Many people know notes and tonalities, but only a few can compose a serious music composition. Likewise, many people play poker professionally, but only a few have managed to achieve what Fedor Holz has done up to now!
Indeed, the outstanding poker results Fedor Holz has obtained within a relatively short period made us wonder about whether he had a secret or two. And it is quite natural: nobody can outperform the competition that much without being capable of doing something special.
Even assuming that poker is a gambling game, no one believes that pure luck is the only explanation for CrownUpGuy’s poker career, raising him to the top of the world’s poker rankings for a few years; so this means that the there must be some great secrets in his playing skills and general poker proficiency.
Secrets or not, Fedor does not want to keep them out of the public eye. He wants to share. He is the one who believes in the power of sharing knowledge and experience. nd if someone wants to learn from this great pro and to find out more about Fedor Holz’s strategy and some poker tips and tricks — it is not a problem. On multiple occasions, in podcasts, masterclasses, and many interviews, Fedor Holz has repeatedly explained many crucial aspects of his success.
Here are a few tips Fedor Holz has shared.
Table of Contents
Finding Good Company
“My advice for someone just starting to play poker would be to try to get out there and find people that are like-minded; in a similar spot, maybe a little better than you.”
Substitute “poker” with “chess” in this quote, and it should also work perfectly. But it is a piece of good advice anyway, especially because it about being surrounded by people “a little better than you.” It really pushes you forward.
“My close friends, my poker friends, my network; they have been of so much help to me.”
Yes, this is the part of his own success story. At the right time he had right friends who were a little better in poker, and then he decided first to look deeper into this game. What happened then, we all know.
Handling Your Defeats
“I think really dealing with losing all the time is one of the key things in poker.
I mean, I’ve lost hundreds of thousands of times in my career as a player, and you have to train this, you have to get better at it.”
This Fedor Holz poker advice is just another good shell hit. The more you play, the more you lose. Sometimes you really need to gather all your strength to cope with defeats — and by the way, not only in poker. But this brings us back to the general issue of mindset. If your mind is set up correctly, that you can handle everything, both upswings and downswings, and even no-swings if any.
This “mindset” tip is only a tip. If you want to know more, take a closer look at the mindset practices Fedor Holz recommends.
Manage Your Bankroll
“Find the right stakes for you, don’t play higher than your bankroll allows you, set certain limits.”
This one is not a tip. It is imperative. A rule to obey with no exception to it. If a player, even a good one, enters a losing streak, not cashing longer than he has expected, he might end up broke, if he did not manage his bankroll properly. Knowing exactly how much you could afford to lose relates to being reasonable or not reasonable. Which, actually, takes us back to the general mindset agenda, and to the next tip:
“You can be so good at poker, but if you’re not disciplined at the table and off the table, you’ll never make it.”
This Fedor Holz advice touches upon a broader circle of issues a good poker player must know how to handle properly. It is obvious that you need to be disciplined in everything you do. But you might be surprised to learn how strong and deep the negative effect of being not disciplined can be, particularly, in poker. It just can cost too much.
Network Your Analysis
“Really question yourself, question other people, but also get into the exchange. Go to forums, talk to people, build this network.”
“I think that six opinions are mostly better than one opinion. So really, if you want to know something about a hand, just send it to five people and see how they respond.”
It is just another advice Fedor Holz checked by his own experience. Indeed, networking is working. There can be many opinions, and your own one is just one of the many out there. Discussing hands and past games with other players is an important part of becoming a better player — together with your own work and your own analysis. As Fedor says, he had about 10 people to discuss games and to send hands to for deeper analysis and closer examination.
Treating Yourself Well
“Treat yourself well; work out, eat well.”
“Sleep is probably one of the most underrated things out there as well.”
Another useful tip — and this is a right one — is applicable to everybody, everywhere and every day(night). But we tend to ignore what we have heard many times.
Actually, we tend to ignore our real needs. The sacrifice of sleep and rest, the neglect of a healthy lifestyle is another mistake that can be very costly. Because poker overestimates things, both good and bad, like a magnifying glass, and can turn mistreatment into painful financial losses.
For example, you may seem to have lost because of the hand analysis mistake, or because of tough luck or anything else, but the unpleasant truth could well be that you have donked because you did not sleep well last night. Just an expensive lack of shut-eye, isn’t it?
Learning to Accept Things
However, lack of sleep is just a part of the show, and you have to reasonably accept it.
“There’s been tons of nights where you just go to bed really late.”
“It’s just you have to accept it as an alternative lifestyle, and it’s just part of the whole thing.”
Once having accepted an issue, you’ll find a way to handle it. It is only an example of how acceptance works in a broader context. Because as long as you inwardly protest against a situation you don’t like, you will never accept it and find a way out. It is all about being able to accept reality; again, this brings us back to the mindset issues.
In order to be a good poker player, first you may want to accept the very fact that you are a poker player, with all the strings attached, and all the issues you have to handle, and of course, all the consequences you have to take into consideration.
Control Your Ego
“I didn’t get rid of it [my ego],”
“[but I’m] constantly training to focus on the game and not focus on rivalries or other players.”
Some people say poker is an egoistic game, but it is not. Some egoistic people do play poker — yes, that is right — just as much as they play other individual games. But being focused too much on your ego never works to your favor. Because it prevents you to stay focused on the things that really matter in this game and need your attention.
Yes, mindset again. Still surprised? Hopefully not.
“Shutting myself off is very important to me.”
“I think a big mistake a lot of players make is that they never have these moments of shutting themselves off from poker.”
Playing poker means a heavy workload — even if you are sitting by the table, seemingly doing nothing, at least physically. And we know that every workload results in a need of recovery. Not enough recovery means lower threshold: just less workload needed next time to drain your energy down to the point where you will make more mistakes or take wrong decisions. This could cost you a lot, especially at high-roller tournaments.
“Breaks are very important.”
“Get some fresh air.”
“We always did some push-ups, just to get your blood flowing. Also, stretching is very important. Really get off the chair and do something.”
Another piece of good advice, which reminds us of something many people tend to ignore in life. We know that we need stamina for everything, especially for such long-run and exhaustive undertakings as poker tournaments. But not many of us are aware that oxygen consumption is a fundament of stamina and of every kind of it. Probably, Fedor knows it well. That is why hiking and mountain tourism are his favorite kinds of rest.
“Have some connection to other people.”
“Some kind of way of communicating with someone else, so you don’t feel like you’re locked into this.”
Yes, poker is absorbing. If you dive too deep, it can be no good. That is why you should have other activities, other stimulants, and exciters in your life. This would help to take the unnecessary strain off, and to relax your mind. Yes, it’s the old mind again!
And, Generally Speaking
It all comes to the idea: the secret is that there is no secret. Everything is more or less clear, well-understood and even self-explanatory. Many useful tips and bits of advice have been given, and tons of profound studies on poker are already available for everybody who wants to find out how this game really works. But still, many supposedly knowing-it-all play people play poker for many years without getting even close to the results of Fedor Holz. Why?
Maybe because they concentrate on poker too much while there are many other, “non-poker” tips and advice they fail to follow? Could well be. The whole “non-poker” or “off-the-felt” part of the whole show might well be much more important than we commonly imagine.
Or as Fedor himself once said, “The more I develop as a person, the better poker player I am.”