There are hundreds of millions of poker players around the globe, but only a very small percentage of them are playing the game the right way – seriously.
Too many players fall into the trap of treating poker as a game of chance or luck in which they have little to no say on their fortunes. This is the misconception that stops casual players from ever elevating their game to the next level and making some serious cash from poker.
If you want to turn around your poker fortunes and turn consistent losses into consistent wins you will have to dedicate yourself to improvement. Just as you would dedicate yourself to the gym to get the perfect summer physique, you will need to dedicate yourself to poker study to start winning big.
Below you will find a list of 5 great tools that you can start using right away to improve your poker skills and start out on the journey to improvement.
- Odds Calculator
Poker is a game of probability above all else. Despite the game’s portrayal in the media, the line between success and failure is more often than not decided by a player’s grasp of probabilities rather than their bluffing bravado.
There are a number of ways in which you can improve your understanding of probabilities in relation to poker, but one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your head around them is by using a poker odds calculator.
When you use the calculator, you can plug in your hand and the community cards to work out the odds of any given hand. You can use this tool to mess around and work out the odds-on particular hands in certain situations, or you can use it like the professionals.
The next time that you play a game online, or with your friends, note down the cards that you were dealt, the community cards and your opponent’s cards if known. Then open up the odds calculator and enter all of this information into the app.
This will show you what the exact odds of every outcome were, which will enable you to evaluate whether you did the right thing in the hand. If you do this consistently you will be able to pinpoint your weaknesses and crucially, improve your decision making in future hands.
Occam’s razor is the philosophical theory that if multiple explanations exist for an occurrence, the one that requires the fewest assumptions is usually correct. You can apply this theory to poker and in particular the question of why some players are better than others.
Does your friend always beat you because he has a natural talent for poker? Was he born with an encyclopaedic knowledge of poker hands? If so, does this mean that there is indeed a God and that he is a poker fan?
Or, is it simply a case that your friend has studied poker and read the occasional book about strategy and hands? That’s the explanation that requires the fewest assumptions and it is also the correct explanation.
The more you learn about poker the better you will become, so read, read and read some more. There are hundreds of great free Kindle books on Amazon that can help to expand your knowledge of the game.
If those books aren’t to your liking, visit your local library either in person, or online and borrow one of their many poker books. The more you read, the more skilled at poker you will become.
The cult-classic 2001 film Ocean’s Eleven begins with a scene in which Rusty Ryan, played by Brad Pitt, is coaching celebrities on poker. That level of expertise though isn’t necessarily exclusive to the rich and famous.
If you are serious about improving your game, there are plenty of affordable coaches out there who will be more than happy to take you to the next level. Do your research and find a coach with good reviews who is also in your price range, then utilise their experience and knowledge.
If you can’t afford a poker coach right now then head over to YouTube and watch the videos of Jonathan Little. The American has won millions of dollars in cash tournaments and written 14 educational books on poker.
On his channel you will find a huge range of educational videos aimed at beginners, intermediates, and top tier players.
- Poker Tracker
There are literally hundreds of poker tracker programs out there that you can download today to track every single move you make at the online poker table.
There are those that similarly to a poker odds calculator will track your moves and tell you what you should have done.
Importantly though, there are others that monitor you’re playing time, your wagers and your profits and losses. These tools can be invaluable in that they allow you to analyse the important trends of your poker play.
What your ideal game time is, how profitable you are in certain tournaments or tables and what time of day you tend to play best. When you have all the data to work out these trends you can start to tweak your routine to optimise your sessions.
- Social Media & Forums
Whilst there are hundreds of millions of poker players around the globe, a passion for cards is still not as popular as a passion for mainstream sports. This means that most players don’t have a large friendship group of poker enthusiasts that they can discuss the game with.
Fortunately though there are a number of great and vibrant poker communities online that you can join. The subreddit r/poker for example is a community of 170 thousand players and is full of great tips and tricks that will help you to improve your game.
The subreddit features discussion about hand analysis and strategy as well as light-hearted memes and jokes about the game. Beyond Reddit, there are plenty of poker specific forums out there with equal benefits for members.
We all spend far too much time mindlessly scrolling through social media every day, so you may as well make the most of it by incorporating poker improvement into your social media schedule.
It can also be a great place to discuss the tools mentioned earlier in this article and find the best books, programs and coaches. If you have any of your suggestions on how players can improve their poker game, let us know in the comments section.