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5 Lessons Learned from Playing Fortnite


Sky Matsuhashi

on July 2, 2020

Fortnite is an online video game that combines a 1st person shooter with building elements like found in Minecraft (another online game).

If you’ve played classic first-person shooters like Doom or Goldeneye, it’s like that but you can also build walls and stairs and roofs to protect yourself from your enemies. The most common way to play is called Battle Royale where 100 players try to eliminate each other and the goal is to come out on top. I mostly play the Duo’s mode with my son. We’re a team of 2 against 49 other teams of 2.

Both of my sons have been playing it for a while and they got me into it. It’s a really fun game that's digging into my poker play time just a little bit. But, it’s worth it because I actually get to spend time doing something with my sons that they really enjoy.

5 Lessons Learned from Playing Fortnite

Listen to Podcast Episode #298: The 5 Lessons I Learned from Playing Fortnite

First Lesson: The More You Play, the Better You Get

This is true of anything in life. The more time you put into something, the better you get at it. We all know this from just living life and getting better as we do our jobs longer or play a sport longer or play an instrument through the years.

I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I play Fortnite now compared with where I was a month ago, let alone from the beginning. I build walls and ramps quicker. My aiming is better and I get more eliminations now. I’ve won a lot of matches and overall I’m much more comfortable with the game.

This of course holds true for poker as well. You’ve got to play a lot to improve your skills. It can be tough for LIVE players to put a lot of time in, especially with the state of the world right now. This is a big reason why I love online poker. You could fire up your software at any time day or night and be dealt your first hand within 60 seconds.

If you’re serious about improving your skills, you should dedicate at least 1 hour every day to playing poker. Of course, studying poker is important as well so I recommend 30 minutes a day for study.

The best way to put in one hour of play every day is by playing online poker and for that, I recommend Americas Cardroom. Use referral code SPSPOD for 27% rakeback and to help support the show.

Second Lesson: Watch and Repeat = Improvement

There are loads of Fortnite videos on YouTube that demonstrate strategic and winning game play. These are great for entertainment. But there is an added value to these videos in that you can watch with the idea of repeating what they do to improve your skills.

In this video from Sypher, you get to watch him play and ultimately win a match. As he’s playing, he’s discussing a ton of different strategies and the things he’s thinking about that lead him to victory.

Hungry Fortnite players will watch this and try to improve their techniques by repeating what he does.

Hungry poker players need to do this exact same thing. When you watch a video that demonstrates a poker software like Flopzilla Pro or PokerTracker 4, you should have the program open on your computer and copy what they do as you watch the video. Same thing if you’re watching a Twitch stream. You see them make plays and give their logic, so you should be taking notes and trying these things out for yourself on-the-felt.

Third Lesson: Challenges are More Fun and Push You to Achieve

Fortnite has a leveling-up aspect and you have to earn experience to reach higher levels and unlock new items.

One of the ways you gain experience is by completing challenges. A recent challenge I completed was to eliminate 5 players using explosives like rocket launchers or grenades. Before this challenge, I wasn’t at all comfortable with these items. But this challenge forced me to use explosives as much as possible. Eventually I figured out how to use them efficiently and I eliminated 5 players and gained some experience for it. That’s great, but the real achievement behind completing this challenge was learning a new skill. I can now use explosives to eliminate players.

We can do this in poker as well. Create a mission for yourself that forces you to use your skills. In fact, I’ve always kind of given you missions at the end of each podcast, I’ve just called them challenges (there's another one below). These challenges push you to do something to build your skills either on- or off-the-felt.

What I’ve started doing for my Poker Forge members is giving them Missions where their goal is to make a successful play a certain number of times or play a session with one particular focus.

For example, in the most recent Forge video I did, I gave everyone a mission of playing an All Aggression Session. They weren’t allowed to call even once either preflop or post-flop. It’s all check, bet, raise or fold for this mission. The goal is to teach you the power of analyzing every opportunity for aggression and pulling the trigger on good aggressive opportunities. No calling allowed.

