Skip to content


LIVE Poker Tournament Preparation | Podcast #141


Sky Matsuhashi

on June 2, 2017

In this episode, I discuss how I prepare for a LIVE poker tournament. I give you my trusty Evernote document filled with important “top of mind” ideas.

In episode 140 I discussed using implied odds to make +EV decisions both pre-flop and post-flop.

LIVE Poker Tournament Evernote Document (3:00)


  • Play in some local smaller tourneys
  • Play cash or SNG’s or MTT’s at the venue if traveling

Ask yourself, “What's the best way to play this hand right now?”

3 things (got this from Tommy Angelo)

  1. sit up
  2. take a breath
  3. look left

Move a chip on your stack as the dealer shuffles. (this from Tommy Angelo as well)

Tilting or unfocused? Pick a focal point, 6-2-7 breaths, tell yourself, “The next hand deserves my full attention.” (from Dr. Tricia Cardner)

What would a pro do? Pros ain't scared.

Get frisky in the early stages, but choose good cards and play IP.

Don't get impatient and start playing crappie hands. Stick with your better hands and position and good spots.

IP on Ace high flops: bet out on the flop to steal and to rep the Ace for a double barrel.

Getting deep: take a breath and know your tourney status. Online you can easily see how close you are to the bubble. Listen to the floor staff and look for signs of how close to the money.

Think about the opponent's range and the board before you fold a pair.  I'm often too quick to fold a weak pair.  Gauge their strength by their bet sizing.

Play the Player

Start with 2 to the left and 2 to the right. Know their basic style and plan to exploit them.

Show aggression when others show weakness.  But be careful when OOP.

Pick on the mid-sized stacks, not the small or big stacks.

Stack sizes matter. Know the stacks of those who already acted and those yet to act.

What does your opponent likely think of you? TAG, NIT, fish, LAG?

Trust your gut! If your heart is racing, your subconscious is trying to tell you something. Be present.

People shove very tight, but call super wide. So, you've got to call extremely tight and shove reasonably tight w/ good Aces and Kings and pp's.

Challenge (16:10)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Copy this list for your own use for both online and LIVE MTT’s.  Add or subtract items to your heart’s content.  Make it your own, and make it useful.

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


Sky Matsuhashi

Don’t Miss Out!

Get expert tips and strategies straight to your inbox each week!