For many years, poker players had no way to test their poker skills, other than engaging in actual poker play - and often risking significant sums of money only to discover they are not winning, and then try to intuit over a long period of time where their game needs improvement.
It's now possible to test your actual Texas Hold'em poker skills using a free online poker test. There are several of these tests now available. The original test was first published at PokerTester.com.
The poker test consists of answering 25 multiple-choice questions, testing 8 different poker skills areas.
Everyone who learns to play poker climbs the "poker ladder" over a period of time, as they learn more and grow each poker skill.
Progressing up the poker ladder from a beginner toward becoming an advanced or expert player takes a combination of skills, time and experience.
In particular, the following skills areas are tested by PokerTester's Texas Holdem test:
- Starting Hands - which starting hands you select to play, which positions and under which circumstances, has a big impact on how well you do in poker.
- Betting Strategy - how you choose to bet makes a huge difference in your wins at poker. Choosing to bet or raise when you should've called or folded, for example, will make the difference between cashing out or making the final table in a tournament, or going home early with empty pockets.
- Playing the Odds - knowing how and when to play the odds is critical to making money and building your stack in poker. This includes quickly calculating outs, pot odds and determining whether your hand is a money-maker or loser (statistically). While you can not play strictly by the odds, it's an important factor of the game, since there's always an element of chance involved.
- Bluffing and Trapping - one of the most important skills in the game of poker is successful bluffing. The ability to bluff and trap successfully is so critical because in poker, you will not typically get that many super-strong hands, so knowing when and how to bluff and trap typically makes all the difference in how well a player does at poker.
- Reading Players - the ability to understand what a player is reasonably doing at any point in the game, as well as successfully reading their hand strength, is a critical skill. If you learn to do it successfully, you'll know when to fold when holding the second-best hands and when to raise or go all-in against a bluff the opponent is making.
- Heads Up Play - playing properly in a one-on-one situation is critical, since there are many occasions where you'll be pitted against just one opponent, either in a particular hand or at the end of a tournament. Winning heads up play is what separates the Champions from the rest.
- Advanced Play - knowing a number of advanced techniques will enable you to confuse your opponents, keeping them off balance and wondering what's going on, preventing them from easily reading you as a player, or gaining certainty about your hand strength.
- Tournament Play - as much of today's play is centered on tournaments, both large multi-table tournaments as well as satellite and sit and go tournaments, knowing and using proper tournament strategy is an important skill to develop.
It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to thoughtfully take the poker test. Upon completion, you receive a "report card" containing your overall score. The report includes a score for each of the 8 key poker skills areas, so you know your strengths and weaknesses exactly. In addition, tips are provided to indicate exactly what you need to brush up on (the questions you missed or rated weakly on).
By truly understanding one's skills, it's then possible to focus one's study on just those weaker areas, enabling a player to improve their overall poker game much more quickly.
With these kind of innovations now available online, anyone can now quickly and easily discover their own poker skill level - objectively. By combining this skills information with proper study, it's now possible for players to quickly brush up on their game and become strong players much faster than ever before.