Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

3 Pieces Of Poker Pro Advice You Should Ignore

star-smallMost poker players can be categorized as recreational or amateur – we play poker for fun, hopefully make some money - yet and have an income / life outside of the game. Yet, most poker articles are written by pros – or at least mimic the ‘obviously’ great advice that the pros do publish. For me there is a contradiction here. The advice you are reading is mostly by pro grinders for aspiring pro grinders. Taking this one step further the question becomes: What is the pro poker advice that recreational players should ignore? I had 3 ideas to start off with.

Advice Recreational Players Should Ignore #1: Bankroll Management

If you make a living from playing poker, then bankroll management is key. This gives guidelines for the percentage of your total poker bankroll you should play with in any one game. For new players who have not yet experienced the huge variance in poker this can seem strict, with 5% of your ‘roll the max in cash games, 2% for SNGs and 1% for Tournaments. I’m going to suggest something different to my more ‘recreational’ readers. I believe that strict bankroll management will lead to you getting bored with the game. Instead of sitting snug playing in $5 SNGs or $10 buy-in cash games I recommend that you take regular shots at bigger games. After all, you can always rebuild if you lose (or for most of us, make the occasional reload!). This way you get a chance at making a huge score that would really be worthwhile. You get the chance to have money to re-invest in your game with tools, training or coaching. You might even get the chance of a once in a lifetime experience like a trip to a live tournament on the European Poker Tour or World Series. If you are recreational then you do not need to grind, take the opportunity to make something happen instead.

Advice Recreational Players Should Ignore #2 – Big Volume Is Key

Once you get involved in online poker you will get peer pressure to be playing multiple tables at the same time. Not just 2 or 3, ‘serious players’ play 6, 10 or even more games at the same time. They sacrifice a small amount of their profit from each table in return for multiplying the number of hands per session – which nets a bigger hourly rate. From my experience, when recreational players start down this route it marks the beginning of the end of their love and enjoyment of the game. Instead of trying to improve, focus shifts to defensive strategy. Instead of aspiring to move up to a new  - more challenging – level, focus shifts to adding just 2 more tables for another 120 hands per hour. Instead of focusing on exploiting different opponent types, poker becomes a matter of accumulating points, or rakeback. You might enjoy this for a few months (and some people up to a year), but eventually this road leads to hating the game that you once loved. If you are not dependent on poker for your income then I’m going the other way, cut down to a few tables – focus on playing the players, have yourself some fun.

Advice Recreational Players Should Ignore #3 – You Need To Specialize

Pro poker players usually specialize in one game at a time. They might move games sometimes (NL Holdem to Pot Limit Omaha for example) or play a few tournaments on Sundays, however their focus is on learning one game. There are some obvious advantages here. Your skills relative to generalist opposition will be sharper, and you get to see who all the regulars are in your game and figure out how they play. My problem here is that the same old poker games can become very dull very quickly. If you are recreational then how about keeping the games fresh by playing sessions of different games. How about you find the quirky variations (Knockout Bounties, Zoom Poker, Mixed Games) and enjoy playing with other amateur players instead? I would agree with the idea of only playing one game at a time, but hey – why not play something different tonight! Hang On A Minute Mark… Regular readers would be right to point out that my free course, ‘The $16 Per Hour SNG Blueprint’ does teach bankroll management, specialization (in SNGs) and also multi-tabling… My counter here  is that very few people last long in Sit N Goes, these games get boring quite fast. What I have done with the Blueprint is to give readers a platform to build a bankroll (and to come back to top up later if needed). Once players have that buffer then they can do all the fun stuff I suggest in this post…. take a shot, play fewer tables and mix up those sessions a little. I hate to see players lose their love of the beautiful game – please, do not become one of them.

GL at the tables, Mark

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