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Q&A: Playing with Restrictions, Making Better Bluffs and Improved Software Usage | Episode 188


Sky Matsuhashi

on May 23, 2018

I answer 3 questions about playing online poker with restrictions, making better bluffs and improving your software usage skills.

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


Q1: Playing Online Poker with Restrictions (2:10)

From: DL

Situation: Tilting over the fact that some online sites don’t allow the use of HUD's nor the use of certain software like Flopzilla. DL is so used to using them that not being able to has hampered their play and motivation.

One question asked was: Any advice on how to get unstuck and just start over? Just stop whining, buckle down and get to it?


I did an MED Monday episode about this called “Playing poker… but without a HUD?!” (episode 16… you'll have to scroll down a bit):

Here's the link to Nathan William's article:

Don't think of these as “restrictions” that hamper your ability to play. Instead, treat them like challenges to overcome to turn yourself into a better poker player. Once you develop these no-HUD and no-software skills, you'll be an even better online and LIVE player.

Because you can’t use Flopzilla while you play, do more things off the felt to help you on the felt. Create 4 different range one-sheets to reference as you play.  These are pieces of paper, one each for 2bet ranges, 2bet calling ranges, 3bet ranges and a fourth sheet for 3bet calling ranges. You’ll include screen shots of each range along with combo counts and %-form for each. When you face an opponent, put them on one of the ranges from the corresponding sheet and judge how well it hits the flop.

To help you with this aspect, you can also put how well each range “hits” various boards. Like a 15% calling ranges A92r 35% of the time and it hits Js9s8h 54% of the time.

NO WHINING. Every bad thing or situation that happens to you is your fault. Do not blame others as that won't solve your problems. Take responsibility and deal with every problem in the best way you can. The recommendations I made above will help you with this situation, but I'm sure you can come up with other helpful responses as well.


Q2: Making Better Bluffs (6:50)

From: Andreas Roder

Q: I am interested in learning about bluffs, steals and re-steals.


Bluffing and stealing are important aspects. Before you click the button to steal (or throw out the LIVE chips), ask yourself this question:

“Can my opponent fold here?”

Here are some things to help you answer this:

How does their range interact with the board?

If they called preflop and the board comes JT9, be very careful as people love calling with broadway and middle pairs. If they're a nit who opens a small range, they won't like the 862 board and you can bluff as the caller more frequently.

Player type: Nits and TAG's are the most likely to fold as they don't like to go too far in a hand or put too much money in a pot without a strong hand. LAG's and Whales can call more often as they like to chase draws and they hope their 2nd pair hands are good.

Before you make the bluff, name the better hands they can fold.

For example, on an A92 board you might say “My bet can get them to fold underpairs and Kx, Qx hands. Even 2nd pair will fold because I raised preflop and have many Aces in my range.” If you can name lots of hands that can fold, then you're thinking through your bet and it's more likely to work.

If online, look at their Fold to Cbet on that street. If it's greater than 60%, your bluff is more likely to work.  Also: Cbet Raise, Check-raise, Donk Bet, Fold to Bet stats.

In position bluffs work more frequently than out of position bluffs.

Utilize sizing that they'll fold to:

Too many people call 1/2 pot bets now.  You've got to make it 2/3 or greater to get opponents to fold, especially on the flop.  You can also make special double-barrel betting strategies. For example, you can bet 1/3 pot on the flop then increase it to 1/2 or 2/3 on the turn.  This saves your flop and turn bluffs some money and it looks incredibly strong. It’s like you were trying to extract some value on the flop, now on the turn you’re trying to extract even more value.


Q3: Improved Software Usage (12:15)

From: Hans

Q: I want to understand PT 4 and how to use it.


Learning how to use PT4 just comes with experience.  Dedicate :15 per day to just reviewing hands, running filters and reports and seeing what it can do.  As you mess with it, new ideas will popup in your head and you'll try to do them (like filtering for specific situations or running reports to find the most aggressive 3bet winners).

One of my favorite motto's is:

The more you do, the more you can do.

Get in there and use it repeatedly.

Also, run Google and YouTube searches for videos related to the software.

Here's my playlist PT4 videos in YouTube.

Whatever videos you watch, follow along and copy exactly what the video creator is doing. Don’t do it with hands from your database yet. Try to match their exact inputs and get the same results. If you do this successfully, that’s when you can start using your own database of hands or creating your own HUD's and Popups.

Other software to learn this way: Flopzilla, HM2, Equilab, PIO Solver, CREV


Challenge (14:50)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:   Get in there and build experience with your chosen software. Do you want to learn Flopzilla, PT4, PIO Solver or CREV? Find some videos on YouTube and copy what they’re doing as you watch. Then, use your own database and repeat the steps with your hands. Commit to just 15 minutes per day for the next week, and I guarantee you’ll get more out of the software.

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


Support the Show

Darrel Rodgers picked up my “Poker Mathematics Webinar” and he got $5 off by going through this link:  Thank you so much, Darrel.


Sky Matsuhashi

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