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Team Online PokerStars Goals
As Part of our Poker Goals Promotion we interviewed 2 of our Team Online Pros to find out exactly what it takes to become a winning Poker Player.

Felix Schneiders    ║   Lex Veldhuis

 


Name: Felix Schneiders
PokerStars User ID: xflixx
Year Started Playing Poker: 2006

1) What goals would you suggest for a beginning player?

Before you even start playing a single hand of poker make sure you set your guidelines straight for moving up through the stakes! Even the best Poker players making the best possible decisions in a session are not able to succeed longterm when they do not manage their money well. Inform yourself here in the forums, research on the web or ask professional Poker players, e.g. on Twitch or during PSO classes about it. Having a clear plan on when to move up and down will also help you keeping perspective on the longterm and on the evolution of your game!

2) What goals would you set yourself in order to grind a long tournament or poker session?

Before opening up or sitting down at my tables I always focus on goals that I can influence and accomplish with my own mind or body. I typically ask mysef "What will be most important thing in this upcoming long session?".

If I am going to play a long tournament my ultimate goal is to win it so I need to be prepared to be patient, survive and hold on to my tournament life with both my mental and physical stamina. Hence my biggest concern will be to take care of these aspects by preparation with healthy food, plenty of water and the plan to get away from the tables during breaks in order to stretch, take my mind off the game or even do a little mini workout.

If I am going to play a long cashgame session my goal to to make the most out of each and every decision. This can be accomplished through mental discipline and a good self-designed schedule with breaks (e.g. every 30 minutes or 1 hour).

3)  Thinking back to when you first started playing poker, what goals do you think led you to becoming pro?

My goals are and were always fueled by my pure love for the game itself. I wanted to become successful in the game of Poker while being able to maintain myself with it. I quickly learned that Poker offers a deep layer of opportunities to improve yourself, your mindset and your perspectives on the world. This is what keeps fueling my love for the game every day! 

4) What percentage do you feel a beginning player should be playing poker compared to studying poker?

Once you have a solid grasp on how to manage your bankroll and the process of moving up or down, start playing! Learning about Poker theory, collecting strategy advice and constant review of your most tricky hands should be a regular, even daily part of your Poker routine for your to improve your understanding of the game but make sure you do practice enough by playing with a strong focus on adjusting to what your day-to-day opponents are doing at the tables! Hence I recommend dividing your Poker time into 80% of actual play and 20% of studying - feel free to add more time spent studying, but make sure to never give it any less than these 20%!

5) What should players avoid when setting goals so that they have a realistic chance of achieving them?

Avoid setting goals related to things which will be out of your control. The game of Poker is subject to variance and you cannot influence the run of the cards or your monetary outcome of a session. What you can influence is how well you play, what you base your decisions on and how you structure your session. Focus on goals like:

1. Improve my preflop game today
2. Study my opponents' betting patterns
3. Play X hands as long as I am focused and take well-timed breaks



Name: Lex Veldhuis
PokerStars User ID: L. Veldhuis
Year Started Playing Poker: 2005

1)   What goals would you suggest for a beginning player?

A lot of beginning players want to play at a level that they feel they can beat. I think it's very important to start very low. Most of the time when I suggest this people say 'But people there don't know how to play poker. I want to play real poker'. My simple reply to that is: 'Then it shouldn't take you long to beat that level and move up to the next stakes'. I started out playing 1ct-2ct with $10 to my name. I think one of the reasons I became good was that my basics were very solid. I beat every level going up and I had seen every style. Another very important thing is don't focus on volume. You can start playing a lot of tables when you have a solid grasp of the basics. Putting more time in moving up and getting better will make you a lot more money than playing 24 tables with a $10 buy-in. Play 2-3 tables and constantly ask yourself why you are doing stuff.

2) What goals would you set yourself in order to grind a long tournament or poker session?

It's important to train your attention span. You can't just start out playing 10 hours in a row. Play small fields at first or short cash game sessions. Build it up from there. If you feel you are just clicking buttons stand up and take a break. One mistake could mean you wasted 3 hours of work. You have to be focused all the time. Make sure you eat well and do exercises.

3)  Thinking back to when you first started playing poker, what goals do you think led you to becoming pro?

What I really liked when I started was the fact you could start low and train yourself. There were so many levels to beat it felt like a competition. Also the highest levels are very visible so I would always watch the people that played there and thought to myself that I want to make that level one day. It's very important to love the game itself too. It's not a quick way to make money. It's hard work.

4) What percentage do you feel a beginning player should be playing poker compared to studying poker?

I think the studying is very important. I would say 50-50 is a good ratio. You play and then you study or examine the situations you've experienced. If you are in a tough situation write down specifically what that situation was and then just think about it. How do you want to be playing in general in that spot? When other people do something weird, don't just say he is dumb and he is bad - think if there is some merit to what your opponent is doing. Maybe he learned something you're not aware of yet. Studying is crucial in getting better.

5) What should players avoid when setting goals so that they have a realistic chance of achieving them?

You have to set attainable goals. If you say I want to make $1,200 this month you are setting yourself up for failure. There is variance in poker and some months you will lose. You could say at the end of the year I want to have moved up two stakes. Set goals that you can actually achieve. When you've never studied before don't put 'Study 5 hours on Tuesday' in your diary. It's not going to happen. Instead start with 30 minutes. Same with playing. You can't start playing 10 hours a day out of the blue. It requires training. Allow yourself that time. Build it up and if you achieve the goals you set you will get even more motivated.

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