Why Are Some People Naturally Good At Poker?

Poker player claiming a huge pot.

There’s no doubt you’ve come across people who seem naturally good at something in your life. In some cases, it might have been sports like basketball, while in others it may have been school subjects like mathematics. As a poker player, you might have even come across someone who seems incredibly good at the game, even though they’ve only been playing for a short time. Are these people naturally good? Or is there some other reason that some people seem naturally good at poker? 

In this blog, we take a look at why some people seem to have been born with the skills to excel at offline and online poker and discuss whether there’s more to it than just being dealt a good hand.

Yes, some people may be naturally good at poker

Firstly, it’s important to get this out of the way: while no one is born knowing the difference between a straight and a royal flush, there’s no doubt that some people are born with certain aptitudes and this is what makes them a good poker player later in life. It’s these abilities that help them rise to the top in virtually every poker game, and also provide the answer to the age-old question “is poker gambling or skill?” by showing how these players outmaneuver less-skilled opponents time and time again. 

If you are wondering how to be good at poker and what you can learn from these “naturals,” here are some of the skills or traits that good poker players are likely to have a natural flair for.

1. You are above average intelligence

A poker player looks down and strokes his chin while thinking.

While being smart isn’t a requirement to get good at poker, no doubt many people would argue that it definitely helps. In the study “Human intelligence and brain networks,” intelligence is defined as:

“…a general mental ability for reasoning, problem-solving and learning. Because of its general nature, intelligence integrates cognitive functions such as perception, attention, memory, language or planning.”

Many of the functions associated with intelligence, such as perception, attention, memory and planning, are great tools to have at your disposal when playing poker. If you don’t have these skills, you’re likely to struggle compared to someone who has them innately or who has taken the time to learn and develop them.

2. You have high adaptability

Whether it’s due to luck or the players at the table or other variables, no two games of poker are the same. This is why people who are more flexible in their approach to the game are more likely to have success than someone who sticks to one style of play. This is especially true as the game continues to evolve. For example, someone who is good at reading people and exploiting their weaknesses may struggle against a newer player who understands GTO (game theory optimal) poker and plays according to this newer, more efficient style.

3. You have advanced emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is important in poker for two reasons. 

Firstly, it helps you remain in control of your actions. This means not only will you make decisions that are more likely to lead to a win, but you are also less likely to be influenced into making poor decisions by other players. If you are frustrated or angry (also known as tilted) and other players can see that, they may use overt or subtle methods to manipulate you into playing a certain way.

Secondly, it helps you better understand or even change the state of other players in the game. This may not be as important in online poker, but being able to read “tells” or even just body language cues of other players in real-life poker games is highly beneficial. For example, being able to read the emotional state of another player could help you tell when an opponent is bluffing or when another player is on the back foot.

4. You’re not risk averse

 A poker player with an ace up his sleeve looks at his hole cards: a four and two of clubs.

Poker undoubtedly has an element of skill, but it is also a game of luck. This means a player can make all the right choices and still lose to a one-in-a-million hand. This randomness is likely to make risk-averse people stressed out, which in turn affects the way they play. This is why great poker players are (almost) always the most cool-headed players at the table. They know that sometimes even when they play perfectly, luck may not be on their side. 

People with this same personality trait may also know when to push their luck, allowing them to turn a bad situation into a good one in poker by bluffing and making another player fold. This is something a risk-averse player would never do, as they would likely fold based simply on the strength of their hand.

5. You’re highly disciplined

Even if you’re deficient in some of the other traits we’ve mentioned already, you can make up for it with high levels of discipline. This is because highly disciplined players know poker is about experience and effort and will commit the time and energy to study the game and their own play to make up for areas where they are lacking. It’s players with this level of discipline that will take advantage of tips on how to become a more successful poker player and other educational content to help them overcome their opponents again and again.

All poker players are welcome at Borgata Online

Whether you’re a casual player, competitive or professional poker player, you’re welcome to join in at any of the tables at Borgata Online. At our online casino and poker site, you can enjoy cash games at any time of day, as well as daily poker tournaments with great prizes. We also offer great bonuses and other rewards for new and regular players at our virtual establishment, as well as advice on how to improve your game for beginners and more.

And if you want to mix things up a little the next time you log on, you can use the same account to play all the other exciting gambling experiences we have on offer. That’s right, with a single account at Borgata Online you can gamble with live dealer games, bingo, casino games, sports betting and more!

Register at Borgata Online to put your poker skills to the test or enjoy many of our other fun gambling games.