How I went from a losing online player (burning through 3 deposits in 3 months!) to a winner and coach who’s helped thousands of other micro stakes online players do the same.

— Sky Matsuhashi, Owner of Smart Poker Study


Yep, I’m one of them hard-headed LIVE-to-online transition losers…

“I know how to play poker. This works in my local cardroom, I’m a winner there. Of course it’ll work online.”

Not so fast, my fishy friend.

Back in ’06, I didn’t realize that online players were so much better at lower stakes.

I didn’t realize that limping and calling were losing plays and that I shouldn’t chase every draw.

I didn’t know there was online training nor software tools to help me play and study.

I didn’t understand bankroll rules and I blasted through 3x $600 deposits quicker than grass through a goose.

I needed to figure this online game out or my life-roll would also go up in smoke like my poker bankroll.


It was time to hit the books.

I’ve always been a great student with a desire to learn (and a natural born educator) so I picked up a few books and scoured the web for free poker training videos.

I also jumped into poker software like PokerStove, then Equilab and ultimately Flopzilla, but didn’t know how to use any of it effectively to improve my skills or understanding of strategy.

And I couldn’t pass up an informational advantage, so I picked up PokerTracker 3 (I’m using PT4 now) and used the HUD to give me more info to exploit my opponents – even though I didn’t really know how to use it effectively.

But, just consuming content (reading, watching and listening) wasn’t good enough.

After finishing a book, I felt like maybe only 3% of it sunk in and I was lucky to be able to use any of what I read.

Same thing with watching videos or reading articles or listening to podcasts: they were giving great info, but it wasn’t sticking in my noggin nor was I putting any of it to use.

And I experienced something new: with all the poker content out there and my desire to improve my game, I was going through “poker information overwhelm”.

All of this made me feel like I was just spinning my wheels and improvement was slow to come. I needed a better way…


Action to the rescue!

I pulled from my past as an athlete and teacher and rediscovered the fact that I always learned better through taking action:

  • As an athlete, my coaches would have us drill fundamental movements and teamwork plays until they became second nature and we could do them in-game.
  • As an SAT Math teacher, we would drill math problems over and over until they learned the concept and could do it on their own.
  • As an English teacher, I would teach students a new grammar concept and we would practice using it in actual conversation over and over until the end of class.

From experience on both sides of the learning coin, I know that “Action is the Greatest Teacher” so I had to figure out how to step into action with the poker strategies I was trying to learn.

I created action-taking techniques for myself like:

  • Weekly Study Plans
  • Game Tape
  • Tick Sheets
  • Having a Daily HUD Stat Focus
  • Pre-session Warm-ups
  • Database Reviews
  • And many more


I Started Winning and Coaching

I became a winning player for a few years and then in 2015 I decided to try my hand at coaching. I created this website which led to a YouTube channel and my first few students. After I was let go from my corporate restaurant gig (another company took us over and fired all but one corporate employee), I decided to go full-time with poker coaching. This led me to creating the Smart Poker Study Podcast and gaining even more traction in the industry and a growing roster of students. Then I wrote my first book and created my first course. These led to more books and courses and students. Ultimately, this growth led to me expanding my reach and ability to coach even more students when I created The Poker Forge, a poker training membership site like no other.


My Mission: To Help You Become 1% Better Every Day

I treat every podcast episode, video, article and book as if I AM YOUR COACH helping you one-on-one.

I give profitable micro stakes strategies along with study techniques, and follow these up with action steps to help you purposefully practice them in-game.

I’ve done every action step I give for myself, so I know they work.

It’s your job to take action with what I, as your poker coach, tell you to do.

Action is the greatest teacher… so it’s time for you to get to work.


— Your Coach, Sky

It’s Time to Get to Work

Take action to become the player you want to be with one of these strategy and action-packed collections:

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Effective Studies

How to study with purpose to improve your skills and avoid information overload.

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Exploitative Poker

Learn to exploit every player with your Poker HUD and earn more pots & value.

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Poker’s #1 Skill: Hand Reading

I’ll help you learn this crucial skill so you can “read their souls” and dominate.



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