Poker is a technical game, and becoming proficient at it requires a careful learning process. You cannot beat the game, for example, without having a solid understanding of which hands are playable from different positions at the table. But that is just the starting point, both literally and figuratively, of success in a multi-street game.
Fortunately, poker has been subjected to sufficient analysis that these days a beginning player has access to a number of learning short-cuts. Charts of opening hand ranges are commonplace, and simplifications of in-depth computer analysis of postflop play are available to players willing to put in a little work.
Since the release of our preflop opening ranges, both in Level 1 of CORE and as part of our ongoing GTO expansion in PRO, I’ve noticed a growing trend. In CORE, in particular, I now get frequent questions about whether subscribers should “memorize all of this” before moving on to Level 2. The follow-up question is often: “If so, how?”
Discussions with Vegas grinders have also revealed a certain level of gloom at the prospect of excellent memory being required for poker success in the solver era. With software tools revealing the objectively correct preflop and postflop play, will no limit hold’em be reduced to a memory contest between players?
Poker is a technical game based on probabilities. This makes it challenging to learn for a couple reasons. Let me illustrate the idea with an example.
One of the biggest roadblocks to poker success is that humans have a spectacularly poor intuition for how probabilities work. This is both an impediment to developing sound strategy, as well as a significant mental strain for all but the most resilient players.