Realization About Experimentation In Poker

I have been playing less tables and more hands the past few weeks. My goal was to learn new situations where I can win more, basically.

What I want to talk about in this post is experimentation. Learning by trial. Learning by applying basic math, odds and brain!


Don’t be afraid to experiment. Experience is the best teacher. Reading, talking and coaching only take you so far.

After awhile you have to step out of your comfort zone and try things. Although a slight warning before you do so. It is easy to fool yourself to playing bad and shrugging it off while saying “I’m experimenting!”.

On the other hand, a friend of mine who learned by experimentation. Be smart when you do it though, it is easy to fool yourself :-)

Don’t start re-raising hands out of position which put you in extremely tough situations.

Start with something lighter and where your success rate is higher.

One example could be playing a few more hands on the button, in position. Always think of what kind of range your opponent has, you do not want to be calling a hand like A5s on the button to an under the gun raise if the raiser is tight. Because his range crushes yours.

A better spot would be against a loose opponent who opens in the cut-off and you call on the button with A5s.

I have always leaned more to the conservative side. That is my weakness, I don’t move up the stakes when I could make even more at a higher limit. Sometimes I am too complacent and don’t make the play that has the most expected value.

But I am learning, just as you are.


I usually go through my sessions in Pokertracker after my session is done. It costs $55 or so and is a very helpful tool. I bought it around August 2004 I think and it has been well worth it :)

Il also use Holdem Ranger and Pokerstove which are very helpful for calculating equities. It might be confusing in the beginning. If it is, send me your questions and I will answer them. It is a lot easier for me to help when I know what specific questions you have.

What all these programs help you do is assess when a play is correct and when it is not. For example with equity calculators like Holdem Ranger and Pokerstove you can input your opponents perceived range of hands and start calculating if a bluff is correct.

For example if a slightly loose and aggressive opponent who steals a lot opens in the cut-off and you call on the button with two cards. The flop comes down something like K72 rainbow.

He fires out a continuation bet like he does 90% of the time. How often do you think he will fold on this flop if you raise? How will he react when you just call?

First you have to think about his hand-range, it might contain a lot of hands like 65s, A5o, Q9o and such. He will easily fold hands like that to a small raise if you have a solid image.

When you first learn to use calculators like this it is kind of a revelation. It was for me because I had a good method of figuring out when I could do different things to take advantage of my opponents. I am still learning and lost in many places but with the help of calculating, discussing, coaching and playing I am getting better.

And to win in poker you have to be learning constantly.

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