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What Separates Good Poker Players From the Best (Explained by Doug Polk)

Three-time WSOP bracelet winner Doug Polk explains what separates good poker players from the best poker players.

In this video Doug shares what he has learned over his career that began at micro stakes and ultimately ended up at the very tip top of the poker world (We are not shy about it here at Upswing, Doug is the best).

Specifically, Doug goes into several mistakes he made on his journey upwards and gives suggestions that you can apply to your own game and practices so that you can ultimately be a more successful poker player.

Note: Want to learn which hands the pros play preflop? Get our 8 easy to read preflop charts.

What Doug Would Have Done Differently

  1. Played fewer tables. Doug feels that too many players think how many tables you play is the mark of a successful player. Too often though, players will compromise their win rate by trying to increase their rake-back. Doug suggests 4-5 tables as optimal for most and at most maybe 6. This will allow you to focus more on decisions and make more correct money-making plays.
  1. Played shorter hours. When Doug initially started playing, he would put in marathon sessions trying to put in thousands and thousands of hands a day to try and drive his rake-back up and through the process would compromise his win rate. Doug says focusing on just being a winner at the table and allowing the rake back to be a bonus is a much more optimal strategy for continued growth and success.
  1. Spend more time away from the table. Doug suggests that continued education and studying away from the table are just as important as how many hours you are putting in playing the game. If you’re not continuing to try and grow and advance your game, you may find yourself left in the dust one day as the game continues to evolve and players continue to become better as a whole. Doug also suggests that if you’re playing against the same regs every day, you should spend specific time away from the table studying those players in particular so you can find better ways to exploit and take advantage of them.

In this video, Doug will go into more detail about these mistakes he thinks he made and reiterate why he feels they are so important for the longevity and growth of a player’s poker game.

If you want to find out Doug’s theoretical approach to poker and how he beats the games, check out The Lab. Lab Members are invited into a private Facebook group where we all collaborate together – and members get some questions answered by Doug himself.

The purpose of The Lab is to help our members make more money and move up in stakes – it’s best suited for anyone playing 400nl and below, or 5-10 live and below.


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About the Author
Matt Colletta

Matt Colletta

I’m Matt “Checkmate” Colletta. I’ve been playing poker professionally since about 2004.

As one of the poker pros on, my goal here is to help transform at least one hobbyist poker player into a self made millionaire.

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