Even those who love the game will tell you that poker can be cruel. Learning to play your best game means becoming adept at dealing with setbacks, staying motivated in the face of disappointment, and putting in the necessary work regardless of your circumstances — in other words, learning to be gritty. Good thing PokerStars School is here to help.

This week:

• Are you a gritty poker player?
• Stay calm heads-up
• More PSPC hands with Ramon Colillas


Get grit

Michael Mizrachi is so gritty, his nickname is “The Grinder”

Some people who take up poker stick with the game and develop their skills long enough to become consistent winners. Others have the potential to do the same but drop out and give up their serious pursuit poker glory.

The difference between these two groups of players, according to Pete Clarke, is that the former group has grit — a combination of sustained passion and resilience.

“Aspiring poker players who lack sustained passion lack the energy to devote large amounts of their time to poker while putting their all into getting better,” writes Clarke. “Players who lack resilience fail to cope with the many setbacks that poker inflicts upon its apprentices in the forms of downswings and immense complexity.”

Learn how to improve your level of sustained passion for the game, and how to navigate the downswings and drops in motivation to play or study, starting here.


Staying calm heads-up

Greg Mueller’s grit earned him his third WSOP bracelet this week

One great way to develop the grit in your game is by watching players who already have it in theirs. James Mackenzie from OP Poker is one such player, and he kicks off this week’s sixth installment in his heads-up strategy series by losing a $60 heads-up match on the first hand against a highly aggressive opponent.

Mackenzie digs in and takes on the same player — and he loses again on a big bluff in a good spot. The grit comes out in the third match and it’s worth a watch for anyone who’s ever had issues with learning to handle setbacks.

Check out the video here and learn by example how to stay calm when playing heads-up.


Two more PSPC hands with Ramon Colillas

Ramon Colillas

Staying gritty helped Ramon Colillas win the PSPC

After last week’s look at three hands from Ramon Colillas’s final table run at the PSPC, Dave Roemer is back this week to break down two more hands that Colillas played after the table was down to four players and millions of dollars were on the line.

In the first hand, Colillas opens in the cutoff with K♣10♣ and Jason Koonce defends the big blind. In the second, Collilas again has K♠10♠, but this time he’s the one defending his big blind three-handed against Julian Martini’s aggressive raise from the button.

Check out Roemer’s analysis of these key hands, plus a cards-up stream of the entire PSPC final table, right here.


Other new PokerStars School content you might enjoy

• Question of the Week: Which poker player would you like to play heads-up?
• Strategy: Overbetting the river
• Winners Wall: Two-time Masters League champ and Winning $55K during SCOOP


Open a PokerStars account today and start learning from PokerStars School. Click here to get started, and then click here to register for PokerStars School.


WSOP photography by pokerphotoarchive.com

Jason has covered poker since 2005. He lives in Washington state with his wife and three dogs.

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