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Q&A: Going Pro, Outs & Odds and Facing Good Players | Episode 130


Sky Matsuhashi

on March 30, 2017

I answer three Q’s today about making the leap and going pro, using outs and odds to make good decisions and facing good players.

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


Q1 From Rooie: Going Pro (1:25)

I was thinking maybe I should focus on micro 6 max cash games since I only have a couple hours a day to play. What do you suggest?

Actually, my main question is that I am thinking to play poker on full-time bases. I’m expecting my first child. What is your suggestion for me how to start?


I say play both 6max and full ring micro stakes cash. You should must be able to adapt and play both because at any time the fish can be on the FR tables or the 6max tables. Your goal is to find the fish at your stakes and win money from them.

For developing your online skills, go with a micro stakes level that gives you about 40x buy-ins, but don’t exceed 25NL ($.10/$.25). You’re learning the game and you don’t want to get in over your head. I recommend starting at 10NL. Once you can beat the games for 5bb/100 hands or higher over a few months, then move up to 25NL and beat that stake before moving up to 50NL.

Going Pro; 3 Considerations

1. Are you built for 30-40 hours per week poker playing? I recommend you take a two week vacation from work and try to play 40 hours each week. If you can’t stand playing that long, then maybe full-time poker isn’t right for you.

2. You need to have the support of your family and those around you. If your spouse, parents and friends, but especially your spouse all think you’re crazy and don’t want you to do it, it’ll be so much harder.

3. You need to have 6-12 months of expenses covered 100%. Add up how much you spend on rent, food, entertainment, gas, insurance, baby formula, doctor visits… EVERYTHING, and you’ve got to have at least this much saved up.

Q2 From Greg: Outs & Odds (5:00)

I understand calculating the odds of a bet to determine if I am getting the right odds to call. But I am having a little harder time thinking about how equity tells me whether to call or not. If I am getting the right to odds to call a bet then why do I care what equity I have in a pot?


Comparing your equity to the pot odds is how you decide whether or not it's a profitable call.

Let’s look at this with 2 situations.  Remember Break-even% = bet or call / total pot (with bet or call included).

  1. You have an oesd+fd for 15 total outs. This is 30% equity in the pot (using the x2 rule for drawing hands, episode #111).  If your opponent bets 1/2 pot, you need at least 25% equity to make a profitable call.  You've got that here with your 15 outs and 30% equity.  If you only had the fd for 9 outs, then you only have 18% equity so you shouldn't call.
  2. Let’s say you’ve got TP on the river and your opponent bets $30 into $50. Your $30 call is trying to win $110, so you need about 28% equity.  Maybe you think that you only beat 25% of his betting range.  Then this isn’t a profitable call.


Join me for 28 Days of Poker Study as I celebrate the release of my new book: How To Study Poker Volume 1.  I'll share with you everything I study and every technique I use during my challenge starting on April 2nd.  Click here to learn more and to join.

Q3 From Domenico: Facing Good Players (9:15)

Today, I asked you about PokerStars and what rooms are better for “fishing”.  But during the day this question has been going around in my mind a lot, and I've been thinking about one aspect. Of course, playing poker in rooms where the field is softer makes us more easily gain money, but what about the skills that we might develop if we play in rooms where the competition is harder?  (learn more about PokerStars with this review)


I like where your mind is at.  There are plenty of skills we develop playing vs the fish and the regs at any stake.  You definitely need to play against good players to improve your skills and learn ways to beat them.  There’s another benefit to playing against good players: you can learn from their plays if you take the time to analyze them.

But here’s the kicker, you'll find good players in every room.  If you can find tables with 80% fish and 20% regs, that's great!  You'll take from the fish and learn from the regs.

Regardless of where you play, you're going to be learning as long as you're paying attention.  So you don't really need more regs to learn more, you need more fish to earn more.

You don't need to face regs to learn more.  You need to face fish to earn more.


Challenge (11:35)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:

Learn from the regs. In your next study session, find a reg you think is a profitable player and bring up their stats in PT4. Dissect their stats and see where you think they make good decisions. Filter through their hands and see how they play IP or OOP, in 2bet or 3bet pots, how they play their draws on the flop and how they approach the turn and river. You can also just look for weaknesses you can exploit, but hunting for strengths to put in your game is another avenue you can take.

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

Up Next…

In podcast #131, I'll answer two listener questions about doing hand history reviews and assigning ranges as well as avoiding bloated pots with weak hands.

Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.


Sky Matsuhashi

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