External Resources to Improve As a Poker Player?

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Poker is an incredibly complex game and one that typically takes years to become competent at. Each day, there are new players embracing the felt (either virtual or in casinos) for the first time. But how does one get ‘good’ at poker? What are the steps needed to succeed? This article will describe some of the external ways in which poker players improve (starting with more inexperienced players and then moving onward). This article will not focus on the things one would need to improve while playing poker (for example: poker software), but the external study away from the felt.

Author Note: This article describes only some of the more popular tools and strategies that many players use to improve. Each player learns differently, and these listed are obviously not the only ways to become a competent poker player.

Basic Poker Strategy Articles

For those JUST starting out in poker strategy, basic poker articles are an excellent way to get started. One may find a wealth of these by simply googling ‘poker strategy’. In fact, maybe you are one of those players just starting out and this may be one of the first strategy articles you have read. These basic strategy articles can get newer players more familiar with basic concepts such as Pot Odds, and other fundamentals.

Online Poker Forums

The next step after reading basic strategy articles is reading poker forums. Popular poker communities such as www.twoplustwo.com, www.liquidpoker.com, www.pocketfives.com, and www.reddit.com/r/poker/ are a few of examples. Poker forums offer:

    1. Poker Strategy- Many forums have stickies of excellent posts in the past. These archives can help a newer player understand some of the basic fundamentals in poker strategy. The above forums are all free as well, and the information seen in places such as the small stakes NLHE forum (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/39/small-stakes-pl-nl/ssnl-link-collection-100801/) is probably better than most poker strategy books.


  • Poker Hand Discussion- Each new poker session offers a multitude of problems and difficult decisions. What better way to learn and understand the game than getting the opinions of better players? Poker forums offer an outlet for posting hands and getting opinions and advice.



  • Community- As one continues to post on poker forums, friendships are often formed over long hours of poker discussion. Poker forums offer a way to meet other poker players and an opportunity to make connections. This will lead us to the next step in learning poker…


Poker Friends

Discussing poker with friends is perhaps the most important and vital tool of these listed for learning the game. Almost every high stakes poker player has a large network of friends that he can talk to- be it downswings, tilt, strategy, or something else. High stakes players are not alone in their support network- most all serious players have one as well. Having other people feed their input on a hand can lead to valuable discussion and quick improvement in certain situations.

What should you be looking for when seeking a poker friend?

    1. A poker friend should (typically) be about the same skill level or better than you. The friend will understand the game dynamics and will understand your line of thought much easier if he is at the same level of competency. Lower skilled players, while still beneficial, will not provide as many unique ideas for advice.


  • Familiar in the medium in which you play- Your poker friend should be competent and knowledgeable in the medium that you play in. This could mean Pot Limit Omaha (PLO), Stud 8, NLHE, live or online, 9-handed, or something else. Obviously, the opinions of a deep stacked NLHE pro may not be the best for a tournament PLO pro.


Above all, a poker friend is there to support during downswings, discuss poker strategy, help with financials (sometimes players loan others), and many, many others. There are many ways to find poker study groups as well. Deucescracked has a sub forum for players who are looking to form study groups- (http://www.deucescracked.com/forums/28-Secret-HQ). Other communities offer similar opportunities as well.

Poker Coaching and Videos

One of the last tools that players use externally to improve their game is through poker coaching and poker videos. When players seek coaching or want to watch videos, they should typically have a fundamental knowledge of poker (understanding the basics of pot odds, continuation betting, and pre flop hand selection, etc). Poker coaches and videos are some of the final steps that players take in order to continue advancing beyond forums and basic strategy articles. It is inadvisable to receive poker coaching when you are just starting out, mainly due to most of the elementary concepts being available for free (on websites and forums).

Poker Coaching– Poker coaches can range from harmful to life changing (in terms of the benefit gained) and can be quite expensive at times (They typically range from $50 up to several thousand dollars an hour). A standard coaching session may last for an hour or two and can consist of video review, live sweating, theory discussion, hand history review, or something else.

More information on poker coaching and video instruction sites can be found here.

Poker Videos– For further poker study, there are websites that offer thousands of hours of poker instruction for a monthly or annual fee. A short list of the primary poker instruction sites available:

These videos sites have a wide range of strategy instruction (both beginners and advanced) as well as a variety of different instructors.

Poker coaching and video instruction sites are catered towards the more dedicated poker player. Due to their high cost, only serious grinders should consider them.


Poker study and learning never ends. Players will continue to learn the game for as long as they play; and even the best players continue to work hard and reflect on their game. These ideas listed in this article are just a few of the different ways that one might learn to improve at poker. Few players are true naturals, and it takes many hours studying away from the tables in order to be successful on it.