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How many poker variations should you study?

reading a bookThe world of poker evolves at a very rapid rate these days and that effectively makes much of the older literature and advice too dated to be of any real use. One such piece of advice is in how you should diversify with regards to the games that you become proficient in.

Years ago when live cash games were all that poker players had to keep them going, live games tended to be dealers’ choice. This meant that whoever was on the button had the right to choose a particular poker variation.

Years ago, when I used to be a poker dealer, the cash games that I dealt were dealers’ choice and in fact Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott was a regular player. So it was common for me to deal one hand of Hold’em followed by a hand of Seven Stud followed by a hand of Omaha and so on. A player had to be skilled in all of these games to make a profit and this was why the older advice of diversifying your skills by learning as many different variations as possible was spot on the money.

However, this is dated advice and what really makes it dated was the arrival of online poker. Games like Seven Stud and High Low split are nowhere near as popular as other games like NLHE and PLO. A player can multi-table online unlike a live game and so can play as many tables as they can fit in and handle. They can also pick and choose not just their tables but also their site if they happen to have money in more than one poker sites. So there isn’t the same level of dependency to study and learn numerous different forms of poker as there used to be.

In my opinion, any player, in order to give themselves the maximum possible chances of success these days, needs to specialise in one form of poker if they are playing online. This is because you can simply stick to the same form of poker by clicking on an empty seat on a No-Limit Hold’em table, for example. When you sit down in that seat, you are safe in the knowledge that you will always be playing that form of poker on every single hand that you play for as long as you play.

This allows you to sidestep the forms of poker that you are not overly strong in and to focus on being the best player that you can possibly be. By focusing on the same form of poker, you will gain an edge over the large number of players that drift from game to game searching for excitement.

If you really want to maximise your chances of making money from online poker then you have to be cold blooded and ruthless in how you approach the game. Poker shouldn’t be a game played for excitement or thrills when you need to make money at it. You do whatever you need to do to get the job done… end of story.

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