Five top methods of poker learning

It's often said of NLHE that 'it takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master'. The point of this phrase is that you can never learn everything about poker. Don't think of playing good poker as a destination that you get to - rather as an ongoing journey that you're committed to making so you can constantly improve and build on your game. As you move up to the higher stakes, you will up against better and better players, which means learning and evolving as a poker player becomes even more important.

So we're going to list here five key ways you can learn and grow as a poker player

1) Reading - there is a wealth of poker books on the market written by winning poker professionals. Whatever your preferred game, there are some excellent books available covering poker strategy and psychology. Commit to having one poker book on the go at all times and make sure you implement what you're learning.

2) Hire a poker coach - getting yourself a coach is one of the most profitable decisions you will make as a player. A poker coach will take an objective view to analysing your game and identifying leaks. They can teach you to play consistently profitable poker. The money spent will easily be regained as your poker improves.

3) Join a poker training site - poker training sites are a great way to tap into a big knowledge base. Most of them are based on you paying a monthly subscription in return for accessing a large amount of training and strategy videos. These normally also have a members forum where you can discuss hands and strategy. The great thing about these sites is you can watch the training videos in your own time whenever suits. It's a great idea to commit to watching one training/strategy video every day or every other day.

4) Self analyse your game with poker software - there is now a wide range of poker software on the market for you to choose from. At a basic level you can download Universal Replayer (free), which you can use to graphically replay your hand histories. This gives you a way of assessing your play and spotting leaks and areas for improvement. Poker Stove is also recommended, this is again free, and allows to see the odds of a given hand winning in a given situation.
However, if you're really committed to improving your poker game, you'll almost certainly want to consider a poker analytics package such as Holdem Manager or Poker Office. These give the benefit of real-time opponent statistics being displayed whilst you play (through a 'headsup display') as well as a whole suite of reports and analytics you can look at inbetween poker sessions. It's a good idea to spend at least some time each day going over hands you've played to see your strengths and weaknesses.

5) Participate in a poker forum - there are quite a few worldwide poker forums now which are popular. Participating in them is a two way thing - can you get knowledge and tips from other people (e.g by posting hands you've played for feedback) but also passing on your own knowledge to other players.


In poker you can never know everything or have a perfect game. To be a successful, consistently profiting poker player you must commit to ongoing learning as part of your game. See it as something you must do as well as playing. Active learning means your game will be constantly evolving and improving as will the edge you have over opponents that don't invest so much in learning.