News: GTO Poker Theories: The Feynman Technique

The best way to improve at poker might be to attempt to coach somebody else on what you are learning.

Leon Richard Feynman

I stumbled across a system for learning created by esteemed physicist Richard Feynman that validated something I had unwittingly been doing in poker. 

The Feynman Technique simply states that the best way to learn something is to explain it to somebody else. It sounds counter intuitive, how can you explain something you do not yet know to another person?

The rationale behind the system is that by attempting to explain something you are new to, you will quickly unearth the biggest problem areas in your study when you struggle. If you have ever been unprepared for a presentation you’ll know what this is like, you usually walk away with a very clear understanding of what you do not know. 

The Feynman technique roughly looks like this

Write down what you are trying to learn

Explain the concept in your own words as if you are trying to teach it to somebody else

Review your explanation and identify areas you struggled to explain

Use these areas to do further study to shore up your knowledge on them


Learn by explaining

Leon Yes, Barry managed to plug his books again

Most poker coaches will tell you that the practice of coaching students actually helps them improve as players, which validates this system. I, however, have an even more literal example of why this system works. 

I am still a modest player but I consider myself expert level on the topic of ICM and especially satellites. I may struggle in the middle stages of MTTs but get me to the end stages and I know exactly what I am doing. 

Why is that? Well, unless you have lived under a rock for the last three years and avoided my relentless spamming, it is because I have cowritten three books on the subject of ICM with Dara O’Kearney. Our process was he would share his knowledge and do sims, I would write the session up as a book chapter, then he would refine it. We would repeat this process, then eventually show it to some advanced readers to get their feedback, before publishing. 

It a nutshell, that is the Feynman Technique. I pick a topic to learn (ICM), I try to explain it in written form and between Dara, myself and our early readers we identify the areas I didn’t quite understand. When I finally can explain the subject well, we are ready to publish. 

You don’t need to attempt to write a book in order to incorporate the Feynman Technique, I think you can easily apply this by instead of just asking questions when posting hand histories in our forum, you do your best to explain your actions and why you felt they were correct. You’ll know which parts you struggled to explain and the feedback will probably reflect that. 

Have you found coaching others has improved your game? Let us know in the comments:

Barry Carter

Barry Carter

Barry Carter is the editor of and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2, Poker Satellite Strategy, PKO Poker Strategy & the new book Endgame Poker Strategy

Author: wpadmin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.