While some poker players spend countless hours playing, others like to not only play but also study the game. This means watching televised poker games or even replaying some of their own hands. But does watching poker make you a better player?
Yes, and in this guide, we will explain exactly what are the benefits of watching poker, and how it can improve your game.
Does watching poker really make you a better player?
Yes, watching poker is one of the few strategies professional poker players use to improve their game. To be a winning poker player you need to make better decisions than your opponents.
This means folding when you should fold, raising when you should raise, and checking when you should check. But we are all human so how can you improve your decision-making process, and increase your winning rate? Watching poker!
Why? Well, one of the reasons is that sometimes during a game you will be so focused trying to figure out exactly what your opponent is doing that you do not have the ability to zoom out and think more broadly.
Watching other people play poker allows us to detach ourselves from the hand being played and analyze how other individuals are making their own decisions. This eventually leads us to question our own decision-making process.
It is far easier to see mistakes in other people’s games than it is to introspectively assess our own mistakes. Watching poker allows us to understand the game better, and use it to correct our own mistakes.
How watching poker makes you a better player
Here are some of the main advantages of watching poker, and how it can help improve your own game:
- Study the game in depth
- Seeing others’ mistakes and learning from them
- Question our own decision-making process
- Understand the type of poker players
- Understand when to bluff and when not to bluff
- How different poker players represent a hand
- Understanding in which situations you want to slow play
Study the game in depth
There are several approaches to studying poker, some players read books, and others watch games. However, it is important to try to combine these two approaches, because it will make you an overall better poker player.
While reading books, and studying the fundamentals is important, it can be too theoretical. Watching games gives a first-hand experience, and it is also a more interactive way of becoming a better poker player.
Seeing others’ mistakes and learning from them
One of the greatest advantages of watching poker is that you can learn from other poker players’ mistakes. You obviously can learn from your own mistakes, but it is far more difficult to be critical of ourselves, and our decisions than it is to be critical of others.
Question our own decision-making process
Another reason why watching poker makes you a better player is that you start questioning your own decisions. If a player lost a hand, try to think how would you play that hand differently? How would you incorporate that into your own playing?
When you go back to the poker table, you will have a lot more experience with the different hands, and the different situations that you are playing.
Understand the type of poker players
Understanding the different types of poker players is also an important step to become a better player. You want to avoid going against a tight player with a mediocre hand. In the same way that you can play more hands against a loose player.
Watching poker games will not only help you to understand the different types of poker players but also how you can identify them. Use that to your advantage in your next game.
Understand when to bluff and when not to bluff
Bluffing is one of the most exciting things about poker, even if you can play without bluffing. A good bluff is not only a successful one, but you need to understand what exactly leads someone to bluff.
There are situations when you can take advantage of a weaker player, and bluff. There are other situations where you want to avoid this altogether. Watching poker games will help you determine exactly when to bluff and when to avoid it.
How different poker players represent a hand
When you bluff you are essentially representing a good hand, but not every poker player represents a hand in the same way. Some might be overly aggressive, while others might try to slow play and even check-raise.
Seeing how other players are representing different hands can help you to do the same. Just take their approach, and incorporate that into your game.
Understanding in which situations you want to slow play or play aggressively
Slow playing is one of the most exciting things about poker. It is not easy to know you have the best hand and represent a weaker hand. Slow playing is an art, and watching poker games can really help you to know when to slow play or when to play aggressively.
It will depend not only on the hand itself but also on the opponent facing you.
Should you watch poker games to improve your poker game?
Yes, you should definitely watch not only poker games on TV, although there are not as many games on TV as there used to be. You can also watch vlogs, or even streams where you can analyze the game, and study how different players play different hands.
More important than just watching poker on TV is to replay your own hands. This is actually more beneficial than watching some other player. The reason behind this is that by watching yourself, you can be very critical of every decision you make. Perhaps you should not have played a hand in a certain way, or you just raised too much and scared your opponent into folding.
Analyzing each and every hand you play is difficult, but start by going through the largest pots that you won and lost. You can do this with poker software, that allows you to look at your hand history.
Replay those hands and try to think what could you have done differently, to not lose the pot, or to win more.
Watching poker is one of the most interactive ways of studying the game in depth. It allows you to analyze your own playing, and learn from other players’ mistakes. This is one of the key areas that you need to focus on if you are trying to study poker and improve your game.