The most efficient method of improvement

    • Semesa
      Joined: 03.06.2008 Posts: 294
      This is cross-posted from 2+2, I just typed it up in a text file and copy/pasted it in both locations.

      I was thinking of some concepts in poker today I wanted some feedback on, I'm not sure if my rationalisation of the situation is correct, it will require a bit of foreknowledge so bare with me.

      Firstly, its logical that improving the rate at which you learn something will improve the amount you learn more than actually studying the subject given an infinite amount of time(think a graph with both a linear function and an exponential function, the intersection point of the lines is where learning to learn becomes less profitable than learning itself, learning to learn = learning^2).

      So, taking that one level further, its also logical to assume that by figuring out what makes someone learn faster, its better to work at that rather than working at poker theory up until a certain point.(derived from the length of time you can realistically expect to play poker for and how much of an impact learning will have on your overall expected profitability, )

      In order to learn, 2 things are required, the ability to acquire knowledge, and the ability to rationalise that knowledge. Acquiring knowledge is a part of human nature, we see things and therefore acquire information. However, in order to rationalise something, we need to consciously think about it, something that people will never do unless it occurs to them to do it.(Rarely)

      This is evident by looking at fish. It's widely accepted that the average fish in todays game are generally better than the average fish back in 2003. However the average reg in todays game has improved a lot more by comparison. This is because regs are more likely to have studied the game, and therefore rationalised concepts and developed a better understanding of them. Whereas fish merely play for fun, they gain the same knowledge, but don't have the ability to rationalise it, and therefore, use it as effectively.

      I applied this to my own game and found it was actually way more efficient as a method to discover leaks than anything I'd tried before.

      If I wasn't able to explain why I did something, but still thought it was the right play, I worked out the hand mathematically until I could rationalise it using an EV calc.(Pretty standard tool for learning I think?)

      Although this is all purely theoretical, applying the concept to itself logically means that by improving my theoretical knowledge of poker, I'm still improving my game regardless of whether or not it seems tedious and unnecessary.

      Edit: I just realised that this theory is paradoxical, given that the only evidence I have to support it stems from the assumption that the theory is correct anyway, does this matter? Or is it a chicken and egg scenario?

      I only ask because if the theory is correct, by knowing that a paradoxical theory can still be used as a proof, I'll improve my grasp of theory itself which will exponentially improve my future ability to learn, and therefore, by merely asking the question, I've already improved my profitability more efficiently than studying poker itself.

      Also, does this entire theory seem bat**** insane?
  • 3 replies
    • janushr
      Joined: 29.08.2008 Posts: 261
      can you elaborate some more??how is poker going latly,mr.Brown??what you play at the moment...
    • evertonroar
      Joined: 26.06.2009 Posts: 737
      sorry if the below seems a bit disjointed. My 3 week old girl had two pooie nappie and huge cry and a spit up which I needed to attend to while writing this. So kind of lost my train of thought.

      I think you are right (from what i think you are syaing anyway) that there is a point where to further improve your win rate you need to know the theory and understand why somehting is +ev as opposed to just doing things because the article said you should. Something to do with the law of diminishing returns.

      at the basic level if you start from absolute zero, you can make a major step in learning (and improving theoretical win rate) in an hour or so by simply learning the rules of the poker variant you are playing (eg hand rankings). Eg - I dont know the rules for omaha. I can learn the basic rules (hand rankings etc) in an hour and while I would not be a profitable player, my win rate would signifincanltly larger (or lose rate smaller) than before that hour (just becuase I know the rules now). importanltly I dont need to know the theory of why one hand beats another. I just need to know they do.

      This learning can continue with the multitudes of information availlable, but only to a point. You get to a point where no matter what you read, without a fundamental udnerstanding of the theory behind it, your learning rate will decrease (and approach zero) - i.e you get less learning per hour effort - the Law of Diminshing returns. Developing an understanding of the theory will counter act the diminishing returns (but only to a point). Its kind of the same as learning the game without playing - you can know all the strategy and theory but if you have never actually played there is only a certain level of understaning of what it mean you can get to.

      So yes - you do reach a point where you are better to spend your time learning the theory (including the complex math) than simply just reading and discussing etc. I think you also get to a point where you are better off getting away from poker and doing something to improve your capacity to learn (e.g. excercise or just getting away to rekindle your interest in the game).
    • Semesa
      Joined: 03.06.2008 Posts: 294
      For what its worth, I'm a high stakes MTT reg, and I've only just gotten to the point now where it would actually be useful for me to learn theory rather than "do x in y situation"

      Games are still pretty soft guys :)