Join date: May 2, 2022

Winners Concentrate Intensely

In an otherwise even contest, the man with the best concentration will almost always win.

—Johnny Moss, member, Poker Hall of Fame

Most winners would agree with Johnny Moss because concentration creates a huge edge. While playing, winners concentrate intensely on the action and ignore distractions. They are so extraordinarily single-minded that they rarely think about anything that won’t help them win

Many losers don’t concentrate well. Their minds flit from subject to subject, and they may let other issues or feelings distract their attention. Some losers go further: they think that concentration is undesirable and encourage intense people to “lighten up.” They don’t understand that winners don’t want to lighten up; they want to win. If something won’t help them get the chips, it simply isn’t worth thinking about (at least not while they’re playing).

The biggest winners have extreme powers of concentration: They study almost every card, bet, gesture, and word. They know how many chips each opponent has, who is winning and losing, and how they play when they are ahead and behind. They remember not only who made each bet but also how it was made.

· Were the chips piled neatly or thrown messily?

· Was the bet made quickly or slowly?

· What did he say?

· And how did he say it?

Roy Cooke’s Card Player columns and books clearly illustrate his intense concentration. He considers far more information than most players, and much of this information comes from continuing to study the action after he folds. Many losers “tune out” after folding, but Roy and other winners stay focused, picking up additional information.

Although all winners concentrate intensely, they focus on different subjects. Intuitive players such as Doyle Brunson and Layne Flack concentrate on psychology. They study opponents’ body language, listen to their words, and constantly try to understand, adjust to, and manipulate them.

Logical players such as David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth concentrate on mathematics and betting patterns.

Of course, neither type ignores the other subjects. Since both subjects are important, you should obviously concentrate on both. Mike Caro’s and Joe Navarro’s books can teach you how to read body language. Books by Sklansky, Malmuth, and others can teach you how to calculate odds and understand opponents’ betting patterns. But you must pay close attention to get the information you need to apply any writer’s principles.

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