‘KingDan’ Smith offers 4 Keys to Poker Success

Posted on by RTR Dave
Dan Smith and Friends RakeTheRake

Dan Smith and pals

The GPI’s #1 ranking, a WPT title, $8.86 million in tournament winnings…yeah, Dan ‘KingDan’ Smith can play poker. So it’s little surprise that Entrepreneur Magazine picked Smith’s brain when they were looking for a pro to dish some tips and compare poker to entrepreneurship. As KingDan contends, both poker and business require high-risk decisions that create a “special blend of excitement and anxiety.” So how does Smith go about overcoming the anxiety and making the best decisions possible? Let’s take a look at some tips from the world’s top-ranked poker player.

1. Manage your expectations

Nobody enters poker tournaments expecting to lose every time. However, putting too much emphasis on winning in an uncertain game leads to major disappointment. As Smith explains, if you can win a 1,000-player tournament one out of every 200 times, you’re doing a good job. Poker is full of ups and downs, so be prepared for the downs and enjoy the ups when they come around.

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

While high-stress situations are always harder to perform in, they get a lot harder when you’re unprepared. So Smith recommends thinking through various scenarios at home and calculating poker math for these situations. This way you’ll be much more ready when a difficult situation comes up in a tourney and the pressure is on. He also advises that players figure out what exactly helps them perform and feel their best on the poker table. For Smith, this involves meditating and having easy-to-digest foods on hand.

3. Move past mistakes to prevent ’tilt’

Even when you prepare properly and practice enough, you’re bound to make a mistake or two. And this rings true for both poker pros and amateurs. But when one dwells on mistakes and lets them ruin future decisions, it costs money on the felt. This is why Smith explains that you need to avoid feeling bad about past mistakes that can’t be changed. Otherwise, you risk going on tilt and losing even more cash.

4. Have more interests than just poker

The best poker players are those who work the hardest and put time into fixing their leaks. However, when you obsess over something, it can control your life when the results aren’t going well. Furthermore, you’ll be more susceptible to burnout and frustration if you are failing on the poker tables. So it’s always nice to have other pursuits and interests outside of the game. For Smith, trying for new personal records in the gym helps him overcome poker downswings.

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