Monday, January 19, 2015

Want to get better at poker? Write about it.

"Learn as much by writing as by reading." - Lord John Acton


Long ago, one of the best things I ever did for my poker game was start this blog. Writing about poker means thinking about poker, which in turn means learning-- which means improving. Other players that I know who have taken up similar habits of blogging about poker, or even just writing down hands and situations and analyzing what they did right and wrong, have similarly benefited from the process. Writing about poker helps your win rate.

Lots of poker coaches feel the same way. They encourage their students to keep records, write down key hands, and, yes, blog. Recently, poker author and coach Nathan "BlackRain79" Williams posted on his blog about the benefits of blogging. He wrote: "It doesn't even matter if anybody is reading [what you write] or not. I had literally zero people reading this blog for the first three years. It didn't matter..."

There's an old adage that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. I personally learned this years ago in college when I took a night job teaching calculus at a local community college. I thought I knew math before I started that job-- and boy, was I mistaken. Yes, I could solve problems, but no, I couldn't not explain the how or the why very well. The good news is that by the time that first semester was over I easily had increased my knowledge of calculus by more than 100%, and I did so by learning how to explain to others. I literally became an expert by teaching.

I think it was Albert Einstein who famously said, "You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother." Whenever I post to this blog, I essentially put on my "explaining hat" and imagine that I'm teaching an imaginary reader something. If I can coherently articulate a concept or idea in writing so that a generic reader can understand it, then by definition I also get it. Which means my game has gotten better.

Way up at the top of this very web page, right underneath the title "PokerBug" are the words Docendo Disco, Scribendo Cogito -- Ship It. The Latin part of this phrase translates to "I learn by teaching, I think by writing."

I'll leave it to the reader to figure out the "Ship It" part. :-)

All-in for now...
-Bug

6 comments:

  1. I totally agree! Unfortunately, blogging just once a week has taken more time than I planned (I get carried away doing research sometimes). The "zero people reading" line was encouraging though. The Hold 'Em at Home blog (http://thetapoker.com/blog) is now closing in on two years with not enough readership to justify continuing, but I guess I should stick it out at least one more year ;-).

    P.S. - just gave you a shout out a couple posts ago:

    http://www.thetapoker.com/stans-lists-top-ten-best-selling-poker-books-of-2014/

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  2. Theta, don't give up on your blog. Mine took a few years also before starting to get noticed. Heck, I wasn't aware of yours until you just commented. Turns out it's a pretty good blog, too! I just added it to my sidebar list of good poker blogs, so hopefully it will help drive some traffic your way.

    Thanks for the shout-out, too. Cheers, Bug

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  3. Thanks for the encouragement and the link. Looking forward to reading your future posts!

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  4. Hi Bug,

    Just writing to let you know that the URL for my blog (Down The Rabbit Hole with Pocket Aces) has been updated from http://poker.toddsville.com/ to http://poker.pdtodd.com/

    Thanks and keep up the writing!

    Patrick

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  6. Thanks for kicking off this blog Bug. I've been enjoying it since stumbling onto it a while back and recently went back to the start and are working my way forward. As an engineer myself, I can see the processes of self teaching, consolidation and application going on.

    Having done some tutoring and teaching myself, I definitely relate to this blog post.

    Keep up the good work. :)

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