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SPS PODCAST

11 Quick Tips for More Online Poker Profits

BY

Sky Matsuhashi

on May 7, 2024

You want poker profits? I'll give you poker profits! 11 tips to get your bankroll groovin'…

Watch me give the tips with hand history examples in this YouTube video:

 

Or, download and listen to the podcast episode #488 as you follow along below:

 

1. Bet When They Check

This is a great way to steal the pot, especially when they check at a time when they would normally bet.

Bet When They Check: We target this TAG player P2 (the Smart HUD shows us he’s an 18/9 who’s folded 100% to steals so far). He open-raised preflop and you called on the BTN with KQs. The blinds folded, you have position on the flop and it comes AT2. The TAG player checks to you. Because of his player type, he would normally value bet with any Ace, right? So, his check is a great sign of weakness, and you pounce on it by bluffing. It helps that you have a gut shot and a couple of big cards in case he calls, so the turn could help you. But, the most important thing is he checked in a spot where he would normally bet for value. So you make a simple half-pot steal and take it down.

 

2. Value or Bluff Check-raise the “Bet When You Checkers”

This is a way to fight back against Tip #1: those who bet when you check and show weakness.

You can check to induce their bet, then raise either for value or to bluff them off.

Check-raise Bluff: The CO TAG player opened and you're the only caller in the SB with Ah2h. The flop comes Qh 4h 3d, giving your A2 of hearts a gutshot + nut flush draw. You check and the TAG player cbets just 1/3 pot. Does this smell like weakness? Absolutely, so you check-raise him 3x and he folds.

 

Value Check-raise: The CO fish makes his first open-raise in 13 hands in the CO. You are in the SB with JJ and instead of 3betting, you just call to see the flop against this fish who's probably going to play his hand face-up. The Flop comes AJ6r, giving you a set. You pray to God he’s got an Ace, so you plan a xr. You check, he bets full pot! Yep, he's playing his hand face up and he has an ace. Let's get value while the getting’s good. We min-xr to build the pot and a blank 8d hits the turn, making the board AJ68 and we still have our set. We bet full pot and he shoves and we snap call. He turns over AK and we take down a huge 180bb pot.

This is critical:

  • If you are check-raising for value, you can name a lot of hands in their range that will call or re-raise to give you value.
  • If you are check-raising as a bluff, then you can name a lot of hands in their range that can fold.

In order to name a lot of hands in their range, you must build your hand reading skills. The best way to do this is with my Online Poker Hand Reading Workbook. Get it at https://www.smartpokerstudy.com/handreadingworkbook

 

3. Don’t Check-raise for Value vs Fishy Calling Stations

These players don’t bluff! So, when you check, they’re going to check-back and be happy to see the next street for free. If you want value, you have to bet to get them to call.

MISTAKE: Trying to value check-raise a fish. You open in the SB with ATo and the fishy BB calls. The flop comes AK5r, you hit TP with your AT. You check in hopes that he bluffs. But, he's a 43/0 fish! Your check allows him to check behind and see a free turn card to complete any of his draws or improve weak pairs to trips or 2p hands.

DO NOT LET FISH SEE FREE CARDS WHEN YOU HOLD A VALUE HAND. Get value while the getting’s good! And bet on the flop to charge them for any weak hands they want to continue with.

 

4. Donk Bet BIG when OOP and You Hit a Monster Hand

I recently learned this tip from Alex Fitzgerald.

Think about how you feel when players donk into you after calling your preflop raise. It annoys you, right? Let’s use this against ‘em when we flop monsters from OOP.

Here’s the plan: we flop a massive hand, annoy them with a big donk bet, they 🤬 raise, we crush.

Value Donk Bet Big: A huge stack fish opens to 3bb in the CO, and we’re the only caller in the BB with Ad6d. The flop comes Ac 6c 2s  giving us 2p. We donk bet 4.5bb into the 6.5bb pot. He just calls and the turn comes a blank 9h, making the board A629 with 2 clubs. We still have our 2p A6, so we fire 18bb into the 15.5bb pot, we’re overbetting for value versus this fish. He calls. The river comes a non-club Th, making the final board A629T with a busted fd. We want value with 2p hand, so we only bet 20bb into the 51.5bb pot. He folds. Through the magic of Ignition Poker, with hole cards exposed 24 hours later, we see that he held the Kc2c for a flopped flush draw. If we had checked the flop, he would’ve checked behind and we wouldn't have won a 51.5bb pot, and we would’ve risked him seeing a free club or deuce on the turn to pull ahead of us.

 

5. Get Value While the Getting’s Good

When you flop a strong hand, it's your job to get as much value as possible. I'm sure you target the fish because you know their mistakes slide their chips into your stack. So, help them give you their chips by betting or raising for value when you hold a great hand ahead of their calling range. Do not slow play your best hands.

Sometimes they'll fold versus your value bets. Don't let this get to you and “Never frown when you take it down.”

 

6. Learn From Your Missed Value Hands to Steal More Pots

So, you missed value.

  • You just 3bet your AA… and they all folded. Drat!
  • Or you flopped a set of Tens, you cbet from OOP… and they folded. Double-drat!
  • You value bet your rivered flush, after calling flop and turn… and they folded. Triple-drat!

What’s a guy gotta do to get some value around here?!

Spend a week analyzing these missed value hands. Create a tag in PT4 called “MissedValue” and tag every hand where they fold versus your value bet.

