Yes – skill sets and attributes acquired from other strategy games will make you a better poker player.
If you are feeling like your No Limit Holdem (NL) game is rusty or stuck in a rut, try playing much lower stakes Pot Limit Omaha (PLO). PLO plays a bit differently than NL – and some of those differences in play style are out of the boxing thinking for NL players.
How often in NL are you leading big on the turn or river when a draw completes? For most NL players the answer is almost never. However, in PLO this tactic of leading or donking into your opponent on draw completing turns or rivers is quite standard.
Why? Because there are situations where your range is much more heavily weighted toward draws – so when the draw does come in – your opponent knows this and is likely to play defensively. Our counter-play is to lead bet into our opponent – thereby denying him a check back to see a free river.
Similarly, there are Chess tactics that experts use which can also carry over into poker. Most notably is the ability to think many moves ahead. In Chess a player should always have a plan for the next few moves and possible reactions from his opponent before the player even makes his move.
Too often in poker I see people just doing things – like continuation betting without any plan if they get check-raised. Take a lesson from Chess and always have a plan in mind for the entire hand.
I’m Matt “Checkmate” Colletta. I’ve been playing poker professionally since about 2004.
As one of the poker pros on UpswingPoker.com, my goal here is to help transform at least one hobbyist poker player into a self made millionaire.