Are Old Poker Videos Useless?

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“Are old poker videos still relevant?” This was a question I received a while back, and to be honest, it’s a great one. I’ve been creating poker training videos for about a decade, and it’s totally valid to ask if videos posted in 2014 or 2018 are even worth watching at this point.

Press play, and let’s discuss what’s worthwhile, and what’s not when it comes to older poker videos:

The world of poker is a constantly evolving landscape but certain core principles remain valid no matter what strategies and playing styles become prevalent over time. Does that automatically mean that old poker videos become obsolete to a certain degree with regards to strategy or can some of those aspects still be applied?

Old vs. New Poker Content

Very few people involved in poker would not consider Doyle Brunson’s Super System books or Harrington on Hold’em as an excellent learning tool for beginners. Old episodes of High Stakes Poker on TV equally makes for great entertainment. But you shouldn’t expect to read through all the pages of a poker book and suddenly crush all the high stakes games in your local casino as some strategy aspects have shifted a lot throughout the years.

Not just for poker but all other topics in life, it is critical to determine whether or not the information you are looking for in the age of the internet requires timely information. The latest news about local traffic jams or delays on public transport can be outdated very quickly while a family recipe from your grandmother for a favorite dish doesn’t change over time. All you need to replicate the results are the ingredients and an understanding on how to combine them.

Is the information you are seeking timely or evergreen?

As far as the relevance of poker content is concerned, you can split it into two major categories. The static framework represents one half and the other includes the variables and dynamic pieces.

Static vs. Dynamic Info

Think about which aspects of poker you consider as static. One very common example of that would be implied odds. It is simple math and the formula for that doesn’t change, so you will always be able to determine the implied odds the same way. Most static elements are based on math that doesn’t change over time.

The definition of a tight aggressive player (TAG) may be the same by default but the strategies that come along with it frequently change over time. Which broad or specific range can be attributed to a TAG when he calls a continuation bet on the flop?

However, it is important to consider that certain aspects of the game can actually belong to both categories. Let’s have a look at the stack to pot ratio (SPR), for example. Since it is math-based, it can always be calculated the same way but what exactly each ratio means and how it should be applied at the tables is open for debate.

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When watching videos, discern what each consideration is. Variable elements do change over time, and it’s quite possible that an assumption made in an older video doesn’t really apply to today’s game. Maybe players don’t over-fold that spot anymore, or maybe players bet a more balanced range on a specific turn card than they did years ago.

If I’ve done my job well, you can look at the variables and assumptions I’ve laid out, decide if you agree or disagree with them, and modify accordingly before plugging them all into the overall framework.

On poker coaching sites you can find videos about pretty much every aspect of the game and what strategies can be applied. Solvers can tell you if it is mathematically correct to stack off with an overpair on a certain board texture and the advice of your poker coach may very well agree with that.

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But as soon as that becomes a routine and shuts down the own assumptions, it turns into a slippery slope. The ultimate goal of establishing a learning process and progress requires an open mind, and the knowledge you have gained through poker videos represent one possible perspective. You don’t have to agree with it by default and it doesn’t have to apply the very same way at different casinos, for example.

Assumptions In Poker

The assumptions can be wrong also (especially when it comes to building poker ranges), and you should always consider the key variables first and go from there to look at possible reasons which validate or negate your point of view. There can be a huge difference between online and live poker, and the most +EV decision on your usual stakes may not apply anymore if you move up.

If you have played at a certain location for several years, you have likely crossed paths with regulars and established a decent sample size with regards to certain patterns. You may have even picked up specific physical tells that heavily influence the own decision making even though the mathematical aspect doesn’t check out.

Poker coaches can guide you along the bumpy road and share their own experience to provide food for thought since poker ultimately is a game of show-and-tell. This means that an open mind to consider all static and variable aspects of the game and the content you consume is absolutely crucial to ensure that you make the best possible decisions in the long run and maximize your profit.

Retain a flexible mind between sessions and a rigid mind during sessions

So to the question of whether or not older poker videos are still relevant…the answer is yes and no. The framework elements will, by definition, still be relevant. The variables may very well be dated. But pro tip, just because you disagree with a variable, doesn’t inherently mean you are correct and the assumption in the video is wrong. Be open-minded when you disagree with an assumption as game types, locations, stakes, etc. vary widely.

The next time you are watching an older video, or even a new one, do your best to discern the framework and variables. If you disagree with a proposed variable, be specific as to WHY, and then replace my variable with your own and see how our answers differ.

Remember, we can both look at the exact same poker hand and come to polar opposite decisions…and both be correct given our assumptions. You may choose to bluff less because you assume villain will hardly ever fold now or later, and I may choose to bluff a ton because I assume villain will fold a ton. Both decisions are correct given their respective assumption sets – but of course, only one assumption will get used in real-time!

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 500+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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