Before I begin this introduction, I would like to thank PokerLizard for giving me this opportunity to be a part of this blog. It means a lot to me, and I hope that I help give light to other players on how to handle situations through my own learning and my mistakes. I want to give back to the poker community as much as poker itself has given me. So this is my opportunity to do so.
My name is Neal "The DarkDragon" M. I'm co-founder / captain of a poker crew called The Underground Poker Crew. We are based in Omaha, NE through home games we all played together. Eventually, we decided to learn this beautiful game we call poker together by disucssing mindsets, strategies, and whatever poker entails.
My poker background isn't really that impressive. You can look up my information at our website, http://www.theundergroundpokercrew.com Honestly, I'm not going to lie, I'm a micro-limit / low-limit poker player. I've been playing poker for around 3 yars, and I've been through the trails and tribulations of poker, which entails going broke at times. I've read many books on the subject of poker, around 20, and half of them, I have read twice. I play on ultimatebet.com, and if my bankroll permits, I go to the casino to grind it out at the 3-6 Limit games. Yeah, it is a grind, but I love playing poker, so it definitely doesn't bother me when I incur a suck out or two.
So I guess I'll begin this introduction by talking about what route to take to become a better poker player. Since I'm captain of my crew, I have to make sure that I'm always on top of my knowledge, and figuring out what the heck is going on in the world of poker as well as inside of my head. I always run into these different battles from different schools of thought (a play on my philsophical side). Some people prefer to play live, some people stick to on-line, and some people read books as their primary source of getting better at poker. However, I want to refute all those schools of thought and say that each one has a right way of getting better at poker.
Bruce Lee said it best, "Use no way as way, use no limitation as limitation, avoid what is uselss, accept what is useful, and add what is essentially your own." In a nutshell, it means adapt in your approach to the martial arts. In poker, it has that same application. I use all three methods to better my game. When I read books, I'm looking for ideas that I've never discovered or thought, and add it to my bag of tricks. It also gives me an insight into how a certain author considers a poker situation. David Sklansky is the best example I can think of as a premier poker writer.
When I play on-line, I concentrate solely on betting patterns. A lot of professional poker players say that watching betting patterns is great way to get a "read" on a situation. I definitely agree. By playing on-line, you have no choice, but to pay attention to betting patterns and watching how your opponents bet certain hands. Within their betting pattern, there are tells that will give you the message you are looking for, which is to determine whether I should stay in or whehter I need to get in or out. Also, watching how fast someone bets his/her hands is effective in on-line.
Finally, playing live, you have to master the concept of people. Daniel Negreanu said it best about David Sklansky, "He's a great author and writer, but he missed the concept that poker is all about mastering people." I definitely agree on that. In terms of application, consider the live poker room a way to test our your education. As an analogy, the other two methods (on-line play and books) are your textbooks and the poker room is the test on where you test your knowledge. What makes live play interesting is that concepts you learned from books and on-line play help dramatically if taken seriously and in light of a given situation. Also, when you play live, you get a grasp on how to compose yourself with regards to the poker room. When I first played live, it was easy for me, because I was used to playing on-line and in this video game called Caesar's Palace. I knew how to play limit, because I just jumped right into it like it was second nature. For some people, having eyes stare at you while you are doing something is an unnerving feeling. However, playing live for hours at a time, you get used to those eyes staring at you.
So, if you want to become better, use whatever resources are available to you, and don't just stick to one school of thought. Otherwise, you will be limiting your education in the game of poker, and some young kid (maybe myself) might run up on you, and get the best out of it.
P.S: If you want to read more, check out my poker blog at http://theundergroundpokercrew.blogspot.com. Also, our website is up and running. The URL is http://www.theundergroundpokercrew.com.
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy