Training Sites and the “Correct way to play”

What’s your take on the various video sites out there?  Cardrunners, PokerXfactor, PokerVT, PokerSavvy, the list goes on and on…

I like what Phil Ivey said something to the effect of ‘you have to play your own game.’  That requires putting in hands, learning people’s tendancies including your own (which may vary by level and site), and learning how to exploit those tendancies to make a profit.

Training sites provide a great resource for learning how other people think about the game.  Combined with other information sources such as forums, books, poker tracker, etc…you can use all these pieces to put together a ‘play book’.

Playing the way ‘everyone else’ plays may or may not be the correct play.  No limit holdem is a game of incomplete information, it is not (or rather, has not yet been) solved mathematically, and there are elements of luck, psychological and various skill level factors involved making playing ‘perfect’ poker a pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow.

For example, the profitable way to play at say a micro-stakes limit online is going to be a more ‘straight-up’ abc style of play since most of your opponents don’t understand what you’re trying to do anyway, unless you play expert post flop play, in which case you may be more profitable playing a maniac level of hands 40%+…  However, as you move up, the ‘standard’ way to play evolves.  Position becomes more important, table image comes into play, and decisions get more complex and difficult.

With that said, the ‘standard’ way to play ebbs and flows.  If everyone is playing a hyper-aggressive preflop style, it behooves you to counter that by tightening up your preflop range.  And vice versa. 

Training sites are doing a good job of disseminating information – i.e. telling the masses what the ‘standard’ way of playing is.

You must obsorb this information, and take it into consideration, and then apply it to your own style and knowledge base.

Learn what you can.  Take it for what it’s worth.  But don’t ever get complacent with your game.  Talk to your friends about hands.  Participate in forums.  Study your poker tracker stats for leaks.  Watch training videos.  Read books.

Poker has some fundamental skills you need to be a ‘standard’ player- to become great, you must find your own way above and beyond that ‘standard’.  Enjoy the journey.


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