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Let’s Build Your Confidence in “Tough” Poker Spots


Sky Matsuhashi

on April 14, 2023

I'm sure there are some poker situations and plays in which you have ZERO confidence. Let's work to build your confidence in these “tough” spots.

Watch this episode on the Smart Poker Study YouTube channel:


Download the audio podcast here.

Help yourself take notes with my FREE Poker Journal (click here).


1. Answer this Confidence Question

Trust your gut reaction to the question below. Your first gut reaction is probably the most important area to focus on this week.

“In which situation, or with what play, are you most lacking in confidence?”

Your answer is where you'll be working to build confidence this week. Example answers:

  • 3bet bluffing
  • Calling in the blinds
  • Calling 3bets
  • Cbetting
  • Facing a donk bet
  • Facing a river bet


Goal this Week: “I'm going to build my confidence in _________.”


2. Study the Situation/Play Where You Lack Confidence

Let's use “Facing a Donk Bet” as the situation where you lack confidence.

PokerTracker 4 filter:

Filter in your database for the situation and review hands. You MUST always:

  1. Put your opponent on a preflop range of hands in Flopzilla Pro (learn how to use this valuable program here).
  2. Enter your hand to see your equity vs their range.
  3. Ask Poker's Ultimate Question to force you to use all the information available to analyze your opponent's actions: “What's he doing this with?” Consider player types, tendencies, bet size, stack size, position, other players still to act, etc.
  4. Review 20+ hands.

I raised pot versus his tiny donk bet:

Next, find ONE piece of content to study through a Google or YouTube search. Study it and take notes; review more hands.


3. Purposefully Face It Over and Over Again to Build Confidence

This week, play at least 5 sessions with the goal of putting yourself in this spot over and over.

Use the strategies you learned whenever +EV and pull the trigger!

Tag hands for review.

How do you purposefully put yourself in certain situations?

  • 3bet bluffing >>> Look for opportunities to 3bet.
  • Calling in the blinds >>> Try calling more in the blinds.
  • Calling 3bets >>> Open-raise and plan for the 3bet.
  • Cbetting >>> Open-raise and 3bet a lot.
  • Facing a donk bet >>> Isolate donk bettors.
  • Facing a river bet >>> Pay attention when NOT in the hand.
  • ANY SITUATION >>> Pay attention when not in the hand and consider what you would do if you were the one facing the situation.


Take Action!

Goal this Week: “I'm going to build my confidence in _________.”

Study and play as outlined in #2 and #3 above.

Play at least 5 sessions! Do more as necessary.


Sky Matsuhashi

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