Education only goes so far. Experience is the comb nature gives us when we are bald. Experience is the name we give our mistakes. You need to be a balding mistake maker. With experience you will develop the patience and discipline needed to only play and stay in hands where you have a positive Expected Value.
How do you get experience? Play, play, play. You should play a minimum of 250,000 hands before you consider yourself experienced. All of these hands should be played using computer practice, micro limit, or low limit tables.
Do not play for real money until you are experienced.
Real money is money you care about.
Pre–computer players would play 30—35 hands an hour at a casino or at a home game. In a five–hour night, with no toilet breaks, they could get 150—200 hands played. Over a year they might play a total of 8,000. It would take them 30 years to play 250,000 hands. Sure, some played three times as much and got their experience in only a decade. Those are the ones whose spouses divorced them, so they had the time to play more.
But you have computer software available; both Poker Academy Pro and Wilson Turbo are excellent; they allow you to play several thousand hands a week. You can play several tables on the internet at once. Use a big screen and you can get four tables on one computer screen or you can stack several tables on one screen. Play four speed tables and you can play over 200 hands an hour, well over a 1,000 a day. After a few months you can add another monitor and play eight tables at once. Do the math. It just depends on how much time you want to put in to become experienced. Two years? One? It is up to you. Then, and only then, should you play for real money.
Why play so many hands? So that you gather the full range of experiences. You’ll receive pocket Aces over 1,100 times. You will see some players defy all reason and draw all the way to the river and beat you. But the most important things you will learn are the patience and emotional stability to wait for the right cards and the discipline to make the right decisions on how to play or fold your hand.
Some experts learn superior postflop skills from coaching, seminars, books and experience. Others from experience alone. But the ability to get away from a marginal hand and read an opponent must include experience.
Simple but not easy
Every effort has been made to simplify an extremely complex subject. Some steps have been left in so expert players can follow the logic to see if they agree. Many of the laborious and mathematical formulas, statistical details, and several thousands of pages of data have been omitted. Even though we believe the material is presented in the easiest–to–understand manner, you need to know mastering all of the concepts will not be easy. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Good or world class
One of the benefits of teaching is helping a student with his/her life’s plan. I don’t know the answers, but I do know the questions. We spend several hours finding out what they are good at and love to do. Where their “good at’s” and “love to’s” converge is their natural strength; why they were put on this earth. Once we discover this intersection, it is surprisingly easy to then choose how they should spend the rest of their life. Many ask about their weaknesses. My advice is always the same. Spend most of your time building on your strengths; do not focus on compensating for weaknesses. This approach works well throughout life as we can always find others or other ways to compensate for our weaknesses.
Why bring this up? Because it doesn’t work with poker. You are in a one–person business. No one but you can make up for a weakness. You can choose to be a good player or a world class player. This book will, at a minimum, make you a good player. If good is your objective you will learn those things that are part of your natural strengths and look over and perhaps become familiar with those details that don’t excite you.
If you choose to be a great player you must learn and do everything. Becoming great demands doing and learning some things which are not fun. Accept the fact you cannot overcome a weakness naturally; it does take extra practice. The true difference between ordinary and extraordinary is extra. Compensating for weaknesses may not be enjoyable but becomes bearable if you look at it through the lens of a march toward being the best. You cannot fail to know which hands you can play and when. You must be patient and wait for the right hands. You must be selectively aggressive. You can’t skip the 10,000 practice readings of the board (yes, that’s one assignment). You must know the minimum bets needed in the pot before you can even consider drawing to an inside straight. You must keep a complete and thorough log. It goes on and on. No matter what your personality you are going to find things in this book you don’t like or want to do. But every step will increase your competitive advantage. The choice is yours. Good or world class. Commercial: If you go to PokerVT.com, Mr. Daniel Negreanu and I will personally teach you to be world class.