I answer 3 questions about continuation betting without HUD stats, improving your poker session reviews and focusing on one thing at a time.
In episode 200, I answered 3 questions about exploiting LIVE poker calling stations, playing post-flop in 3bet pots and folding big ‘uns.
Q1: Cbetting Without HUD Stats (2:05)
From: Mr. Rost
Q: Hi, why do we decided to value cbet if we don’t know his Fold to Cbet stat? For example, if his Fold to Cbet is at 45%, he protects his hand 55%. Don’t we need more equity than just a TPWK?
First, you don’t need to know their Fold to Cbet stat in order to make an initial cbet. This is an intrinsic part of LIVE poker play all the time. Whether you’re playing MTT’s or cash, you make cbets at the table without a HUD full of stats to help you out. And when you’re facing an unknown opponent online, you do the same thing.
Don’t let a lack of stats hamper your play. If you don’t know anything about the opponent, you must have an idea of how the average opponent plays. If the average limp/caller calls most flop cbets and folds to turn cbets, and this unknown player limped then called your preflop raise, then expect this out of them. They’re going to call you on the flop then fold on the turn.
Whether you have stats on your opponent or not, you MUST have a reason for every bet, call or raise you make. You’re either going for value and you welcome a call or a raise, or you’re bluffing and you want them to fold. If you have a clear reason behind every play you make, you’re more likely to make +EV, money-making or money-saving decisions.
HUD stats help you make decisions, but they aren’t necessary.
Q2: Improved Session Reviews (4:05)
From: Petr Pomahac
Q: Right now, I know I need to improve my session reviews. For reviewing I use the Hold’em Manager and I actually just replay the winning and losing hands and think about the hands how I played them and if I could change something. But I actually don’t know what exactly a proper session review should include. I believe that this would improve my game & results.
What you're doing for sessions reviews is just fine for somebody who is new to studying. There isn't any “proper” session review tactics. They can take on any form like learning from the biggest winning/losing hands, filtering for specific actions taken, looking at the profitability of specific hands or re-watching every hand in a play session.
I recommend PT4 for its ease of use. You can get a free trial and support the podcast by downloading the program via www.smartpokerstudy.com/pokertracker4. If you purchase the program through this link, email me your purchase confirmation and I’ll send you my Smart HUD in appreciation of your support.
As you use your poker tracking software more and more during your study sessions, the way you conduct session reviews will evolve into something totally your own. You’ll tend to do things you find most useful, and the way you play and the ideas you have as you study will guide you in different directions than, say, my own studies might take me.
3 recommendations for your study sessions:
1. Let your questions guide you
As you review your biggest winning/losing hands, you'll spot a mistake you made or you’ll ask yourself a question like, “Why didn't I cbet there?” When this happens, let that question guide you to further studies. Maybe you didn't cbet with AKs when you flopped the nut flush draw. So, dive into this by filtering for all flopped nut flush draws and flush draws and see how often you're cbetting. Look at the hands where you failed to cbet and gauge whether the cbet would've been better than checking.
This could easily raise more questions like “If I don’t cbet the nfd, then what hands am I cbetting?” You can filter for Opportunity to Cbet and you can do so on various board types as well. Dive into these hands to figure out your cbetting tendencies.
You might also ask yourself, “How profitable is AKs for me?” This could lead you to filtering for all AKs hands and learning from them. This will also lead to studying AQ, AKo and so on.
Through these cbet studies, maybe you spot a bet sizing problem. Maybe you cbet 1/2 pot with bluffs and 2/3 pot for value. Why is this? This gives you a whole new way to filter through your database and learn from how you've been playing.
2. Save your filters
As you conduct your session reviews, you’ll find yourself running tons of filters to narrow your studies. Save each of these filters because doing so will:
1) save you time re-running these filters in the future. Some filters are super quick and easy: 3bet pre or cbet flop. Other filters like lines taken (ex: flop bet, turn check and river bet), playing ranges of hands or facing open raises on the BTN from EP players takes time to put together.
2) remind you of what you've studied in the past. Maybe you know you have some sort of problem on the turn, things just don't seem right and you're often at a loss for what to do. Saving all your turn related filters will allow you to go back and re-study these types of hands and will remind you of prior lessons learned.
3. Take notes
Always utilize your poker journal as you study hands (get my free 21-page Poker Journal here). You might think you'll remember that, “I'm folding too often on the turn with TPWK hands”. But, it's really easy to forget things like this. Take notes, revisit them occasionally and try to work on the mistakes you catch yourself making.
Also, utilize the player note taking feature in the software. Maybe you just caught “Johnny5” making an all-in bluff shove on the flop with a weak gut-shot draw. It would be good to know this for future hands against this player.
Q3: Focusing on One Thing at a Time (13:25)
From: Guilherme Santos Benedito
Q: Hello Sky!
I'm Guilherme from Brazil and I have a question, in your book “how to study poker” you speak to ask the ONE question that will lead to the most important thing at the moment. And you speak to begin by dividing as open raise range, cold calling range and then EP, MP, CO and BTN. Is it necessary to use a full week for open raise range EP and the other week open raise MP? Or do I use a full week of Open raise from all positions?
I would spend a whole week developing and using one range at a time across all the positions. So, week 1 is open-raising ranges from EP through the SB. The next week would be calling 2bet ranges for EP through the BB. Week 3 will be focused on 3bet ranges from the EP through the BB and the 4th week will be 3bet calling and 4bet ranges in every position. Your range work will take at least 4 weeks of study and play.
As you play with purpose the first week, you'll be facing lots of 3bets. But, because you haven’t worked on your 3bet calling and 4betting ranges yet, just make the best decisions you can. Focusing on one range at a time before moving on to the next is the best way to develop your skills.
This goes for anything you study. Let’s say you bought Ed Miller’s incredible book, ‘The Course’. This book contains 10 meaty chapters to help you improve your game in 10 different areas. I recommend to spend one week or more per chapter and don’t move to the next chapter until you feel you’ve fully comprehended and practiced everything Mr. Miller discusses in each chapter. Just reading the book straight through in 5 days’ time is easy, that’s just one chapter per day. But, you won’t get much out of the book this way.
Take your time with whatever you’re studying and don’t move on until you’re good and ready.
Here’s my challenge to you for this episode: Pick up the last poker book you read and look at the table of contents. For each chapter, answer the question, “What did I learn here, and am I using it efficiently and profitably in every session I play?” If you can’t answer the question well, and especially if you can’t think of a single thing that chapter taught you or how you use it today, then start back on page one and re-read, re-study and re-practice that entire book. Don’t move on beyond chapter 1 until you feel good and ready to.
Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.
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