How to practice poker by yourself
For some people, poker is a gambling game that should be avoided, while for others it is just a sort of entertainment. But there are also those who treat poker as an activity that develops their minds and analytical skills, as well as a way to make money.
People who are serious about poker know that to become a profitable player, one needs to constantly improve his\her game. Many newbies may think that it’s impossible to learn to play and practice poker without a coach, as the game has lots of pitfalls, but that's not true.
Surely, any athlete who has achieved success will attest that this would not have been possible without a good coach, but not every player, regardless of his/her level, is able to spend money on the coaching. What should one do in such a case? Is there any way to practice poker by oneself?
Let’s consider a few options for how to practice poker by yourself, but, remember that a heavy load of responsibilities for your progress will rest solely on your shoulders.
1. Study poker theory
You have to devote some of your time to studying poker theory, especially the basics, as it’s inherently connected with practice – a real game that will serve to consolidate knowledge and gain invaluable hands-on experience.
It is very important to consistently study theoretical aspects of the game: you should move on gradually from simple to more complex concepts. Start with learning poker combinations and rules and proceed to starting hands, opening ranges, 3-betting, bluffing, poker mathematics, and different poker strategies.
2. Seek to read poker books
Despite the fact that there are many new forms of poker content that might interest a player, poker books remain relevant as a source of educational materials. Most of them are written by professional players who have made a great career in poker and earned millions of dollars from the game.
Their experience and knowledge are invaluable, so you should take some time to read a few such books. Of course, you need to know how to find poker literature, as some of the books are aimed at inexperienced users, while others would provide for those who have already gained impressive experience.
As you study the book, take some notes and concentrate on the issues that are of particular concern to you. But, at the same time, do not try to remember too much information, because it is not only ineffective but sometimes even harmful.
Make an effort to find the book with structured information, which compiles all the necessary knowledge that you may need at a certain stage of becoming a professional poker player.
You can search for the perfect book on our website, as we have a wide variety of popular poker literature on both Texas Hold’em and Omaha that will suit different players (from newbies to advanced ones).
3. Watch educational videos on the Internet
Another excellent way of practicing poker by oneself is watching educational videos on the Internet. These may be fee-based video lessons, for example, Daniel Negreanu masterclass, if you can afford to buy this course (or another similar course). In case your bankroll is too small to make such purchases, then you can find videos on Youtube or other training sites that provide freely assessable poker content.
You can also watch poker players’ streaming their play on Twitch, as they often give useful tips, as well as explain the reasons for taking certain actions at the table. It’s a really good chance of getting valuable information free of charge and applying it later to your game.
Video tutorials and streams can help you sharpen your poker skills, but you should start watching them once studied the theoretical part of the game since understanding poker basics will be extremely necessary here.
Read also: Top 10 poker movies everyone should watch
But, as is the case for books, try to strike a balance. You should not watch videos one after another, filling up a notebook, but rather carefully go through the video and highlight a couple of new tips or pointers and try using them in your game across time. Then, check whether or not those methods, tips, or strategies are helpful.
Furthermore, you can watch various poker podcasts with professionals. They lean more towards interviews than explaining strategy but are still interesting and useful for players, allowing them to keep up with the poker world.
4. Play games on fake money
In addition to theoretical knowledge, practical experience is essential to be a successful poker player. It is important to combine learning theoretical concepts with a real game. For this end, poker rooms provide special games for play money, that is, free poker chips.
Playing on fake currency allows you to better understand the play process itself without risking money. At the same time, you will learn to use the functionality of the poker client, as well as practice in making decisions at the table. If you are a newbie and still wonder how to practice poker by yourself, then this is a perfect option, as there are many nuances to master before start playing games for real money,
However, you have to behave as if you are playing for real money, not for free chips. You should learn to focus on the process and pay attention to opponents at the table. When you get bad starting hands and fold, you can analyze everyone involved in the hand. For example, use this time to think over possible ranges of your opponents.
Also, pay attention to what hands they have at the showdown and make notes on how they play strong and weak hands, or how they apply bluffing. This will give you an understanding of your rivals’ game tendencies.
5. Consider playing freerolls
The more time you spend at the tables (further to studying poker theory), the faster you progress. Over time, you will be more confident when making this or that decision in the game. The next way to practice poker on your own is to play free tournaments, aka freerolls.
This is a brilliant opportunity to earn your first money by playing poker or boost bankroll without investing your own funds. However, be ready that playing freerolls, you will face lots of players who can't wait to move all-in with 8-high or even worse. The main reason for this is that users don’t spend money on buy-ins, therefore, often make strange and unprofitable actions.
As an option, you can make a deposit and play micro-stakes cash games or low buy-in tournaments to keep track of your play. You need to understand position advantage, players’ tendencies, pot odds & implied odds, and hand equity to be a strong player and make good money from poker.
The same is true for offline games. Take a small amount of money (as your buy-in) and start your poker journey with cheap games at casinos. Obviously, live poker is different from online poker, but the ways to practice your game are similar.
Read also: 9 tips to start playing poker
Most important thing is that you should be cautious when moving up the limits: don’t jump higher even if you progress fast as this can play terrible tricks and make you go bankrupt. Try to avoid such situations in order not to go on tilt and lose all your money.
6. Download poker software
Another great way for you to practice playing poker by yourself and improve your game is by using special poker software. This can be either training programs or tracking ones.
Poker software is developed to aid players in developing skills, regardless of whether they play live games or online games. Such programs can quickly help you become a poker expert.
With special soft, you have opportunities to practice the game without the pressure of money being involved. It can keep track of the hands and statistics of your online sessions, which will help determine leaks in your play and learn various strategic approaches. By analyzing hands played, there is a possibility to estimate the moments when you can avoid unprofitable decisions in favor of break-even or profitable ones.
At the same time, you should treat your mistakes correctly, because no one is safe from them, and when it comes to poker, mistakes are inevitable. Look at them as opportunities for improvement and development.
7. Visit poker forums
As you study and practice the game, you will have lots of questions. You can find responses to the questions of concern at poker forums. These platforms satisfy many demands, but above all, they serve as a place to study poker, discussing every aspect of the game, and interact. There, you can post hand descriptions and get opinions of more experienced players.
This will not only sharpen your poker skills but also give a chance to communicate with people who are as passionate about the game as you are. The poker forums are also the best sources of getting news from the world of poker, so you will always keep up with the latest strategies and innovations.
In addition, you can write blogs yourself to keep track of your game and share your successes with other members of the community. We provide our readers with such an opportunity by offering the GambleTalk Bloggers Challenge, where they write about both their ups and downs, share interesting information about discovering poker, and much more. To encourage our bloggers, we reward the best bloggers of the month with cash prizes.
In fact, it's not that complicated to practice poker on your own. All you need is dedication, patience, time... and the Internet. There is no a «magic pill» to become a strong player, making thousands of dollars per week as in order to achieve certain goals in poker, you will need to work assiduously towards enhancing your game.
To date, you can find a huge amount of poker content (provided in different forms), which is freely accessible to all interested. Using it, you can not only learn to play poker from the scratch and beat micro-stakes but also pursue to a professional level.
There are different ways to practice poker by oneself, but, it is better to mix these options. Studying poker should ideally combine theoretical and practical parts. As you practice poker game, you must identify your weaknesses and understand what exactly prevents you from being more effective.
That’s it, now you know how to practice poker by yourself. Good luck at the tables!