What Separates Great Poker from Good in the 2020’s

great poker

Being Good isn’t Enough?

Online poker has gone through rapid changes in the last 20 years. For anyone old enough to remember the good old days, things are quite different now. The standard back then was so poor that an average TAG at NL $25 of today could crush mid stakes back then.

We’ve demonstrated before that the argument “poker is dead” is false, it does beg the question what does it take to be great in the 2020s? In this post we’ll offer a few reasons and hopefully inspire those of you who are doing ok but not crushing games to take your game up a notch in the future.

Mental Strength

The great players of today have mastered the craft involving mental poker. They don’t suffer from tilt anymore. Basically, they’ve seen it, done it and got the T-shirt. When you’ve played millions of hands, got years of data behind you and are a consistent winner in this decade, you are unlikely to be fazed by much online. Bad beats or a big bluff from an opponent aren’t going to impact their game.

This is something a good poker player will still have issues with. A decent poker player may beat the games but will occasionally fall victim to tilt or fail to handle a bad beat. What’s the result of this? They will make bad decisions for a while. Whether it’s for 10 hands, 10 minutes or 2 hours, it’s still a leak that will negatively impact a player’s ROI.

Continuous Studying

It is very impressive to see the great players of today continuing to study the game and tweak their strategy. A good poker player may study but have waves throughout the year of study and none. On the other hand, an amazing poker player will set aside time every week. Their game is evolving and fluid. They’re humble in their outlook of poker, keen to learn new things and never resting on their laurels.

Unfortunately, this is not the same for a standard “good” player. They may hit a ceiling and think the game is solved or perhaps get lazy. When you’re winning at poker you may not see a point in continuing to study. The problem with this approach is that as time goes by, your edge will narrow as opponents close the gap on you.

Poker Software

For years we’ve had access to different poker software. There’s countless apps and software types available. We’ve done research and recommend several in our poker resources page. You can also see them at bottom of this page.

In short, the best poker players are not just relying on their mind to generate a good poker win rate. They’re also taking advantage of different software to maximise their edge. This is just common sense and something all poker players should be doing. Again, the standard poker player is not. They are usually using a poker HUD and that’s it. However, there are other tools available like range analysis software or odds calculators to help.


I hope this article has given some of you a nudge to work harder to become great. Whilst we patiently wait for American states to legalize gambling, A* poker is necessary to move up stakes.

Once the doors are open to Americans, good poker may well be enough again. In the meantime, we recommend taking advantage of poker software, training yourself to be mentally tough and spend time studying poker strategy. If you do these three things with a humble attitude you can become a professional poker player.

Image Source: Pixabay

Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: info@texasholdemquestions.com