How To Improve Your Poker Game

In poker you either move forward or get left behind. Fortunately, there are many ways poker players can keep up with advances in the games, and we're going to show you how can offer you some of the most effective methods to do that.

Join A Community

Join a poker community

CardsChat is a great site for poker players. The forums give you access to thousands of like-minded players who are also trying to better their game and are more than willing to share their personal experiences, or answer questions. Different forums for tournament and cash games or high and low stakes players give targeted advice.

The strategy section provides overviews of the many variants of poker, with tips for beginners and advanced players on such concepts as bluffing, short stack strategies for tournament players, and managing your bankroll. Sign up and start posting.

Study Your Game

If you are serious about becoming a winning poker player, then you must study. Invest in some inexpensive screen capture software and start recording your sessions. Then, when you have some time, replay the games and take notes on your play. Keep track of stats like how many times you open and from what position, how many times you call or raise pre-flop, and how many times you fold to re-raises pre-flop.

Identifying leaks in your game will make it much easier to improve, but it is hard to identify leaks if you don't take the time to look for them. Some players think the only way to improve is to play, but they are missing out on an inexpensive way to get better. Many pros will recommend that you set aside at least a few hours each week to reflect on your game.

Avoid The Free Sites

The old saying, 'You get what you pay for' is especially true for free poker sites. You will not improve your game if you spend your time on free sites like Zynga poker. They are good for learning the basics, but that's about it.

Most players on free sites do not take it seriously. They are just killing time in the airport lobby while waiting for their flight. You will pick up a lot of bad habits playing on free sites - playing too many draws, calling too many bluffs, or allowing yourself to be bluffed off a strong hand by the person who just shoves all-in every time they connect on a flop. You also will not learn anything about the risk side of poker, which is a lesson that needs to be learned sooner rather than later.

Join The League!

The League is a great way to hone your skills against some top-notch competition. The way it works is simple. Players are drafted on to teams. Each team has five players. Each player plays on one night (league game are held every day Monday-Friday). You receive points for your team based on how you finish in the nightly league event. For example, first-place is worth 60 points, second-place is worth 48, third-place worth 38 and on down the line.

The league is open to active forum members with a minimum number of posts. It is free, and you get to compete for great prizes! The CC League is some of the toughest competition you will encounter in an online setting. Not only is the competition tough, but your teammates are there and will frequently cheer you on while you play. Take advantage of this and ask them for feedback after your league game ends on your play. They will be more than happy to offer advice, because your results impact the team's results.

There are four league seasons each year fall, winter, spring and summer. Seasons run either 9 or 10 weeks, and there is usually a two or three weeks break in between each season.

Read Or Watch Training Sessions

The Internet has made it really easy to get free poker lessons. Videos on YouTube, podcasts, webinars and training manuals are readily available. Of course, most sites want to sell you advanced training classes, but take advantage of their free sessions before you decide to spend any of your winnings on their paid content.

If you have a commute to work, listen to a podcast on the way to and from home. Go to the Google Play or Apple store, search Poker Podcast, and find one or two that cover topics of interest.

Sign up for free webinars offered by players like Jonathan Little, who co-wrote the book "Excelling at No-Limit Hold-em" along with many other top pros. Do your research. If you like what you see from a site's free content, then consider signing up for their advanced offerings.

Watch The Pros

Vicarious learning is another great tool. has made it possible to watch poker pros while they are playing online. They love to answer questions from viewers and share tips on why they made certain moves. Jason Sommerville, Jaime Staples, and Randy Lew are just a few of the poker pros who regularly broadcast their online sessions, sharing insights into poker and their personal lives with viewers.

Other channels, like PokerNightTV, broadcast tournaments and high-stakes cash games from casinos around the country. You can't interact with the players, but watching them play and monitoring the chat stream can be educational and entertaining.

Form A Poker Mastermind

Poker Masterminds believe in the philosophy of strength in numbers. Masterminds are groups of players at a similar stage in their poker journeys. The groups vary in size and meeting frequency, meet in person or online with Skype or some other kind of networking software.

Players discuss hand histories, leaks in their game and other issues related to poker. The goal is to help each other improve by sharing their experiences. It is important to get different points of view when discussing poker.

Masterminds can be groups of players, or they can be a coach-led group class. It's up to you to decide which is best for you.

Getting a professional coach to lead the sessions will cost money, of course, but distributing the fee through a group reduces the costs for each individual. A coach will add structure, will ensure that a variety of topics are discussed, can tailor it to the group's level, and keep the group focused.

Hire A Coach

If you are serious about improving your game, a coach may be the next thing for you. For beginning players, it's probably best to start by watching the free videos available on YouTube and reading as many strategy articles as you can find until you have grasped the basics. If you feel you have a good grasp of the basics, but are struggling to move up in stakes, then it might be the time to invest in some coaching.

Before you pay for lessons, do some research. There are many pros who coach players on the side. Coaching rates can range anywhere from $50 per hour to $500 per hour, so it's important you consider the ROI (return on investment). If you're a successful $1/$2 player and want to move up to $2/$5, investing a few hundred bucks in some lessons could pay big dividends. With the training you receive you could recoup the investment with your first winning session.

If you're an online microstakes player who is looking to move up a level, then paying hundreds for lessons might not make financial sense. It may take you 10-15 winning sessions just to recoup what you paid the coach.

Keep Moving Forwards In Your Poker

There are many ways for players to stay sharp in the ever-changing poker landscape. It really doesn't matter which avenue you take, as long as you make some effort to study and improve away from the table.

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