Thursday, May 15, 2008

Improve at Poker

Just wanted to talk a little about studying poker.

How much time do you average per week actually studying poker? If you're anything like me, an average micro stakes grinder, then the answer is not much.

Yet we still want to win at this game and make lots of money... well thats just not going to happen. Unless we put in the effort required to get better. There is no activity, outside of the lottery, that i can think of where you don't have to put in a huge effort to get better at something in order to make good money.

Musicians, Pro athletes, Business Execs, Doctors... you name it, before anyone makes it big in any of these professions they have to put in a lot of work, Poker is no different. Sure some may be naturally talented/smarter, and it comes a little easier to those fortunate few, but even they put in a lot of work. For those of us less fortunate we have to get by on pure hard work and determination.

Again if you are anything like me then the urge to play is often stronger than the urge to study. I want to get in there and mix it up mano a mano rather than read about doing it. Of course the more you play the more situations you get to see, but that alone is not enough. when playing you often dont have the time to completely analyze a situation right there at the table. By studying away from the table we get to take everything into consideration and come to a better decision.

For instance, In a tournament you may be faced with a tough decision whether to call, fold, reraise or reshove. You could be in this situation several times and not be sure what to do. Away from the tables you could assign your villain different ranges and calculate your EV with different hands for each of these options. Now when you're at the tables and the situation arises again, you are prepared.

I've learned a lot and my game has improved tremendously since the beginning of the year, but i feel there is more i could be doing. I've decided that i need to spend at least 15 hrs each week studying poker.

My study will include the following;

-Reading poker books
-Watching PXF videos
-Reviewing my own tournament hand histories
-Reading various sites/blogs
-Reading & maybe contributing on some forums

I already do most of the things on this lists but not on a consistent basis and not with the right mindset. I'm about to change this and hopefully it will push my game to the next level.



Mark said...

Hey Grinder... actually came over to let you know about my new blog but hey - best post in ages right here!

Your thinking fits with my philosphy on poker that it is one of those things people 'assume' they are naturally talented in (like driving and sex - everyone says they are 'above average' with those!). Yet those who really study end up with the money - go for it!!

Anyway - just put up a new blog, idea is to be a tounge-in-cheek 'alternative news' blog.

Have put you on the blogroll already and would be most appreciative of a link back... the url is

Cheers, Mark

Game101 said...

Thanks Mark...
I remember when i hated the math part of poker but i now realize i have to know that stuff to get

checked out the blog and i lol'd... its good for a laugh, good poker comic relief.

good luck and much success

Game101 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It's funny you should post this mate because I've been re-evaluating my game and I need to put some work in if I am going to progress.

I've been focussed on logging hands by volume not quality and the amount of money and EV I've left at the tables this month is horrendous.

Time to dig out Pokerstove!

Anonymous said...


Very good post. I think not studying the game enough is something players can really lose sight of sometimes.

You really have the correct mindset here. With me, it's hard for me to justify putting so much time into studying if it is seriously cutting into my weekly playing time. Especially since I have such limited time as it is during my week. I can't tell if my logic here is flawed yet.

One of the reasons I feel playing time should exceed my studying at the moment is that I can read all the books and studies in the world. But, it's going to be damn hard to find something that specifically focuses on '50NL ring games on Pokerstars' (my current level).

I imagine that even 50NL ring games across sites can be very different. Even if I found some good material on my specific blinds for the appropriate site, I also imagine that different player's experiences on the same limits could be very different. Ask three players who grinded from 50NL to 100NL about their experience and they might tell you three different things.

Anyways, man I'm tired. Good luck if you play on Sunday. I have a feeling we will both be grinding away.


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