The development of a poker player

People who are just starting out have a long road ahead of them, but its one filled with fascinating challenges, unlimited opportunities for learning, and (if you do it right) a lot of profitable sessions.

When I was first moving from a beginning player to someone who was crushing the low limit games around Seattle, I read a post on The Cards Speak that did a fantastic job of crystallizing the process of moving from a beginner to an advanced/intermediate player on the road towards expert play. It spoke perfectly to where I was at the time, and was almost poetically written.<blockquote>“Struggling over which hands to play from which position is a distant memory. Pot odds are calculated without effort, almost automatically as the stage 3 player absorbs the flow of the game. He begins to play more by instinct, and has become aware of all of the signals sent by his opponents. The game becomes beautiful, a dance between drawing hands and made hands, and he begins to hear the music.”</blockquote>
Players in their first year of serious play should all read this (now classic) post. It gives you a view of the road ahead, and will help you understand where you are on the path towards great poker play. For example, all players go through a stage where their winning sessions become less frequent, and their variance increases because their understanding of the game is allowing them to play more hands… knowing that they haven’t lost their touch, and that the winning sessions will return, will allow them to advance their game without fear.