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Q&A: Hand Reading, Bankroll Management and Tilt | Episode 126


Sky Matsuhashi

on March 27, 2017

I discuss my 28 Days of Poker Study commitment and answer two of your study related questions about hand reading, bankroll management and tilt.

In episode 125 I taught you how to choose the most profitable tables with 7 key aspects to always look out for.

Q1: Hand Reading (1:30)

Question from Brian S: Help with hand reading


Hand reading is a super important skill, but it's not easily learned.  I'm constantly working on it both off the tables and on.  It takes a lot of work with daily practice, practice, practice and practice some more.  You must use Flopzilla and assign accurate pre-flop ranges to your opponent first, then narrow that range based on actions and bet sizings on each street.

Hard work and daily hand reading practice is the only way you’re going to add this skill to your arsenal.

Your hand reading practice away from the tables will begin to work its way into your on the felt play.  You can speed up this process by actively working on hand reading in the sessions you play (LIVE or online).  If online I recommend a FOCUS session every few days where you concentrate on actively hand reading while playing just one table.

Additional Resources:

  1. Check out podcast episode #66 where I gave you my process for Hand Reading:
  2. The Hand Reading Lab by Splitsuit is the best course and hand reading… EVER. Go to and use offer code “smart” for a 3bet bonus.
  3. Splitsuit's Poker Workbook: Hand Reading for LIVE Players
  4. If you’re looking for a slightly different way to hand read, then check out podcast episode #41 at where I discussed Andrew Brokos' style of hand reading

Join me for 28 Days of Poker Study as I celebrate the release of my new book: How To Study Poker Volume 1.  I'll share with you everything I study and every technique I use during my challenge starting on April 2nd.  Click here to learn more and to join.

Q2: Bankroll Management and Tilt (6:30)

Question from Tyler: 

I guess really the biggest thing I need help on is BR management but there's no help to that, I just gotta stop being stupid and not play big games. I had been doing good with it. But something slipped Wednesday and I blew a lot of my money and just went on a full blown tilt session. It was real bad and I kicked myself in the ass for it the next day.


Bankroll Management

You must COMMIT to good bankroll management.  It sounds like you suffer from Desperation Tilt, and this causes people to chase their losses by buying-in to bigger games.  Don't let your desperation get the better of you.  For bankroll management, start with a simple target of 100x the buy-in.  Let's say you've got $400 in your roll.  This is good for 121 tournaments at the $3.30 buy-in if you lose every single one.  Of course, you’ll be up or down based on your tourney cashes.  As soon as you dip below the $330 mark, which is 100 bi’s, drop down in stakes until you're back up above $330.  This will require some mental fortitude on your part, but as soon as you get used to this you'll never bust a roll again.

Site Filters

Utilize the tourney or cash game filters on your poker site.  Set the filters to only the level you can afford to play at dictated by the bankroll requirements above.  Most online poker sites have this option to control the buy-in levels that are on display in your lobby.  If you don’t see the bigger games, you’ll be less likely to play in them.


Listen to some mental game podcasts and read some books:

More Bankroll Help

My friends over at wrote a great article with 5 essential tips for protecting your bankroll.  Check it out.

Challenge (10:20)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:

Start your hand reading practice by running through one hand per day for a full month, using your database and Flopzilla.  Listen to my Steps to Hand Reading podcast episode 64 to learn my step by step process.

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

Support the Show

Thank you to Paul Gaiotto, Steve, Mark Warner of, Paul, Bob, Randy, Philippe Verhelst, Adam Wandler and Dennis Pedersen for purchasing my upcoming ‘How To Study Poker' Webinar.  To learn more about the webinar, click here.

Thank you to Craig D. for purchasing my Smart HUD.

Up Next…

In podcast #127, I'll answer two listener questions about how to be a better value bettor, and how a beginner should build their poker skills.

Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.


Sky Matsuhashi

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