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I know that the majority of poker players view the game from a purely casual entertainment point of view, which is why it can be hard for many to find the time and discipline to actually step away from the table and try to increase their skills through studying and research.

It can be a hard obstacle to overcome, because that’s like telling an avid video gamer that in order to reach the highest levels of his favourite game he’ll need to read up on techniques and strategies, something that isn’t commonplace for activities that you rely on for relaxation or fun. However, as the best players will confirm, you can learn just as much about poker in a book or on the internet as you can sitting in a competitive match.

So how can you tell if you need to be hitting the training manuals more often? As professional poker coach Bill Hubbard explains, all you need to do is look at how many hours you play each week:

“All serious no-limit hold’em players who play 15 plus hours per week should spend a good percentage of their time studying the game to continually raise their level of skill,” says Hubbard. A great place to start is in the inspection of how well you utilize your edges at the poker table.”

Overall, how you advance your skills will be completely up to you. All that really matters is that you make the effort to begin the process in the first place.