It Depends: How to Get Better at Poker


It Depends: How to Get Better at Poker
By Frank DiRe 

Poker like life gives you back what you put into it. If you want to improve
your game, you need to do more than just play the game. Obviously if you pay attention while
playing, the more you play the more you should learn and pick up things along the way.
Experience is a great teacher. Experience however is not the ONLY teacher. If you want to
constantly move your game forward, you should make sure to study and discuss poker even
when you are not on the felt. A great way for players to learn is to discuss 
hand specifics with someone whose game they respect. It is often even better to discuss it with
several different knowledgeable players just to get some different views. You may be surprised
on how some very good players would have played the situation in an entirely different
When discussing these hands, remember to give as much information about the hand as
possible. It’s been said many times that poker is a game of incomplete information. When
making a poker decision, we need to accurately know the available information that we DO
Often when asked about a situation, a player usually leaves out some very important
pieces of information. Not only is it important to know stack sizes, position and type of player
in the hand, but it can also be very relevant to explain any of several different other dynamics
that may be present. Don’t be quick to discount (what you may think are) minor details. Did
someone just lose a big pot? Did someone recently re buy (in a tournament) or reload chips (in
a cash game)? I have seen some very solid players completely lose their focus when they are
on their 2nd or 3rd tournament buy in or on a cash game. Not only do you have to adjust to that 
but you also have to try to figure out who else at the table is adjusting to that…and adjust to their adjustment. The best players are usually the ones making the best adjustments. 
Novice players often get frustrated when they ask me a question about a hand. They
tell me their cards and what they or their opponent bet and then ask, “What should I have
done?” My answer most of the time is, “It depends.” It depends on so many more factors
One of those factors is your history with the player. Another very important factor is how that
person views you. Does he respect you as a player? Does he play the same against you as he
plays against everyone else? Some novice players may think, “All that thinking seems like a lot
of work. I like playing poker for fun”. You can play poker for fun. There is nothing wrong with
people that want to play for fun. If you want to win money (that is my idea of fun), then you
need to put in a little work. Paying attention to everything that is going on at your table is the
first step to becoming a better and more profitable player.
---Frank L. DiRe
Nerdthusiast Blog Writer
Twitter: @FLD15