Training sites such as: Cardrunners, PokerXfactor, Deucescracked and the soon to be launched PokerNews Strategy training site which can be seen here are just a selection of the best sites to choose from. These sites have revolutionised the way the game is taught, taking poker tuition above and beyond the written word and into a format which captures theory in motion.
Although poker literature has the ability to explain certain concepts of the game it does so in a concrete way, recorded sessions however, have the ability to bring theories to life and better demonstrate them because they can capture the unique dynamics and idiosyncrasies of the game. For example, knowing the theory and mechanics of a squeeze play (making a large re-raise following a raise and a call) is all well and good but employing such a move at the appropriate time can be a different story. By watching a pro employ a squeeze play at the right time in a game it gives a developing player the chance to see what table dynamics work best for such a move, something a book struggles to do. Watching some of the various poker tutors playing also gives an insight into how that player looks at the game, what mentality they have when they are playing and how they read certain situations. Poker books written by professional players may give definitions of certain plays and general rules on when its good to do certain things but they lack the ability to portray that particular players mindset, something which can help improve someone's game immensely.
So, if watching poker a tutorial is so beneficial then how about making a video yourself? Video software such as Camtasia and other free video programmes are readily available on the net and can help provide another dimension to your poker improvement. Over the past couple of weeks I've been busy recording my own videos, commentating on the moves I make, as if I'm making and instructional video, in the hope of trying to improve my game. One of the biggest problems in players' games is that they often make moves without knowing why they are doing them. By recording yourself it forces you to explain why you're doing what you're doing and adds an element of accountability to your actions. By verbalising your thought process it has the effect of making you feel responsible for what you are doing and also helps you identify whether you're actually sure what you're doing is right. Instead of simply clicking buttons in autopilot mode, recording yourself forces you to actually focus 100% on every play you make. Recording some of your sessions can also make an interesting break from the mundane process of reviewing your hand histories.
When reviewing raw hand histories a certain amount of perspective is lost in terms of game dynamics, i.e. was a certain player taking longer to act with certain hands? Was someone chatting in the chat box? Were people constantly moving in and out of the game? All these things have an effect on how the game flows and this in turn can affect the way you play a certain hand. By reviewing your sessions in recorded format it takes away the danger of analysing certain hands within a vacuum and lets you consider all the factors, such as your emotions, which went into playing a hand a certain way. From this you can then work on recognising not only your technical mistakes but also the emotional and psychological aspects which impinge upon your game. Making a video is also great if you intend to share your movies with a poker buddy. Aside from making it more interesting and entertaining it allows your friend to see exactly how you react in certain situations and by verbalising your thoughts it allows them to see exactly what level you are thinking on. In a game where it is crucial to always be tweaking your game in order to stay one step ahead of your rivals, taking the time to make a little home movie may just be the next step you need to take to becoming a winning player.