Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Poker players have almost limitless potential to improve because there is such a vast gulf between theoretical perfection and the level of play of which even the best pros are capable. There are so many little areas that can be tweaked, enhanced and refined.
There is no single player on this planet who plays perfectly or. Another way of looking at this is that the best player in the world is the least bad player the world.
So how do you get less bad? Well, there are a number of ways, but analysing your own game is by far and away the most important. This is why tracking software is incredibly useful. It shows you in concrete, quantitative terms a lot of what is really going on.
Those of you who don’t use it – wake up and smell the roses. This is the age of information and you’re doing yourself no favours by missing out on this widespread resource.
Those of you who already use it – are you sure you’re really getting the most out of it?
While tracking software is one of the most powerful aids available to you, a common problem is that you can get an overload of information that can be hard to process. Furthermore, a stat is only useful if you know how to interpret it and adjust your game accordingly. For example, your tracking software might tell you that you are 3-betting pre-flop 8% of the time, but this doesn’t necessarily help you to improve your game. Without knowing if this stat is good or bad, or if there are any other stats you should be looking at to make sense of it, you have no clear idea of how to use this information to your advantage.
MyPokerLab offers an innovative tool, the Report Card, that presents this statistical information in a much more digestible package. It not only helps you to understand some of the key stats but it also does a lot of the interpretation for you. The information collected from your sessions is used to compare how each of the main aspects of your game match up versus most winning players, and you are graded accordingly. If your stats lie outside of these “typically preferable” parameters, you are given a quick tip for tweaking your game. It’s amazing how much a marginal improvement in a few small areas of a player’s game can dramatically increase profitability. If you want to delve deeper, you will be directed to multi-media lessons that focus on exactly the kind of aspects of the game from which you may benefit the most.
When analysing your stats, it’s extremely important to remember that good play is usually reflected by good stats, but good stats don't necessarily mean you are playing well. It is possible to get bad grades and be a winning player, and the opposite is also true. Grades don't guarantee results but they can certainly indicate strengths and weaknesses. They are great for helping a player to recognise, focus on and improve parts of their game that they might have never been aware of without this kind of analysis.
At MyPokerLab our educational content and tools are designed to make you a confident, self-sufficient, winning poker player and it’s all completely free! So be sure to check out everything we have to offer at www.MyPokerLab.com.
Matt Perry takes the BadBeat Journalist Challenge
We’re now a whole three days into the BadBeat Journalist Challenge – over the next 20,000 hands I will be attempting to spin up as much as possible playing $0.05/$0.10 and $0.10/$0.20 NL 6-max cash games under a sponsorship from BadBeat on the PokerTime client, a Microgaming skin with poker tuition tool MyPokerLab fully integrated. Given how much I write about strategy for beating micro-stakes cash games in this magazine, you could say this is a chance for me to put my money where my mouth is.
On the first two days, I must admit that my money did fall out of my mouth. To the tune of around $110, to be exact. My first session of a few hundred hands came during illness and I blame that. Shortly after, though, I spoke to my coach Richard “strummer9” Herbert. He told me I was overthinking things and therefore losing value against the bad players by not playing fundamentally sound TAG poker and minimising variance.
During our session I won around $50 on two $0.1/$0.2 tables. After he left the Skype/Mikogo screenviewer conversation combo, I won a 450BB pot with K-K versus J-J. Things could be turning around – I’m not far from even at this point and there’s still 19,200 hands to go. Watch this space...