Ratio of study to play

thepokermonkthepokermonk Red Chipper Posts: 320 ✭✭✭
edited January 2017 in General Concepts
I've been listening to a lot of poker podcasts lately (it's a two hour drive to the nearest casino for me so I have nothing but time!) (mostly RedChip, Mindset Advantage, and Thinking Poker, in case you were wondering) and have noticed that it's very common to use sports metaphors when talking about poker, especially where training and the mental game are concerned. And I think for the most part, comparing poker with sports is a valuable way of looking at things.
But it got me to thinking about the ratio of training to play we see in sports is much different than what I hear about in poker. The amount of time an athlete spends training and studying vs. the amount of time they spend actually playing seems vastly different than the average poker pro. For instance, how much time does a pro basketball player spend playing vs. training? I would guess game time can't amount to much more than a couple of hours per week while training must be like 8-10 hours per day, right? This seems to be the exact opposite of what the typical serious poker player does. It seems that the poker pro probably spends at least 80-90% of their time playing and 10-20% studying, if that.
Do you think that poker is just different in this way from athletics and that experience is so much more important in poker than studying? Or do you think that we may doing this wrong and that we should be studying off table much more than we are?
What ratio do you think would be good? As I'm working on improving my study time in 2016, I'm wondering if I should be dedicating far more study time than I do to playing, like maybe I should be shooting for something like 70% study time to 30% play. Does this seem like a good plan or that I would be losing out on valuable experience?
Looking forward to your thoughts.


  • Rello242Rello242 Red Chipper Posts: 595 ✭✭
    edited January 2016
    The one thing I realized and took away from this is this:

    While there is so many similarities with Professional Sports and Poker, the key difference in success is probably one that is different but not all that different. Professional Athletes train their body first then their mind, but us Poker players train our mind then our body. We focus on such a high level performance out of our mind that the training task is much different. We don't need long hours of physical work like the athelete bodies do but we need to pay attention to our mental capabilities. Now I'm not Dr. Tricia so she probably could hammer this point better than I could, however in terms of how much should you be studying vs playing, I probably can't answer because we all have different mental capabilities that goes beyond the science of hitting the gym and pushing your muscles to the limit like athletes do, so my best educational guess on the matter is it's probably going to be unique for each person. This is where you want to dive into maximizing your mental game for both on the table and off the table improvement.

    Also another thing I want to say too, alot of the professionals during their seasons, they don't overwork hard because they still need their bodies to be fresh enough for the games, so even as a poker player there is wisdom in not trying to overload your brain before you play.

    I think you should probably ask one of the pros but I feel more than enough it will be dependent on your mental level and capabilities at the moment, so more than enough if you are aiming to increase that capability to study and perform, then Dr. Tricia will be the key and if its more like well your just testing the waters then start with a fair 50 - 50 deal and start making your conclusions on where you want to be in terms of studying and playing.

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  • FilthyCasualFilthyCasual Red Chipper Posts: 871 ✭✭✭
    edited January 2016
    There isn't really finely tuned mechanics that need to be repeated millions of times. Sure, most top poker players have some physical routines, but it really isn't a necessary to play.

    From a previous thread, it will highly depend on your proficiency. It might take a professional a lot of sessions at a table before they come across an unfamiliar situation, where a new or less experienced player probably will have a question or leak on just about every hand they play

    Only way to get paid is to shuffle up and deal, so after a certain amount of hours plugged into poker, it's likely that studying time becomes less critical if you aren't trying to move up in stakes. Of course, there is always more to learn, but I'd be surprised if the top players spend more than 20% of their time studying while playing 80%, where a novice would probably benefit from 20% of their time playing and 80% study.

    So.... it really depends! I'm personally going to want to spend more time playing if I'm playing my A game, and more time studying if I'm playing my D game. A little confidence building away from the table persay
  • SplitSuitSplitSuit RCP Coach Posts: 4,081 -
    I always suggest at least 3:1 study:play early on. There is a lot of front-loaded knowledge in poker so getting your brain loaded up is better here.

    Overtime that ratio typically flips to 1:2 or 1:1 study:play.

    If you are trying to move up, revert back to studying well more than you play.
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  • ZacShawZacShaw Red Chipper Posts: 166 ✭✭✭
    This is great. Here I was thinking studying more than playing poker was insane, so to hear a coach say 3:1 study:play is reassuring!

    As I get more confidence and profit in my play, I notice more and more weaknesses and missed value to address through study. My study:play ratio is probably closer to 1:1 than 3:1 but I always feel like I could study more. Certainly there is enough material from Red Chip to do nothing but study all year!
  • Marc-KevinMarc-Kevin Red Chipper Posts: 27
    Since Ive decided to move to live in the near futur, Ive dropped my playing time significantly to study more about live play. While its still the same game, opponents are very different from what I read and so I need to re-adjust everything. In this process, I've realized that I love studying just as much as playing....

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