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How to study poker as a recreational player in 2022

How to study poker as a recreational player in 2022

Here’s an important question every poker player should ask themselves:

Who am I and what do I want?

Everyone in poker is different. We have different lifestyles, responsibilities, financial situations, and poker goals. When it comes to improving at poker, what works for someone else might not be the best fit for you.

Some people don’t really care about getting better at poker and just love to play the game for fun. That’s awesome.

But the fact that you’ve clicked on this article means you probably want to improve, and that involves studying poker.

So, how should you study poker as a recreational player in 2022?

Jordan ‘bigbluffzinc’ Drummond (a.k.a. BBZ) covers this in a video from the Apestyles Bootcamp. Here’s what he had to say.

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“This is one of the things that get in the way when people ask streamers or professional players for advice,” says BBZ. “They’re not you. They might have tools that they use that they think are really powerful, but those tools might not be accessible to you.”

The easiest one as an example would be a professional player’s database relative to a recreational player’s database. We’re talking about HUDs here, such as Poker Tracker or Hold’em Manager.

If you play a lot of poker, that database is going to be extraordinarily valuable to you due to the total number of hands and recently played hands contained inside it. If you play recreationally and therefore less frequently, your database isn’t going to hold as much beneficial information.

But still, after a while, your database will be able to show you or a coach how you play, and by analyzing your stats, you can begin to make improvements.

The BBZ Poker community will know that often our Daily Seminars focus on one of our coaches going through a database analysis of a student. This is a fantastic way to spot leaks and plug them.

So, to start with, we definitely recommend getting a poker database which tracks your stats.

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BBZ & Lex Veldhuis: Database Study Session Pt. 1

In this first collaboration video between Twitch Poker Legend Lex Veldhuis and BBZPoker head coach Jordan “bigbluffzinc” Drummond, the two break down Lex’s PokerTracker4 database by position in a recent hand sample to find areas for improvement.

This 50 minute video will show you some general parameters to apply to your own database in order to identify where you are leaking at each position. BBZ points out areas like:

  • Raise Small Blind Open Limp
  • 3-bet frequencies from the blinds
  • 3-bet vs. steal
  • Fold vs. steal

Explore those areas plus more in this introductory video to database analysis.




When recreational players try to get better they constantly get referred to solvers.

“Until 2022, I would have referred anyone trying to get better at No Limit to a solver,” says BBZ. “But I don’t think that’s the answer at the moment. Some people are going to be stunned, but I don’t think someone who has never used these tools before should get a solver.”

Instead, BBZ thinks rec players should look towards solution-based tools such as DTO, Odin or GTO Wizard. These are tools where hundreds of thousands, even millions of simulations have already been run for you, so you can simply look up the answers you’re seeking rather than having to input the data and run the sim on your own.

“I personally flex between GTO Wizard and Odin, but I use GTO Wizard the most,” says BBZ. “The idea that someone would start with their own solver and running their own sims, I think that’s a waste of time and resources.”

A good way to use these tools would be to mark a bunch of hands during your next session in which you were unsure what to do. At the end of your session, you can pull up each hand individually and find the solution in the tool. This is a great way to bolster your knowledge and will make you feel more comfortable at the tables every session you play.

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BBZ Bundle

20+ hours of lessons from BBZ


Another ‘solution tool’ you certainly need to include in your study is preflop charts, which show you ranges you should play and how you should react to preflop action. Make sure the charts you’re using are 100% up-to-date though.

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ChipEV Preflop Charts & Trainer

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Watching coaching content is one of the best–and easiest–ways for recreational players to study poker.

Whether you watch a training video on your way to work, while you’re at the gym, before a session or when you’re in bed, coaching content is easy to access and consume at a time suitable for you.

Moreover, when you join a coaching community like BBZ Poker, you also gain access to a Discord full of other players also trying to get better at the game, just like you. The coaches also frequent the Discord so you’re able to ask questions and learn with them.

“You need to be able to engage in a community that’s having high-level conversations on a regular basis,” says BBZ.

Sign up to the BBZ Discord today for announcements, hand reviews, encouragement from our community, and more.

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Lex Bundle

Lex sits down with the BBZ Coaches



You might think that you’d have to have 1-1 coaching every week in order for it to have an impact on your poker game. But according to BBZ, that’s not the case.

“I think these private poker coaching sessions are best on a once a month basis,” he says. “You don’t need those sessions every week, you just need direction.”

Once you’re given direction (“I will tell you what you suck at and what you need to fix ASAP to improve your win rate,” says BBZ) it’s down to you to put in the study work and execute what you’ve learned on the tables.

A 1-1 coaching session will tell you:

  • Areas you should study
  • What thing will be most impactful
  • Things you think are right that is definitely wrong
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apestyles Bundle

A classroom webinar series teaching you winning MTT strategies


“The idea that you’re going to have someone 1-1 coach you into becoming a good player is not how it works in my experience,” says BBZ. “1-1 coaching is something you do as a check-up to give you direction. It’s also expensive!”

Getting better at poker in 2022 all comes down to you.

There are no shortcuts. You’ve simply got to put in the hours studying and playing.

Ready to get started?

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