Today, I discuss why you MUST utilize Flopzilla in every hand reading practice session.
In episode 150, I answered three of your questions about studying poker as a team, the strength of small pocket pairs and adjusting your pre-flop ranges.
What is Flopzilla? (2:25)
Flopzilla is a range analysis software that’s designed to quickly figure out how well a range of hands or a specific hand hits the board. When I discuss equities on this podcast, I’m getting my numbers from Flopzilla.
A Flopzilla license is still only $35, and it’s worth every penny. You can’t find a better use of $35 when it comes to improving your poker game. Just visit www.flopzilla.com to purchase.
The 4 Benefits of Flopzilla for Hand Reading Practice (4:00)
1. Better Range Visualization (4:35)
By utilizing the matrix for range construction over and over, I’m able to visualize what different sized ranges look like and what hands fall within those ranges. A 5% range looks like an arrow pointing up and to the left:
A 30% range looks like a square covering the top left-hand corner with a line extending down to the bottom right-hand corner:
I may not know exactly the hands that fit these %’s, but as long as I can visualize the range, I can guess with relative accuracy which hands fall within and outside of it.
Flopzilla also allows you to save ranges that you’ve created. I have categories like 2bet Ranges, Call 2bet Ranges, 3bet Ranges, Call 3bet Ranges and so on. And, within each category I have multiple ranges saved:
When you load a saved range into the matrix, it’s easy to tweak it hand by hand to assign your opponent the exact range you think they’re on.
2. Better Understanding of Range & Board Interaction (6:55)
I love how Flopzilla lets me see exactly how a hand or a range of hands interacts with various boards. You can easily answer questions like, “How often does the 30% range I just discussed hit the board on an Ace high and dry flop of A92r?” By “hit the board” I mean flopping TP+, an oesd or a pair + a draw. The answer is only 26%:
Now that you know this, bluffing on the A92r is a great idea when your opponent is foldy and is raising pre-flop with a 30% range.
Why does it hit the board this way?
It’s beneficial to consider why a range hits so frequently or infrequently. In this case, the reason this range hits so infrequently is because most of the hands in the range do not contain an Ace. Sure, there’s A5s+ and A8o, but there are tons of underpairs, whiffed broadways and sc’s and suited gappers that just didn’t flop much of anything.
Understanding how ranges interact with different boards helps me to avoid costly bluffs. I'm also able to gain extra value with my nut hands when I know my opponent hit something worth paying for.
The Statistics is also where you narrow your opponent’s range using the hand filters. This is a great aspect of Flopzilla because once you remove hands on one street, you can’t magically bring them back on future streets.
With the example of the 30% range on the A92r board, we think our opponent is calling our donk bet with only mid-pairs or better. So, we can remove all small pairs as well as non-pair hands and draws. Narrowing the range like this logically gives us less that we have to consider, and makes it easier to devise +EV plays against the smaller range. After we filter out these hands, we can see the 30% range is continuing only 48%. This means our opponent is folding 52% of the time. This is valuable to understand as we could us this information when deciding whether or not to bet on a given board and how much to bet.
So, if we bet full pot, this is a profitable bet because a pot-sized bluff needs to work 50% of the time to break-even. The opponent is folding 52% of the time, so we’re profiting from this bet. But, we may be able to size it a little lower, saving us money in case this is one of the 48% of the time that he decides to continue with mid-pair+.
3. Ability to See How Future Cards Affect Equities (12:15)
With the 30% range on the A92r flop, maybe we called their raise from the BB with Kc2c. Pre-flop, our K2 has 42% equity vs this 30% range. When the A92r (one club) flop comes, our equity in the hand increases a tiny bit to 44%.
If we think about why our equity went up a little bit, it’s because we hit BP and a bdfd. Not a great hand, but still something possibly worth continuing to the turn with.
Plan the Hand
It’s always a great idea to plan the hand before you make your decision on the flop. So, our we check the flop and our opponent bets. Before we decide to come along with a call or a raise, what cards are we looking for on the turn? Flopzilla allows us to plug in any turn card we like and it shows us how that card changes the equities.
2s = this gives us trips and now a 95% lock on the hand. This card could’ve made our opponent a full house or better, but that’s very unlikely to be the case.
Ks = we’ve got 2p which skyrockets our equity to 83% equity. The King hitting doesn’t take us up as high as the 2s does because it gives our opponent’s broadway heavy range plenty of pairs and draws that can still beat us by the river.
4c = gives us a fd doesn’t really hit our opp’s big card heavy range. Our equity jumps up to 52% with this card.
Jh = this is a complete whiff for us, not adding any equity, and at the same time it hits our opponent’s broadway heavy range. This card takes our equity down to 27%.
Thinking about how future cards will affect equities before you click that button or throw out them chips is a great habit to develop. If you know which turn and river cards help your range and hurt your opponent’s, you’ll be making more +EV decisions as hands play out.
4. Improved Combo Counting Skills (14:55)
I really like how Flopzilla can display information in combo form as well. We can take that 30% range, and see that it’s made up of 398 combos of hands. Once we remove our Kc2c and the A92r board, it drops down to 317 combos. By viewing this we can see the effects of card removal on the range. This range “hits” the flop 26% of the time, that's only 82 combos. Sometimes these hard numbers, as opposed to %’s, are easier for some people to understand.
These 82 combos is made of 7 different sets, 9 2p hands and 66 TP hands. This information can be pretty useful especially when we’re thinking about bluffing someone who can fold TP to the right amount of aggression like triple barrels or large over bets. He only has 18 hands out of 84 that he definitely won’t fold here.
You can also see how the opponent only has 9 combos of AK and 12 combos of AQ that may not fold to a ton of aggression, but maybe the remaining 45 Ax combos can fold.
The ability to count combos like this helps as you’re playing and making decisions in both the online and LIVE realms. So, when using Flopzilla, be sure to use both %-form and combo-form as you study hands.
Here’s my challenge to you for this episode: Work on your combo counting as you review hands with Flopzilla. When you get to a pivotal moment, like considering a bluff on the turn, count the total combos in your opponent’s range, and count the combos of hands they will likely fold. Using combos, do the math for yourself to figure out how often they’re folding their hand based on the range you’ve put them on. Also, figure out the bet sizing you need to make it a break-even bluff. If they’re folding 40 combos out of 100, then they’re folding 40% of the time. What bet sizing would break-even here at 40%? Now, based on your opponent, do you think you need to increase the sizing to get the fold, or could you make it even lower to save you money in case the bluff doesn’t work?
Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.
Support the Show
Eddie Sherif and Thomas Sjöberg both purchased PokerTracker 4 through my affiliate link. They're supporting me and simultaneously supporting their poker skill growth. Thanks, guys! Get a free trial or purchase PT4 for yourself by clicking here.
Also, we've got some webinar supporters in da hizzy:
- Hing Wa Lam purchased the ‘How to Study Poker Webinar' (and received $5 off and a free webinar to boot)
- Liam McDonald and Greg Vogelsperger purchased the ‘Getting the Most From PokerTracker 4 Webinar' (and also got $5 off and a free webinar)
In episode 152, I’ll continue the Hand Reading MED with class 3 when I discuss having a growth mindset when it comes to improving your hand reading skills.
Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.
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