People play poker for different reasons. If you want to play poker then you must want to win and bring the money home. Winning poker is all about getting the prize money. It is not about playing to win a bunch of poker titles from different tournaments. In one way or another, these might happen but this is now how and why you play to win.
Winning poker is the science and the art of taking more money that what you put on risk on the poker table. You risk your money in very calculated ways and aim to end up with more money than when you started the game.
Some players will say that they are not playing for money, then they might be playing for something else, like their ego or some other goals.
Self confidence is vital in winning poker while playing to feed your ego will not do your game any good.
You really do not have to care why other players play poker but if you want to win and make most out of your game, you need to be honest and be motivated to play for money. Your ego should be somewhere else so you will not be distracted while playing. Playing for ego is wasting your time when you can be winning spendable money all along.
People who are reading this right now may also think playing for money does not conflict with playing for ones ego. But you should remember that the right thing for your ego might not be the right stuff for your bankroll. When you play for your ego, you will have the tendency to play way above what your bankroll can take, play too long, defend blinds against specific opponents, or acting differently against some opponents.
What is important is that you play poker to win.
Perfect Your Observation Skills
Coming from any angle, you will be playing a lot better if you only know what other players could be holding. It is critical that you hone your observation skills while playing the game. It is a long-term investment which can spell profits for you.
The basic idea is that poker players are also creatures of habit. Over and over again, they will most likely play the same way when they hold the same set of cards.
Doing the research while out of hand
When you have your cards and into the action, focus and concentrate on how you can make your cards bring some money for you. Go for the best outcome possible. You do not think about how you can play the person when you meet again in the future.
Applicable to the average players
Observing behavior works for the big bulk of average players. It does not help you against the worst players since they themselves do not have an idea of what they are doing so you cannot rely on an information you pick up from them.
The best players will also not allow someone to pick up their habit thru observation. They will mix their play up so you cannot learn their pattern.
After a few rounds of poker, you can somehow know the style of almost all players, maybe except for two or one. Try to notice their practices with every hand that they play in. You have to know how they play their starting hands and observe if they play them well. In case someone raises prior to the flop, see what kind of cards he raised with and also watch how the other players behind him will do.
Knowing more about other players also teaches you how to not give away easy tells to read. Hone your observation skills as often this is even more difficult to learn than playing a hand.