Every poker player comes to the point several times in the course of his development where he wants or needs to improve his game. Mostly this happens when you want to play cash games at higher limits or participate in tournaments with higher buy-ins. But of course there are many other reasons. Especially after periods with losses it makes a lot of sense to work on your game.
There are a number of tools available to improve your poker game and strategic skills. We would like to explain them here.
Control of your own game
The most important method is to study your own hands. If you play online, you can easily download your hand history after a session and thoroughly review and analyze all the hands you were involved in. Live hands can also be reviewed – by taking notes during the game. It’s important to note down all the important factors, such as your own position, the position of your opponents, chip stacks, blind levels, pre-flop and post-flop action, and so on.
It is important to find out where you regularly make mistakes that can be exploited by your opponents. Raised too much before the flop? Calling raises with weak hands too often? Not defending the blinds often enough? Not played aggressively enough? All these questions and many, many more can be answered by looking at your hand history. Often it also helps to discuss your own hands with another poker player. In any case, these analyses help a lot to improve your own poker game.
This is one of the most popular methods. Books on the subject of poker are available by the hundreds, and now authors are very much going into quite specific topics. This allows the poker player to select very specific books that address a particular problem area. But beware: poker strategy is a topic that is strongly “in motion” – you should therefore access more current titles, so as not to miss the latest developments (such as Light 3-betting or ICM).
These are great for posting your own hands and having them discussed and rated by other players. You can quickly see different approaches, find alternative ways of playing to your own, and learn moves that you can incorporate into your own game to improve it.
An amazing number of players post replays of their online sessions with audio commentary as Youtube videos. For interesting hands, they explain the reasoning behind why they played this or that hand the way they did. This is very interesting for every poker player, because especially with excellent players you can see on how many levels they think. Not only can you learn a lot, but you also get to know the player in case you ever play against him yourself.
This is a very popular format lately. A professional player gives a lecture on a specific topic and the audience is allowed to ask questions via chat. This interactive form of training is extremely effective. There is no cheaper way to benefit from the knowledge of a professional.