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Poker Development Plan, Outs & Odds Practice, Overboard HUD Use | Q&A


Sky Matsuhashi

on April 12, 2021

3 great questions today about a recommended poker development plan, practicing outs and odds math and going overboard with HUD use. I love answering questions, and I know the answers below will help you.

Speaking of helping you, this page with all the links below can be your study guide for the next 2+ months! Imagine avoiding poker overwhelm for 2 full months with just one page!

Listen to this podcast episode:

Question 1: 4-Part Poker Development Plan

Hey Sky,

First off thanks for creating such a frequent and informative podcast.

So, I figured I could ask a specific question and get a good answer to help one point of my game. But, as the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach him to fish and he will never be hungry.” So, do you have a development plan for poker? As in an order of what to learn and to what level. I'm currently at the conscious incompetence stage of learning (but I'm sure there are lots of concepts I'm not aware of) .

May your bad beats be cheap, and your pots be massive.

– Greg

Any development plan must build your skills around the most common situations first, then you build upon that solid foundation. It should also teach you the most profitable ways to play, then teach you the most costly mistakes to avoid.

I laid all this out in great detail with my Minimum Effective Dose series of over 40 podcast episodes. This page outlines the 10 fundamentals, in order, that you must learn with links to everything so you can just follow that path. These are also the 10 topics I covered in my books, Preflop Online Poker and Post-flop Online Poker.

So, those are really detailed development plans. But I’m all about KISS, so I want to give you the most simple development plan that hits exactly what you need for profitable and fun poker.

Here’s my 4-part Poker Development Plan:

Part 1. Live for Bread & Butter

Bread & Butter poker is seeing the flop in position, as the preflop raiser versus 1 or 2 other players. It’s a concept I learned from Tommy Angelo in his book, Elements of Poker.

Living for B&B will ingrain the most important aspects for profitable poker in your skillset: namely the value of position and the value of having the stronger preflop range. Plus, B&B is when poker is easiest and the most fun.

When you live for B&B, you strive for positional advantage with every hand you play. If you can’t have post-flop position, you’re giving that advantage to someone else and it makes poker less profitable and less fun.

When you live for B&B, you strive to be the last raiser preflop. That means you have the best hands like QQ+ and your calling opponent doesn’t. This gives you a range advantage over them and a mathematical advantage that this out of position play has a hard time overcoming.

When you live for B&B, you avoid the things that make poker more difficult:

  • Being out of position post-flop
  • Being the preflop caller
  • Playing in multi-way pots

So, learn to live for Bread & Butter before anything else.

Part 2. Become a 3bet Warrior

There’s no other preflop play that puts your opponents in such an uncomfortable spot than 3betting them.

Players are open-raising with such wide ranges these days that they have a hard time facing 3bets. And if you make your 3bets from in position against them? You’re now living for Bread & Butter in 3bet pots.

To become a 3bet warrior, you must limit your calls and look for every opportunity to 3bet for value when they’re calling with worse and 3bet bluff when they’re folding a lot of their range. And try to do it most often from the CO and BTN to give you B&B in 3bet pots.

I have 4 prior episodes dedicated to turning you into a 3bet warrior:

Part 3. Become a Cbet Tactician

Because you’re striving for B&B, you have the cbetting initiative all the time. Because your opponents check to the raiser, right?

You must learn to capitalize on this massive advantage.

4 episodes to help you:

Part 4. Become an In-Game Poker Hand Reader

To do this, you must first learn hand reading off-table. This is going to teach you how to assign a preflop range based on your opponent’s actions then to narrow this range through the streets based on further actions.

This epic post on hand reading will teach you how to do this invaluable skill with hands from your database and Flopzilla Pro.

After you learn how to hand read, you must practice doing it in-game. I teach you how to do that within my Hand Reading Course at The Poker Forge.

