Learning How to Win at Poker
Published: April 27, 2020
No one is born a winning poker player. That is something we all had to learn.
It is not obvious. Nor is it easy. But if you are willing to put in the effort to study, learn, and practice, it is something that you can do.
There are many ways to learn to be a winning poker player. These are some of the ones that I think are most common and effective.
“Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement” – Rita Mae Brown, Alma Mater
“Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that.” – Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac
Some people believe that experience is the only way to get better at poker and many other things.
It can be helpful. For me, it is a necessary part of becoming a better player.
But it is also very expensive. The School of Hard Knocks earned its name (And earned it the hard way.)
Worse still, experience in poker has taught many players things that aren’t true. Every poker room in the world has very experienced players who can tell you which dealers are unlucky.
All told, experience is an important supplement, but it should not be the only, or even the main, way you learn to win at poker.
Books are probably my favorite way to learn how to play poker. As of this writing, I own about fifty-five books about poker that I have read and six more that I have yet to read.
Poker book very widely.
Some are very cheap, Real Grinders: How to Play Poker for a Living is currently available for 99 cents on Kindle.
Some are very expensive. I paid almost a hundred dollars for my copy of Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em when it was published.
Some are very simple. Winning Low-Limit Hold’em is great for beginners.
Some are very advanced. The Mathematics of Poker could be a textbook for a graduate student in mathematics.
Some are very good. Theory of Poker and The Course fundamentally changed how I view the game.
And some are very bad. I won’t give specific examples.
If you like to learn by watching, televised poker can be extrenely helpful.
Live at the Bike was especially valuable to me for a very long time. They broadcast the games I played at the stakes I played with some of the players I would play against.
There was no better way to learn how my opponents played and to practice making decisions against them.
And when I played on the show I got to learn how they played against me.
If you want to learn from televised poker, make sure to note if the show includes every hand or only the ones that are “interesting.”
The World Series of Poker on ESPN is heavily edited to show exciting all-ins, big bluffs, and bad beats. It can make you start to believe those hands are far, far, more common than they are.
Podcasts and Training Videos
If you like watching videos or listening to podcasts there are oodles of poker training videos and podcasts.
Some are good. Some are bad. Some are free. Some are expensive.
I don’t listen or watch any of them so I cannot give any specific recommendations.
Analyze Hands in Depth
Analyzing hands is at the heart of almost every technique to get better at poker.
Books, televised poker, podcasts, and training videos can all provide lessons in how to analyze hands and hand to practice analyzing.
With practice you will get better at analyzing the hands you play and you will be able to make better, more profitable decisions.
Get Better at Life
The better your life is the better your poker will be.
Sleep well, eat well, exercise, meditate. Nurture your relationships. Nurture your finances.
When you are physically, mentallty, and emotionally healthy you increase your capacity to take in information and make good decisions. You become a better and more profitable poker player.
If you would like help nuturing your poker finances, click here to sign up for a free account on Neverbust.