Review hands in your database and analyze them to answer the question, “Why did they fold?”

  • Maybe they were simply at the bottom of their range, and there's nothing you can do about that.
  • But, maybe you value bet too big. Could they have called a ½ pot or 1/3 pot bet instead of folding to your 2/3 pot bet?
  • Maybe the board is so scary, and they realize that you would only bet with that super strong hand.
  • Or, maybe they know what kind of player you are, and your bet or raise in this spot = mega strength.

Now that you've answered the question of why they folded, use the answer as a way to steal more pots with plays that scream value.

 

Learn From Missing Value: For example, maybe you’re a tight player, and they folded to your value check-raise on the turn. Why did they fold? Maybe because a tight player check-raising the turn = huge value hand. Next time, bluff check-raise them on the turn. You’re repping a value hand in a spot where your tight tendency is to fold or check-call with something weaker. Use this against ‘em to steal more pots.

 

7. Fight with Equity

There is one thing all of the prior hand examples had in common: we fought with a hand that held equity in the pot. It might have been a made hand or good drawing equity, but in every instance, we had more than just betting as a way to win the pot.

The hands discussed above:

  • #1: Holding a gutshot and big cards when we bluffed.
  • #2: Holding a flush draw and a gutshot when we check-raise bluffed.
  • #3: Holding a set when we value check-raised.
  • #4: Holding TP when we should’ve bet.
  • #5: Holding top 2p when we donk bet for value.
  • #6: Holding TPTK + fd when we check-raised for value.
  • #7 (below): Holding TP when we smooth called f/t/r for value.

If you have little to no equity in the hand, either because you didn't connect with the board or because your opponent's range is so far ahead of you, it's okay to just exit the hand. Fighting for pots with little equity often leads to spewing chips at your opponents.

 

8. Let the LAG’s Spew Into You

Ultra aggressive players love to spew chips at you. They understand that aggression wins in poker, and they hope that betting street-after-street is going to get you to fold.

But, they often don’t notice the signs that you won’t fold, so you exploit these LAG players by just calling them down when you have a solid TP hand. I know it can be scary, especially when their bets grow each street, but you're exploiting their spewy tendencies, so just strap in for the ride.

Calling F/T/R for Value: The 57/39 LAG player opens to 3.6bb in the SB. You just call with KJo.The flop comes down KT6r and he cbets ½ pot, and you just call with your TP hand. Another 6 hits the turn and he barrels ⅔ pot, and you just call. The river comes another 6 making the final board T6K66, giving your KJ a full house. But now the LAG bets full pot. He's increased his bet street-by-street, and it is possible he has the fourth 6 or he has AA, so you just call. He turns over 43o, a hand with almost ZERO drawing equity from the start that he chose to triple barrel bluff. Your call wins you a lovely 92bb pot.

This LAG villain ignored tip #6 to fight with equity and it cost him almost 50bb.

 

9. Hand Off Mouse for Growing Pots

A big blind saved is a big blind earned.

To avoid “finger tilt” and save yourself from mistakes and losing bb’s, take your hand off the mouse to give yourself time to think through each situation.

These are the most common spots where finger tilt can happen:

  • Being dealt big pocket pairs.
  • Hitting top pair on a wet board.
  • The pot is growing and you're facing huge bets or raises.
  • The turn or river is a scare card for you.
  • You’re angry and tilting and want to sock it to your opponent.

 

10. Play When You Are Capable of Playing Your Best

As online players, poker's open 24/7 for us. But that doesn't mean we should play just at any time or in any random state of mind.

Play when you know you can be in A-game mindset.

I'm a morning person, so I like playing in the morning because that's when my mind is firing. However, if you're a night person and you're groggy in the mornings, don't play in the morning. Maybe do some studying instead.

If you like having a couple beers after work, but you know that your decision-making is weakened by beer,  you're killing your results. You're better off playing right when you get home for an hour, and then cracking open a couple of beers during dinner and Netflix.

And if you're like most people, where a good night's sleep helps you think more sharply, you're probably better off skipping a play session if you got crappy sleep last night.

 

This was going to be just a 10 tip list. But, then I thought, “Let’s give ‘em 1 more to grow on!”

11. Replace Calls with 3bets

There’s a pattern I’ve found with myself and all my students: our 3bet win rate is higher than our call 2bet win rate.

Here are my numbers this year over 20K hands played:

  • 3bet 6.3%
  • 3bet WR +653bb/100 hands >>> each 3bet wins 6.53bb on average
  • Call 2bet 9.0%
  • Call 2bet WR +16bb/100 hands >>> each call wins .16bb on average

Why the heck am I calling more than 3betting?!

So this month’s goal is to turn calls into 3bets and have my 3bet % > Call 2bet %.

I think you should challenge yourself to do the same. Watch this video to turn calls into more 3bets:

Here's the gist of what I cover in the video:

  • Start by turning late position calls into 3bets.
  • Target loose open raisers.
  • 3bet more often for value with wider ranges like AQ+ and 99+.
  • 3bet bluff more often with suited Aces, sc’s and sneaky hands like K7s and Q9s.

 

TAKE ACTION

Because action is the greatest teacher!

Write these 11 tips for more profits  on sticky notes, and start using them in your very next session.

Good idea: focus on 1 at a time over 11 play sessions or more.

 

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Sky Matsuhashi

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