It’s always fascinating to see a “child prodigy” storm the poker scene and sweep the deck of seasoned poker veterans. At the age of 20, Fedor Holz, a German poker superstar, was already ranked by Pocketfives as the best online MTT player.
That was just the beginning of Holz’s lucrative poker career. Today, he has one World Series of Poker bracelet under his belt and total career earnings of over $32 million. Many poker players across the world would “kill” to find out Fedor Holz’s secret.
How did he manage to get so good in such a short period of time? What’s his trick to consistently winning high roller tournaments? Turns out, there’s no need to speculate or develop our own theories. The professional poker player himself decided to reveal his “secret.” Holz hopes his insights will help other poker fans hone their skills and repeat his success.
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Practice Makes Perfect
The old adage states that it takes 10,000 hours to truly master a skill. That’s over five years of playing poker 8 hours a day to reach the master level. However, by that time, Fedor Holz was already a well-known millionaire in the poker world.
It seems as though he was able to get a firm grasp on the game in a matter of months. So, how did he do it? Whether it was luck, talent, or pure chance — it’s up to you to decide. Anyhow, it all started during a trip to “Cherry Lake.” It was then that Holz started discussing the game and the hands they played with a group of close friends.
They were always fond of the game but never considered going pro before that moment. However, as they revealed how each hand played out and started pointing out areas they could improve on, something sparked in Fedor’s mind.
Everyone in their group was keen to put the new input they received from one another to good use. So they promptly went on to play one more game. One game turned into another, and before they knew it, they had practiced playing poker for four weeks straight.
However, they weren’t merely playing poker. Instead, after each session, they would discuss every single round in detail. Both the volume of play and this analytical approach helped Holz improve dramatically over just a month of playing.
How Each of His Friends Helped Him Master a Different Aspect of the Game
In Fedor’s words, the key to being a successful poker player lies in “surrounding yourself with people who are as passionate about the game and constantly inspire you to get better.” This and his competitive nature allowed him to develop a unique mindset.
Before long, he wasn’t playing merely for fun. Instead, he wanted to “peer into the core of the game” and make the optimal play every single time. And it’s the support of the friends who shared his ambition that helped him climb to the very top.
Here’s the contribution each of them had to Fedor Holz’s amazing success:
Steffen — He helped Holz approach the game from a mathematical standpoint. The insight Steffen provided allowed Fedor to delve even deeper into the core of the game and learn how to fully analyze his opponents, in order to more accurately predict their moves and catch the bluffs.
Rainer — Rainer stressed the importance of learning how to play short stacks and taught Holz about ICM. The deep understanding of the Independent Chip Model and the many sit ‘n’ go games Holz played on Rainer’s incentive also largely contributed to Holz’s success.
Koray — Koray showed him how to rely on intuition and use his gut feeling to get a “read” on the opponents, look for tells, and exploit their weaknesses.
Ben — Out of the five buddies, Ben was definitely the master of preparation. He used to watch 25 different tables at a time on his laptop. Ben would also closely monitor every single play the pros made. This inspired Fedor to constantly analyze the best of the best as well as review his own performance and strive for ways to improve his gameplay.
The Perfect Blend
Apart from sharing the passion for the game, each person in Holz’s group specialized in a different aspect of the game. It’s pure chance that they were so perfectly compatible with each other.
Nearly all of them went on to become a successful poker professional, but Fedor took the spotlight. In our opinion, this is likely due to Holz’s ability to learn and adopt new skills with lightning speed and his dedication to improving his game.
What’s equally as impressive as Fedor’s results is his humility. He shares that, without the unique perspectives, challenges, and support from his friends, he would’ve never been able to become the player he is today.
So, his “big secret” is finding a trusted group of friends who are as passionate about the game as you and will support and inspire you on your journey to the top.