How Studying Poker Strategy Can Improve Your Life

Two People Playing Poker, Hands Holding Poker Cards
Gambling is often looked at as entertainment first. However, it can apply to real life in some situations.

Poker strategy is a perfect example. By studying strategy, you’re indirectly learning skills that translate to many other aspects of life.

Of course, you may not understand how this strategy relates right away. But you’ll experience the benefits over time.

That said, I’m going to cover the different methods for learning poker skills, along with how these efforts will improve the rest of your life.

Different Ways to Study Poker Strategy

Years ago, the only way to learn about poker or any type of strategy included books, magazine articles, and a mentor/coach. These methods are still around today.

But the good news is that the available materials for learning poker strategy have greatly expanded. You can read more about the main ways to learn poker tips below.

Articles on Poker

Many different poker websites offer strategy articles. These articles are great for in-depth advice on how to handle certain situations.

For instance, you may be wondering about the best times to make a continuation bet (c-bet). An article can clearly explain — with examples — how you should go about placing c-bets.

Another benefit of poker strategy articles is that they allow you to quickly skip through filler. Assuming you just want examples or specific pieces of information, you can scan down and find out exactly what you’re looking for.

Poker Books

Books were once the preferred method for learning strategy. You can purchase a book authored by a famous pro, such as Phil Hellmuth, and learn a great deal about their strategies.

Poker Pro Phil Hellmuth Playing Poker, Phill Hellmuth Book Play Poker Like the Pros

Poker books have since lost some of their luster due to all of the free strategy information available. Plus, you can quickly learn the playing philosophies of many pros — rather than just a single player — with all the info found on the net.

Nevertheless, books are still viable resources for becoming a better player. Assuming you really like the way a certain pro plays, then you can get inside of their head by reading one of their books.

Coaching

Poker coaching is typically the most-expensive way to improve at the game. Most coaches charge an hourly rate, which increases based on their success and experience.

However, you should definitely consider coaching if you have the funds to afford it. A coach can look over your shoulder as you play online (through screen mirroring) or live.

They can then provide feedback on your play and discuss what you must do to improve. Of course, you need to find a quality coach in order to get the most out of this experience.

Post Session Analysis

Sometimes the best strategy doesn’t come from an outside source, but rather through your own analysis.

Post-session analysis plays an integral part in improving as a player.

You should make it a point to review every long session, most notably any hands that you struggle with.

The goal is to think through how you could have handled these different situations better. With enough work, you should be able to fix your leaks and improve.

Poker Training Videos

Poker training sites offer a large library of strategy videos. These videos feature experienced players dispensing tips while playing online poker. For instance, they may cover 3-betting and show examples through online hands.

The main benefit of training videos is that you can learn from knowledgeable players (in most cases). Another advantage is that you have access to numerous videos that cover lots of different concepts.

The only drawback is that you’ll have to pay a subscription fee. But this fee is typically only $30 per month.

Poker Twitch Streams

Once reserved for video gamers, Twitch has become very popular in the poker strategy realm. Now, many pros commonly stream their online sessions.

Poker Cards and Chips on Table, Twitch Logo

Learning poker strategy through Twitch is handy because, in many cases, it’s free. You can watch pros for hours without paying anything.

Some poker pros do feature subscription-based content. But you should be able to learn enough free strategy without having to pay.

Poker Strategy Commands Directly Impacts Your Results

Now that I’ve covered the different methods of learning poker strategy, I’ll discuss how each of them can help you beyond the game.

First, your poker knowledge largely dictates how well you’ll do. Assuming you thoroughly understand the basic concepts and know how to read your opponents, then you’re going to be successful.

The same applies to school or work. If you’re knowledgeable about a certain subject in school, then you’re going to do better on tests.

Likewise, your work salary is often commensurate with what you know. If you’re a lawyer, for example, your command of the law and experience will largely dictate what fees you can charge.

Work Ethic Needed to Improve Poker Skills Applies Anywhere

Part of poker success is attributed to natural abilities, including handling tilt and being able to grind for long hours. But hard workers will succeed with the game, even without the natural traits of success.

Hands on Poker Table Surrounded by Stacks of Casino Chips

Many pros commonly play 5-6 hours per day and also spend extra time learning strategy. Mixing long hours on the table with strategy is a definite recipe for success.

The same holds true in the workforce and with finances. Those who put in long hours and also spend time on the side learning more about their professions can make more money. In turn, the same people will be better off financially.

Poker Works on Critical Thinking Skills

Most people don’t look at poker as anything more than a game. However, it does give you an opportunity to practice critical thinking that can apply to other matters.

After all, poker requires you to solve problems while playing. You may run into an opponent who keeps re-raising you over and over. You’ll then be forced to figure out how to keep from getting run over by them.

Critical thinking skills come into play in many other disciplines. For instance, you may go through your finances to determine if you can afford another car payment.

Move Up the “Stakes” in Life

Many poker players dream of grinding their way up the stakes and making a good living through the game.

Of course, the vast majority of players will never get past the low stakes. But some are able to improve to the mid or even high limits.

Regular professions require the same mindset in order to move up the ladder. Those who can keep improving their education and performing well at work will eventually ascend to higher-paying jobs.

Manage Your Bankroll Finances

The biggest cause of failure for many poker players is a lack of bankroll management. They don’t put any time or thought into how to properly choose their stakes and handle their bankroll.

Casino Chips Stacked on Poker Table, Poker Cards Spread Out

But anybody who wants to succeed in the long term needs to have a plan. For example, cash game players should only play at limits where they can afford at least 25 full buy-ins.

You also need a good plan for managing your finances. The better you’re able to keep track of your bills and expenses, the more likely you are to remain disciplined and succeed financially.

Conclusion

You don’t have to be the world’s best poker player just to learn the game. Instead, you can enjoy poker for what it is and still pick up important life skills.

For starters, poker requires work to become a better player. This same work ethic applies to improving at virtually anything else.

The game also involves critical thinking to make smart plays. The same type of critical thinking can be used in many other areas of life.

Assuming you take poker seriously, then you’ll likely want to climb the stakes. You can use this mentality to move up the ladder at your workplace as well.

Bankroll management is yet one more area where poker skills come into play. If you’re good at bankroll management, then you’ll likely be adept at handling your finances.

Most of what I’ve covered here is about how learning poker strategy translates to life. But what if you want to make poker your life?

Luckily, you’ll have no shortage of methods for improving your game. Articles, books, coaching, post-session review, training sites, and Twitch are all great ways to improve.

Assuming you put enough work into the game, then you could possibly become a semi-pro or even full-time professional player. But even if this doesn’t happen, then you can still benefit greatly from learning poker strategy and applying it to other parts of your life.