If someone wants to rise to the top of the poker scene and become one of the best players in the world, they should stick to purely playing cards, right? After all, that’s the thing they’re aiming to get good at, so it makes sense that they play it constantly until they’re the best. The thing is, though, poker doesn’t quite work like this. And, if you stick to solely playing the game, you may miss out on honing other skills that are essential to your success.
Sports Stars Don’t Just Play Their Sport
More and more people are coming around to the idea that poker is a sport, just like baseball or football. The reason for this is that it mainly relies on skill, and players can make their way to the top of the game through training, practice, and perseverance. With this in mind, it would be useful to compare how sports stars manage to rise to the top and see how it can be applied to poker.
Take a professional footballer for example. Do you think Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady became the best in the world by only playing football games? It’s true, he has played a vast number of games over the course of his glittering 20-year career. But between his rigorous exploits in the NFL, he doesn’t play full matches in training. Instead, he spends most of his time working on different aspects of his game.
In a lot of practices, professional NFL players might not even touch a football. Instead, they’ll spend time in the gym, building up muscle. They’ll run around the track to boost stamina. They’ll analyze past games to see where they can improve their tactics. When all of these things are brought together, the end result is success on the field of play on match day.
Poker players need to think like this. When they turn up at the felt, they are bringing an amalgamation of the different attributes that are going to help them succeed. They are bringing math skills, psychology knowledge, strategy, and the ability to control their emotions. Working on these facets separately can help to strengthen them more than simply playing cash games and tournaments ever could.
Ivey and Negreanu Play Other Offerings
If you want to be among the best in the business at something, it helps to look at who’s at the top. What can you learn from them and what things do they do that you can copy? Many poker players would consider Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu to be two of the best poker players on the planet. And guess what? They both enjoy playing other games besides poker.
There is no doubt that these industry heavyweights play other offerings as a way to improve their overall poker skillset. Ivey, the winner of ten World Series of Poker bracelets and one World Poker Tour title, is known to play baccarat when away from the felt. This game relies on sharp and quick mathematical calculations. These are important skills to bring to the poker table, as players need to be able to work out their odds without having to strain themselves.
Negreanu, who has six WSOP bracelets and two World Poker Tour titles to his name, chooses to play hearthstone when he isn’t pulling off magical reads at the Texas Hold’em table. This may come as a surprise to many, as the magical card game doesn’t even involve betting. On the surface, the player vs player offering from Blizzard Entertainment appears to bear no resemblance to poker. But, when you delve into the strategies involved, there are numerous similarities.
For instance, players need to be perceptive in figuring out what the opponent may be holding. Then, they need to play their own cards accordingly. In poker, players must always try to guess what their opponent has, and use this deduction to influence their own bets. Negreanu has shown an acute perspicacity when it comes to this skill at the felt, and Hearthstone may well have helped with this.
Plenty of Choice to Sharpen the Skillset
Poker players who want to follow in the footsteps of Ivey and Negreanu don’t necessarily need to copy their game choices exactly. There are numerous alternatives out there that can achieve the same result. For example, instead of playing baccarat, players could choose to go for blackjack. Both of these are good for honing math skills. There are numerous blackjack options to choose from online, for example, with Betway offering live, classic, Atlantic City, and European versions of the game. Playing different strains can keep you on your toes and ensure that your calculations are always on point.
With regards to fantasy card games for improving poker strategy, Hearthstone is by no means the only option out there. If you don’t like the Blizzard Entertainment offering, you could try CD Projekt RED’s Gwent or Wizards of the Coast’s Magic the Gathering Online.
If you’re a poker player that wants to rise up through the ranks, you need to adjust your mindset to that of a sports star. Train different aspects of your game through other means, and then bring all of these together at the felt for the best chance of success.