How to Improve as a Player

mnebesny

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So, I love playing poker, but I'll admit that I'm a big noob. I know how to use some of the basic principles like ranges and outs, and I've read a couple of books like Hold'em Wisdom for All Players by Daniel Negreanu, but I know that most of the stuff I read is going in one ear and out the other.

Unfortunately with the pandemic still being pretty bad where I am in Ontario, I haven't been to an in person game in a year and a half. None of my buddies are really interested in playing online so I haven't played in a while, and either way, none of them know much about strategy either so playing with them probably isn't going to help my game too much.

I want to put the time in to get better at poker, but I don't really know where to start. Is it best to just play online a lot and slowly improve over time? I've also seen various options/sites/training programs online. Are there any that are worth the money or that anyone here would recommend? Any sage advice is appreciated. Thanks for the help.
 

TheDonkeyKong

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Personally I think online poker is a joke! Your best bet if you want to really improve, download a software like upswings “the lab” for example. Plenty of programs out there, although some can be pretty expensive.
 

joker80

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I would also recommend watching some of the poker you tubers. Brad Owen is a pretty good one to follow for strategy . They are interesting to watch as well. Sometimes reading books can be boring
 

Rhodeman77

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If the strategies you are reading are “going in one ear and out the other” that means you’re not playing enough to understand the situations being described. There is no substitute for playing when it comes to learning. You need to get a ton of hands under your belt to appreciate all the possibilities that can and do happen.

Reading and studying hands and asking questions of players you trust to give real feedback (or post here) after a game will grow your knowledge even faster.
 

surfik

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Read a lot, watch hands and tutorials, make notes and draw conclusions.
Excercise, stop smoking and drinking, meditate.
Have a goodnight sleep and get lay before sessions (helps a lot).
 
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Learn to read the players, it's ok to bluff and get caught. You're at the mercy of the poker gods. Above all else, just have fun : )
 

Beakertwang

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I really like the Crush Live Poker hand breakdowns. They’re great for challenging and expanding the way I think about poker. I can only imagine how bad I’d be without them.
 

Coyote

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As @Rhodeman77 said, you can't assimilate whatever "course" you read or watch, if you 're not playing a lot at the same time.

Playing a lot can hardly be done with true old friends 'cause usually they 're just not interested (unless you are able to recruit a crew of nice and honest, like-minded poker buddies), so you have to resort to online micro-stakes poker, which, mind you, is pretty competitive and shark-infested (many pros with HUDs and solvers coming out to the shallows, [meaning as low as 1/2c or 2/5c] to mass-devour small fry).
You should get a HUD software too in that case, to at least evaluate your own game.

Never play poker if you 're stressed or upset, to let the steam off.
The steam has to be let off in another way, and you must be in a good mood anyway, before you sit at a table.
Never play with money you can't afford to lose.
Never play if winning at poker could be your only reward in everyday life. You 'll be abysmally prone to tilting and you 'll loose.
 

Mojo1312

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Read a lot, watch hands and tutorials, make notes and draw conclusions.
Excercise, stop smoking and drinking, meditate.
Have a goodnight sleep and get lay before sessions (helps a lot).

I find the opposite is true. Getting laid after a session helps a lot.

As @Rhodeman77 said, you can't assimilate whatever "course" you read or watch, if you 're not playing a lot at the same time.

Never play with money you can't afford are afraid to lose.
Never play if winning at poker could be your only reward in everyday life. You 'll be abysmally prone to tilting and you 'll loose.
 

Nanook

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Personally I think online poker is a joke! Your best bet if you want to really improve, download a software like upswings “the lab” for example. Plenty of programs out there, although some can be pretty expensive.
I play both online and live. I'm not sure what you mean by online being a joke. It is certainly different than live.

Upswing poker is good, but it might be too expensive for the OP idk...

Even though I haven't spent much time there in ages www.twoplustwo.com still has a lot of great content and most everything is free.

