Odds are if you’re reading this, you’re well beyond any assumptions about poker becoming a game of pure chance, and have made some good progress in your own poker travel. However there was a time when you did not even look at studying poker. You likely overestimated your skills, played too many hands, and perhaps even had a couple of superstitions. As most of us find out eventually, nobody is”born a winner” when it comes to poker. Phil Ivey himself went bankrupt several times when studying how to play poker until he actually got the hang of it. However, what’s the ideal method to begin learning and studying poker?

If you are not playing dedicated organized poker in the dining table and studying the way to do this when away from your table – your match won’t improve. Rather than worrying about how unfortunate you are — only concentrate on analyzing and enjoying better.

You simply improve if you are engaging the questions you are asking, reflecting on these, and find some new decisions.

There certainly are numerous conventional techniques people go about figuring out how to play with poker. However, before you leap to deciding how you wish to dedicate your research time, you need to think about what you really require. Remember back to when you’re learning how to play with poker. You probably needed to be educated that a flush beats a straight, it was your turn to bet, and a red chip was worth . You likely would not have profited so much from studying an innovative poker novel or watching videos onto a poker practice website. Likewise you’re most likely now in the point in which you do not require a hand standing chart to determine which hand wins following the river gambling is complete. Bearing that in mind, let us explore a few of the choices out there which may help us understand how to play poker better.

Poker publications , though less widespread as they used to be,’re still undecided on heavily in regards to poker instruction. Most poker players that take the sport seriously possess at least a few poker strategy publications, and a few have enough to equal a library. It is most likely not likely to be the ideal option if you’re clearly not a”book person,” but novels have a few benefits. To begin with, they’re a one-time fee – you pay for the publication and may continue to return to it over and over in the event that you’d like. You might even have the ability to get them free by using the regional library. Novels are also fine as it’s rather simple to take them around together and use them everywhere: on a sail, on a journey, or at your house. The one biggest drawback to novels is they are”out-dated” in several of ways. Visually they have any constraints (no movie, and limited efficacy of images ), and it’s impossible for them to utilize sound, so can be useful to aural pupils.

Poker coaching websites first began gaining traction due to their powerful use of video networking to educate poker theories. The arrangement became the very popular method to learn poker after that, in part since it surpassed bounds that novels could not, and in part because they can unite poker learning entertainment. Successful or famous players quickly started filling this current market, and there exist many poker coaching videos at no cost and available for purchase. Videos are great since they can be powerful learning programs for several distinct kinds of students, and since there are several alternatives. The number available means it is simple to find something attractive for you – there’s something out there for just about any notion, and for many ability levels. Additionally, there are quite a few free resources on the market, so in the event that you don’t have a large bankroll, then you should continue to have the ability to locate items in your budget which will nonetheless be helpful for you.

Most contemporary, recognizable expert poker players nowadays cite that the players about them as being integral to their development as players. Having folks around who will relate to your experiences in this frequently misunderstood past-time is vital. When it’s talking hands you have playeddissecting poker theories, or only generally encouraging you, having poker buddies is an significant part most serious gamers’ poker lives.


Getting coaching is something that everyone seems to have an opinion on. Some people think that most coaches are not worth the money, and in a lot of ways they can be correct. However, this isn’t true in all cases. Coaches can help take your game to the next level, increasing your earn potential, and your enjoyment in the game as your improvement creates new excitement. There are some caveats to watch out for, though.

First, understand your ability and your budget: you’re not going to hire Phil Galfond if you’re trying to make the leap from 25nl to 50nl online. Similarly, you probably shouldn’t hire a small stakes grinder if you’re looking to break out of mid stakes into high stakes. This brings us to the next important thing to think about. Coaching is most likely to be useful when you’ve reached an apparent ceiling in your ability. It doesn’t have to be when you’re on a downswing or anything bad, but it will often be a good idea when you are struggling to move up, since this often signifies a skill gap between you and the next level up. Having a coach evaluate your thought process and push you to think more deeply about the game can help you develop your edge further and move you up.

