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What do the World's Great Poker Players Know...
That You Don't?


Poker Wizard Extracts

How Poker Pros Make Millions

Ever wonder what sets a good poker player apart from a pro? Is there one secret to playing the game? A strategy? Is there a certain talent that only some lucky players have? Are you born a great poker player or can anyone develop into one? I’ve wondered about that myself and decided to investigate some of the top professional poker players and see what sets them apart.

And what did I find? In general, the best poker players have 5 characteristics in common.

1) Intelligence

In order to be a good poker player, you need people skills, some math knowledge and good intuitive ability. You have to be pretty smart to be good at poker, but I don’t mean doctor smart or lawyer smart – you have to be street smart. Whether or not a player has a strong educational background doesn’t really matter; the best players are all very, very smart people who consistently make better decisions at the table.

Another type of inherent intelligence that the best players have is often called ‘feel’.Feel is what separates great players from average ones. It’s instinct or a gut feeling, and it comes from the subconscious. This intuitive sense is something many players don’t have, making them very static players who are easy to read.

2) Competitiveness

Above all, to excel in poker, you have to love being very competitive. It’s got to hurt when you lose. The competitiveness is what drives and motivates you to become a better player. However, in poker you have much less control over the outcome than in many sports, so you must be willing and able to lose without it affecting your game because no matter how good you are it is going to happen.

3) Aggressiveness

Being aggressive is important in poker but it’s not the most aggressive players who are the best, it’s the ones who can be aggressive at the right time. The question of how aggressive you actually need to be isn’t easy to define. Weak and timid doesn’t work in poker, but at the same time, you have to be able to lay down a big hand. It’s very hard to find people that can do both of those things successfully. It’s picking your spots and being aggressive at the right time that’s key.

4) Discipline

The need for discipline (both with your cards and your money) commences well before you sit down at the table to play. The best players know how important it is to be physically and mentally prepared for a tournament. Once you’ve decided that you’re in good shape to play, utilize sound judgment and money management skills to stop yourself from risking more than you can afford. Personal discipline is the key.

When you’re at the table, use your discipline to wait for good opportunities and get away from bad situations. In a tournament, there’s no doubt as to when it’s time to stand up and leave! But when you’re way down in a cash game, or even well ahead, it sometimes takes a huge amount of discipline to get up from the table. There will be times you’ll have to force yourself to put your ego aside and walk away a loser – for the time being, of course.

5) Read, Watch and Learn

There are fundamental skills and knowledge involved in poker and the best players have studied the game and continue to read, watch and learn. Great players learn everything about the game and read everything they can, picking up something from every book they read. Just like anything else, if you want to be good at poker, you have to work at it.

Once you’ve got the basics down, be willing to think out of the box. Good players are always willing to try new things and experiment. They read about strategies, watch and study players they respect, and they always walk away from a game – win or lose - and evaluate their own play and consider how they might have done things differently




About the Author

Warwick Dunnett


As a Boeing 747 Captain with a large US-based cargo company, Warwick Dunnett travels the globe looking for adventure, new challenges and conquests.  For the last five years, those challenges have been found not only in the exotic countries he visits but inside his constant companion ….a small grey laptop computer.


On an auspicious day in 2003 Warwick discovered the tough world of competitive poker.  Perhaps it was the training he received as a futures trader earlier in life or the professional pilot’s mathematical reasoning that allowed him to adapt so well!  In any case he found the experience of long periods of observation intertwined with brief moments of adrenalin pumping exhilaration familiar territory.  After a couple of months of play he won a major Limit Holdem tournament on an online site called ‘PartyPoker.com,’ then later won a $13,000 entry package into the Australian Poker Championship Main Event.

By 2005 prize winnings from poker rivaled his income as a professional pilot when he first won $85,000 (Aus.) for a 6th place finish in the ‘Ozzie Millions’ and then went on to acquire a package entry to the World Series of Poker main event worth $13,000 and an additional three more entries to the 2006 and 2007 Australian Championships in Melbourne, valued at $33,000.

Born in Australia, Warwick now resides in San Francisco with his wife and two young children. When not away flying, he stays close to home and avoids the rigors of the tournament circuit, preferring to primarily play online and in local cash games so he can spend as much time as possible at home with his family. Fueled by a desire for a greater understanding of poker and a deep passion for the game, Warwick sought out answers to a selection of pokers most difficult questions — questions that are now answered by some of the world’s best players in Poker Wizards.




Copyright 2008. Warwick Dunnett. All rights reserved