Poker Training Sources That are Actually up to Date6 years ago
At present I am making a real effort to get better. I want to build my knowledge about poker and become a real force at the tables. I believe I can get there and I am willing to put in the hours. I am also humble enough to know I need to get to work. The fact you are reading this article suggests you have the ability to say you need help to improve. Well done to you for that, but how do we get there in 2016? I did some research and have put my own plan together which I would like to share with you now.
There are tons of poker articles online, but the date of publication can be anything from one day to pre-2003 and we all know how much poker has changed since then. Whilst most articles are very helpful we must therefore note the advice given is probably out of date. Poker books talk about targeting the “two or three bad players” at a table, even at the higher stakes. But we know there are barely any weak players once you leave the micro stakes and a table with one fish on it is like gold dust, never mind three weak players. So by all means keep those classic poker books, they are always worth reading, but they won’t turn you into a great player on their own. But there is hope. Where there is competition, you can always be the best and someone has to be number one.
Let’s look at how I am using a combination of up to date training methods to get me to my goal. It works today and I believe it will work for a good while yet.
Poker Training Websites
I have a friend who plays semi-professionally and as a comparatively new player I often request (we have not done it yet) that he lets me visit him so I can just sit and watch him play. There is no better way to learning how to do something that to watch someone who is good at it show you how it’s done. You get to listen to their advice and build your understanding, otherwise your default reaction which you already know isn’t the best way forward is your only option.
For around $30 per month we can sign up to a poker training website where we get to stream videos from our desktop computer or portable devices from a range of top professionals who have battered the nosebleed stakes. If we need to think about something or consider what we might do in a similar spot we can pause the video and reflect as we learn. Improvements in broadband internet connectivity mean that we can watch these videos when accessing 3G wherever we might be and this has made poker training videos much more accessible to more players even in remote locations. The best part? We can stream each videowhen we want and when we are in the right frame of mind to learn. Your work lunch breaks are no longer lunch breaks, but a chance to sharpen your skills!
The wealth of information contained in the top poker training websites are worth the price of your subscription alone. Their back catalogue is full of tips and tricks where you can simply work through their videos over a period of time. Again you need to look at the date of publication for the video, but there is enough new content to give you the latest information.
How much would it cost you to pay a pro to sit for that long and tell you what is contained in the videos? Would that pro even be a good teacher? As these training sites exist in a competitive market they continue to innovate to stay relevant and poker hand trees and Nash Equilibrium calculations are included on most sites so you can delve into the real detail as much as you can for a relatively small amount of money. On a basic level you are shown what to do by those who are good at doing it. Then you can put it into practice for yourself, which is my next part of the training plan.
Once you know how to play you need to refine your play, spotting your errors quickly and plugging those leaks. Modern poker software is my favorite way of doing this. I have looked at two poker software packages that integrate training with the software itself. Pokersnowie has good ratings as does Advanced Poker Training. I do not endorse one particular piece of software over the other but both offer feedback on errors and solutions to those errors.
One of the things I feel that new players struggle with is when you make an error, do you notice it is a mistake and can you solve the problem alone? The software keeps a record and offers instant feedback if you need it or detailed analysis later on. As it is a software program you are presented this information within a user-friendly interface. You also get your play rated against game theory optimal play, which the computer has put together over trillions of hands played as it was developed. Whilst not the be all and end all of poker it is also helpful to have your poker game numerically rated so you can see how you compare to others and you get the confidence boost as this rating improves over time.
Good players point out that playing game theory optimal is exploitable in live games where opponents play the player rather than just a game theory optimal strategy. This is true, but I believe building a solid foundation for myself will allow me to adjust with confidence knowing I have a detailed understanding of poker rather than just betting and raising indiscriminately. It also gives me great confidence to play a set of, say, 500 hands and then see that according to the computers judgement, I have made only a few errors. I shall let you know when that happens!
You may ask can the computer be a good judge? We have seen in the last 20 years chess computers go from being as strong as professional players to such a level computers are only used for strategy as they are simply too good for even the strongest chess masters. Based on neural networks and sophisticated math probability, poker AI can bluff effectively and assess your play accurately. I may be wrong, but I believe that if the computer says I can play I can hold my own online and make profits as a winning player.
AI is great, but once I have built a solid foundation I will continue my learning by acquiring a poker coach to get me ready for the tough games. I will use an experienced coach who plays for a living to analyse and give me constructive feedback of my sessions and to help me squeeze that additional few percent from my poker ability. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but if a player is surviving and prospering in the games today he or she is clearly an up-to-date training source that is a valuable investment towards helping you get better.
If you have learned how to play from poker training videos and practised with software to find and learn about errors, as well as playing some real hands of course, you should hit the ground running with your poker coach for that final bit of refinement before you are let loose onto the virtual felt. You can then retain the relationship with your coach so they can help you continually improve and adjust to the latest nuances of online play, which is getting better and more sophisticated all of the time.
Does that sound good to you? That’s great, now let’s both get to work.
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