Question 2: Outs & Odds Practice

Hi Sky,

I don't know what I really need to learn next, but I think poker math would be a good next step.  I understand the basic concept of odds from listening to your podcast on the subject but I'm not sure how to practice and start implementing them into my game.



Back in episode #325, “Counting Outs and Making Profitable Calls”, I covered in detail how to calculate the chance of hitting your draw and how to determine if the price is right to call your opponent’s bet. So, check out that episode for the math side of things.

I want to answer Wendy’s more important question of how to practice outs and odds math. Two recommendations for you:

1. Off-table Practice

Find hands where you flopped a draw. You can easily filter for this.

Review 10 hands per day where you run the outs and odds math. Use the x2 Rule to calculate your chance of completing your draw on the next street. Then compare this to the odds your opponent is offering you with their bet. By the 7th day you will have drilled the math 70 times and it’s going to become second nature.

2. Simultaneous In-game Practice

While you’re reviewing 10 hands every day, play with the same focus.

Of course, you want to run the outs and odds math every time you flop a draw and face a bet.

But, this doesn’t happen that often. What does happen all the time are random flops after you’ve folded preflop.

When you’re not involved in a hand, and a flop comes, imagine you held a draw on that board.

Maybe the board is JT3r. You could imagine you held 89 for an open-ender, KQ for an open-ender + 2 overcards, 87 for a gut shot or any other kind of draw. Count your outs and calculate your chance of hitting. When a player makes a bet, determine if you would’ve had the right price to draw with your imaginary hand.

Do this over and over for a week and outs & odds math will become second nature.

Watch me demonstrate outs and odds practice:

Question 3: Overboard HUD Use

I have a question maybe you can help with. I started using a HUD and I feel like I'm playing to the HUD and I’m not paying attention to the action like normal. My game is suffering for it.  Any suggestions?

Thanks, Rob.

This a timely question. Mark Warner of just published a post called, “Sky Is Wrong: HUDs Are Bad For You. Kinda.”

You might be wondering why I would post an article like that. You know I’m all about online poker and using a HUD. But, I believe that you need both sides to every story to truly understand something.

I don’t do echo chambers and I’m always down to hear other thoughts on subjects and I’m always willing to change or evolve my opinion on something.

So, I recommend you read Mark’s article on my site and consider turning off your HUD occasionally to keep from relying on it and to maintain your non-HUD skills.

Here’s something else you can do: pare your HUD down to the most fundamental stats.

For example, my Smart HUD has 16 elements. That’s a lot of useful info but it might lead to over-reliance.



If I wanted to create a Fundamental HUD, it would contain just 5 stats:

The 5 Fundamental HUD Stats

VPIP & PFR – these two numbers tell you the basic play style of every player. An 18/15 is a TAG while a 40/5 is a loose-passive fish.

2bet/Fold to 3bet – 3betting makes them uncomfortable and if they open then fold often, they’re a perfect target for 3bet bluffs.

3bet – 3bets are the bane of 2bets so knowing how often a player 3bets is critical in helping you avoid 3bets and to help you put them on a 3betting range.

Fold to Flop Cbet – because you live for B&B, you’re going to have the option to cbet all the time. Knowing how they generally play against cbets will help your post-flop decisions and hand reading.

Support the Show

These incredible poker peeps took advantage of my Gumroad Day Sale this week:

Preflop Online Poker Book – Massimo Gramegna, Ray Springer and Bryan Chancey

Post-flop Online Poker Book – Ramon Ighetti and Ray Springer

Finding and Plugging Leaks with PokerTracker4 Webinar – Jim Skistimas and Graeme Richardson

Effective HUD Use Webinar – K. Horning

Poker's Bread & Butter Webinar – Ray Springer

Playing to Learn, A Micro Stakes Poker Webinar – Ray Springer

Poker Mathematics Webinar – Ray Springer

Poker Study Boot Camp Course –  Ray Springer and Mark Aelmans

Elevate Your Poker Mindset Program – Graeme Richardson


Sky Matsuhashi

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