Probably the worst aspect to coaching is that there is an inherent danger of getting ripped off. Again, I don’t want to imply that all coaches are over-priced, or that no coach is hirable at a reasonable cost, but it’s an important thing to keep in mind. There have been a number of small semi-scandals in the poker community revolving around coaching. Just remember to do your research if you are considering getting coaching. Big names will often be safe bets, but they will be pricey. Lesser known players will tend to be much cheaper, but make sure you are getting reliable references from them.

Another thing to pay attention to is playing and teaching styles. You and your coach must be compatible for anything useful to come out of the coaching. Consider asking for a free or discounted session to see if the two of you may work well together, and never feel obligated to continue a coaching relationship if you don’t feel you are getting enough out of it. Lastly, if you are thinking about hiring a coach but are still struggling at some of the lowest limits, you should probably consider looking into some of the other learning methods out there first, as they will be much cheaper. Additionally, it can be difficult for a coach to help you out in a meaningful way if you are struggling with the fundamentals, or to beat the nanos or low micros.

Learning Math

“I’m not a math person.” This is almost cliché coming from the mouth of a poker player, because so much of the game is dictated by math. Probability, odds, equity – these concepts are all deeply embedded in a foundation of mathematics. On top of this, most poker math that is useful to you in-game is quite simple and can be easily learned by anyone of any age or mathematical background. That being said, some pieces are going to be more useful than other pieces. Here is a list of the most important (and easiest) mathematical parts of poker you can learn, in the order you should learn them in.

Type Of Math
Why It Matters
Approximate Time To Learn
Outs and Odds
Counting and Multiplication

It’s hard to play poker if you don’t know how many cards can help you and how frequently those cards will come.

Anywhere from a couple hours to a couple days.

Equity and Expected Value

Counting, Multiplication, and Conditional Probability

Being able to know how often you win a hand and translating that into a dollar amount is how we “keep score” for how we played a poker hand in isolation.

Depends a little on aptitude, but likely somewhere from a couple days to a couple weeks.

Once you start to become a strong hand reader, this will help you create an accurate idea of your equity in a hand.

Depends heavily on your mathematical background. Someone with a background in probability could learn this in an afternoon, while someone with no exposure to probability would need many weeks or a couple months to become proficient.

Game Theory Optimal Play

Game Theory

If you are ever playing against highly skilled players or in a spot where your opponent is unlikely to make a mistake, an understanding of game theory optimal play will help you to prevent your opponent from exploiting you. Understanding unexploitable play will also allow you to exploit others more effectively.
Probably weeks at the minimum for anyone who is new to game theory to learn the basics of what it means. Longer to begin applying this to poker in a meaningful way. Far longer to begin utilizing it in one’s play regularly.

While all players should pursue a working understanding of outs, odds, equity, and expected value, combinatorics may cross the line for some, while game theory is something that will likely only be particularly useful for those looking to become expert players and play in highly difficult games.

How Much Time to Spend

This is perhaps the most difficult question to answer when it comes to learning and studying poker, particularly because it’s so individual. Different players will need and want to study different amounts, and this is to be completely expected. Some pros recommend studying and playing in a 20:80 ratio, while some swear by a 70:30 approach. First, you need to determine which you find most valuable. Almost every player would benefit from some study, but some players will learn primarily from sitting down and playing a ton of hands – if you tend to be more hands-on, this may be you. Others will be more academically oriented, and enjoy reading articles and doing EV problems off-table. No matter which you are, virtually everyone would benefit greatly from doing much more hand analysis than they already do, whether the hands are hands they played or hands other people played. Analyzing your own hands will be inherently more valuable because it can teach you what mistakes you are making, but it is significantly easier to fairly evaluate other people’s hands.

No matter what ratio you end up going for, make sure you take the time to study at least a little each week. Poker is a game of improvement over time. Your competition will improve, and if you don’t do the same, you may be left behind. Always aim toward improving yourself, rather than”being the best” or any other badly-defined objective. If you do not always believe you’re a terrible player one year ago, then you likely are not working hard to enhance. So buckle down, get focused, and begin studying.