One mistake that people make in every profession and in all walks of life is that they ‘quit learning’. They figure once they have a professional degree or a specific job that they ‘know it all’ and they don’t need to worry about getting better. The reality is that people with this mentality will never get above a certain level of mediocrity. Think of the typical government functionary–they think they know it all and they don’t need to know anything beyond the narrow parameters of their mindless, soulless job. Some people are content with this type of mediocrity. If you’re looking to become a high level poker player–or become ‘high level’ at anything in life–that won’t work.

Successful people are always trying to learn more about their chosen profession and/or their areas of interest. To be the best at anything is a never ending challenge to do more, learn more and execute better. This is definitely true about poker and one of the reasons that the highest level professionals have formed such a tight knit community. Who better to share ideas and discuss strategy with? While you might be a ways off from this level it’s never too soon to become a ‘student of the game’


One good place to start the ‘student of poker’ process is by reading all of the poker theory you can get your hands on. Some of it is bad. Much of it is decent and can offer you a few ideas here and there. The very best is life altering. Read everything you can and discuss it with other poker players at all levels. There’s also plenty of poker magazines and websites–this is another good place for learning and discussion.

The best place, however, is to learn from other poker players. It’s important to find a network of players with more advanced skills and knowledge than yourself. In many ways, you’re looking for ‘poker mentors’. That’s somewhat simplistic since it implies that you’re looking for a ‘superior’ that will ‘talk down’ to you but that’s not the case. You may find some people like that who are helpful–for example, if Doyle Brunson wanted to sit and talk gambling with me I’d address him as ‘your highness’ if that’s what it took. The better option, however, is find someone with whom you ‘relate well’. You’ll be surprised how many people you’ll find–even in a competitive environment like poker–who are happy to share their knowledge with you. In fact, many feel that is their duty as karmic repayment to those who helped them when they were first coming up.

So what do you want to talk about with your ‘mentors’? At this point in your poker career the best use of resources like this is to help do ‘post mortum’ on mistakes in hopes that you won’t make them in the future. You can get theory from books but the best way to learn the *right* thing to do is to revisit your mistakes. The process goes like this–you want to isolate a mistake you made, learn why it was a mistake, figure out the better course of action and understand why it is a superior strategy. Then the trick is to implement it into your game.

Once you advance in the game it’s also helpful to find some ‘peers’ that are at the same level as you. This allows you to help one another dissect your games and to become better players.