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Q&A: LIVE Poker Etiquette and Non-showdown Winnings | Episode 129


Sky Matsuhashi

on March 29, 2017

I discuss why it’s okay to use Evernote at LIVE poker tables, and I get into non-showdown winnings and addressing a sagging red line.

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


Q1: LIVE Poker Etiquette (1:55)

Question from Greg:

Weird Poker Etiquette Question. Several times you mention you use Evernote at the table while playing. Are you talking about online or at a casino? Are you allowed to use your phone at a poker table? Would this not be frowned upon since you would have all the math at your fingertips? As far as you know it, what is the current poker etiquette as to what is allowed/not at the poker table. Thanks, Greg.


I think it's fine as far as etiquette goes.  We’re allowed to do what we want and act how we want at the tables.  Wanna be sociable, that's fine.  Want to bury your face in our smart phone or tablet until you get another hand, so be it. Some might say that it's not social if you're buried in your phone, but so what?  If you're comfortable with it, then that's just fine by me.

But, when the casino has rules against this, that's a different story.  You've got to follow their rules if you want to play there.  I haven’t heard of any casinos that ban the use of poker apps or a calculator or taking notes.  I’m sure there are some out there but they’re prolly few and far between.

I think everything is fine ethically as well.  Anybody can download any app and use it.  Whether it's a poker tracking software, EV calculator, Evernote or the Float the Turn app, doesn't matter.  If you’re using it, you're the one being proactive and looking for ways to play better poker.

When it comes to taking notes, which is what you specifically asked about, your thoughts are your own, you're simply putting your thoughts down within Evernote.  If anyone has a problem with that, that’s their deal.  I wouldn’t advertise what I’m doing though, just in case.

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.

Q2: Non-showdown Winnings (6:10)

Question from Robert: 

He said he needs to work on his non-showdown winnings.


Non-showdown winnings are the amount of chips you win without going to showdown; it’s pre-flop, flop, turn and river wins combined with any losses.  This is called the red line because it’s a red colored, often down-sloping negative line on PT4 and HM2 graphs.

To increase this, you need to figure out why it's so negative.  You'll have to look through your hands that saw a flop and review them.  Here are some possible reasons:

  • Seeing the flop with crappy cards
  • Folding too much to cbets
  • Calling too liberally with draws only to fold the river when you whiff

Here are 5 fixes:

  1. Tighten up pre-flop so you have stronger ranges on the flop. Stronger ranges flop better so you can value bet more often, call when you think you're good, and fold when you completely whiff
  2. Play IP more. The OOP you play, the worse your red line is.  Make this a focus in your games.  Every time you're not on the BTN and considering an open-raise or isolation play, think about the players yet to act and decide whether or not you're likely to see the flop IP.  If not (like there's calling stations or aggro 3bettors yet to act) then maybe not open the pot.  When you're thinking about calling the blinds, ask yourself, “Do I really want to see the flop OOP vs this player with this hand?”  Let the answer to that determine whether or not you call the flop
  3. Because players cbet bluff a ton, you need to occasionally make calls with mediocre pairs and good draws.  If you fold too often to cbets, then your red line will continue to look ugly.
  4. If you're calling with draws, try to do so with nut draws (high-end oesd's and nutfd's) and IP. Don’t overpay for your draws, though.
  5. Try to exercise more aggression post-flop. Check-raises and donk leads and calling flop IP to bet out when checked to on the turn all give you the opportunity to bluff your opp off their hand.  If you're just playing passively post-flop, then you're relying on hitting hands to win you the pot, and you hit strong hands only so often.  The most profitable players are able to steal pots from their opp's on any street.


Challenge (9:20)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:

All you LIVE players out there, start recording your notes in Evernote. Online players take notes directly within PT4 as that’s super easy. But you LIVE guys have a little more work to do; standing up from your seat, hiding your screen from your neighbors, evading those prying questions into why you’re on your phone so much. Taking great notes on your LIVE opponents, then reviewing them when you see Bob or Steve or Susie at the table is going to go a long way to helping you exploit each of them.

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

Up Next…

In podcast #130, I'll answer three questions about making the leap to full-time pro status, using outs and odds to make good decisions and facing good players.

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


Sky Matsuhashi

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