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.
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.
Poker contains a lot of repetitive math, especially when studying poker hands away from the table. While you can use software to do a lot of this math, sometimes a good ‘ol fashioned spreadsheet is the best way to visualize and play with the numbers. So to save you a tremendous amount of time, I put together this pack of my spreadsheets that you are free to use while exploring spots!
This is a name-your-own price download, so if money is super-tight, you can enter $0 and get it for free. But if you throw a few chips my way, not only would I massively appreciate it, but I’ll also give you a free PRO video AND over $200 in discounts. No pressure either way – I just wanted you to know your options 😃
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.
In my prior article called, Poker Players Can Learn A Lot From Fish, I shared the 5 most common mistakes that fish make in an effort to teach you what NOT to do on-the-felt. Avoiding these mistakes strengthens your game and helps you avoid money-losing situations.
Let’s flip the script on our thinking today, and instead of concentrating on what NOT to do, let’s focus on exploiting these same fishy mistakes. We’re working to maximize our profits against Fish, who are the weakest players at the table.
Let me ask you a question: in which of these situations are you more likely to earn profits?
In your first 2 orbits at the table, you count 9 limps made from various players, most pots are multi-way in a single raised pot and people get to showdown with one pair while holding hands like J♦7♦ and 9♠8♥.
You sit down and you don’t spot a single fish around you. Everybody is open-raising and 3betting and nobody’s limping. As soon as somebody checks postflop, the in-position (IP) player puts out a bet. The worst hand you see at showdown after somebody calls is TPTK.
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…
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 most important poker HUD stat is VPIP, hands down. VPIP, short for voluntarily put money in pot, is a preflop stat that tells us how often a player is putting in money given the opportunity. Limps, calls, raises, and 3bets all count as VPIP, but what is a high vs. low range? Watch this video to get an idea on how to calculate and visualize this stat. Or if you are the reading type, the script for this video can be found below. Enjoy!
A HUD is a very helpful tool that is unique to online poker that helps us visualize real-time data about our opponents. Poker is a game of information, and the more we have, the better we should be able to play. So setting up your poker HUD, using the best stats, and gleaning the correct information can give you a huge advantage.
Configuring Your Poker HUD
Using a poker HUD is something you should heavily consider, assuming you are not using one already. But information is useless unless you understand how to utilize it. So this guide will be all about the HUD stats you can consider using – and how to use them better. (And if you don’t already have a HUD, grab a free 30-day trial of PokerTracker 4 and see how great it is playing with one!)