How to Absorb and Take in Poker Information
With so many poker books, articles and videos, how do you keep all of that information locked in and ready to be used when it's needed? It's not easy that's for sure, and one thing that you will need is time, and quite a bit of it. Making information stick, about anything, requires a good deal of time, however the difference is when learning about something that you are interested in is that it's enjoyable and time well spent. We simply cannot take in and keep absolutely everything that we learn about a given subject, and poker is no exception, however there are ways the we can store information that help during the game.
Learn What you Need to Know
Firstly let's look at poker as a whole, there are many variations of the game and many ways of playing each variation. You need to be much like a doctor, or a lawyer in that they all have specialist areas as they are aware that to know and keep all information on everything is simply impossible...you wouldn't ask a brain surgeon to replace a hip and although they may do a decent job, it's not really what they're trained in. Take poker, pick a variation that you wish to play and focus on that first and you'll find that once you get the basics of that game, you can expand easily, and after practice, master other variations. Most poker players will indeed say that they are better at one variation than another, and this is down to time learning and playing that one variation more than the others. So the first step is to narrow down the amount of information that you need to take in, if it's Pot Limit Omaha you're interested in, stick with that....at least to start with.
Break it Down!
Do not try to take in too much at once and break everything down into bite size chunks, then go over what you have just read or watched, and importantly, put it into practice if possible. It's easily done when reading a book...we start a chapter and before we know it, we're half way through and realize that not a thing has sunk in. Each time you feel yourself drifting away from the subject you should take a break, as this will save you plenty of time in the long run. Reading poker books requires a lot of brain power, there are many calculations, scenarios and things to watch out for, it requires a one step at a time way of reading. There are few people who can claim to have read a book on Texas Hold'em cash game strategy and have understood everything in the book at the first time of reading...well, there are people who probably claim they have, but very few who can actually back up that claim at the table. How many of you reading this can remember the sentence at the top of this page? Take notes as you read, if you don't understand a particular play or strategy, learn it then write it down in a way that you understand it meaning that when you want to go back to it, it's there in simple form for you. Use your notes and add to them as you learn, they may prove to be a great asset.
Re-Read and Practice
If you don't understand something then leave it, think about it and go back to it and the penny will drop at some stage. Go over what you already know and use that knowledge in practice scenarios in free money games....it's not the same, I know, but all you are doing is practicing. When you do begin to play real money poker games, start off small, very small, as small as you can find and take it from there. Poker is all about time and learning and eventually information does stick. Practice everything that you learn and you will succeed.