Caption: Poker is one of the most challenging casino games to master, and one of the most rewarding.
Mastering a new game is never easy. Whether you are a video gamer, a card player or a casino enthusiast, learning to play a new game can take time and effort. But making that commitment is vital if you want to get the most out of your gaming experience.
Some games are more difficult to master than others – take chess for example. Thought to have originated in India or China as far back as the sixth century, it is said there are more possible iterations of this classic board game than there are atoms in the known universe. Just think about that for a second. It is almost certain that no two chess games are ever the same. And some people say it’s boring!
In the world of video gaming, some of the toughest games ever appeared on classic consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System. In 1987, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was released and forced players to master a whole new style of gaming. It may be a 2D side-scrolling title, but Zelda II was as tough as they come.
As well as learning a range of moves, players were faced with in-depth gameplay that raised the bar for developers. The main game trajectory was complemented by lots of mini-games and quests that set the tone for future RPGs. Even today’s gamers find the game tough to master.
In 1989, developers Core released Rick Dangerous, an unofficial homage to Indiana Jones. Such was the likelihood of imminent death in this game players would move pixel by pixel to try and anticipate the next danger. Few people had the skill or precision to complete the game, and a lot of hair was pulled out trying.
Caption: Rick Dangerous is certainly one of the most difficult video games of all time.
The casino’s toughest games
In the casino, there are few games tougher to master than poker. With so many variants and such a reliance on strategy, it is virtually impossible to become an instant poker wizard. The desire to be able to take part often outweighs the need to learn slowly, causing many players to rush into poker.
While roulette and blackjack are fairly easy to pick up, the game of craps takes a while longer to learn. Craps uses dice to determine the outcome of each bet, and the course of the game is determined by the numbers rolled on the dice.
Craps games can feature up to 20 players who all get the chance to throw the dice and bet. The game is played in two phases, and there are dozens of bet types available. Once mastered, craps can be one of the most exciting casino games.
How poker skills can benefit video gamers (and vice versa)
Learning to play poker can actually benefit video gamers. The top card players are known for their patience and ability to know when to take a risk and when to play it safe. They must also maintain focus and concentration for long periods of time. All of these attributes are required for elite video gaming. What’s more, poker players do a lot of homework, studying poker strategy articles while also developing their own plans. The message that you can’t be instantly good at poker is clear and equally applies to video gamers.
Likewise, those who enjoy a game of Texas Hold‘em can also learn something from gamers. The hours spent perfecting the same scenario over and over again, the fine-tuning of the decision-making process and the ability to use strategy to weaken your opponent are all features common to both disciplines. Games such as Hearthstone, StarCraft, Counter-Strike, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Civilization are all excellent proving grounds for budding poker players. The use of hand-eye coordination in video gaming can also benefit poker players who play online, often across multiple screens.
Follow the example of the professionals
In both fields, there are players who make a living from the games they play, and all of them apply a similar approach to perfecting their craft. Players need to be dedicated, work hard and have some natural flair for gaming. In that respect, competitive online gaming is much like any professional sport. Every player has their own area of expertise. For example, a role-playing gamer may not fare as well at a sports game, or a card player might not be a good dice shooter and vice versa.
So, as well as hard work and dedication, it is also important to find your own niche. From there, great tactical and strategic thinking can help you go a long way. But players who really want to gain an edge need to go one step further.
This is where having a different mindset comes in. In 1998, fed up with underachieving, Ben Hunt-Davis and the GB men’s rowing team started asking the same question before every decision they made: “Will It Make the Boat Go Faster?” They focused on performance and nothing else. Before they ate, drank, slept and trained, they kept asking the same question and made decisions accordingly. Within 18 months, they had an Olympic Gold medal.
Caption: Strictly following a training regime definitely pays dividends in the long run.
You will find that most professional gamers are similarly dedicated. They eat and drink healthily, exercise, sleep well and keep hydrated. They also know when to relax and many have separate hobbies away from their computer screens or gaming tables. Before every decision they make, they consider the consequences on their performance. If you want to take your gaming to the elite level, you need to think like a champion.
Whatever your gaming ambitions, you can’t just hope to pick and play and expect instant success. You need to set aside time to develop a plan and master your craft. After all, fools never rush in.