Yes, you’re correct. The online games are getting tougher.
Crackdown by governments throughout the world have reduced large markets, such as the U.S., and Australia. The reduction in the player pool is always going to reduce the potential number of new bad players coming into the market space.
The increase in poker knowledge, poker tools, poker training sites, have all played a roll in the increased difficulty. Yet, despite all of this, the games are still very beatable. And here’s how:
Re-think your poker knowledge
If you’ve been playing for a while, like myself, you can witness that people understand the game much better.
I’ve been playing online for over 13 years now. For over a decade I talked about when to check top pair, middle pair, and essentially how to effectively balance your range.
Most people just bet all of their good hands all of the time. This was the common mantra in poker. Just bet. Be aggressive. More aggression = more money.
Not to toot my own horn, but I will, you can watch videos of me from 10 years ago talking about how important balance is. Now that people have caught on, you can’t always assume a check to you in position means you can fire 2 barrels and get a fold.
Players understand flop texture, bluff frequencies, and to a certain degree, GTO play. As a result of this, I’d invite you to re-think an area of your game that you intuitively know isn’t working as well as it should.
Whether that’s how to play better in 3-bet pots, how to play more effectively out of position, or simply revisit your “default” opening ranges by position.
Taking an honest look at your game, and re-considering that what you previously held as truth, might not be quite as true anymore. Be open to being wrong. Which takes me to my next point.
You’re never as good or as bad as you think you are
You just are where you are in your poker development. If you’re patting yourself on the back about what a great player you are, then you’re likely very susceptible to tilt, when things don’t go your way at the poker table.
If you’re berating yourself for what a bad player you are, then you’re likely holding back your own development because of your own internal person dialogue.
Neither is true. So pull up a meditation cushion, light a candle, and repeat, “I just am”. No Birkenstock’s or Pachulia are even needed.
Just accept where you are, and make a commitment to yourself to improve, and let go of your past results. Because if you don’t, you’re going to be highly susceptible to…
Yup. It’s happened to us all. Even the most cold-blooded, logically minded Russian at your table.
It doesn’t matter how stoic someone appears, we’re all susceptible to tilt to one degree or another. Tilt isn’t just going into a classic Hellmuth rant at the table, berating someone else for making a great play that he didn’t approve of, or what proper poker in his mind. It’s also winners’ tilt and revenge tilt.
Our good friend Jared Tendler broke down 7 different types of tilt. He labeled them, Injustice Tilt, Hate-losing tilt, mistake tilt, Entitlement tilt (Hellmuth), revenge tilt (my personal favorite), running bad tilt, and desperation tilt.
All you can do is work on being honest with yourself, and recognizing the signs of tilt as early as possible. I’ve personally seen Tilt kill several very good poker players’ careers. Don’t be one of them.
Jared did a great video for us sometime back I’m including right here. I’d recommend checking it out:
Yeah, yeah. You’ve heard it all before.
But seriously, in today’s games, you have to make more of an effort to table select.
That is if you want to win as much money as possible. Some people’s goals aren’t to win as much money as possible. They just want the strategy challenge. Great. Stay in the toughest games available. There are benefits to doing that, including learning from those tough opponents.
In general, though, it’s not needed since most of your table will be varying degrees of solid players, depending on what stake levels you’re playing. But even at the micros now, the regulars are much much better. If you only have one poker site open when you’re playing, then you’re costing yourself a higher hourly and winrate.
You should have a minimum of two poker sites open, and I’d recommend 3-4 today. More sites open = more tables to choose from = more money in your poker bankroll. There are no excuses for this one.
Forum Post / Join Poker Groups
Posting trouble hands you’re not sure about, and answering other people’s posts is still one of the best ways to analyze and improve your poker game in my humble opinion.
Answering hand history threads allows you to step outside of the situation, and objectively take your time and think about spots that you may not have thought as deeply about while actively involved in a hand.
Don’t ever concern yourself with being correct about a situation or spot. Just be open, listen, defend your position, but always be open to being wrong. That’s the only way you’ll grow as a poker player and as a person.
Be humble, and respectful in the forums to your fellow poker players that are learning. No one likes a douche bag.
If you post enough hands on your favorite poker forum, you’ll likely find players who are around your current skill level that will have skype, or slack groups going where they sweat each other and talk about hands and strategy. Join them.
Having a group that you can consult with, even if you are just ranting about a bad beat helps the poker soul. Whatever method you choose, find and create a close group of poker friends. It will pay off in the end.
There’s honestly not many poker training sites I have generally recommended over the years. Because to be quite honest.
I didn’t think most of them were very good. There were some gems here and there from what I saw, but most of them had some really bad advice, that over the years, turned out to be really bad advice.
I do recommend one. If you haven’t check out Upswing poker, it’s on the few out there that has solid content for today’s games. You can check out some of their free and paid training here: Upswing poker.
Good luck at the poker tables!
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