How to Play Better Poker in 30 Days (Just Do This!)

How to Play Better Poker in 30 Days

This article was written by contributor Fran Ferlan.

Mastering poker is a lifelong journey, and like any other skill, it takes a lot of effort, dedication and perseverance. 

However, there are better and worse ways to learn, and if you really want to improve your poker game, it doesn’t have to take decades. 

By following the right steps and making the right amount of effort, you can see almost immediate improvement in your poker results. 

And if you are really dedicated, you can completely transform your poker game in as little time as one month. 

It won’t be easy, but it will certainly be worth it.

This article will show you how to do exactly that, regardless of your previous poker knowledge. 

Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate player, this article will help you take your game to the next level.

1. Focus on One Thing at a Time

The quickest way to improve your poker skills is choosing one topic, and one topic only, and focusing on improving it until you get to the level that you don’t even have to think about it. 

You just do it instinctively, without consciously thinking about it. 

But to get to that level, you need to think consciously about it A LOT. 

While you probably won’t see a dramatic improvement in your overall game in just a month, you could improve significantly in the one area that you choose to focus on. 

When you master that, you move on to the next thing. 

This will be far more beneficial for your game than jumping from one topic to another day to day, without having a clear plan in mind. 

A lot of beginner and intermediate poker players alike make the mistake of trying to learn everything there is to learn in a short time span, and hoping something sticks. 

They might read a poker book one day about one topic, watch a youtube video on another topic the other day, and then listen to a podcast on mental game the third day. 

Don’t make the same mistake as Nathan discusses in a recent video.

Poker is insanely complex as it is, and trying to master more than one thing at a time is usually not a good idea. 

If anything, it can be outright counterproductive. 

You can get easily overwhelmed and discouraged due to the lack of any significant progress at best, and get confused and start making mistakes you otherwise wouldn’t at worst. 

Learning is a painful process, and you are certainly going to make mistakes when trying to apply new concepts. 

Applying one new concept is hard enough, and applying two at the same time is near impossible. 

Humans actually aren’t very good at multitasking, it's actually proven by science. So, shifting your attention back and forth impedes the learning process. 

You might think you’re getting more work done in a shorter amount of time, but that’s usually not the case. 

It’s more likely that you’re merely getting the illusion of progress, when in reality you’re just spinning in circles. 

So instead of trying to learn everything at once, try the one and done approach. 

Choose one topic and devote your study and play time to it until you master it to the level of unconscious competence. 

It might seem more tedious this way (and it is), but you’ll be guaranteed to make more progress this way. 

If you have to ask if your skill is trained to the level of unconscious competence yet, it isn’t. Keep studying.

2. When Building a House, You Don’t Start with a Roof

The topic you choose to study will depend on where you are on your poker journey, and what goals you’re trying to achieve with your game. 

This will take some honest self reflection. 

If you’re a losing or a breakeven player, chances are you don’t need to start dabbling with solvers.

In fact, using a poker solver might even end up harming your results! 

If you’re a winning player with a proven track record looking to jump up in stakes, then you might look into the more advanced poker concepts.

But regardless of where you are on your poker journey, chances are you might benefit from brushing up on the fundamentals. 

Even the experienced poker players have some glaring weaknesses in understanding the most basic poker concepts, like the pot odds and the implied odds, bet sizing, and so on. 

If you want to master any topic, forget about the minutiae and focus on the basics first. 

When building a house, you start with the foundations, not the roof. 

Elon Musk has a great analogy. According to him, you have to view knowledge as a tree. 

You have to start with the trunk and the big branches first, before getting to the smaller branches and the leaves. 

If you don't, the leaves and the branches have nothing to hang on to. 

Even though you might think you have a solid grasp of the basic poker concept, brushing up on them is still likely to be beneficial for your game. 

Repetition is the mother of knowledge. The deeper the roots of your knowledge tree, the higher it can grow. 

If you don’t know which part of your poker game to work on, preflop is usually the best place to start. 

You’re bound to encounter similar preflop situations over and over again, so studying them is more beneficial than focusing on some highly specific river spots that occur once in a blue moon.

The easiest way to quickly master the basics of preflop strategy is just to read my free poker cheat sheet.

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3. You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Measure

So you’ve chosen the topics to study off the felt, you’re hitting the books with a pen and a notebook in hand, and you’re applying what you learn during your poker sessions. 

Now, how the hell do you know if you’re improving or not? 

Well, it’s hard to tell, because as you know, variance plays a role in your short term result, and what’s more, our perception of our own abilities is subjective at best, and completely wrong at worst. 

So the only way to improve is to have an accurate assessment of your skill level before and after. The problem is, you can’t exactly measure skill. 

But you can still figure out where your skills might be lacking by trying to fix your leaks of the felt. 

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. 

So if you’re serious about improving your game, it will be worthwhile to invest in a poker tracking software. 

The best poker tracking software for professional and amateur poker players alike is Poker Tracker 4. 

I have already written a complete PokerTracker review where you can also download my custom HUD for free.

