Effective learning techniques

Effective learning techniques

The fact that you are reading our poker strategy content at UnfairPoker.com suggests that you are interested in improving your game. However, just reading our content (or anyone else’s content) or watching videos or listening to podcasts etc. is going to do little to make you a better poker player. Reading, watching, or listening are not by themselves effective learning techniques – you are attempting to absorb someone else’s information passively. Unfortunately, you are not a sponge – you cannot possibly remember all the information you were given. Even if you did manage to find ways to remember the information, that’s a start, but it is still nowhere near enough. You have to understand how to actually utilize that information in practice.

Make quality & usable notes

Don’t write down a transcript

The first thing we would recommend, when learning from any poker content (such as the training material here at UnfairPoker.com) is to make notes. However, just noting down everything you are told via an article, video, or podcast isn’t really going to do you that much good – all you have done then is effectively created a transcript of the information. Instead write done the most useful things that you didn’t already know, or things that you did know but have been explained to you in a better way.

Chunking by subject area

As a tip, we would recommend organizing your notes via subject area, divided into major categories, like key concepts, foundational math, overall strategy, tactical advice, mental game advice, etc. and make subcategories in each one. We would recommend purchasing a notebook, that is already divided into several tabbed or color coded sections. Every time you read, watch, or listen to poker training material write down your notes in the appropriate section, instead of starting a new page for each new piece of training material you use. This way your notes will be more useful.

Consider another approach

Instead of writing down the key ideas that you are learning, write down questions instead. So if you have just seen a great explanation of what the difference is between ‘hot & cold’ and robust equity – write down ‘what is the difference between ‘hot & cold’ and robust equity?’ – hopefully, you will have written down several questions. Several hours (or better still the following day) after reading, watching, or listening to the training material answer your questions. You will be surprised about how difficult it sometimes is to answer these questions – even though you thought you understood the concepts perfectly the first time. You can go back through the training material, correct your answers. The questions you feel you could have done better on, can be re-answered the following day. The great thing about writing down key questions, is you can go back again in a week or month, to see if you still properly remember the information.

Use hand histories to practice

Just learning concepts is not enough. If you have been playing poker for a while, hopefully you have noted down many interesting hands. Pick out some appropriate hands, and write down how you could improve what you did based on the new information you have learned. Use any appropriate software to do this.

If there are hand examples in the training material, work through them thoroughly yourself. We would recommend writing down the basics of the hand – e.g. cards, action etc from the material – and working on the hand from scratch. What assumptions (if any) were made, and do you agree with the conclusions.

Put theory into real practice

As the cliche goes, practice makes perfect. Using the information you have learned in real life, is one of the most effective learning techniques you have at your disposal. Make detailed notes of your game play – you will often find you didn’t quite remember something, or something that seemed quite straightforward in the training material is difficult to implement – after the game, you will need to consider why.