How to educate yourself as a poker player
At the end of the day you absolutely need to educate yourself as a poker player. Poker books form a large part of the poker learning environment these days and millions of players the world over look to educate themselves using books. But just how effective is this as a learning tool? Well firstly you have to remember that when you learn set strategies, then you are really only learning them so that you can use them in certain selected situations. It is somewhat similar to having a set of golf clubs……each and every club on its own does a great job but only in the right set of circumstances.
How can I teach myself to be a poker pro?
It is down to the skill of the player to make sure that they use each club in the right circumstances. This is no different to strategies that you get from poker books. Now before we go any further it needs to be pointed out that in no way am I criticising poker books. I have got probably 75% of my poker education from such books and so I have been eternally grateful for the data that they contained. However discovering a way to play from a poker book has many flaws!
I would often take certain plays that I’d read and then implement them in my games only to find that the strategy wasn’t working. This was probably because the environment was different and the criteria that made the strategy successful wasn’t present. These days I do not go into a poker game with any preconceived way of playing poker. I went through a stage where I was playing multiple tables and looking to make as much money as I could getting rakeback and milking the fish.
However this all changed when the games really started to get tougher. These days I prefer single table higher up for several reasons. Firstly I am no longer purely dependent on poker for my income. This means that I do not need to be profitable every single month and this also means that I can play poker in the way that I really want to play poker and that is to single table and feel the opponents out. It is very difficult to randomise your play and balance your ranges effectively but I use a momentum based strategy these days that is geared around very simple strategies.
When I log onto a game then I make sure that the players who are on that table do not know me or have never played with me before. This is because my style is exploitable and because of this then I need two types of player. These are either players who are weak enough to allow me to keep on playing in the same way without exploiting me and secondly players who do not know me. However poker is one long game after all, and this means that just because you have had a successful session one day does not mean that the strategies that you were using will continue to be successful the following day or next week for that matter.
This is where a number of players goes wrong because they go through their poker lives only ever using the same strategy. This can and will only work against players who are unsophisticated and weak. As soon as you begin to move up in circles then your opponents will react and adjust to what you do and this is something that you have to come to terms with as a poker player. Quite often then strategies have a diminishing return and you have to leave older strategies behind in favour of new ones.