How to Play Better Poker in 30 Days

If you’re playing poker online, the software allows you to import your hand history from your preferred poker site, and gives you a comprehensive view of your stats, winrate, leaks and much more.
One of the most powerful features of the software is the hand filtering. 

For example, if you’re looking to improve your light continuation betting, you can filter for all the spots where you had the opportunity to c-bet, but chose not to. 

Or you want to play Ace-King better in 3-bet pots. Simply filter for Ace-King and 3-bet pots, and you’ll get all the hands in your database that match the filter. 

You can go as general or as specific as you want. What’s more, you can save your filters so you don’t have to plug them in manually every time.

Another great part of the software is the Leak Tracker. 

If you want to improve your poker game, but don’t even know where to begin, the Leak Tracker will tell you. 

It shows you exactly where your stats fall out of norm for the winning poker players, for example are you playing too many hands, are you being aggressive enough on the turn, do you c-bet too often or too rarely and so on. 

You don’t need to spend any time trying to figure out where exactly you’re bleeding money. 

Poker Tracker 4 does that for you.

Arguably the best part of the software is the poker heads-up display (or HUD for short). 

It’s a little pop-up display that shows up next to your opponent’s username and shows you their stats in real time. 

This means you can see at a glance what type of a player they are, are they loose or tight, passive or aggressive, do they call too much, do they bluff too much and so on.

The benefits of the software are too many to go through here, so the best way is to try it out yourself. 

Poker Tracker 4 offers a 14 day free trial, so there’s no reason not to give it a chance. 

You wouldn’t want to play another session without it.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

Once you’ve chosen the topics to study and developed a studying plan, it’s time to actually apply what you learn. 

Merely passively absorbing content, like reading books or articles, or watching videos is not the most effective way to learn. 

You will increase your retention dramatically if you take a more proactive approach. 

This means taking notes while studying, and looking for ways to implement what you’ve learned in your game. 

But since nobody particularly enjoys studying, even if it’s a topic you’re passionate about, there’s a better and more effective way to learn, and that is through direct experience. 

Poker is a skill like any other, and like any other skill, you get better at it with practice. 

So how do you improve your poker game quickly? You play a lot of poker! 

Practice makes perfect. 

But not just any practice will do. You’ll need to be more deliberate in your approach. 

This means that you should play your sessions with a clearly defined goal of improving a certain aspect of your game, and making a conscious effort throughout the session to apply the concept you’re learning. 

For example, if you’re trying to improve your poker related math skills, try to calculate the pot odds and/or stack-to-pot ratio in every spot you play. 

If you’re trying to improve your hand reading skills, try narrowing down your opponent’s range through the streets.
Another way to apply what you learn more effectively is using a pen and paper (or a phone) to keep track of your decisions throughout the session. 

For example, let’s say you’re trying to improve your flop light c-betting (making a continuation bet on the flop without the best hand, i.e. bluffing).

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You can do so by making three columns on a piece of paper titled: 

1) Value c-bet 
2) Light c-bet
3) Didn’t c-bet 

Then, every time you make a c-bet, or fail to make one, you make one tick in the appropriate column. 

This will cause you to really think through your decisions, instead of just playing on autopilot. 

It will also make you pay attention to details you might have otherwise overlooked.
You can use this system for other concepts as well, like 3-betting preflop (re-raising against another player’s open-raise), double barreling (making a turn continuation bet), check-raising and so on. 

It’s entirely up to you which kind of a system to use. 

The point is, that whatever it is you’re trying to improve, you’ll have much better results if you can find a way to measure it in some way. 

If you ever feel stumped in a certain situation, and don’t know what to do, mark down the hand for later review. 

This is another instance where a free poker HUD software like Poker Tracker 4 comes in handy. 

Chances are that the spots that you’re having trouble with could illuminate what you should be working on next. 


There is no magic bullet to improving your poker skills quickly. 

Yes, there are tons of great resources to help you improve your game these days, including free poker software tools. 

But none of this can just magically pour poker knowledge in your brain!

It will require a bit of effort on your part.

Since poker is insanely complex beneath the surface, the best way to not get overwhelmed by it is to choose one topic to work on until you’ve mastered it. 

Then, and only then, can you move on to the next topic. This might seem tedious, but that’s because it works.

If you don’t know where to start, focus on the fundamentals. 

The preflop game alone can offer you way more than 30 days worth of study time. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. 

Since short-term poker results aren’t the most accurate measure of your poker skills, you’ll need some sort of reliable system that tells you whether or not you’re improving, and what you should focus on. 

So if you’re serious about improving your poker skills, consider investing in a tracking software like Poker Tracker 4.

After you’ve studied up and figured out where your leaks are, the only thing that remains is to apply what you learn on the felt. 

Practice makes perfect, but only deliberate practice counts.

Lastly, if you want to know the complete strategy I use to make $1000+ per month in small stakes games, get a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

How to Play Better Poker in 30 Days (Just Do This!)