Hands-on experience is a great way to tweak your poker skills at the tables, but it’s not the only way. You can actually use TV poker to improve your game, learning new tricks of the trade by watching the pros do what they do best.
Most amateur poker players enjoy watching poker on TV. We find it entertaining simply because we can relate to it, much like a high school football player enjoys watching the pros toss around the pigskin on a Sunday afternoon. But the best players – those with a potential career ahead of them – are the ones that take more away from a televised game than just a few hours of entertainment.
In fact, professional football players watch footage of opposing teams on a regular basis to improve their game. A team will watch clips from the previous bout to see where their own players may have faltered. They will also watch tape of their upcoming opponents to pin-point any flaws they may be able to exploit. They are constantly learning new tricks and better ways to defeat their opponents on the turf.
TV poker is no different. If you want to play like a pro, and win like a pro, you need to learn from the pros.
Thousands of hands of poker are shown on television every single day. ESPN shows past and current World Series of Poker events at least once a week. GSN (Game Show Network) broadcasts High Stakes Poker every Sunday at 8 EST, with reruns throughout the week. Poker After Dark is shown almost every night on NBC. Europe has a cable network devoted to all things poker – The Poker Channel – carried by over 18 million cable companies.
There is no lack of televised poker on your TV. Each of these poker shows is packed with amateur and professional poker players competing on the felt in cash game sessions and tournaments. That’s an awful lot of hours of tape you could be studying and learning from, day in, day out.
Learning to read poker tells is especially applicable to poker on TV. You get to see each player’s actions and reactions, as well as the cards they are holding. Bring a notepad and pencil to the couch as you watch. Take notes on each player’s behaviourisms, both physical and emotional.
How do they act when they are bluffing as opposed to holding the nuts? What kind of bet/raise will make them fold a winning hand?
Are there inadvertent poker tells being displayed? A nervous player will often touch their face in some way, or become fidgety. They may run fingers through their hair, wipe their chin or scratch their forehead. They could rest their head on one hand contemplatively, or take a second look at their cards after the flop, usually meaning they have a draw hand.
Not only will this help you identify common player types on he felt, you never know when you may find yourself competing directly against one of the very pros you’ve been studying. By recognizing behaviours and betting patterns, you can greatly improve your poker game by simply watching the pros play poker on TV.