The best poker players in the world all have this one skill. It has nothing to do with the tactical aspects of the game. It has nothing to do with reading your opponent, playing position, betting correctly or grinding. That one skill that the best of the best all have is patience.
It is said patience is a virtue, it is also an acquired, learned and honed skill that can lead to some monster pay days. I have never seen a successful poker player say, “it’s time for me to force the action.” That just isn’t reality. As we sit here on the eve of the 2015 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, here is this little reminder on the virtues of patience courtesy of the ole BitOBaca.
The greats of the great can sit at a table for hours, whether in cash or tournament play and wait out their opponents. This patience serves two purposes. First, if you aren’t getting cards it allows you to nonchalantly throw them into the muck and live to fight another day. Second, it allows the real good players to get reads on their opponents. Being a novice, I have found great strategic value in this move. One can pin-point the weak players and stay out of the way of the stronger ones. Remember, the more information you have about your opponent, the easier it will be to beat them straight up, regardless of the cards you hold in your hand.
Patience allows you survey the scene, analyze and make mental notes on your foes. I can’t count the number of times I have gotten into a game at the Bellagio or Aria and have heeded this patient approach. After a few hours of mucking hand after hand I come to the slow realization I am playing with pros. These aren’t players to be messed with. If after an hour-and-a-half to two hours of play you can’t tell who the worst players at the table are, then YOU are the worst player. Attacking a table without knowing anything about your opponents is what loser’s do. You will be broke before you know it.
Some of the best feelings at a poker table are when you can clearly tell who the bad or suspect players are. When this happens you don’t throw your patient ways out the door. Instead, you wait. You pick your spot and then attack. Preferably in position, preferably when they might be on tilt. Notice I am not even mentioning cards. Cards don’t matter when you are playing a bad player. You can check/raise, raise or move them in with their marginal hand. Sometimes they will get lucky and hit a card on the turn or river. But, what you are looking for is an advantage, and the only way to ensure you have an advantage is whether you are holding the nuts, or whether you are playing someone who is just begging you to take their money. The only question left is whether you have the patience to get to this point.
Good luck at the WSOP 2015 !