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3bet Ranges, Study Groups and Off-the-felt Poker Practice | Q&A | #48


Sky Matsuhashi

on March 25, 2016

I answer 3 listener questions about my own 3bet ranges, why I play poker and how to effectively get off-the-felt poker practice.

Download and listen to this episode as you follow along below.


3bet Ranges, Study Groups and Off-the-felt Poker Practice | Q&A | #48

Dennis Pedersen's HoldemResources Calculator Video (:40)

Question 1 (5:08)

Worst traffic I've ever seen in SoCal this a.m.   Thank goodness you met your weekly podcast commitment ?.   Made the drive a bit more productive.

I had a couple follow-on questions that I wondered if you could answer:

1) You mentioned developing personal 3bet ranges.   Can you share that?  

2) You mentioned belonging to study groups.  Are those virtual or in person?  How do they work?  Are they facilitated?    Might be a good topic for a future podcast.  How to organize and maintain a SUCCESSFUL study group based on your personal experience. 

Keep up the good work.

– Greg

  • Build your ranges with some non-premium hands like A5s and 86s
  • Create 3bet ranges by position, and be prepared to expand/contract them based on the opponent you're 3betting
  • Don't 3bet hands you want to see flops with like 98s and small-medium pp's
  • I do my study sessions via Skype (great screen sharing capabilities)
  • Make sure you like your study partners, and select the topic to discuss ahead of time

Question 2 (10:44)

When you decided to play poker, what was your thought process? (i.e. “I have X amount of money, X amount of time, I'll start at X level, if I'm not doing well, I'll make X adjustment)
Also, I find that sessions get way easier when I simply have a lot of data on who I'm playing against. I don't believe you made an episode on how to play tables where you have very low hand history on most of the players. I sometimes make poor decisions out of emotional disbelief on people I have no reads on. Maybe you can get into that?
Thanks, Ingamar

  • Poker started as just for fun, but morphed into a desire to be a better player and to teach others
  • Check out Q&A #46 to more on playing vs unknowns and I will do a future podcast on this topic

Question 3 (15:54)

Hey Sky,
I did think of one concept that I would love to learn more about and that's “off-table practice.” In something like tennis, this is really easy. If you want to work on your backhand, you can go out on the court and hit a few thousand backhands and eventually you'll improve. But with poker being such a dynamic game, off-the-table practice becomes much more difficult. I would love to hear more about the ways you and your listeners have come up with to practice the concepts we are learning from books, videos and podcasts.
One common recommendation I hear for practicing key concepts off-table is the use of play money or extreme micro limits online (I am a live cash player only so I don't have much experience with online play). The problem I have found with this is that the game just moves entirely too fast to practice deliberately and effectively. As an example, I had watched a series by Andrew Brokos on hand reading and wanted to replicate his process of slowly going street by street, writing down each possible holding (monster hand, marginal hand, draw/air hand), then whittling them down into a range of probable hands by the river. But the fast pace of online play makes this all but impossible. Eventually, I did solve this with a subscription to PokerSnowie which allows me to play hands at any pace I like.
Some of the concepts that I have struggled with practicing off-table include:
poker math (esp, pot odds vs. hand equity)
hand reading
tell recognition
C-bet timing,
and I'm sure there are many others that are not coming to mind at the moment.
On a side note, I just started reading The One Thing and I'm really enjoying it. I can see why it's had such an impact on you. I just finished a book that I'd like to recommend to you called Deep Work by Cal Newport which tackles some of the same issues as it focuses on the importance of focus and deep thought in one's work.
Love the show! Please keep up the great work.
All the best,
Robert Dewberry

  • Focused HH reviews are key for off-the-felt practice.  Stick to one type of strategy or idea when you're studying.
  • Focus Sessions are great for developing your skills as well.
  • Get PokerTracker 4 here
  • Get Equilab for range visualization practice, then Flopzilla for further study

Podcast Challenge

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Build your own 3bet ranges by position, and add some semi-bluff hands in as well.  Create what you would consider “default” 3betting ranges by position, and have a plan to expand or contract them based on the type of opponent who opened the pot.  Once you create your ranges, stick to them for a week or so.  At the end of the week (or even daily), review your 3bet hands and make any necessary adjustments to your 3bet ranges to make your 3bets more difficult to read while keeping plenty of value built in.

It's Tolkien Reading Day! (March 25th every year)


Sky Matsuhashi

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