SEPARATING THE GREAT FROM THE GOOD
Being a successful poker player is not just about taking your seat and playing well in a tournament. It’s also out preparation.
Like athletes in any sport, the best poker players put the time between events to best use, with the aim of maximising their performance. For some this can mean keeping healthy so you start in the best possible shape mentally and physically. For others it’s simply a matter of staying focused, keeping mistakes and distractions to a minimum.
Two players exemplified that mentality on the European Poker Tour in Campione this week.
Patrik Antonius had his first taste of poker success in 2005, winning EPT Baden. A former tennis player, Antonius, from Finland, quickly displayed a unique will to succeed, first mastering hold’em and then studying other variations of the game with help of other pros, in order to broaden his skill base.
The result has been a record almost unrivalled in poker, of big wins in tournaments and a career built on high stakes cash games in Las Vegas. Those playing against Antonius they know they’re up against one of the most talented and best prepared players in the game.
Roberto Romanello may have more humble origins, coming from Swansea in South Wales, but the Welshman is another pro who demonstrates a knack for making every advantage for himself.
Ironically the former EPT winner has cashed only once in EPT main events this season, but he has cashed 11 times in side events, winning two and coming second in another. It’s a performance that puts him second in the Player of the Year rankings with two events left to play.
Romanello’s approach is simple, relying on complete focus for the week long trips, during which he has been known to turn his back on nights out to maintain his intense focus that has resulted in him reaching back to back finals in three separate festivals this season.
Combined with extraordinary talent, Antonius and Romanello are also humble. Both share another thing in common, a life beyond the walls of the tournament room. Antonius has two young children and rarely travels far away from his family. Romanello helps run the family business back in Swansea where a large extended family provide him with support while keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
Poker is not always predictable and can sometimes turn to bite you. It’s how you cope with that, and how you conquer it, that separates the good players from the truly great.