Poker is getting tougher year after year. It is no longer enough to learn some strategy and stick with it. You must be constantly searching for improvements because your opponents will be working hard.
Improvement at poker is difficult. Not only is the game extremely complex but knowing how to learn effectively is an art in itself.
There are numerous pitfalls when learning a new skill. Some people will try to learn too much one once and get overwhelmed. Others will learn strategy from many different sources without understanding how they all work as a coherent whole.
If you have any ambition to rise through the poker ranks you have to make every hour of study pay dividends. Your plan for improvement must be time-effective.
Many players do not appreciate that playing poker is an integral part of the learning process. They think that the concepts and strategy are learned away from the table and refrain from playing until they mentally feel they have mastered whatever they were learning.
The truth is that you must figure out the best ratio that suits your needs at the time, and this can change depending on where you are with learning a concept.
Concentrate on Your Weaknesses
The learning process for poker skills is circular. This means that your experience is about referring to previous experiences as well as anticipating outcomes.
In a nutshell no matter how well you think you learned a concept when you come back to it in a year’s time with more experience you will see the information in a new light. This allows you to delve ever deeper giving you greater scope for gaining an edge on your opponents.
Now you can see that there is always a danger of wasting time trying to go too far when you are not really ready for the next step in the process.
Fix your weakest areas. Focus on them during playing sessions, and when you no longer feel unsure of yourself in those spots it’s time to move on and work on another area.
Master the Fundamentals
Poker success is always built on sound fundamentals. If they are not sound then you cannot expect to build powerful strategies into your skill set. The basics are a prerequisite for the more advanced concepts to work otherwise you are just wasting your time.
With NL Hold’em and PLO pre flop comes under the fundamental banner. Any learning you do for post flop situations will be distorted by poor choices before the flop comes down.
Many improving players put in a great effort to understand an obscure post flop spot only to discover that if they had played the hand correctly pre flop they would never arrive in that situation anyway.
There are a lot of players in the small stakes player pool who still misuse pot odds and implied odds when these things should be nailed down in the very smallest micro stakes.
Don’t be one of these players who can’t be bothered to really master the easy stuff because you think it isn’t interesting.
High Frequency Spot vs Low Frequency Spot
When prioritising your learning schedule you must assess how frequently the spot arises. This does not generally line up with the average pot size for that particular situation.
An example would be four-bet pots post flop versus a continuation bet in position in a heads up pot. In one the pot is already huge and in the other it is tiny, yet it is the continuation bet spot that is the most important by far because of how often it crops up.
Do Not Keep on Switching Topics
When you set a topic for learning do not bounce around to new material until you have set out what you aimed to do.
The learning process can feel like it is complete when you understand what you have to do but have yet to achieve this in practice.
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