What does it take to climb the ranks of global poker, making millions in the process? More than a smart game plan and knack for playing cards, it turns out.
Earlier this year, Skrill met with poker champion and Skrill VIP, Fedor Holz, to hear more about his approach to poker. The way he sees it, success isn’t all about honing your skill; it’s about taking a step back to develop a winning mindset.
Become a better loser
For Fedor, succeeding at poker is as much about dealing with losing as it is about striving for victory.
“When I lose I have to inject logic again… I tell myself it’s part of the game,” Fedor says. Clearly unphased by the prospect of losing, Fedor continues, “some people have to run good and other people have to run bad – that’s just how it is.”
You can’t help but admire his nonchalant attitude to losing, especially when the high-roller tournaments he enters see hundreds of thousands at stake.
But admiration aside, Fedor’s message is an important one for all players – don’t let losing throw you off. Instead, tackle each game with the right focus and wait for luck to swing back in your favour.
Put your ego to one side
Fedor also urges caution when it comes to rivalries with other players.
“You have to get rid of your ego in some way,” he says, reflecting on past rivalries of his own. He goes on, “train to focus on the game and not rivalries or other players.”
In a game where losing hurts your bank balance, as well as your reputation, ignoring rivalries is easier said than done. But keep your competitive streak in check and your thinking will stay rational.
Work out, eat well
A winning mindset is easier to grasp if you’re in shape, and Fedor is a firm believer in taking care of your body as well as your mind.
His belief in looking after yourself includes getting the right amount of sleep. “Sleep is super important… I’d recommend maxing out your sleep; don’t set an alarm, get up and going when you feel good.”
Maintaining a regular sleeping pattern might be tricky when you play late-night poker tournaments, but resting after the game is a must.
Take time out
Poker is a stimulating game that has you hooked from start to finish. But even the best players need to step away from the table for a break.
We asked Fedor his thoughts on taking time out. “Shutting myself off is very important to me… it really refreshes your mind,” he commented. Tying in with his thoughts on wellbeing, Fedor believes a balanced life is in keeping with a strong poker mindset.
No matter which topics you touch on when you talk to Fedor, it’s hard to ignore a recurring theme: discipline.
Whether he’s speaking about the thousands of hours he’s spent studying poker or refusing to be distracted by rival players, his commitment to the game is clear.
Holz’s emphasis on discipline also applies to his bankroll. “Don’t play higher than your bankroll allows you; set certain limits,” he says.
He thanks his Skrill wallet for simplifying bankroll management: “Skrill was really important because it was so easy to use. You could conveniently transact money between different portals and platforms.”
Mindset: the key to success
It’s surprising how little talk of card skill there is when Fedor explains the reasons for his poker triumphs. Instead, the conversation centres on his attitude to the game.
His analytical mind and head for poker strategy might have first drawn Holz to poker. But through a balanced lifestyle and rational approach, he’s taken his game up a level while still enjoying the thrills it has to offer.