How to get better at online poker

Online poker is an exciting and even lucrative hobby for tens of thousands of people across the globe. One of the things that make the game so addicting is the prospect of improvement and the increased earnings that it can bring.

Throughout the history of online poker, there have traditionally been three main ways to improve one’s game. They are books, online subscriptions to training sites and self-study. In recent times, a fourth method has become available: software. All of these methods have merit, but one is our definite favorite. We’ll take a look at each.

Reading as a means to improve

For almost the entire history of poker, books were the primary way by which a player could improve his game. Publishing companies, such as TwoPlusTwo, put out volumes of extremely high-quality information for the time. Many players learned to play poker exclusively through reading and the tips they picked up from these books.

But with the advent of online poker, the game became much more competitive. Much of the information that could be found in the older books became insufficient for modern, competitive players. Other forms of learning began to appear that were both more accessible and more user-friendly

However, for the beginner, there are still many books that can serve as a great introduction to the game.

Online training sites take over

Starting in around 2004, online poker training sites started popping up. Most of these sites featured proven, winning players who made videos that could be watched on an unlimited basis through a monthly subscription. Sites included CardRunners.com, bluefirepoker.com and poker online android. All of these sites still exist and subscribers can view their video archives for a fee.

Video subscription sites can be quite beneficial to new to intermediate low-stakes players looking to take their game to the next level. Generally speaking, however, video training sites will not make you much money beyond the micro stakes. What they will do is save you lots of money by avoiding terrible mistakes as you move up. But they are not a particularly good means to become a great player.

Improving through self-study

Self-study is where a player can really learn to improve. Much of the nuts and bolts of learning to play great poker is too dry and voluminous to put into book format, yet it’s also inappropriate for training videos. Studying on your own, using tracking software like Hold’em Manager or Poker Tracker, is an indispensable part of becoming a great player.

The methods of becoming world-class are far too numerous to list here. But the main goals you should be striving for in your study time are designing a good default strategy, learning how to optimally exploit opponent errors and recognizing when opponents are exploiting you, then neutralizing their ability to do so.

For self-study, you want to have, at a minimum, tracking software, like Hold’em Manager, an equity calculator, like Flopzilla or Equilab and a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel. You’ll also want to have at least 1,000,000 hand histories, but preferably you want 2,000,000 or more. This is because you’ll want to construct a strategy based on what the typical opponent does in every spot, and many spots won’t occur very many times, even over the course of 2,000,000 hands.