How To Get Better At No Limit Hold’em
You want to know how to get better at No Limit Hold’em?
Okay. I’ll tell you. I hope you’re ready for this.
To get better at No Limit Hold’em, you need to play No Limit Hold’em.
Don’t get upset just yet. There’s a good chance you do not play No Limit Hold’em.
You play your brand of No Limit Hold’em, but you don’t play all forms of No Limit Hold’em.
Imagine someone saying they want to know beer connoisseur, but the only beer they want to drink is Coors Light.
I’ve had a lot of students recently tell me they want to be professional poker players. Then, I dive into their poker investing portfolio, and I find all they play is poker tournaments on one site that is crawling with regs.
That’s like telling me you want to be a weightlifter, but all you ever do is bicep curls with the 25-pound weights in your backyard. And there’s a Gold’s Gym down the street.
I hate arrogance as much as I hate false modesty, so I’m going to say it to you straight.
Many people meet me and wonder how I could be successful in anything. I don’t blame them. I have weird facial tics. I can’t get the stoner white trash intonation out of my accent, no matter how long I stay sober among the wealthy. There’s always something amiss about my appearance: My hair is sticking up, my shirt is wrinkled, or I’m overdressed or underdressed for the occasion. If you try to teach me something new, it will take me an embarrassingly long time for me to catch on.
What separates me from you in poker is not intelligence or talent.
The only thing I ever had going for me was hunger. I felt like I was nothing as a person if I didn’t make it. I hated myself for most of my life. That made me voracious to play more poker.
I didn’t want to be alone in my mind. So, if there was a second between classes or work shifts, I was reading a poker book. And if there was money to be made anywhere, I was playing cards.
I played in the back of check cashing places. I played in breweries, office buildings, restaurants, drug dealer’s houses, and dive bars.
Online, there wasn’t a site I didn’t play on. There wasn’t a format I didn’t play. SNG. MTT. Cash. Whatever. I wanted to learn them all.
You know why all the best soccer players come from Brazil? Because they play this game called futsal there. They didn’t play that game anywhere else on Earth for the longest time. It’s like soccer, but with less players, a heavier ball, and no space to kick it away. You’re forced to learn how to handle the ball and pass. Since there’s no one to pass to, you are always handling the ball.
That’s repeat exposure. That’s extra reps in the gym.
You’re not learning anything when you’re folding. You have to get in there and grind. You can do that in six-max.
I have played millions of six-max cash hands. You don’t think that translates to other games? How many times I’ve exposed myself to button and big blind spots, the two most important positions in the game? You think grinding 9-max tournaments your whole life will bring you that much exposure?
How the hell do you think you’re going to be a tournament crusher if you never play heads-up? Have you ever seen a payout structure for a tournament? Come on. Tell me. Where’s the biggest payout jump?
I am a thoroughly mediocre heads-up cash player, despite my obsession for the game. Yet, I stomp tournament pros asses all day and night when we get heads-up in tournaments, because they know almost nothing about the craft.
You have to get out there and play all the formats of No Limit Hold’em if you want to make it in this game. You have to play on a bus seat with a pack of Aviator cards if you have to. This game isn’t for fair weather fans.
You want to be a professional poker player? Great. Now, tell me what you’re going to do that’s going to separate you from the other 10,000 assholes saying the exact same thing?
Working harder than everyone else is a good start.