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Flopzilla, Poker Stations, SNG’s and MTT’s | Q&A | #44


Sky Matsuhashi

on March 11, 2016

In this Q&A I answer 4 different questions about poker stations, Flopzilla, playing SNG's and playing MTT's.

Download and listen to this episode as you follow along below.


Flopzilla, Poker Stations, SNG’s and MTT’s | Q&A | #44

Question 1

I left a podcast review for you. I really like the format of the show right now. How about an episode on how to study using Flopzilla? I'm just getting the hang of using it, but I'm sure there are better ways to use it more efficiently than I am.


Thanks for the great idea, Dennis.  I'll do this, but it'll have to be Flopzilla videos where I demonstrate how to use the software for various things.  It's something that really needs to be visual, audio alone won't cut it. Here's a Flopzilla Pro episode on YouTube:



Question 2

Hi Sky, here are a couple of questions for your podcast.

  1. How do you play against someone who at a 1/2 NL table, whether it is a limp or raise pre-flop a player at the table always calls the bet then post flop check-calls down to the river.
  2. How do you play against a player that will call a raise pre-flop, then will make a bet, get raised, then shoves all-in. This is at a 1/2 NL table.

– Steve

Thanks for the Q's, Steve.

  1. This is a poker station you're referring to. These guys call down as low as BP and any possible draw (which includes all bd draws and weak low draws and gs’s) all the way b/c they don’t believe you or they want to get lucky.  Against these guys you’ve got to only value bet, never bluff.  You know he's going to call, so don't bet if you don’t want him to call.  The good thing is they’ll let you know if they’ve got a good hand because they’re betting and raising and you can fold to them quite easily.  I’ve said it before, but folding when you know an opp only bets when strong is a way to exploit his uncharacteristic aggression.
  2. In this case I’m only calling with a very strong flopped hand unless you’ve seen showdowns and you know he can do this very light as a bluff. Often, though, you’ll see plays like this from nut fd’s and sets or 2p hands or AA. These guys are either going for max value and don’t know any other way to extract it, or they think their draw can be very good and are willing to gamble to hit the 9 flush outs or the full-house outs they’ve got.  Take note of these types of players and act accordingly in the future.  Let’s say “Trappy-Tom” does this and you open with JJ.  You know “Trappy-Tom” will call with any PP and is capable of playing this way.  He calls you and you see a flop of 246r.  He donk leads.  Now you have a choice, do you want to gii here w/JJ, or not?  If you do, go ahead and raise then snap call his shove.  If you think he likely only does this with a set, then call his donk lead and play the turn, or fold if you’re convinced he only does this with the nuts.  If this is a value trap or bluff that he sets, then don’t step into it, unless you want the trap sprung.

Question 3

I was wondering if you had a good pre-flop hand chart for middle and late stage SNG's. Most of the time when I play I get 3rd or 4th. Or if you had any advice on how to play during late stages.


I have some SNG related articles on the website and you can find them at Category: SNG's.  And I have to apologize to Ruben as I answered this a few days ago via email and I told him a new SNG article would be posted by now.  I'll have this new article, which covers late stage play by tomorrow, Saturday the 12th.  But just to give an answer for now:

I don't have pre-flop hand ranges for middle or late stage play, as this is where the push/fold game comes into play.  I stick to my early stage ranges, then I constrict it when it comes to calling ai's on the bubble, and expand it for pushing all-in myself.  Check out the article SNG Middle Stage Strategy for more info.  There's actually lots of great info in that post, and links to other pieces of content that give you more info on late stage play.  I recommend hitting all the links in the post, watching the SNG EGT video and getting that program for yourself.

Question 4

Thank you for the newsletter and the great podcast and videos. I found your videos after I purchased Poker Tracker and was looking for tutorials. Google led me to your site and got me started. That led naturally to the website and podcast.

If I was to make a request for content, maybe more of a suggestion so that it feels less self-serving, a video about Poker Tracker leak finding in tournaments. Poker Tracker has a great built-in leak finder feature for can but not for tournaments. Maybe that is the incorrect way to think about tournaments. I only play play money on Pokerstars and am trying to get a database to start to analyze my play and improve. My long term goal is to start playing sit and go single tables at WSOP and win my way into an event or two each year.

Thank you again for all the great content. I enjoy it all and appreciate your style clear explanations of what can be complex topics.

– Scott Parker

Thanks for the email, Scott.  I'm glad you found the videos and subsequently the podcast and blog.

I've actually been considering doing a slew of PT4 podcasts along with accompanying videos, and this will definitely be a topic I'll cover in them.

For now, let me give you a little Leak Tracking you can do on your own in PT4 for tourneys.

  1. Avoid being a one-and-done player

Check out your flop cbet and your turn cbet %'s.  Your turn cbet shouldn't drastically fall off from say, 70% to 30%.  This tells all your opp's that you give up on the turn when you miss, so they can stay in with crap and fire the turn when you check and auto-profit from this.

  1. Set pre-flop ranges (opening, calling and 3bet bluffing and value 3bets), then review hands played by position after using these for a few weeks

I'm surprised that people often don't have ranges set for this most frequent area of play: pre-flop.  Every hand dealt sees pre-flop action, so take the time to set ranges for opening, calling opens and 3betting (both value and bluffs).  Skip a couple sessions of play to work on this if necessary, as I guarantee it will improve your overall play.  Once your ranges are created, stick to them religiously for a few weeks and at the end review how well the ranges worked.  Did you like using them?  Are they effective?  Were there hands you wish were in the range, or hands in the range that now you think you should never play?  Take all you've learned and tweak your ranges as necessary to improve your game and make you more comfortable with your pre-flop choices.

  1. Game tape for bubble play

It's often difficult to review bubble hands if you didn't specifically take note on when you reached the bubble and broke through it.  Record your game tape with a screen capture software like Bandicam.  When you feel you've reached the bubble (this can be anywhere from 1-100 players away from the money) record your play.  Make sure to speak through your actions as you play, so when you review the hands later you can get a sense of how your mindset and play was affected by the bubble.  Also, with your PokerTracker 4 software you'll know exactly which hands to study your bubble play when you couple it with this game tape.

And, because you just purchased PT4, I want you to commit to doing hand history reviews once per day for 30 minutes or more.  This will really acquaint you with the program.  I'd also recommend hitting YouTube and going through as many PT4 videos as you can.  Each one will show you new ways to use it, so just follow along with them in your database.  That's how I learned, now most of my study is just done on my own b/c I'm so familiar with it now.

Podcast Challenge

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Before you make your next bluff cbet, think about the player you’re trying to bluff, and if they’re a station, don’t do it.  Don’t fall into the trap of trying to bluff these fish off their hands.  These guys call down super weak, so only bet for value.  The easiest ones to bluff are fit or fold players.  These guys are flop honest so they fold when they whiff.  There should be a reason behind every bet you make, and if you think your bet won’t give you the intended results, then don’t make it.



Sky Matsuhashi

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