Being successful at poker means a lot more than just playing a massive amount of hands. You need to study, study hard.
Not only should you eat, breath and sleep poker but being excited and curious about the game is an absolute must. When I say curious I mean willing to study every aspect of the game.
Learning the fundamental theorem of poker, its implications, and how it affects every decision you make in a poker game is the first thing you have to study rigorously.
The best way to get familiar with the fundamentals is by reading the correct books and articles about this subject. It’s very important that you read the right materials from the start. There are hundreds of poker books and websites out there with a lot of information about poker and how the game should be played. Sadly most of this information is outdated or just plain wrong. I will make a post soon with a list of books and articles I think are must-read for new aspiring players.
Study your own game. Every time you have played poker it’s important that you re-evaluate your play and decisions you took during that session. Don’t think that because you had a winning session you took the correct decisions. There is great software to keep track of your results and review your plays and those of your opponents. Preferably ask as many questions as you can on a reputable poker forum just to be sure you are on the right track.
Keep in mind that you are never done studying poker. It’s an ongoing process that will be very important as long as you intend to win. Poker evolves every day and not adapting will make a once winning player into a losing one.
Of course experience is crucial. The way we can get a lot of experience in a short span of time is by playing poker online. Once we have a solid understanding of the fundamentals we can play one or more tables of online poker. Someone who plays 4 tables simultaneously will be playing between 240 and 400 hands per hour. This obviously depends on what game you are playing and the speed of the game. When you play live at a home game or at your local casino you are lucky if you see 30 hands per hour. So obviously online poker is a great way to get the necessary experience. It does not matter if it is for play money or real dollars, as long as you learn as much as you can while putting in the hours at the tables.
I recommend to play a maximum of 4 tables at the same time. Don’t become a robot. Think about every possible way you can play the hand according to the information you have gathered.
Put all the puzzle pieces together and find a way to defeat your opponent.