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Becoming a Better Poker Player is All About Deliberate Practice


Alex ‘Assassinato’ Fitzgerald is back with another lesson on poker study habits.

One of the first questions I’ll ask you if you ever do a lesson with me is, “How many hours a week do you study?”

The answer most players had for many years was, “Once in a while.” I’d ask what they meant by that and they’d explain that they watched a video on occasion. They admitted they probably did not study enough, but they felt like they were wasting their time while they did it.

Analyzing Mark Newhouse’s WSOP Main Event Bust-Out Hand


One of the most memorable hands of the WSOP Main Event was Mark Newhouse’s bust-out hand. It deserved the attention. Newhouse, after finishing ninth the year before, placed his tournament on the line by turning his pocket tens into a bluff. He made a decision few of us could make, and fewer would know if it were correct.

Analyzing Your Hands


Now that a couple of weeks have passed since the end of SCOOP, I have started doing consultations with my students again. Many of them are bringing their SCOOP hand histories to me, wondering what they can learn from them. The opportunity has been great for me, as I’ve been blessed to receive pay for watching and analyzing many SCOOP final tables. It’s something so fun to do that I almost feel guilty charging for.

Losing Control with Top Pair


“Unknown with 170K in chips joins the table two to my right; He seems to be from Western Europe, Dutch or German. He is young and wearing a hoodie. I have around 146K in chips. At 500/1,000/100, he opens to 2,200. I am in the hijack. I make it 5,400 with Ac-Kd. The Germanic raiser flats. K-J-7 rainbow board comes out. He checks, I bet 8K, and he makes it 28K. I make it 68k. He goes all-in, I call.”

Let’s Get to Work


I received a letter from a student recently. The student is from Latvia and is one of the nicest kids I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching. He has an incredible attitude and genuinely enjoys learning. I’ve never been anything but faithful that his poker dreams would come to fruition. Unfortunately, the game has not been panning out well for him.

Back to School: Study Methods


You’re not good at poker because you’ve made money at one time or another. You’re not the recognition people give or don’t give you. You’re only as good as the work you put in. Most of us are not born Phil Ivey or Viktor Blom. However, there is no height advantage or coach who doesn’t like you in poker. We can become extremely difficult to play against if we’re willing to put in the work.

Getting More Value


When many players start playing No Limit Hold’em, they feel threatened by how bloated the pots can become. They may underbet in various situations not wanting to invest more, not realizing this sends a signal to their opponents that they are not committed. Alternatively, they may overbet in an early street in an attempt to prevent later streets from happening.

3bet Bluffing a Flop


I was reviewing a number of my WCOOP hand histories when I came across this hand. I thought it did a great job of illustrating when to not believe an opponent’s flop raise.

Be Your Own Leadership


One of the most striking things about tennis professionals is how they talk to themselves. I don’t mean the grunting and shrieking they do when they hit the ball. When they botch a shot, they will scream out loud about what they did wrong. Their heads will roll from side to side as they mutter.

Technical Knockout


I was a huge fan of ESPN Classic when I was a kid. Other than watching that weird 50s Home Run Derby TV show, I also loved watching old boxing matches. The evolution of the sport was so pronounced when you watched fights from different decades. The early 20th century showed powerhouse Irish and German immigrants playing Ring Around the Rosie for 30 seconds before every punch. Joe Louis would then match his heightened technical proficiency with incredible strength. He started handing guys their asses.

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