Are You Ready To Play Poker? Evaluation, Discipline, and Money Management

Ricky ButtsCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2009

So many people are playing poker these days. The craze started in 2003, and since then, I myself have played with many different types of people. Players from all over the world. I have played with the rich and not so much.

Poker filled the void that was left when I was done playing baseball.  It is strange to say, but poker saved my life.

The best thing about it though, is that I have made money at the table, as well as on the computer.

Now, to clarify, I am not a professional. I tried that, it may have been the hardest three months of my life. It sounds fun, but the pressure to win will play head games with you. You must be very discipline, which may sound easy, but as you see profits, you spend profits.

My goal is to write a series of articles, that may help some of you go from the table "FISH" to the table "SHARK", or at least get you somewhere in the middle.

In writing this, I am assuming my readers know the poker basics. I will not go into hand rankings or anything of that sort.


Step One - Evaluating Your Play

If you want to win at poker, evaluating yourself honestly and often, is very important to progress in the poker world. When you make a bad call, you can't find reason why it was a good call, because it won't help you learn from your mistakes.

When doing this, remember that no matter how good you are, you will make mistakes.  Even the best do, and these get broadcast over numerous television networks all over the world.

So ask yourself right now, "Can I honestly evaluate my play?"

If you say yes, and you truly mean it, then good. If you can't, then I recommend playing super low limits and please, do not ever "bet your house on it."

Step Two - Discipline is Key

Are you often called one of the following at the poker table: Donkey, Maniac, Fish, Loose-Cannon, Idiot, Stupid, or Stupid-Idiot, etc, etc?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you most likely lack discipline.

At this point you have to ask yourself another question, "Can I contain myself?"

See, as a poker player you need to be patient. I don't just mean waiting for a top 10 hand, but for spots to make a move in. You can't call every flush or straight draw, you need to pick the right ones and if you do, you will be profitable.

Now, if you find yourself saying, "Well, I was suited!" or "I only needed a nine for a straight!" then you are behind. You don't want to hear it, but just because you are suited doesn't mean you HAVE to see a flop. 

You have a gut-shot straight draw. Let's say you hold an eight and nine, the board has a six and 10, so a seven makes a straight.  Once again, you DO NOT HAVE to see a turn.

Folding these hands will make you money, because you will not lose money.

Remember that, if you don't lose money in pots you used to, you are essentially making money now!


Step Three - Bankroll Management

I will be writing a full article on bankroll management; it is so very important to understand this.

Right now, I just want you to ask yourself:

  1. How much money can I lose comfortably?
  2. How much money am I willing to lose?
  3. If I lose my bankroll, can I fill my bankroll again?
  4. Am I disciplined enough to stick to a strict bankroll management system?

I want you to answer all of these.  There are really no wrong answers, but if you want to be a winning player, number four is important.

If you want to start playing poker, put up "X" amount of dollars, and not have to reload (you answered "No" to No. 3) then sticking a strict bankroll management system is very important.


I hope the first three steps have given you a good understanding of what it takes to make it in the poker world.  I also hope that it has given you a good understanding of whether or not you have what it takes. If you don't think so, don't be worried, everything here can be learned, too. 

So, until the next article, figure out exactly what you want to accomplish. Some people just want to play for fun. That is fine, but why not make at least a little money while doing it?

Other people want to make poker a second, or even first income. This is great, but practicing everything in this article is very important.

Good luck, but better skill!