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8 Mandates for Great Poker Studies – Podcast


Sky Matsuhashi

on April 5, 2023

Follow these 8 poker study mandates to take your education and skills to the next level.

Listen to the podcast as you follow along with the 8 mandates below.

8 Mandates for Great Poker Study

1. Motivate Yourself With Goals

You play and study poker for a reason. Maybe it’s for the challenge of the game, or it’s for additional income, or maybe it’s for bragging rights after you sock it to your home game buddies every week.

Setting goals that flow alongside the reason you’re playing is a great motivator for continued play and study. If you play for the challenge of the game, set a goal of moving up in stakes by building your roll over the next 3 months. If you play for additional income, set a goal of earning and withdrawing $100 this month, $200 the next and $300 the month following that.  Playing to crush your friends? Make a goal of stacking each of your buddies at least one time this month.

Put your goals down on paper, review them daily, and use them as fuel to get your daily play and study done.

2. Take Notes

We all remember note-taking in high school and college classes and how it really helped us to remember the things that we were studying. The state capitals, the quadratic equation, the history of the Native American Indians, all that jazz was easier to remember and easier to cram for tests with good note taking. You must do this for your poker studies as well.

Your notes allow you to go back and refresh your studies one month or 2 months later, or even before your next play session later tonight.

Your note taking can be in any form that works for you; paper and pencil, Evernote or something like Word. Just choose the form that works for you and do it.


3. Group Your Studies

I know many of you feel overwhelmed by all the poker content out there. You study preflop ranges one day, cbetting the next then poker math the following day. No wonder you feel like you’re getting nowhere.

Instead, each week you must choose and devote all of your study and play time to one strategy. This is going to benefit you the most and will give you ample time to learn and practice that one strategy.

Within your week of study, you build upon what you learned the prior day. Maybe this week you choose to study preflop 2bet ranges. On Monday you create and analyze ranges for the early positions.  This is your smallest range. Next on Tuesday, you build this range a little wider for you middle position 2bets. Then Wednesday build it wider for your CO range then on Thursday you build it the widest for your BTN range.

Grouping your studies this way allows you to learn systematically and it saves you time in the process.


4. Test Yourself

Testing yourself on the strategies you learn is great practice you can do on your own.

I like doing this with Flopzilla Pro quite a bit. I’ll try to guess what the equities will be before I enter in hands and ranges. I’ll do this before I enter in board cards also.

After you read a page in a book or a section of an article, try to recall what you just read. If I can’t remember a single thing about it, I know I’m just spinning my wheels as I’m passively reading something.


5. Switch Techniques

Keeping your mind nimble is important. If your poker studies always revolve around reviewing the 5 biggest losing hands in the prior session, you’re going to get stuck in a robotic mode of learning.

Instead, switch it up constantly. Hit your database one day, read a chapter and take notes the next, watch a video the third and do hand reading exercises the fourth (but remember #3 above and keep these all grouped around one strategy).

Developing a nimble mind through studies will also help as you play. You face different situations and opponents every time you play. With a nimble mind you’re less prone to robotic play and you’ll be thinking more about each situation you encounter, leading to more +EV play.


6. Go Big to Small

Going big to small is one of my favorite mandates!

Figure out where you’re losing the most money and concentrate your studies there first. You might want to study cbetting or defending against donk bets.  But if your preflop 3betting strategy is losing you 4bb’s every time you 3bet, this is a humongous leak.  Put everything else on hold and concentrate on the one thing costing you the most money.

Also, start preflop and then go post-flop with your studies. Building your preflop skills helps to  some of the post-flop issues you face.


7. Share Your Knowledge

Albert Einstein once said:

“If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough.”

Practice explaining your ideas to others. This is easily done in poker forums, Discord or Facebook groups dedicated to helping each other learn poker strategy.

Post your own hands and try to explain your thought process simply. Or, respond to posts from others and share your ideas. You’ll find that the harder it is to explain something, the less you know about it.


8. Take Breaks

When your poker study or play is leading to boredom or even frustration, it’s time to take a break.

If studying is bringing you down, replace your studies with more play for a week. This will give you more time to practice the things you’ve been learning and will motivate you to hit the books later with all the additional hands you put in this week.

If playing poker has been frustrating, due to things like poor play or heavy losses, take a break and do some additional studies instead.



Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Choose one of these 8 mandates and put it into action starting NOW. As you read each of the mandates, I'm sure there was one where you said, “Man, I should be doing that!” Well, there’s no better time to start than with your next study session.

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.


Sky Matsuhashi

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