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How would you study poker if you could re-start: Reddit users’ advice for beginners

A Reddit user asked for advice on how to study poker:

I’m trying to get into the game, and I want to learn it, but there seems to be just too much to learn and I’d like to hear how you all would approach the game if you were beginning today. What would your first weeks look like? Your first moths?

What would you read? What apps would you use?

How would you study poker?

Here are the summary of the most helpful advices.

SonofaBaca: Most online resources are too advanced to study poker

They explain game theory against smart opponents of a high level. For beginners, I would recommend two resources:

  • Weekly Poker Hand (WPH) videos by Jonathan Little on YouTube – they explain well what should be going through your mind during a hand.
  • Podcast “How to not lose at poker!” (available on Spotify and Apple podcasts) – it covers fundamental concepts that other poker resources assume you already know.

SlowPlayedAces: I would use preflop charts and go through them every day, then review hand histories after playing. What to look for in hand histories doesn’t matter much.

The most important thing in the beginning is to build a mental model of the game. This can only be done by playing. Even if you think that playing and reviewing hands won’t teach you poker, that’s not true. This way, your brain will reprogram itself for poker.

clayvision: I would do a few things:

  • Find where there’s cheap play near me. I would slowly get used to the table and make new acquaintances with people from the poker world.
  • Start playing at the lowest stakes, keeping track of results. Analyze my biggest winning and losing hands to find patterns in what I did when I won big or lost big (bet, called, or folded).
  • Then I would find a study group and persistently ask why certain actions are necessary. I would ask it so often that my classmates would also start to wonder about their own game.

Next, I would continue consuming all poker content: articles, books, videos – everything available. I would continue to think and play NL10 online, $1-2 offline, or cheap offline tournaments, including home games.

I would constantly ask “why?” until I reached GTO.

At this stage, I would start developing a strategy for playing against different types of opponents. Here I would ask myself: “Why does the solver choose this action?” and make decisions based on a clean slate.

I would continue to study strategy, but then I would start learning physical tells, tilt control, and “polishing” my own poker face.

Be humble. In poker, only one thing is guaranteed: the probability of losing to a weaker opponent. So never give up.

I would start studying other poker disciplines once I mastered Hold’em. Other games can teach some lessons better than NLHE.

I’ve walked this path – and now regularly play $5/10 offline and NL50-100 online. And my poker journey continues.

TheOnlyBurger2310: Here’s how I would study poker.

  • Focus on preflop (ranges and open sizes).
  • Study continuation betting (bet sizes and when to make them).
  • Always ask yourself why. Try to understand why you’re taking certain actions and try to explain them to a friend in simple terms.
  • Play a lot. Try to understand what you’re doing wrong and fight it. Just take one topic and study it for a week, then take a new one, and so on.

Important: don’t buy paid content until you’ve mastered the game (wait at least a couple of months). If poker frustrates you, take a break and come back to it later when you feel like it. The most important thing is to enjoy the game.

mysteryman-mm: I would hire a coach and focus on studying the game, not on the volume of grinding at micro-limits.

MattyAxe: I would play more with friends and not worry about winning.

stvbckwth: From beginner books, I would recommend Sklansky, Negreanu, and Brunson. For advanced players – Michael Acevedo.

If I were playing offline at low limits, I would develop a simple strategy to beat local regs.

Studying GTO at early stages is not necessary, but over time, understanding it will improve your game and thought process. Low limits can be beaten without solvers.

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