Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Work In Progress


Got an email from a reader the other day with a question about my study habits. Here's what X wrote, "I have learned many things from your blog. Please keep doing what you are doing. I am myself constantly working on something new every day to improve with my game. I was wondering what you are working on in your own game right now. What are you studying in poker? How do you study?"

These are great questions. First let me state, like many people I know, I can be monumentally lazy one day, and over-the-top productive the next. I also have a lot of non-poker irons in the life fire that compete for my attentions, including a ton of work stuff, a long standing hot-rod project in the garage, a fiction book project that I've recently dusted off, and a new-ish electric vehicle conversion project that I'm slowly but surely putting together. All of this, coupled with the usual wife, kids, and home repair stuff sometimes leave me wishing for at least 34 hours in the day instead of the standard 24. Ah, if only...

Seriously, when it comes to poker, I'm always doing a few things to boost my game. In recent months, I'm spending a lot of time with podcasts, which I listen to probably 2+ hours a week while going for my lunchtime walk and/or in the car on my commute. I also try to watch at least one poker video per week (usually when working out on my exercise machine), and I almost always have a couple of poker books half read and strewn throughout the house. I'm currently re-reading "Rounders" for instance, plus I've got "How to Win the World Series of Poker (Or Not)" halfway finished, and I'm re-skimming Sweeney's "Dynamic Full Ring Poker, which I think is one of the more underrated poker how-to books around (but a little disorganized and difficult to read at times). Oh, and then I try to spend at least 10-15 minutes a day looking in depth at one or two theory or strategy posts on the 2+2 poker forums.

As far as specific techniques goes, I'm currently trying to get a better understanding of when and how to continuation bet. I think there is a lot of money people (me included) leave on the table in this area, and like many things in poker, I believe it's a puzzle that can be solved. Flopzilla has been my friend on this particular issue, as well as some reference books like Sweeney's. I'll be posting some things on the topic in an upcoming blog entry.

And then there's my near constant interest (read: obsession) with chewing over the basic nature of poker and how one can/should teach it to a newbie. I actually made a small break-through on organizing my thoughts last week, so stay tuned for a brief look in another future post on the subject. (As a sneak preview, you shouldn't be surprised to learn that it centers around my near constant interest (read: obsession) with the whole notion of Edge and Levels of Thought. Making money at poker is a function of two things: volume and edge, and the latter can be subdivided into three tidy little categories, which can each be further broken down into a series of tidy little teaching modules.)

The final thing I do that has helped my game more than anything else is what I'm doing right now: blogging. I am a huge believer that the best way to learn something is to try to explain it to someone else. Doing so makes you think in an active way (versus the passive techniques I mentioned above, such as listening to podcasts, watching poker videos, and reading books). Teaching/explaining a topic makes you organize your thoughts. It makes you study and actively think. It makes you understand. In short, it works. For anyone reading this blog, I recommend keeping your own journal, starting a blog, or just explaining a concept to another poker playing friend of yours on a regular basis. Like the method many surgical residents are taught by, us poker players should be following the See One, Do One, Teach One approach.

And that's about it for now. Time to get moving on to the next thing on today's to-do list...

All-in for now...
-Bug




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