If you want to become a serious poker player, you should associate yourself with serious poker players. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from a poker player who is better than yourself. Further development of poker strategies can come from a simple conversation about playing poker, rather than an actual game.
You can learn a lot by playing against more advanced poker players, but they are not going to reveal any of their own poker strategies when they’re trying to scoop your chip stack. However, when you’re sitting around having a drink, you can get a lot of information out of them.
Highly experienced poker players can deduce their opponent’s hand, often predicting exactly what they are holding just by being especially observant. If you’ve ever watch Daniel Negreanu on GSN’s High Stakes Poker, you’ve probably wondered if he’s got some special sixth sense of ESP. Many times, he’ll put an opponent on a hand with dead-on accuracy. However, he is not psychic by any means.
If you find yourself playing against an opponent with acute skills like this, invite them to a drink at the bar after a session. Don’t outright ask them how they do it, because they won’t likely divulge too much information at this point. But if you can start a healthy conversation on poker, you may be able to turn the conversation to a particular hand to learn their techniques.
The information you’re looking for is where you made your mistake, and if you made a bad decision, what would the proper choice have been? If your hand was read, what gave it away? Pay close attention and be sure to apply the information to your game in all future sessions.
It may not be as easy as buying someone a drink to get them to open up. All poker players are different. Going back to our previous example, Daniel Negreanu is known to be one of the most open poker pros in the business, sharing his poker strategies and advice with anyone who shows a true desire to better their game.
Other poker players, such as Phil Ivey, are much more reserved and taciturn with their poker strategies. You’re not going to be able to learn much from a player like this, so as soon as you identify a tight-lipped player, move on.
What if you’re an online poker player? Getting into a steady conversation away from the virtual felt won’t be so easy. However, online poker rooms like Full tilt Poker offer a ‘Pro Chat’ session where players can converse directly with Full Tilt Pros, without actually competing against them. This is a great forum for learning from expert poker players.
If you’re willing to shell out a few bucks, joining a top rated poker training school is another great way to get inside the heads of real poker pros. There are a number of quality poker training schools on the internet today. For example, Negreanu runs PokerVT.com, offering a wealth of poker strategies including video tutorials of himself playing real poker games, against real people, and stopping at specific intervals to explain what he’s looking at, why he’s acting in a certain way, and how it works to his advantage.