Ten Cheap (or Free) Ways to Improve Your Game

Justin Howell


Constant improvement is a must in modern online games. If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse, as people with more interest do more things to improve their game. In an effort to help you keep up, even if you’re on a short bankroll, below we’ve laid out our ten favorite resources / methods for sharpening one’s game on the cheap.

Videos on PokerStars.tv
PokerStars.tv has a ton of videos. A lot of them are basically video blogs from EPT and APPT events, but there’s also a decent amount of live coverage of tournament final tables and replays of major online poker events. In both cases, you’ll often have the opportunity to see the tournament played with all of the hole cards face up. Watching how established players deal with big-pressure situations (and how inexperienced ones deal with the same spots) can teach you a lot about some things you might be missing, some tricks you may have forgotten and keep you on the leading edge of current game trends. Bonus: You can watch videos in the background while your play or work. Cost: Free.

The Two Plus Two Strategy Forums
2+2 has, hands down, the best strategy forums online. whether you’re into cash or tournament, there’s likely a dedicated forum for your game and level. Even if you just lurk through a thread or two a day, you’re bound to pick up useful nuggets that will serve as, at a minimum, solid jumping-off points for your own thinking about the game. Want to get more out of it? Stop lurking and start posting. If you’re intimidated by the sheer volume of the forums, try the strategy forums at the site you’re most comfortable with (you can find ours here). Cost: Time, but no dollars.

TeamViewer is a nifty piece of software that essentially allows you to view someone else’s desktop from a remote location. The application for poker players is clear: hit up one of your friends who plays online and ask them if you can sweat a session. Maybe you can even get them on Skype and have them walk you through their thought process as you watch. Either way, you’ll get to see a different approach to the game than the one you’ve developed for yourself, and a new point of view is often just the cure for a mental rut.
Cost: Free – just some of your time.

Training Memberships Via Rakeback
If you’re playing online, you should be getting rakeback. If you’re getting rakeback, it should be through a site that lets you earn credits for online poker training sites like Cardrunners and PokerXFactor as you earn rakeback (you can do so if you get rakeback through PartTimePoker). Training sites are an awesome resource for improving your game, and if you can get them for free just by doing something you’re already doing anyway – paying rake – you’d be silly not to. Cost: Free, if you’re an active player.

Pick Apart a Hand a Day
Habits are the key to improving in poker, and one habit all good players should be in is to deconstruct hands on a regular basis. to make this a habit, commit to doing at least one a day for a set period of time until you feel like it’s become a natural part of your day. Doing a thorough hand review keeps you aware of your assumptions about the game, makes you more insightful when it comes to putting yourself in your opponent’s shoes, and keeps your mind focused on poker – and likely keeps it working on poker in the background after you’ve moved on to the rest of your day. Cost: Free, and really just a few minutes of your day.

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