5 major poker teaching mistakes
Many poker enthusiasts often ask themselves: why, with the enormous amount of useful training materials available to everyone, the most popular limits in online poker are still nl2-nl5-nl10? Is it so difficult to get the necessary knowledge and quickly overcome low limits? Do most players really enjoy sitting at micro stakes for years and playing very weak poker?
But even if we leave out the total number of players of the NL2 limit at Pokerstars, then why are the profile poker sites reflecting the lobby of poker sites? Most of the hands for evaluation, poker blogs, discussions about the strategy are at low limits. This seems paradoxical, but regular visitors to the poker strategy portals are just as distributed among the limits as the recreational players.
A misunderstanding of the learning process is a key reason for living at micro limits and lack of growth in poker. An effective approach to learning quickly leads to an increase in limits and an increase in the level of skill. It is not uncommon to encounter stories when a player in one year covered the path from nl2 to nl100. Passing the limit every two months is an impressive result, but achievable. Consider the main errors that lead to freezing at low limits.
1. Too many training materials
There are a great many ways to improve your poker strategy: watching VODs from expert trainers, analyzing hands in poker programs, reading books on poker, discussions on a specialized poker portal, working with a poker coach. The effectiveness of each of them is individual and depends on the personality of the man. However, not only are there a decent number of ways to work on the game, but poker itself is a complex game with a huge number of elements. A typical poker player seeks to cover all directions at once and receives a logical result - mental disorder and real chaos in his thoughts. Due to the layering of several topics, the effectiveness of training is greatly reduced or drops to zero. As a result, the profitability of playing poker (as you study the materials) can not only not grow, but also greatly decrease.
Instead of chaotic and unsystematic work on all topics at the same time, we recommend choosing the 1-2 most important ones and purposefully increasing your competence in them. After some time, you will master them well and will be able to move on. Due to closer attention and painstaking work, you will form a strong foundation for further achievements.
2. Lack of rest
Due to the piling up of materials and the desire to absorb everything, the players will minimize their free time to a minimum. After all, someone is already playing nl100, and you are still on nl10 and you can’t even get higher. All qualified teachers know that rest plays an equally important role in the assimilation of new information and the development of skills. Forced pushing of new information often gives the opposite effect.
Give yourself a break. Do not overdo it with new materials - give them time to gain a foothold in your mind. Once a week, give yourself a day off and don't think about poker at all. Ideally, once every few months do not think about the game at all and do not sit down at the computer for several days in a row. This will not only not slow down your progress, but vice versa - it will stimulate it.
3. Failure to see improvements
It is difficult to calculate the number of situations when a person, inspired by the best intentions, began to work on himself, but, without seeing tangible progress, threw the right thing. Even within the life of one person, this happens repeatedly. Every failure undermines faith in one's strengths and abilities. And to keep moving in the right direction with each attempt is getting harder.
In poker, progress is even more difficult to see because of the variance. In a negative round of dispersion, it’s difficult to understand that you started reading hands a little better, throwing cards in the pass earlier or betting thinner. Paradoxically, you are moving forward, but not as fast as you would like.
After that, give up and stop doing what really helped. Therefore, it makes sense to define clear criteria for improving the game. It is advisable that they do not have a direct relationship with the results. A good way is to play a decent distance in a month and then arrange a careful analysis of the situations studied. It is most convenient to use Poker Tracker 4 or Holdem Manager 2 for this. In the most sad cases, if your abilities remain unchanged, then you will realize that the actions performed did not bring the desired results. And change the approach to learning. This is also a movement in the right direction!
4. Focusing on the wrong things
Most poker players strive to improve their game every day. They seek new knowledge, quickly introduce it into their game and move on. The result is a very diverse arsenal of tricks that they can use during their best sessions. But they manage to show their best game somewhere in 10-15% of all time at the poker tables. Most of the gaming days are not at the peak of opportunities. They play worse, the concentration is lower, more errors. A significant part of the shortcomings in such game segments is repeated day after day.
A careful analysis of played session in poker software will lead to an unexpected conclusion - the eradication of simple but repetitive errors can instantly increase your profit by a substantial amount. Working with more complex concepts causes a very slight increase in winrate. Yes, and in those few days when all the stars converge and you manage to show the best game. The key idea is very simple - remove the worst elements in your B-game and this will lead to an increase in the entire range of your poker skills. We do not deny the usefulness of working in training programs like Simple GTO Trainer, but we insist on the greater usefulness of getting rid of obvious holes in your poker strategy.
5. The study of irrelevant materials
VODs of Phil Galfond can be very interesting to watch. Stream from NL1000 will also add positive emotions. Imitation of idols from high stakes, when you play NL10 - will inevitably lead to collapse. Prefer qualified materials that are created for your limits and match your level of understanding of poker. Do not run ahead of the engine. Training in poker is not a sprint, but a marathon. Working through on your mistakes in Flopzilla or Power-Equilab will be more useful for skill growth than viewing the final table of the WSOP-2019.