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4 Tools to Learn Poker’s Top Skill of Hand Reading


Sky Matsuhashi

on April 6, 2022

I want to share with you 4 different tools that will help you finally learn poker’s top skill of hand reading.

Two of these are absolutely free, and the other two cost a few shekels, but they’ll turn you into a hand reading master… wayyyyy faster.

Start your hand reading education with this demonstration video. “Do as you consume” and follow along with me in Flopzilla Pro.

Hand Reading Demonstration:


Listen to this podcast episode as you follow along below:


Hand Reading: Poker's Top Skill

The skill of Hand Reading is assigning a player a logical range of preflop hands based on their actions, then narrowing that range through the streets based on further actions. Narrowing the range means you’re removing hands that don’t fit their post-flop actions, which allows you to make stronger reads and exploits.

And that’s the goal of hand reading: make better reads on the strength of your opponent’s hand so you can exploit them to earn more pots and more value. And, to save money when you know you’re beat.

It’s essential that you put your opponent on a range of hands, NOT just one single hand. Thinking in terms of ranges is best because players can make the same play with many different hands.

For example, if Villain open-raises preflop from the BTN, they can do it with a hand as strong as AA, as weak as 43o, as pretty as JTs or as fun as “69, dudes”.

And when the K44 flop hits and they cbet 3/4 pot, they can probably make that play with the AA and 43o, but maybe not JTs nor 69.


It Forces You to Play the Player and Use All Information Available

Hand Reading is the most important poker skill. Period.

It forces you to consider all the variables of the hand to more accurately determine the strength of your opponent’s holding. Weak and unskilled players only think about the strength of their hand at the time of their decision: “I have 43 on K44. I cbet!”

A skilled player on the other hand, will think about so much more than just their 2 cards. They think about:

  • The type of player they face, their tendencies and HUD stats
  • The specific actions the player has taken so far
  • Stack sizes
  • Size of the pot
  • Possible future board cards
  • Preflop position around the table
  • Post-flop relative position: in position (IP) vs out of position (OOP)
  • Table or tournament conditions

By considering so much more information, skilled hand readers make better, more informed decisions than others. This leads to more profit with more hands won, more bad situations avoided, more opponents exploited, and more money saved.

This is how a thinking player may view the same situation above: “I just flopped trip-4’s, a massively strong hand. My opponent never folds to cbets and even though it’s a hard-to-hit board, they aren’t going to think I have a hand as strong as this. I’m going to bet now to try and build the pot and hopefully they have a pair they can call with. Or, maybe they call and hit a pair on the turn and I can continue betting for value. I cbet.”

The best time to start hand reading is DAY 1 of your poker journey. The 2nd best time… RIGHT NOW!


#1: Online Poker Hand Reading Workbook

This is my newest workbook and is the #1 tool to turn you into a hand reading master!

Click here to get the Online Poker Hand Reading Workbook.

How to learn with this tool:

  • Read the hand reading strategies in part 1. Follow along with Flopzilla Pro as you go through the examples (great practice using the software).
  • Take notes in your poker journal along the way.
  • Complete all 5 workbook exercises. I recommend to take your time with these, maybe one exercise per day. Compare your answers to mine in the answer key.

When you feel confident with the strategies in Part 1, and you've completed all the workbook exercises, move on to Part 2 and repeat the process.


#2: Post-flop Online Poker Book

There are 55 pages in Post-flop Online Poker that are dedicated to teaching you how to hand read both in your studies and in-game.

  • You’ll learn hand reading, then use this skill throughout the rest of the book to drive home each valuable strategy.
  • Learn how to make profitable bluff and value cbets utilizing all the information available to you.
  • How to use poker math to make +EV decisions that rake your opponent’s chips into your stack.
  • How to defend against cbets profitably with check-raises, floats, probes and even donk bets.
  • Poker mindset skills to keep you focused on profitable strategies both on- and off-the-felt.

Combo: PDF and Audiobook Versions – $44.98 ($8 savings)

Get the PDF Version – $29.99

Get the Audiobook Version – $22.99

Also available on Amazon in Kindle, Paperback and Audible Audiobook:

How to learn with this tool:

Read one chapter at a time and take notes.

Complete each action step and re-do them until you feel confident before moving to the next chapter and repeat the process.


#3: “How to Do Poker Hand Reading” – Epic Post

In this epic 3,700 word post, I give you all the ins and outs of hand reading.

It contains 3 podcast episodes and 4 training videos, along with action steps that get you practicing your hand reading skills.

This free hand reading resource is the great jump-off point for you to learn hand reading.

How to learn with this tool:

Listen to each podcast episode as you follow along with the text on the page and take notes.

Along the way, watch each video when you get to it within the text of the page.

Do each action step before progressing to the next part of the epic post.


#4: 66 Days of Hand Reading – YouTube Playlist of Videos

There are 67 videos in this YouTube playlist where I demonstrate the hand reading process with 67 different hands.

Video #1:

I cover 2bet pots as the raiser and the caller, 3bet pots and even some 4bet pots and some limped pots.

There are heads up situations and multi-way situations, and in position versus out of position situations.

I do hand reading on myself as the Hero in the hand and on multiple Villains.

I basically hit hand reading in every possible scenario, and I discuss profitable strategies and mistakes I made along the way.

How to learn with this tool:

Watch each video with Flopzilla Pro and do the hand reading along with me.

Don't just copy my choices, though. Imagine you were in this situation and assign ranges and narrow them as if you were playing against this exact player.

For example, I might assign a 25% calling range. But, you think this type of player, in your games, would call with a 30% range. Great, go with yours! My answers aren't the holy grail of hand reading as I'm using my experience with my opponents. Yours of course will differ.



Support the Show

Thank you to Graeme Richardson, Bud Kincaid, Oliver Nolte, Mario Resendiz, Patrick Keaveney, Jelle Van Hoof, Simon Erb, Tun Hung, Ray Springer, and James Livingston for being the first ones to purchase the Online Poker Hand Reading Workbook before I even mentioned it on the podcast. This is the workbook you've been looking for to learn critical hand reading strategies and get loads of practice to finally learn this valuable skill.


Sky Matsuhashi

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