Practice makes Perfect. It’s something we’ve all heard a million times. It’s meaning is obvious! What could I possibly have to add to this catchy, well-informed nugget!? Well, I have a secret:
Practice does not make Perfect. Rather, Perfect practice makes for the best Performance.
I remember this time in college when I was sitting in an Introduction to Psychology class, and our teacher started talking about people who are driven to be the best and succeed in doing so. This specific case was Mr. Tiger Woods. He said that the reason Tiger is better is, simply put, because he practices more than anybody else. This, as a generalization, is possibly true in itself…but maybe it could be further qualified. Tiger Woods started at a very young age, and was taught the fundamentals of the game so early that he has had so many hours of practice to fine tune his various problems that he is better than everyone. Now, his natural athletic ability is what allowed him to start so early. That, combined with great teachers, allowed him to succeed better than anyone in his field ever has. So Tiger, while practicing quite a bit, has the advantage of practicing better than anyone else!
So what does this mean to us as poker players? Well, we’re obviously too late to start as early as he did. But now that we know the fundamentals, all we have to do is correct our mistakes. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, no, because most of you don’t understand this aspect of poker. Here is the Bold, Italicized Important Poker Thingy of Practicing in Poker for Advanced Players:
YOU CANNOT PRACTICE MOST CORRECTLY WHILE YOU ARE IN THE ACT OF PLAYING POKER FOR PROFIT.
That’s right. You cannot be at the tables and correcting your mistakes in the most profitable way. Gaining experience through playing is VASTLY overrated. I’m not saying it isn’t important, but since most players spend 90% of their time doing it, it is overrated. When Tiger Woods is on the 18th tee needing a birdie to win the Masters, he is not practicing his drives. He has is method of attack on this hole already planned out (Sound familiar? PLAN YOUR HANDS). Conversely, when he is on the 18th tee on Tuesday during his practice round, he is considering various scenarios and not necessarily hitting that same shot he would on Sunday! When he hits a setback ("Damn that card hit his range really hard!") he has a plan for that too. And when he is improvising while facing a situation he is unfamiliar with, what does he do? He falls back on his decades of preparation, practice, and knowledge to make the proper adjustments and succeed by pwning Phil Mickelson for sik profitzzz!
So what are you doing wrong? You come to FTR and post hands. You read articles. You comment on other peoples hands and ask questions when you don’t understand…but you are still stuck at 5nl, getting seriously pwnt by n00bpheesh. Why aren’t you winning more?!?!?! Because you aren’t practicing, ldo. More specifically, you aren’t studying. You have to sit down and do a session review. You have to understand why made a mistake, so that you can replicate the correct response to the situation later on. You have to understand the process by which we play a hand and make our decisions. That sort of stuff is best learned with a piece of paper, a pencil, and your own mental ability to acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them!
So get practicing!