These days poker is everywhere. Pro Poker players are revered nearly as highly as sports stars. You can watch poker on television 24/7 and follow your favorite players – Ivey, Negreanu, Hansen, Brunson, Hellmuth. These guys are loved and respected by poker players all over the world. But is watching them play actually damaging to your own game?
Players’ hole cards being shown to the viewing audience has revolutionized televised poker. This simple technology allows everyone an insight into the heads of the world’s best players. Let’s be straight, watching the best players play could be very helpful.
Viewers who have a solid game already and who understand the complexities of poker understand that the pros play in a different way. You won’t see them playing like the regular Joe Bloggs, for the simple reason that they are pros.
It’s fair to say that you will see the same faces time and again. There’s a simple reason for that and it’s because they are incredibly good. But, could an amateur learn from them in a practical way?
How Pro Poker Players Play
Poker professionals play the game in a way that is infinitely more complex. They don’t follow the regimented patterns that we mortals try to follow. For instance, when we are grinding away at 50p tables, they are playing millions.
They play hands like Q6 and A3, cards we would usually fold on. I mean, come on if you or I tried to copy the way that they play things could and would get very messy, very quickly. Put it this way, there should be a jackass-style warning that accompanies these shows saying – Do Not Attempt Anything You See!
These pros have honed their skills over decades of play. They often play in a style which is the complete opposite of the advice all the poker books tell you to follow.
You are watching masters of the game, wizards of their trade. They employ misdirection, guile, and cunning to lure their prey into a false sense of security. They are above the normal poker laws we abide by. That’s why Daniel Negreanu is worth an estimated $50M.
A good example would be any other sport, I mean you don’t expect to go onto the golf course and break the course record, like Tiger Woods, do you?
Why You Shouldn’t Copy The Pros
So where does this leave us? To put it bluntly, if you copy the pros on TV you won’t become a better player. Hopefully, you have not tried, because if you have you could have major misconceptions.
Here is why. First off many of those you see are just celebrities. Most of them are actually pretty bad poker players. They are simply used to pull in the viewers, nothing else. There may be an odd exception but generally, you should not copy them.
Secondly, accept the difference with the No Limit V Limit option. The guys on the TV have the option to go all-in and put pressure on their opponent. Do you? No is the answer.
On top of this, the pros know each other very well. This goes with knowing your opponent when playing poker. They been playing for hours in a tournament, allowing them to start to read the other players around them.
They are also frequently on the same circuit, so have played each other many times. Always remember that most of the time, what you are watching has been heavily edited for the television.
Ok, it sounds like we are taking all of the fun out of watching the Pro’s here. But, that is not the case. I mean, I love watching these guys playing as much as anyone. All we are saying is remember what you are watching and be mindful not to play like them.