Reddit Poker and Forums – Is It Worth Your Time or Wasting It?
Anyone who’s ever considered playing poker seriously has quickly realized that the only way to really move forward and make a profit is by learning about the game. Simply knowing Hold’em poker rules won’t get you very far and as soon as you move out of the very micro stakes, you’ll find yourself in over your head.
The thing with poker, though, is that you can’t really learn it on your own. Unless you are a natural talent and belong to a very small percentage of the population that just has almost inborn ability to understand all the intricacies of the game on their own, you need some kind of help and guidance to continue your learning curve.
Reddit Poker and various poker forums are the first things that you’re likely to come across when you start taking the game seriously and take up learning. These are free, easy-to-access resources, available to pretty much anyone. However, with so much material out there and a large percentage of it coming from unconfirmed sources, it is really a question if these free resources are actually worth your time.
Reddit Poker: What Is It Good For?
Reddit can be a great community as it gathers people from all over the world to discuss a wide array of topics. Many of these people are experts or at least well-experienced in their particular fields and they happily contribute to relevant subreddits, which means there is a lot of knowledge to be found here – at least in general.
However, when it comes to poker, it can be a somewhat a different story.
You know how everyone thinks they can play poker? How many people you’ve actually met and played with who happily admitted they weren’t all that good? People will stick to their guns claiming they’re really good at poker even though they don’t know the odds of actually making a flush by the river when they flop a flush draw or other simple things equity and so on.
I even met some who don’t know how many cards there actually is in a deck. How can you count your outs or odds if that is the case?
The biggest problem with Reddit Poker is that all of these people get to have their say and you can hardly say who’s right and who’s wrong if you’re new to poker and just trying to learn about the game. You come for advice and often, the advice you find will be completely off target and could even hinder your development.
So, if you’re looking for some poker strategy tips and tricks or analysis of a particular hand of Texas Holdem, you shouldn’t expect much from Reddit Poker. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some good players on there as well, willing to share their insights, but their advice might get lost in a bunch of white noise so you might end up with more questions and uncertainties than you originally had, and waste a lot of valuable time on the way.
Trolls Will Be Trolls In Reddit
Another problem with Reddit Poker is that there are many people who seem to be very keen on showing their “superiority,” i.e. when someone comes in asking for advice, they’ll berate their play and try their best to make the original poster feel bad about themselves. Of course, you shouldn’t give much relevance to anything these users have to say but with so many out there, it can feel like such a waste of time actually posting hands for analysis and asking for useful insights, only to get a dozen replies suggesting “you quit poker forever.”
If you choose to ignore the “advice,” there isn’t much sense of posting in the first place. If you try to reply and create a meaningful discussion, more often than not, you’ll end up in a pointless debate that really has nothing to do with strategy.
Often, it feels like Reddit Poker is full of these top professionals with years of experience who have nothing better to do than sit around the whole day, waiting to explain how horrible someone else is in poker.
Either way, it can be a huge waste of time. If you’re really set on learning about the game and becoming better, the amount of true value you can get from /r/poker is questionable at best and you’ll have to invest a lot of extra time and effort to filter out all the random stuff and suggestions masquerading as “advice” to extract any actually useful information.
Banter and Casual Poker Talk
It seems like Reddit Poker is more of a place for fans of the game who want to talk about general poker topics like their favorite poker shows, well-known players, current tournaments, and, in general, interesting news from the poker world. Since it gathers a bunch of people who love and follow the game, /r/poker is a pretty good destination for this.
If you just want to talk poker in general and enjoy good banter, you’ll have a lot of fun at Reddit Poker. Some people will share your views, some will disagree completely, but, overall, you should find a community where all things related to the game are discussed at length.
So, Reddit Poker is a great place to hang out at if you’re just looking to unwind or simply enjoy talking about the game. However, when it comes to learning and strategy, it is much more questionable. You’ll find some good advice here, for sure, but the time you’ll need to invest to actually get to it and make sure you don’t miss it is definitely not worth the effort.
Poker Forums: Taking it up a Notch
There are different types of poker forums out there and some of them can offer decent resources for those looking to learn about the game, find the best poker tools, discuss hands, and talk general strategy. Unlike Reddit, poker forums usually gather a smaller crowd of people who are more into poker, meaning that, on average, they will have a better understanding of the game and will be able to provide better insights.
Some poker forums have been around for years and you’ll find some of the world’s finest players occasionally hang out at some of these. So, in theory, these places offer access to some of the greatest minds in the game. In practice, however, these guys and girls aren’t all that happy to share their insights (for obvious reasons) and even when they are, their time is very limited so a lot of the time you will end up chasing the wind.
Strategy Talk and Poker Forums
Many poker forums have dedicated strategy sections and subsections covering various aspects, i.e. cash games, tournaments, sit and go’s, etc. Often, people participating in these strategy sub-forums will actually be experienced players in their own right, with some results behind them to back up their advice and suggestions, but that is not always the case.
Obviously, not all forums are equal and if you looking for some strategy advice, probably only TwoPlusTwo can be worth some of your time.
So, from that perspective, poker forums can be a bit more valuable. You can post your hands for analysis and get some advice completely free of charge. You can also participate in other strategy discussions by voicing your own opinions or asking questions, all of which can certainly help you grow as a player.
