood or under
a significant amount of stress. It does not cheer you up if you
are down, it only complements a good mood.