Fabrizio Anteri is currently England’s best Magic: the Gathering player. He has won two GPs, played on the Pro Tour and played in the World Cup. Here are a few tips from him on becoming a better Magic player.
1. Recognize that there is still space for improving: Once you start getting good results consistently, it's normal to become confident and stop looking for improvement. Magic may be the most complicated game in the world as it has so many different aspects. Nobody really gets to master the game as a whole. It doesn't matter how good you are, or how many years you have been playing, there is always something new to learn or improve on. Keep your mind open to spot the aspects you still have to work on and you will become an even better player.
2. Don't be results orientated: One of the differences between a good player and a very good player is the ability to judge their game without being influenced by the results. It's easy to think you played well when you win and realize possible mistakes when you lose, but the real deal is to always know what the best play was. It doesn't matter if you lose regardless of making the play or you win regardless of not making it.
3. Put yourself in your opponent's position at every instance of the game and try to understand his game plan: This skill is very hard to learn and even harder to master. Basically, after you have made every play, try to think what would you do in your opponent’s position, considering each possible combination of cards he may have. According to what he is doing, you will get a bit more of information each turn and you will manage to figure out what cards he is still holding in hand. By doing this, you can improve your game plan by changing the order of your spells and making his plays as awkward as possible.
4. Give as little information as possible with your thinking times: most players will stop and think for some time when they have removal or a counterspell for a card that has just been plated and will not pause at all if they don't have it. Good players will learn this quickly and start bluffing about having a spell they actually don't. Very good players are also able to bluff about not having removal or counterspells when they actually do, but they don't want to use it. To do this you have to think ahead and make a decision before they make the play.
5. Know your enemy: Sometimes when you are losing a game, your best chance at winning is to force your opponent to make a mistake. Even if you are playing someone for the first time, there are clues that help you understand how good he/she is and how likely they are to make a mistake. Do I give them credit, expect him to play well and put myself in a position where I can only top deck one card to win? Or is he going to forget about something if I play in a certain way and end up giving me the game without needing to top deck that card?
If you are interested in not only becoming a very good player but a pro player, check out these extra tips:
Fab's 3 Fab Tips on becoming a Pro player
1. Commit yourself to the game: If you want to get into playing Magic as a professional, you need to understand that the game is going to take up a lot of your time. You don't only need to play a lot but also spend a lot of time gathering information from Internet about tournaments, decks, metagames, articles, spoilers, etc.
2. Find a Team: the most important way to succeed in the professional scene is having people of your same level and same goals working by your side. 48 hours of work can be accomplished in that time by one person or in half a day by a team of four.
3. Plan ahead: There is a lot of traveling for a professional Magic player. Hotels to book, online registrations, bus tickets from airport to cities, exchanging money currencies... Find a way to organize yourself and keep track of everything you have done and still have to do. If not, you will find yourself missing some flights, registrations for tournaments, getting stuck in airports for the night or spending lots of extra money in last minute tickets of every kind. Planning a trip is easy, but planning 5 trips at the same time may get out of hand if you don't organize yourself.