Your browser is out of date and may not be supported!
Please consider updating your browser by clicking here

Experience vs Knowledge

Experience vs Knowledge in Poker

Which factor counts more in the real world – simply knowing a lot about poker, or having actual experience at the poker table?

What is this debate really about? You often see people on the forums hammering on about which is more important – knowledge or experience? People get quite heated on the subject, and it can be difficult to discern the real facts from the ranting.

The truth is, there are arguments for both sides. Let's take a look.

Knowledge is Power

There's a reason why people say that knowledge is power. The more you know about something, the more you're able to make good decisions in regard to it – that's just plain common sense right there.

But how does that apply in the world of poker playing? Well, there are a wealth of books available now by grand masters of poker. For a few dollars you can now purchase a tome that will be filled with valuable insight and teachings that will help you to discover layers of subtlety in the game that you didn't even know were there.

Some of the world's top players are now also available for private tutorship. For the right amount of money, you can study under the personal guidance of someone who has not one but several World Series of Poker bracelets to their name. There are a remarkable number of sources of information about poker that you can draw on to increase your poker knowledge.

How does this apply when it comes down to actually playing?

Well, that's the core of the debate. The knowledge enthusiasts would have you believe that knowing a whole bunch about strategy is the most valuable thing. Being able to see all the angles means you can make the best decisions possible, ensuring a better than average outcome.

There is, of course, a counter position.

Knowledge is Power

There is a school of thought that says that people learn best by doing. This line of logic says that it doesn't matter how much you study, what you need to be doing is experiencing the thing for real.

Because how it plays out on paper, or how it looks when you watch it back in TV, is very different than when it's you, personally, sitting on the line with $50,000 in the pot, a pair of jacks in your hand, facing a re-raise, and with only 30 seconds to act. In that situation, is a book you have read going to help you as much as a wealth of actual playing experience would?

This side of the debate wants you to understand that no matter how much you study, you need to be out there on the felt taking your lumps. In poker, as with life, it's the expensive lessons that stick, and you learn more being burned in the trenches than you do reading articles.

Knowledge is Power

The reality is that they are both equally as important, and neither side really wins hands down. Without knowledge, experience can't be interpreted and applied to improve strategy. Without experience, knowledge can never be applied. In this writer's opinion, the two go hand in hand.