The Poker Skill Pyramid

July 13, 2015

Since starting to play poker about 7 years ago I’ve spoken to hundreds of people about the game both online and off. I’ve learnt that people who aren’t regular poker players fall into two main groups. The first are the individuals who understand that the game has both elements of skill and luck. The second group of individuals believe that poker is no different than flipping a coin, some days you win, some days you lose, and the decision of when and where is up to the gods to decide.

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Tilt is a son of a bitch, especially when you first start playing poker. As bad as tilt is, it is a part of the game. Tilt is another variable which you can control just like the tables you choose to sit down at or the hands you decide to play. Every poker player, even the best out there, deals with tilt a certain percentage of the time they are on the felt.

The great players realize when they are on tilt and either snap themselves out of it or take a break. In this post I’m going to share my top 3 tips for tilt control. I have no doubt that any one of these tips will help you stop tilting at least some of the time.
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Variance is one of those statistical concepts which most people struggle to grasp, especially when it comes to connecting it to poker. In this post my goal is to help you understand poker variance and cover three simple adjustments you can make to your game to lower your variance.
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When I wrote my post about quitting online poker back in November I knew there was a very good chance I would return to the game in the future. When I wrote that post I had reached my frustration limit and had fallen out of love of the game. My expectations didn’t match the reality and I had hit a wall that I couldn’t climb over. I spent almost a year trying with no success. Hundreds of hours spent with little to show for it. It was time for a change and quitting the game altogether was the change that I needed at the time. Over the months following the publication of that post I didn’t play a single hand of online poker and very little live poker. My focus was on other things and honestly I didn’t miss it.
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Tyler Frost is a professional poker player who I’ve been following for years. I first heard of Tyler when he joined Pokerstars Team Online back in 2012 and I’ve have been following his blog ever since. I noticed Tyler had recently started to do some interesting stuff with his community on the popular streaming site Twitch and decided to reach out to him to ask him a few questions about this, as well as a bunch of other things. The full interview is below.
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Back in January 2007 I played my first hand of online poker and I loved it. Since then I’ve played over a million hands online and been through a myriad of experiences that only poker grinders can understand. I was thinking about many of these experiences last night while sitting at a bar waiting to go dancing with my girlfriend. By the end of my time sitting at the bar I had come to the decision to quit playing online.
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I believe that poker players can be divided into two main categories. The first category is the amateur poker player which makes up the vast majority of players in the world, probably somewhere around 80-90%. The amateur player plays once a week with his buddies and a bit online when he has both the time and the itch. The amateur player loses money each month playing poker but that is fine with him because the utility he is getting out of the cost makes the losses worth it. Another characteristic of the amateur is his disinterest in improving his poker skill level.
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I recently passed a milestone in my quest to beat 100NL online. That milestone was playing over 500,000 hands of online cash game poker. The truth is that I’ve played more than 500,000 hands of cash online in my life but these 500,000 make up the vast majority of my online cash game experience. I decided to dive into this data and write up as detailed a post as possible to help share some of the hard facts (data doesn’t lie) about grinding micro and low stakes cash game poker online.
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