Today I want to talk to you about studying poker in 2021 and share my study routine with you. This is especially useful if you don’t already have one, but if you do have a study routine, you can take bits and pieces of this process and improve your own.
The thing that we have to keep in mind is that we’re not going to become the best poker player in the world overnight, or in a week, or even in a month. It’s going to take long periods of time. Even just becoming the best poker player you can be is going to take a long period of time, but we can break poker study into week-long sprints and we can say, “Okay, this week I’m going to try to fix this leak, the next week another, the next week another, etc.” When we do that and continue improving our game and decreasing our poker leaks, we’re going to become MUCH better players over time.
Folding is the least sexy topic in poker. Folding is just so…final. Your cards hit the muck, you concede the pot to your opponent, and you’re off to the next hand. But the honest truth is that poker players fall into two main categories:
Players that fold far too often
Players that fold far too rarely
There is a third type of player though. A rare breed of player that folds a correct amount of the time and keeps their continuance frequencies and ranges during a poker hand right on track.
The average poker player goes through a very similar path of progression.
They start as a fish who calls too often and folds too rarely. Then they get punished for that and eventually learn that they need to fold some of those junk hands. And then eventually they learn how to put those junk hands back into their ranges, at least sometimes, in smart spots to generate extra profit. The issue is that most TAG and Nit players are stuck in the middle – folding too often for their own good. So either push play and/or continue reading and let’s break this down…
There are three main types of betting in poker: value betting, bluffing, and betting for protection. While bluffing is important and protection is a bi-product of understanding equity – knowing how to value bet in poker is an essential part of improving your winrate whether you play ABC poker or another style. In this guide, I want to discuss what a value bet is, why it’s so important, and some useful ways to improve your value betting strategy.
The concept of blockers in poker has been around for a while but, until recently, it’s one that has been far more stressed in Omaha games. Lately, however, we’re seeing the concept applied more in Texas Hold’em as well. While the value of blockers may not be as high in Hold’em as it is in Omaha, they’re still well worth considering as a part of a greater overall gameplan.
The honest truth is that poker bluffs are simple with a small amount of math. But in saying that, I also realize that many players are scared of poker math. It can look overwhelming at first, but with some basic knowledge it becomes very easy to do. And with a just little bit of extra practice, you can memorize a few things and correctly estimate the value of certain bluff plays at the table.
One of the bigger things I get when I coach students is the consideration of playing a LAG poker style. There are major differences between TAG and LAG players, but the common misconceptions and adjusts against a LAG style are what make it the most profitable style in today’s games.
What Is A LAG?
LAG is short for “Loose Aggressive” and is a playstyle that is more aggressive, and with more hands, than a TAG (Tight Aggressive). Even though players think that loose = bad, a good LAG focuses on finding spots where each extra hand added into their range is +EV given the mistakes their opponents will make.
Good vs. Bad LAGs
A LAG plays more hands, and more aggressively than just about every other player – and because of this, they must be solid on more levels. It is important to emphasize this…because a LAG style is NOT for everyone. If you do not have your fundamentals down, if you do not understand most spots you get into, if you cannot quickly deduce a +EV line – then LAG is not for you at the moment.
Over the years I’ve transitioned a lot of my reading time from traditional books over to audiobooks. The audio format makes digesting information easier, quicker, and gives a deeper learning experience. If you are looking for more high-quality advanced poker guides but can’t stand reading – poker audiobooks are a GREAT option that I suggest you check out.
The following will be a rundown of what I think are the best, most comprehensive audiobooks for poker. I will try to show what can be expected from each book and help you decide if it’s the right book for you. An audiobook breaking down the basic rules of poker won’t be of much use to a seasoned tournament player…
Here’s my list of the 7 best poker audiobooks that I think go above and beyond to teach you different aspects of the game. Pick up the ones that are right for you and enjoy! Continue reading
One of the most important intermediate skills a player can have is the ability use combos and blockers at the poker table. These technical skills require nothing more than a little counting (if you can handle 4+12, you’ll be fine!), but they can help you find so many extra bluffs and thinner value bets in every session you play.
Poker is a game of math. The math can range from simple things like figuring out the size of the pot to very complex things like calculating the EV of multi-street plays. But poker is also a social/psychological game where tells, psychology, and dynamics come into play (especially in live & casino poker). Players that approach the game solely through the social lens are just as much missing a crucial element as players that solely approach the game mathematically. Like most things, balance is required to be a well-rounded player who can thrive at any table.
While most math-based players understand the value in the social side of the game (albeit, usually not giving it the credence it deserves – myself included years ago), social-focused players tend to ignore much of math side of the game. This is normally due to the fear that the math will be too complex, too cumbersome, and maybe even too nerdy.