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Where to start for improvement?


So I consistently see that my percentage is 90+ on the flop and often <50% on the turn (sometimes as low as 5%. How do I improve this? I don't see anywhere that gives advice or hints on what SPECIFICALLY to work on. Am I folding too much, cbetting too much, calling too much? Where do I find the info on where my game is falling short?

I know the Weekly Training Plan tells me where I fall short, but it does not say if I've gotten better/worse/same after the practice session.

Please advise.... THANKS!


  • AllenBlay

    Hi, thanks for asking. I'll give you my perspective on how I would try to improve using this site, because we pretty much have built the features based on what we think it takes to get better at poker reasonably quickly.

    First, the "percentages" and IQ scores are very volatile in individual sessions, and honestly they are not the best sources of information about your game. They really are mostly for fun. The meat of the diagnostics on your game will come in the weekly training plan. Those will give you a good road map for what you need to work on.

    If I am using APT to improve my game, the way I start is playing a bunch of hands in the game I'm trying to work on, whether that's full ring cash, MTT, or whatever. As I'm playing, whenever I hit a spot where I'm not sure what to do, I look at the advice BUT I DON'T TAKE IT. That is very important because if I take the advice, my training plan will be based on that instead of on my play. So I always make my original planned play. The other thing I do is within the advice, I click on the Brain Button and the Show Range tool. Those are very valuable for learning the "Why" behind what the advisor says. The advisor advice is not always the best play - but it is based on something the computer is considering. So by looking at the brain button, I can better see what factors the computer is considering, and I can make my own judgment on those factors. Similarly, with the Show Range button, I can see what range the computer is putting my opponent on. Thinking about that will over time make you a better player also.

    At the end of the week when I get my training plan, I always try to play the things where it recommends practice. The whole idea behind this site is that the way you get better at poker is by playing a lot of hands and starting to recognize patterns. By playing a lot of hands in the areas where you are statistically weakest (as defined by the weekly training plan), you WILL get better, especially if you are looking at the advice, the brain button, and the show range button. There is a lot of research that says it takes 10000 hours of doing something to become an expert at it. Our site is designed to make it possible to play some of those 10000 hours in less time because the play is fast, and the play is targeted to areas when there are weaknesses. To respond to your specific question of "How do I know if I'm getting better?", the short answer is that you ARE getting better - it just takes time. The training plans are accurate and by playing and studying the brain button and show range button, you definitely improve a lot more than just watching videos or reading books.

    The other thing I would very strongly recommend are the Beat the Pro Challenges. If you 1) play the hands and then 2) watch the pro's replay, you will get some great insight into the minds and thinking of some actual poker experts. I'm always fascinated when I listen to them because I get a great feeling for how experts at the game think.

    There are so many other features on the site that are helpful. In the tools and games tab at the top of the member page, the Upper Hand and What's the Nuts games are fantastic for practicing skills that even top pros sometimes struggle with - knowing exactly which hands you are favored against, and what the best hand would be given a specific board. Doing this in conjunction with learning more about assessing your opponent's ranges through the Show Range button in the game will improve your game astronomically. When you think about it, if you can estimate your opponent's range AND know if you are favored against it, you will increase your win rate tremendously.

    Anyway, I could keep typing for a long time. I've been in education for my entire life as either a student or a teacher and there is no doubt that the best way to learn is to actually do what you are trying to learn. As long as you are practicing hands and using the tools to get better with knowing odds and what your opponents might be holding, you are going to get much, much better over time.

    I would be very interested to see some comments from other members of the site about how you have used the site to improve. I hear from people all the time about success stories and how much better they have gotten, but I don't often hear specifics about the how. I'd love to hear some of that here to learn more about what works best for you.

  • apt_gs

    Thank you very much for your detailed description. I am very new to the say (exactly 30 days) and I find this information very useful.

  • alphagod

    I also thank you for your detailed description. I guess I was putting too much weight on the session stats. I'm already doing everything you suggested. I've played all the Beat the Pro challenges and found my thought process to be very similar to most of them (even if my actions or results were different). I was (Until I started questioning how to measure my improvement) playing all the weekly trainings.

    Maybe I must be getting better without realizing it, then?

    Although in actual live (online) games I'm still struggling immensely. I find the APT players easy to read (even the top pros) and while I know I'm still making mistakes, I have a very consistent win rate (when I'm actually paying attention to my play, hahaha). But in real money games, the players are not as easy to read.

    Maybe I'm missing something in the translation, meaning that maybe somehow I'm not applying the same game to real money as I am to the APT games. The work continues......

    Thanks again!

    P.S. So are you basically saying that the real measure in my improvement will be in not seeing the same training plans week after week and/or seeing a decrease in money lost per hour if I do see the same training suggestion?

  • AllenBlay

    I think that if you are getting different poker training plans each week, that would be one sign of improvement.

    One note - online poker is very challenging. The majority of the players at this point are very good. There just aren't the same types of tourists and newbies that you find in live casinos. Also, sometimes it is hard to tell if you are getting better based on results over a short period of time. It takes a lot of hands to get a large enough sample to really measure improvement.

    Have you tried playing the APT bots with the option chosen for hidden unknown opponents? That is an option in the player mix in the game options. That can help you with reading skills because then you don't know which opponent it is or their tendencies.

  • alphagod

    Have you tried playing the APT bots with the option chosen for hidden unknown opponents? That is an option in the player mix in the game options. That can help you with reading skills because then you don't know which opponent it is or their tendencies.

    I have done that. Believe it or not I found it easier because I paid more attention to actual play instead of relying on the profile to give me a clue. I played tighter and made better decisions. An interesting lesson in not judging a book by its cover.

    It reminded me of a scene in Searching for Bobby Fischer where the teacher wiped the pieces off the board and had the kid really THINK. An amazing exercise that I still need a LOT of practice on. :wink: Online I hide all avatars and I've stopped using a HUD during play. I think it actually helps me make better decisions (when I'm not tilted LOL). And I imagine that if I ever upgrade to brick and mortar play it will give me a little edge over anyone who relies on the HUD.

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