I get the
question a lot: how do I study poker? You probably put some effort into it now,
but is it as fully focused as it could be? Here is some advice on getting the
most out of your poker studying.
Play vs. Study
Take a step back.
Look at how much time in total you have to commit to poker each month. Decide
on a split between playing poker and studying poker. Don't worry about finding
the ideal split. Just choose something, and go with it. Then, next month try a
different split. If you play with it for a few months (as well as the study activities
themselves), you'll get a feel for what works best. This will vary over time
In the past, I
spent far more time playing than studying (90% vs 10%), since it felt more fun.
Then, I shifted to something like 70/30, and my game really started
accelerating. Something close to 60/40 works best for me now. Actually as you
contribute more time to studying, you also get better at it, which means on one
level you're more efficient (e.g. with session reviews) and on another you come
up with more methods and ideas for improving.
list: session reviews, videos, coaching, forums, peer sweats, db stats, books.
Keep going, and go deeper. Videos: checking the schedule, watching pros, making
a video, loading your ipod, swapping favorites with peers. Get creative. (And
please share your own in the comments!)
Next, sort your
list by what you think will be most useful. (Hint: put session reviews at the
top.) Ensure you have a healthy variety. You want a mix of internal (studying
yourself) and external (learning from other.
Estimate how much
time these activities will take, and choose the top items off your list that
will fit into your allotted time for the month. Even create a schedule if you
I can't stress
enough the importance of note-taking. You want your studying efforts to be as
efficient and effective as possible. To truly instil a concept, it takes repetition.
You could spend 5 hours watching and rewatching a video, or you could capture
the key points on paper the first time, and review your notes far more quickly.
Repeating mistakes at the table costs you money. Do it in your head instead.
I'm super anal
about it. I keep a notepad file with today's date on my desktop that I'm adding
to throughout the day. I also have a little notebook on me at all times that I
jot things down in. I transfer all of these into a big "monthly notes" document
that's categorized, has key points bolded, and is roughly prioritized with the
big stuff at the top. Then I print these out, fold them up into my pocket, and
walk around with them. So I'm constantly reviewing last month's notes, and
capturing the next.
What's nice about
having a list is that you can match an activity to your mood or environment.
Maybe it's the end of a long session, and you don't have the mental energy (or
emotional detachment) to review your session. Pop in a vid, and kick back on
Print stuff out.
Load your ipod or e-reader. Take it outside - to the park, coffee shop, or on a
jog. If you prepare enough, then study time can even happen in line at the bank
or grocery store.
The Four Great
I'll finish by
relating a technique taken from the Buddha that might help with your study
efforts. He offered these 4 "Great efforts" for pursuing enlightenment, though
he admitted they really could be used for anything. So why not poker? Beware
they are deceivingly simple yet exceedingly useful.
or unwise states or processes (e.g. thoughts, actions, states of mind)
Let go of
unskillful or unwise states or processes that have already arisen.
growth of new skillful and wise states or processes.
Guard those skilful
and wise states and processes that have arisen.