Others have already said, but lots of poker concepts do not come easily without BOTH play and study. I know from personal experience that some concepts took me years to fully comprehend.

Don't get too carried away with trying to understand gto right away. In the early stages of learning, trying to understand gto is probably more harmful than helpful. Stick to a small live game, play very tight out of position any try not to get too carried away when in position.
 

Highli99

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I’m a fan of Andrew Brokos podcast thinking poker as well as his books play optimal poker and play more optimal 2 “play more optimaler”. Red chip poker is decent. Run it once training site is well regarded.

you also have to play a lot of hands. I enjoy online but an inexperienced player is likely to get slayed. Getting slayed is how most people learn. Play really small and don’t move up until you start winning.
 

Coyote

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@mnebesny also make sure to read Harrington on Cash (two volumes) over and over again, especially after loosing sessions.
Then, the "how the hell didn't I remember this" or the "aaah, that's what the author meant" lines come to your lips :)
 

Coyote

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By the way, has anybody tried this guy's three books? (Nathan Williams or "blackrain79")
They 're supposed to be tailored to today's very aggressive micro online games. He considers online games to play as tough as live games of 100x or 50x the stakes.
https://www.blackrain79.com/p/videos.html
 

usurper

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i would approach the game starting with a short stack. experiment with a 5 bb stack, 10 bb stack, 20 bb stack and so forth. then ask yourself if there is any difference in the way you should play.

i think it is better to come to your own initial conclusions before reading anything on the subject.
 

Nanook

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By the way, has anybody tried this guy's three books? (Nathan Williams or "blackrain79")
They 're supposed to be tailored to today's very aggressive micro online games. He considers online games to play as tough as live games of 100x or 50x the stakes.
https://www.blackrain79.com/p/videos.html
I have. It's all good, but nothing unique or original. If you are new to the game then you would get a lot out of his books
 

Stufflymcstuff

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When lockdowns over if we play together (also in toronto) I could give some constructive criticism.

I've coached about a dozen people from 2+2 for pay several years ago so i'm not new to it. i stopped playing seriously after black friday so i'm definitely not someone to ask advice on how to beat modern midstakes cash games but if you're just looking to play moderately profitably at a local casino i'm pretty sure i could get you to that level pretty fast.

and tbh i wouldn't recommend bothering with online poker (or at least cash games). it's stupidly competitive and the hourly earn rates for all but a tiny tiny number of elite players is very low, or at least if you're playing on international servers. it's also not a great way to learn if you intend to play low stakes live.
 

Coyote

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I have. It's all good, but nothing unique or original. If you are new to the game then you would get a lot out of his books
If you had to buy either his (Nathan Williams') "Modern Small Stakes" (published 2015) or Harrington's "Harrington on Online Cash games" (published 2010), which would you choose? (question to everybody).
 

Stufflymcstuff

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It depends on what your goals are. The idea that Harrington wrote a book on online cash seems a bit
Laughable as I highly doubt he’s put any serious work at it. Books for online poker are just generally prone to becoming obsolete though because it changes so fast.

I’d recommend content by Jonathan little. He has a ton of free stuff on YouTube, membership is not expensive and it has a lot of interactive stuff.
 

boltonguy

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If you are starting I would strongly recommend "The Grinder's Manual" by Peter Clarke. I would also recommend "From the Ground Up" video course by Pete Clarke on Run It Up. I used both and they are very good IMHO. Then I would suggest playing low staked online (like $0.01/$0.02 or $0.02/$0.05) and use software like PokerTracker 4 to capture the hands so that you can look at the biggest losing hands after the session and figure out what to stop doing (mostly calling large bets on the river). I also like "The Course" by Ed Miller which provides guidance on key focus areas at each (live) stake - these are still relevant to online. I play on Ignition and after 24 hours you can download opponent hole cards for every hand that you sat in which adds a greater dimension to the post play analysis and allows you to get a better understanding of how the player pool is playing at your stakes. GL!
 
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