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Avoid Overwhelm in Your Online Poker Studies #220


Sky Matsuhashi

on January 31, 2019

In this episode, I discuss how a weekly study plan will improve your study efficiency, avoid overwhelm and will give you maximum value from free and paid-for online poker content.

Challenge (2:20)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  For the next seven days, complete your first planned week of study and play. Download the ‘No Time for Study' Plan to get started.  This is going to help you avoid the overwhelm and focus your studies around just ONE topic.  Choose that ONE topic you want to study, then select 2 pieces of content to learn from.  Remember, it's critical that you step into action and purposefully practice what you learn.  So, pull one action step from each item you study and get to practicing.

Now it’s your turn to pull the trigger and do something positive for your poker game.

How does a plan help avoid overwhelm? (4:25)

The number one benefit of planning your studies is to avoid overwhelm. There is so much out there with new things constantly hitting our email inbox or our YouTube notifications that it's easy to be distracted from our main job scratch that from the thing that we want to improve right now.

For example, this week from Carroters, I received an email about his latest episode of “PIO Versus Population” regarding 4betting. I also received a YouTube notification from Jonathan Little about equity realization. But, on Monday of this week I decided to study double-barrel cbets.

I purposely deleted the email from Carroters and I ignored the notification from Jonathan Little because neither of these jive with my goal this week of becoming a better double-barreler.

Here's my tip for avoiding overwhelm:

Plan your studies and ignore the rest.



Types of content: Free and Paid-for (5:45)

Free Content

This is what the majority of us learn from: videos on YouTube, articles on websites and podcasts. Free content can be very good and highly respected, but often we treat free content like it's not that valuable. We consume without much thought because it came to us at no expense.

Paid-for Content

People put a much higher value on things that they pay for, so they're more likely to be followed-up on, studied and acted upon. That's one of the reasons why I'm putting out more paid-for content in 2019 alongside my usual amount of free content every week.

As a producer of both free and paid-for content, I put the same effort into both. The goal with each is to deliver extreme value to the end user. But I will admit that my paid-for content goes a little bit deeper and gives additional strategies, actions and insights than my free content.

For example, yesterday I held the “Poker's Bread & Butter Webinar”. This webinar taught you how to purposefully put yourself in the most profitable situation more frequently to increase your profits.

I did one podcast episode on this exact same topic in the past: episode #184.

But in the webinar, I gave additional strategies for getting into more B&B spots.  I also gave more actions they can take on-the-felt and I also gave some hand quizzes to get people on the webinar thinking more critically about the concepts I was teaching.

The idea is that the webinar is more valuable than the free podcast, which makes it more worth it for those who actually made the purchase.

But, whether it's free or paid-for, there's a basic strategy you should follow to learn from online content.

3-Step Process for Learning from Online Content? (7:45)

1. Create a plan of study.

In How to Study Poker Volume 1, I gave an extremely detailed weekly study plan. You can use this, but if you're having a hard time focusing on the topic you want to learn, I would suggest using the ‘No Time for Study' Plan (download above).

But suffice it to say, planning your studies on a day-to-day basis scratch that for the entire week is the best way to avoid overwhelm and improve your game with purpose.

2. Study one piece of content at a time, take notes and create action steps.

Too many people watch a video after video, or binge-listen to podcasts without taking notes nor thinking about how they can practice what their learning. You need to study one item at a time, take copious notes, and decide on one or 2 things you can actively do to work on your game. These can be off or on-the-felt actions.

3. Jump into action and review hands afterwards.

You're going to purposefully practice the actions you created from the content you studied. This is how you will ingrain new skills into your skill set and make more money at the tables.

Start your audiobook learning by picking up ‘Preflop Online Poker' through Click the pic above to begin your free 30-day trial or to purchase the audiobook version if you're already a member.

Study Examples (11:35)

Free Content

My favorite tournament training site is

A few years ago when I was big into MTT's, I would watch video after video on this site. The pros here really know their stuff, and the different 5, 6 or even 10-part video series are super detailed and perfect for someone like me.

They have a great search feature that allows you to type in and filter for specific video content or even content created by individual coaches. If you like Andrew Brokos as a coach, you can look through just his videos if you'd like. Or, if you want to work on cbetting, just search for that and many videos popup for you.

But, maybe you're on the fence about getting a TPE membership so you want to watch some of their free videos to see how you like it.  If you're going to study some stuff, you might as well do it with purpose, right?

On that page you'll find 20 different videos covering different topics. But, let's study these with purpose before we decide to purchase a membership.

Great study idea!

There are five $109 tournament videos. 4 of these are part one in a series, and the 5th is a part 5 video. Let's make a plan to study the 4 part one videos.

Every 3 days we'll watch one of them, take notes and create some action steps to practice in-game over the next 3 days. Then 3 days later we repeat this process with video #2 and so on. At 3 days each, this is 12 full days of studying $109 tournament play as well as practicing all we're learning.

In these 4 videos, created by 4 different coaches, they discuss the early stages of tournament play, the ranges and types of hands they play, the opponents at the early stages and how to build stacks.

These are all things that we really want to focus on as an MTT player, right?

So utilizing this free content from TPE, we've created a next 2 week plan for purposeful play and study around becoming better mid-level buy-in, early-stage tournament players.

Support the show by getting a TPE membership. At no additional cost to you, they'll kick back a little something to me when you sign-up. Thanks for the support!

Paid-for Content

When it comes to learning from paid-for content like an online course, it's worth it to have a plan of attack so you can get the most out of it.

Most courses are organized in a particular way by the course create. Hopefully they put it together in an order that allows your knowledge and skills to build as you go through the course.

But, courses don't always tell you how to use what you're learning. So here's my three-part method for learning from courses.

1. Videos: watch these one at a time and do these:
  • Watch the videos in order that they're listed. I would hope that the course creator put them in a specific order to build upon each other.
  • Take notes on the things you learn in the video.
  • Create at least one action step from the video (preferably two or more, at least one for off the felt and one for on).
2. Supplemental Materials​: use these in-game or off the felt.
  • Whatever they give you, use it on or off-the-felt as they direct you.
  • Use them and feel comfortable with them before moving on to the next item.  Or, you'll learn that it's not for you and put them to the side.
3. Questions: send the coach your questions
  • If he's a good course creator, he'll answer your questions.

Do the things above for one video before you move on to the next. Don't treat it like a race and don't pursue the destination.

Getting through the course, but putting only 20% of it into your skillset is a waste of your money and time. It's the journey that matters and with so much content, it's okay if it takes you the entire year to go through this course. If it's as good as you think it is, spending time will only help you to put the strategies/skills they teach into your skillset.

Support the Show

Walter Chambers purchased the Smart HUD for PokerTracker 4.  In addition to the 3-part HUD with 6 custom popups, he also received loads of video links to help hih get the most from the HUD and from PT4.

Thomas Tatman purchased the Mashing the Micros Webinar (click for $5 off).  There are so many landmines to dodge as well as value to earn at the micro stakes, and this webinar is your key to unlocking the strategies that lead to success.

Up Next…

In episode 221, I’ll give you some Actions for 3 of your Questions.

Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.


Sky Matsuhashi

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