Varying Your Poker Schedule to Aid Development

Posted:January 2014

Many online poker players reach a level of comfort, both with their game and with their playing schedule. A player can get used to a routine of entering a series of tournaments or games during any given week. Those players generally keep playing for the same stakes, in the same format and for the same buy-in. Personally, i think these people are missing a trick or two.

This type of planning and scheduling may provide a level of comfort but the question is, is it the best plan? If you only play the same formats against the same level of competition, there is a good chance your game may not improve. Unless you've already become a truly elite player, there is always more to learn; better skills to attain. Chances are, if you only play in the same events every week, your game won't be as good as you could be. You might first try playing in some formats that you're not crazy about. You might have played in a few Turbo events and didn't like them.

In the modern world of online poker, many of the tournaments that are offered are played in a Turbo format. Online sites like this format because it's exciting, doesn't require a large amount of time (which favours the players) and it's a route to making faster money (as it is the players). You may not like this format, but if you ever want to win your way into major events like the World Series of Poker or the WPT, you're probably going to have to do well in a turbo event to qualify. It's also a good idea to broaden your experiences by playing a mixed bag.

In terms of jumping stakes, you should only do it as your game improves. If you're not producing results at lower levels, you're going to struggle at the higher levels, as the quality of opposition will improve. On the flip side, watching and / or playing in the odd bigger event is great for development, not to mention a great experience. If you're not in a position to fork out the sums required - qualifiers will give you the opportunity to get in cheap. Most of these will be turbo events so this reinforces the thinking around expanding your experiences and skill sets - you'll need a different strategy from a traditional tournament as blinds increase fast.

One of the benefits of playing the bigger tournaments is that you have the opportunity to cash big. In fact it's a different animal - a lot less donks. The problem at the lower levels is that there are a lot of idiots who regularly make terrible plays. As a result, you'll bust more to idiots than you will at the higher staked games.

You should  try out different formats and field sizes - this will aid your development. Playing in Sit'N'Go's is a good start. You might also try multi-player tournaments. PokerStars has 180 seater Sit'N'Go's - these are valuable at learning how to play a stack. It's also good to learn how to make final tables when play is down to 20 or 30. The key to success is keeping interested and motivated. Everything you learn about the game, regardless of what it is another chink in your armour.  

Remember - any changes you make to your schedule do not have to be permanent, You're simply trying to expand your poker possibilities to discover if you can improve your game and up your profits.


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