Like with every forum, there is always a bit of trolling going on and you might have to deal with some “difficult” users who seem to enjoy starting drama even in threads where that is completely uncalled for.
Downsides of Poker Forums
While poker forums can definitely be helpful on your path to becoming a better player, they have certain downsides. The first and the most obvious one is that you can’t always get the advice you’re looking for. All the information is provided on a voluntary basis, meaning it can be a bit of hit and miss. There might be players on the forum who can help with their input but they won’t always be around to answer your questions.
Although poker forums can sometimes contain a wealth of resources accumulated over the years, it is usually presented in a completely unorganized way. There are all sorts of threads out there and some of them can hide real gems. The problem is, how do you go about finding them? Thus, a lot of information that is actually available is virtually out of reach.
Even if you do come across some old threads that seem to be valuable, keep in mind that the information could easily be outdated. Some poker forums have been around for well over a decade and some of the info you’ll find on there may have been relevant at the time of posting but might be quite far away from the optimum these days.
Time vs. Value
So, although poker forums are definitely a better way to go about improving your game than Reddit Poker (especially the ones that have been around for years), you’ll still have to invest a lot of time to get any real value out of them.
When you ask a question, for example, it may take a couple of hours or even a couple of days before someone takes notice and finds time to write a useful answer. The information you get might be valuable but at such a slow pace, your development as a player can take a long time.
On top of that, for most questions, you will get a few completely different opinions so at the end you will not know which play has the most EV and end-up wasting time just like in Reddit poker. For example, if you ask what hands you should be playing in a specific situation, you will also get different suggestions that are not based on anything, so better get poker hands cheat sheets and same you time on the way.
The thing is, as a poker player, be it a full-time professional or someone who wants to use poker to supplement their income, time is a very valuable resource. Every moment you spend away from the tables is money lost in a way, so the last thing you want to do is waste too much time doing nothing and waiting for an answer to a question you feel is important.
Reddit Poker and poker forums are completely free resources, which is their biggest and most obvious advantage. They also have other upsides, as these online destinations can sometimes hide a wealth of great information and can help you get in touch with some great players who can help you learn a lot and seriously improve.
None of this is, however, guaranteed. To take advantage of what these venues have to offer, you’ll need to put in a lot of time and effort, without any guarantee that you’ll find what you’re looking for. Even worse, you’ll often have to deal with bad information and advice, which can actually hinder your development.
So, all in all, while we wouldn’t want to dismiss these free resources completely, it is important for the players to take them for what they are worth and not expect too much from them. Poker forums, for example, are a great additional resource for those interested in studying the game but if you’re hoping to use them as your primary source of learning information, you might need to rethink your approach.
Looking into Specialized Poker Training Sites
Unlike forums and Reddit Poker, dedicated poker training sites usually aren’t free. People working behind the scenes to provide learning materials available on these sites put in their time and, more importantly, their expertise to help others grow as players. It is hardly a surprise this comes with a price tag attached to it as poker knowledge and skills can be used to actually make money.
However, unlike poker forums, these sites offer a very structured approach, where students are usually offered everything they need in smaller, logical units or lessons. For example, if you’re looking to learn how to play poker tournaments, you can find a site where you have a complete game plan, so you don’t need to look all over the place for resources. Everything you need is in one place, which can save you a lot of precious time.
In addition to saving your time, you can also count with the information you’re being provided with is accurate and up to date. Poker training sites employ experienced players with results so the knowledge and insights they provide are really valuable and will help your growth and development. While there is always some debate about different approaches to the game, the information found on these sites is usually of good quality.
Investing in Your Poker Future
Up and coming players are often reluctant to pay for poker training, mainly because there is so much free information out there already but also because they are afraid that what they’re paying for might not be worth it or they simply can’t afford to pay for a poker training site or one-on-one coaching.
If you don’t have a lot of money to invest, poker training programs come in all shapes and sizes and perhaps you can start off with something cheaper like Upswing Poker Lab. That way, you won’t be out of pocket too much and you’ll also get a good idea of how paid training differs from having to hunt for free resources all over the internet and across various poker forums.
You’ll be surprised just how much more you can get out of a structured and professional approach that addresses all the different topics that you may be interested in. Furthermore, all courses are designed in a way that they follow the same fundamentals, so you can easily keep up. This isn’t the case with the knowledge and advice on poker forums and Reddit Poker, as there are different players with different ideas and approaches, so you’ll often end up more confused.
Conclusion: Take Reddit Poker & Poker Forums at Their Face Value
The idea of this article wasn’t to dismiss Reddit Poker or poker forums as some dark places you should avoid.
However, you should see it as it is – a place to read fun stories, have some fun chatting with other players or at best, as a very small part of your learning journey.
Take these resources at their face value and always take what’s offered there with a grain of salt. Also, understand that finding useful information and filtering it from the rest can be a demanding task and take up a lot of your time. For a poker player, time is a very valuable resource, so you shouldn’t be wasting it that easily.
If you’re really looking to grow and move your game to the next level, you’re probably better off looking into a structured and organized approach offered by training sites and poker coaches. While this may cost you some money up front, it will more than pay for itself by saving you heaps of time and also providing you with accurate and up-to-date knowledge you can actually take to the tables and start turning into profit!