Anybody can learn how to play pro-level poker so long as you apply yourself and never give up. One of the very first things I remember learning when first looking into playing poker at a higher level was how to study. The correct methodology seemed pretty straightforward: read books, watch videos, and study your hand history. I have been doing that for nearly five years now and I am miles ahead of where I was. Someone who doesn’t know any better might wonder why it would take five years to study the game of poker. Well, I once heard a professional poker player say it would take a minimum of five years of dedicated studying to just scratch the surface of the level a pro plays at.
I told a friend that I had been studying poker for a few years and he thought that was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. Perhaps he may have just been thinking of the mechanics of the game. I’m not sure, but the average person has no idea what is involved with learning poker strategy. I am not someone who just picks up something the first time I hear it either. I am sure there are people who just absorb information like a sponge the first time they read something, but I am not that guy. The learning curve was incredible for me. I had to focus on one concept of game theory at a time and I was really mechanical. I couldn’t think about more than one thing at a time, it was really frustrating. I wanted to give up a bunch of times, but the love of the challenge (and of poker!) kept me moving forward.
Over time, I was able to apply several concepts at once with a little more intuition that comes with experience. Now, I am mostly able to see the entire scope of any given situation all at once. I can see position, chip stacks, board texture, opponents’ tendencies and frequencies, hand odds, pot odds; pretty much all of it. You don’t get there if you stop studying. You have to keep on going.
Make time for study. Set a goal for just pure study time and your results will improve
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) January 5, 2018
My Impressions of the Material and of the Coach, Alex Fitzgerald
I am so fortunate to have the privilege to review some of the most current, first-rate poker materials out there from the biggest names in poker here on Cardplayer Lifestyle. My latest object of poker study has been Alex Fitzgerald’s The Myth of Poker Talent video series by D&B Poker, based on his hit book of the same title.
I loved Alex Fitzgerald’s straightforward no-nonsense approach to teaching poker strategy. No wonder, he is one of the top poker coaches in the field! He is an author, crushes poker, and he’s a superstar; what else is there to say about the guy!? He has earned millions of dollars playing online poker, which certainly looks stellar on the resume of a poker coach. What I love about his teaching style is that he can take complex ideas and explain them in an easy-to-understand way. In this video series in particular, he explained some really beefy subjects with tons of substance and made it sound completely manageable. By comparison, I have seen tutorials by other coaches who tend to overcomplicate some of the more easy-to-grasp concepts. They chase the rabbit into the hole and never really find their way back out again.
On a personal note, something else I really appreciated was Alex’s availability. Specifically, I emailed him with a question and he got back to me the very next day. That was a big deal to me and it’s a testament to the fact that this poker coach cares about his students.
Video Series Breakdown
The Myth of Poker Talent video series includes eight individual videos, jamming over three hours of some of the most valuable poker content you can access online. The videos thoroughly cover the following topics:
- Pre-flop Raising
- Pre-flop 3-betting and 4-betting
- Jamming and Re-jamming
- Double and Triple Barrel
- Unloading the Clip
- How to Use Your HUD (Heads-Up Display).
Before diving into the other topics, I want to first say that the HUD video is applicable even if you aren’t using a HUD. It basically covers player’s tendencies and discusses how to take advantage of their frequency mistakes. The video is even more valuable if you do use a HUD, as it explains some very useful information about how best to utilize its full potential. As you HUD users know, there are an overwhelming amount of stats provided by a HUD and Alex does a great job of prioritizing the ones that are going to maximize your edge; in the end, that’s all that matters. In other words, having all that data doesn’t do any good if you can’t capitalize on it.
A favorite video of mine from the series was the Unloading the Clip video. It really knocks the ball out of the park when dialing in on when and why to be aggressive with your betting. One of the most common mistakes in poker is aimless aggression. We bet Pre-flop, we C-bet, we double and then triple barrel only to be 3-bet shoved on the river. How did this happen!? Was my play good!? Alex busts out the math and walks us through street by street using Flopzilla and Card Runner. (In full disclosure, I don’t have either Flopzilla or Card Runner. I use Equilab, which is free and gets me the numbers I need to work out the formulas often enough.)
Alex’s points about working out whether or not our bets are good mathematically really hit home for me. If you don’t work that out doing off-the-table study of past hand history you are never going to get to the next level in your poker game. You can use Flopzilla, Card Runner, or Equilab and see in black and white whether your C-bet, Double, or Triple Barrel was correct. You can then use that information later when you are at the table and crush it. Nobody expects you to be able to work out poker math at the table live, but if you put in the work away from the table to sharpen your calculation skills, you will slowly but surely develop an intuition that you can use on the spot that you just cannot get otherwise.
The rest of Alex’s The Myth of Poker Talent videos reminded me of the MythBusters series, as they debunk some of the more common errors at the poker table (where we think we are playing correctly). Often, we’ll even be making the correct moves, but we won’t know why they’re correct. The videos also go a long way towards explaining precisely these moves! That was HUGE for me!
One example is Blind Stealing. We know that we need to try and steal the blinds from the button position, but do we know how often mathematically the blinds have to fold for the move to be profitable? This is a prime illustration of how knowing the numbers can give us an edge! We are able to use the information we know about the blinds tendencies to determine their defending range, which tells us if it is correct to steal or not. You will most likely discover two things: you are not stealing often enough and you aren’t defending wide enough. That right there alone could make or break your next tournament!
In an age where poker players of all skill levels are improving with ever increasing rapidity, I can guarantee – to the point that I’m willing to bet on it – that your game will stay right where it is or likely diminish in effectiveness if you don’t start investing in moving up to the next level. As such, it certainly pays to check out Alex Fitzgerald’s The Myth of Poker Talent video series by D&B Poker. It will transform everything from your Pre-flop game to your Post-flop game as well as every nuanced strategy in between.