So…you’ve been playing poker for a while and you can hold your own but you aren’t quite where you want to be yet. How on earth should you approach improving your game? If you want to be able to play poker professionally, or you’re just desperate to take down the boys every poker night, here are five steps to becoming a better poker player…
1 – Pick a discipline
Elite athletes all have a specialism and so should you. Pick a variation of poker, for example Texas Hold’em, and focus on becoming the best you can at it. Once you’ve picked, only play this game online and with friends. The more you dive into the variation you’ve chosen, the better you will come. Choosing just one area to concentrate on, rather than spreading it out across multiple, will ensure you improve at a faster rate.
2 – Study your craft
Now it’s time to get nerdy and to study your game with all your might. Read everything you can get your hands on. Watch all of the online tutorials you can find and study the masters at work. 2 + 2 Publishing have some great books that will set you on your way, and The Theory of Poker is essential reading for any novice looking to one day make it to the big leagues. If you’re serious about improving your poker game, you need to get serious about educating yourself in that which you wish to master. Sorry to break it to you, but this also includes the maths side of things!
3 – Practice makes perfect
Sure, there are ‘naturals’ in the world, but there are also those that got to where they are through dogged determination to be the best – and they’re the ones that deserve it the most! If you want to get better at poker, you will need to practice at every opportunity you get. This doesn’t mean gambling for the big bucks right away. It means, playing online for free until you’re confident enough to wager small amounts, then to take on others, and then to eventually enter competitions. Practice as much as you can, and one day you could be playing in the World Series of Poker.
4 – Review your play
Sports coaches have been employing this technique for decades to make their athletes or sports teams the best in the biz. In order to understand how you play, and to improve in the ways you wish, you need to review how you play to see where you fall short and where you excel. It’s important to develop an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. The easiest way to track your play is through a poker review programme.
5 – Bring in the big dogs
If you practice and practice, and study hard – you’ll see improvements for sure. If this level of commitment doesn’t bring you the progress you desire, or you feel as though you’ve plateaued you could think about hiring a poker coach. While this will involve an outgoing, just one session with a respected coach could elevate your game to the next level.