So, if you’re a poker Forge member be ready to see more missions from me. And, if you want to create some missions for yourself, here are some ideas:

  • Make 10 successful post-flop bluffs
  • Successfully isolate 10 limpers
  • Make 5 successful 3bet bluff resteals
  • Run the outs and odds math every time you face a bet while holding a draw
  • Complete 2 hand reading exercises every day this week
  • Say aloud your opponents stack size on every post-flop street to improve your stack and pot focus

Fourth Lesson: Winning Requires Analysis and Action

I’m pretty competitive and I strive to win every Fortnite match I play. But what often happens is I encounter a better player and they take me out or I make a mistake and they take me out. I know the only way to win is by improving my skills so that I can beat my opponents more frequently.

This drives me to analyze my mistakes to learn from them so I can make better decisions next time.

For example, maybe I get eliminated because I was engaged in combat with a player for too long. Somebody heard us battling, and 3rd partied me from behind. My mistake was not building walls to protect my 6. So, in the next match I try to be more cognizant of this and I’m either building walls behind me or constantly checking my 6 to ensure no one is sneaking up.

We must do this same thing as poker players. When you make a mistake, tag the hand for later review.

This allows you to spend time off-the-felt to analyze the situation, figure out what your mistake was and devise ways to play better next time. If you don’t work to correct your mistakes, you’re doomed to constantly repeat them.

Fifth Lesson: Purposeful Practice is Critical

There are so many things to practice in Fortnite: aiming, building, moving around the map, using all the weapons, positioning, working with teammates and various other things. At first, it's tough figuring out all this different stuff. But Fortnite has a Creative mode that allows you to purposefully practice whatever you want over and over again until you become comfortable and skilled with it.

For example, building walls and ramps. In creative mode, you can build freely without other plays shooting at you and you have an infinite amount of building supplies. This allows you to practice building the same structure over and over again and develop a muscle memory for it. Once you do that, you’ll whip out those skills in-game super easily.

For poker players, there are programs out there that help you simulate real-game situations so you can practice the same thing over and over again.

But, you can also do purposeful practice on your own. Play just one or two tables with ONE strategy focus. Maybe you want to improve your 3bet skills. So, for every preflop raise you face, consider making a 3bet. Even if you hold 72, before folding, weigh the merits of 3betting. Ask and answer questions like:

  • Can they find a fold?
  • How often do they raise in that position?
  • How often do they raise then fold to a 3bet?
  • What’s their stack size?
  • What 3bet size would I have to make it to get them to fold?
  • Does 72o block any of their good hands?
  • Is 3bet bluffing here +EV?
  • If 72o isn’t good enough to 3bet bluff, what hands would I 3bet bluff with right now?

You can also do some in-game simulations to force yourself to practice one strategy over and over again:

I show you how to do this with PokerTracker 4 in a video I have posted in today’s show notes. It shows you how to find and open 10 hands all revolving around one strategy. You review the hands in order, starting with the BB.


Here's my challenge to you: Choose just one of these 5 lessons and apply it to your studies and play today. The easiest one to do is lesson 2, Watch and Repeat. Watch the video just above about simulating an in-game situation to purposefully practice one strategy over and over. As you watch, follow along with PokerTracker 4 and do what I do. Then on your own, review all of the hands you pulled up to learn from your prior play and to improve your strategies.

Support the Show

Alex Howells, Jürgen Biesinger and Matt Sachs picked up PokerTracker 4 (get it here to support the show), the best poker tracking software.  I love it and use it everyday!  In appreciation, I sent each of them a copy of my Smart HUD for PT4.  With an ever-growing database of hands to study and all the helpful features, PT4 is the go-to software for serious poker players.

Mikko Mantyla, Josh Walsh, Ryan Bauman and James Carmichael bought the Smart HUD with a 1.5 hour webinar for PokerTracker 4.  It’s the best online poker HUD in the business with every critical stat in the HUD and the 7 custom popups. This is what every online player needs to maximally exploit opponents.

Barney picked up the Getting the Most From PokerTracker 4 Webinar (10% off) because he knows that I'm teaching exactly this in the webinar.  You'll learn how to filter for leaks, run reports and dissect opponents and plug leaks (among other useful things).


Sky Matsuhashi

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