"Less is more" is one of those truisms that everyone takes for granted - especially these days. We live in the age of rapid technological growth. New opportunities and tools are popping up every day in all walks of life - poker included. Today, even a completely broke micro stakes player can use a free trial of a GTO software like PokerSnowie, install a free HUD, watch tons and tons of free educational videos, read articles about theory and mindset, connect with mass of players via social media groups and forums, use a variety of different apps to organize his poker schedule etc. etc. The sky is the limit and that's not necessarily a good thing.
On the one hand, it's easier than ever before to get access to quality poker tools and educational materials, on the other many players end up spreading themselves way too thin precisely because of that cornucopia of opportunities. Human beings can only take so much input and we all have a tendency to vastly overestimate our capabilities in that regard. We could all do with a bit more minimalism in our approach to poker and in this article we're going to discuss this idea in a bit more detail.
Clean Your Workspace
First of all, a clean workplace is good for the soul. There are plenty of studies out there suggesting that, on average, our brain works much better when we don't subject it to mess and clutter. A stack of random papers on your desk can literally increase your cortisol levels! It's entirely possible that simple act of cleaning your room and removing all the clutter from your desk will do more for your win rate than a PokerSnowie session or watching another coaching video. If you want to employ principles of minimalism in the process simply identify the things in your poker setup that are absolutely essential and remove everything else. This will make it much easier to focus on what's important - which is playing poker.
While we're on the subject of cleaning your workspace, this can also extend to the virtual world. Are you one of those people with countless of different shortcuts on their desktop? If so, you're doing yourself and your win rate a huge disservice. Again, try to inject some minimalism, identify what's most important to you and then, like Bruce Lee once said: "hack away at the unessential". If you haven't played PLO in 6 months you no longer need that PokerJuice icon occupying space on your desktop. Do you really need Evernote, Trello, Google Calendar and Habitica to organize your poker schedule? Maybe you can streamline your workflow and use only one or two of those apps or, better yet, a notebook and a pen? Same goes for poker software. Reevaluate the stats that you have in your HUD and remove those you never use.
Review Your Reviews
Continuing with the theme of minimalism, you should take a good hard look at all the tools that you're using to learn poker. Chances are that you're simply doing too much. Some forms of education will be considerably less efficient than others depending on your personality. Reading articles won't do you much good if you're a visual learner.
By the same token, doing EV calculations is probably a waste of time if you're a so-called 'feel player' (this is often used as an excuse but there are some people out there who play their best poker when they rely on their intuition, also known as unconscious competence).
Just Play Poker!
Phil Ivey didn't build his skill by running countless PioSolvercalculations, he was way too busy using a fake ID to play as much poker as he could. Before you call me out on countless of fallacies hiding behind this example, there's certainly one universal truth to it - playing a ton of poker is not a bad bet if your aim is to become good at it. Times are changing and we can't ignore the fact that it takes quite a bit more skill and practice than it uses to, in order to crush virtually every level of play.
That being said, with the advent of technology, simple act of playing poker took a back seat to all the shiny new toys that every player has at their fingertips. There's nothing wrong with spending a bunch of time on poker education especially when you're new to the game or you're struggling to beat certain stakes. It's just that many players could really benefit from a more minimalistic approach that prioritizes playing poker over virtually anything else. This is especially true for those players who learn best by doing and we're all capable of that to some extent.