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Maria Konnikova Poker Tips for Beginners
Maria Konnikova has been the talk of the Poker world after becoming a PokerStars Ambassador. With $209,326 in Tournament winnings since only March 2017. We asked Maria for her top tips on moving from a beginning Poker Player to Pro.

Other related articles you may enjoy: Introducing Team PokerStars Pro Maria Konnikova

1. Don't be afraid of looking dumb. I think something that holds a lot of people back is being scared of asking questions or looking like they don't know something. It's incredibly important to embrace the fact that, no matter how much you learn, there will always be people better than you. Ask them questions. Admit your limitations. When I first started poker, I didn't know how many cards were in a deck. How's that for looking dumb?

2. Find good teachers. It's hard to learn on your own. Find people you admire and ask them for help. These days, you often don't even need to ask: there's so much free content on YouTube, Twitch, and various poker learning platforms. Use it!

3. Play hands. At some point, nothing can substitute for experience. Even though I'm mostly a live player and love the energy of the poker table, I find it's very important to play online, as well. You simply get much more volume--and that will teach you about many spots and dynamics that you won't necessarily encounter at a single live session. Playing online is important enough that it even made me, a die-hard New Yorker, reverse commute to New Jersey on a regular basis. That's something I never thought I'd be doing in a million years.

4. Analyze and study. On the other hand, you can't get so caught up in playing that you don't stop to think and learn. Whenever I play live, I make sure to write down interesting hands to discuss later on, or to analyze using software like PioSolver. When I play online, I often record parts of my sessions to go over later. It's really important to revisit and re-evaluate your own play on a regular basis.

5. Find peers, join discussions. Poker can get lonely. While my mentors have been invaluable on my journey, I've found it's also important to make an effort to get to know your fellow players, the ones playing at your stakes or slightly above whose game you respect. I will often text a hand to someone and ask their opinion on how I played it. Each opinion forces you to look at things from a new angle. And even if you ultimately disagree, it's incredibly valuable to consider alternate thought processes. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in poker is thinking there is one single "correct" way to play a hand.

6. Watch and learn. Some of the best learning I've done comes from watching the best content creators--people like Jason Somerville on Twitch, who give you a glimpse into their thought process. These days, many events are also televised, from PokerStars main events to WSOP to everything in between. Watch the streams, but don't just watch: pause, take notes, look at interesting hands, and try to challenge yourself to figure out why people do what they do. It's an incredible learning experience.

7. Don't get cocky. Too many poker players decide they're "the best" or "great" or whatnot. Just don't. One of the biggest obstacles to learning is overconfidence. The moment you think you're too good is the moment you start being bad.

8. No bad beats. This one is all about the attitude: don't focus on bad beats. Don't tell bad beat stories. They ruin your energy, and it's the absolute wrong way to look at the game. Focus on the process and on how you played, not on the result.

9. Have fun. This one seems silly, but I can't stress enough how important it is. Ultimately, poker is a game. Have fun and enjoy it. A fun attitude will not only make the day go by more quickly, but will help you learn: studies have shown that a positive mindset is actually quite important in absorbing new information. So: enjoy!

Find out more about how Maria became pro.

Other related articles you may enjoy: Introducing Team PokerStars Pro Maria Konnikova
What's your favourite Poker tip? Comment Below!


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