Getting Better At Poker
This isn’t a guide, because I’m not in a position to write one. Think of it more as a suggestion of how to make faster progress towards being less terrible (and have no illusions, 99% of us here are terrible). As with all of my posts, I would greatly appreciate it if you offer some constructive criticism of this.
We only have so much spare time to spend getting better at poker, so how is it best spent?
I’m assuming everyone here is aware of basic pot odds
, buys in for 100bb and follows strict BRM, so I’m ignoring ‘basic’ stuff. The following isn’t in any particular order.
essential for determining your stacking ranges, you basically want a range that’s based on Nash Equilibrium that you use as standard before moving away from it as you spot exploitable tendencies in your opponents. Also applies to blind stealing, especially when opponents are playing back. Keep in mind when applying game theory to poker that it’s effectiveness drops dramatically with every street you play (i.e. more useable pre-flop than on the river).
Game theory applies to just about everything in poker. Read up on it, it's useful stuff.
it’s really important, in my opinion. It’s simple to learn and gives you edge. Think of playing poker and all you know is pot odds
, and your opponents don’t understand pot odds. Then when they do learn pot odds, if you learn combinatorics it basically brings you back to knowing the odds when your opponents don’t. If that makes sense. Combinatorics is a branch of mathematics but as it applies to poker is ridiculously simple, you count how many combinations of cards can make up each hand in a range, and you get a much better idea of just how likely your opponent is to have each hand. It takes some practice away from the table, but it becomes quite second nature before long
It’s a basic skill, but like anything you can take it further, I made a bad attempt at explaining this in a previous thread (search the forum for “combinatorics” if you’re interested).
as far as it relates to the online game, I think it’s main importance is not awareness of your opponents, but awareness of yourself. You tilt, even when you don’t think you are, I promise that every single one of you does (me too).
It’s application for predicting the moves of opponents, without lots of history (thousands of hands), is minimal. A quick analogy is that you can check someone’s pulse while asking questions to tell if they’re lying or telling the truth, this is very effective, but requires some obvious questions “are you male/female?” “Is the sky blue?” to establish their normal responses, before its results can be trusted, it’s the same for poker; you need history with them that you just don’t have. You don’t know their culture, their age, their gender, their history, their education, their mood, you’re guessing, nothing more.
the difference between a fish and a shark is his ranges, put it down on paper, think about it away from the table. There are a near infinite number of situations in poker that demand different ranges, figure out the more common ones away from the table, think about how those ranges can be exploited and how likely your opponents are to adjust to them. This is, I think, the most important use of your time away from the table.
Time spent on forums
I honestly have no idea how useful this is. For me, it’s been both incredibly helpful and an incredible hindrance. You can learn a lot of stuff that took others a long time to put together, but you can repeat stuff a lot, you see the same information a lot, you also learn how other informed or semi-informed players think. Most importantly the value of information gained through experience and information read is not the same.
Forums wont make you an unstoppable god of poker, but they will help you with common problems.
invaluable. Just don’t grind without thinking. Keep your brain actively thinking, that doesn’t mean open 20 tables so you’re thinking non-stop, instead try opening 1 less than normal and THINKING about why you’re doing what you’re doing, the more in depth you think the more it will sink in.
Anything you think I’ve overlooked or gotten wrong?