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Q&A: Solid Foundation, Poker Coaching and Effective HUD Use | #218


Sky Matsuhashi

on January 24, 2019

In this episode, I help you develop a solid foundation, discuss my poker coaching and help you use your HUD more efficiently.

In episode 217, I taught you how to spot the fish at your tables and what to do once you find them.

Q1: A Solid Poker Foundation (3:05)

From: Scott Wolcott

Q: So RIGHT NOW, the skill I need to develop is learning to identify which poker skills need to be improved before others. (I THINK it’s going to be either hand-ranges or categorizing my opponents, but I'm not positive).


Figure out which foundational element to work on first by utilizing the list of MED’s in episode 87. The list of MED’s is in order of importance and each part builds on the previous. It’s like a road map for your studies that takes you along your journey to profitable poker.

Start with #1, Pre-flop Ranges. For you, this will be where you need to begin. But for others listening, maybe they’ll start with #4 and work on Blind Play or #6 and work on Cbets.

Whichever foundational element is missing from your game, that’s what you’re going to work on over the next week or more. Listen to the podcast episodes, do every Challenge I give you in the episode and play with purpose around practicing the foundational skill you’re on.


If you purchased my 3rd book, Preflop Online Poker then that would be better to study than the list of MED’s. The book was written after I completed all the podcast episodes, so I refined my teachings for the book. For example, in the book I moved the “Understanding Opponents” section sooner because it’s so critical, just like you were thinking, Scott.

But if you’re learning from episode 87 and the MED’s there, listen to the “Understanding Opponents” episodes first (#'s 123, 124 and 125) do that before you work on your ranges because these episodes will help with that.

And, all of this work will take some time, so don’t rush it. If it takes you 3 weeks to create, use and become comfortable with ranges, so be it. You’ll be a far better player for taking your time, studying and implementing fully, before you move on to the next foundational element.

Make sure you follow the MED’s, and work on all things preflop before you go post-flop. A solid preflop game is what will set you up for post-flop success.


Q2: My Poker Coaching (6:10)

From: various peeps

Q: Do you offer coaching?


Send an email to and type “coaching” as the subject. In the body of the email, tell me why you want coaching. I’ll select one lucky winner and announce them in the next strategy Friday episode. But, there’s always a catch, right? If you win, you agree to allow me to record the full hour and post 15-minute clips of it to promote my coaching. So, I’m going to help you with your game and in return, you’ll help me gain more coaching clients. If that works for, send me that email.


My poker coaching is centered around your database of online hands. We comb through your database together and I point out leaks as well as profit making opportunities. I also give you actionable steps to take both on and off-the-felt that will get you actively working on your game.

I coach online micro stakes cash game players from 2NL to 100NL. Here are the coaching details:

  • Sessions are 1 hour via Zoom Meetings once every other week (or every week if you can dedicate 20 hours to study and play each week).
  • Before our first session, you’ll send me your database of the most recent 20K hands (at least that many but the more the merrier). I’ll start looking through your database and stats and start learning your game.
  • Also, before the first session, you will record 30 minutes of your game play with you speaking through your decisions.

Session-by-session details:

  • The 1st session will be us reviewing your game tape. During the review, I’ll ask you lots of questions about the actions you took, which will help me learn about your strengths and your weaknesses. I’ll give you actionable steps that you can use in your very next session to start improving your game. We’ll also hit your database for a bit and see where we can start making immediate changes to improve your game with your very next play session.
  • Every session following that will have us reviewing your database of hands in relation to ONE topic (cbetting, 3betting, calling rivers, etc.). The topic of focus will depend on what leaks I think you suffer from the most, or where you specifically want help to improve your skills.
  • We’ll track your stats, review hands and discover leaks. At the end of the session, I’ll give you a plan (tailored to fit your needs) with on-the-felt and off-the-felt action steps you must accomplish to improve your game before our next session. The plan is your homework and you’re responsible for executing it.
  • I record each session and send you the recording afterwards.
  • I take notes on a Word document for you as well, and will send that to you (but I encourage you to take notes as we go).

Prices (I’m not cheap):

  • One session for $100
  • 3 sessions for $270 (10% discount)
  • 6 sessions for $480 (20% discount)
  • 12 sessions for $840 (30% discount)

Start your audiobook learning by picking up ‘Preflop Online Poker' through Click the pic above to begin your free 30-day trial or to purchase the audiobook version if you're already a member.

Q3: Effectively Using a HUD (12:35)

From: Al Mathews

Q: I may be suffering from information overload. If so, I would like to use your HUD to try to improve my game.


Focus on one stat per play session until you’re comfortable with your entire HUD. If your HUD has 17 stats on it (like my Smart HUD does) then you’ll start with the most important, which is likely VPIP. After VPIP, proceed to PFR then 3bet and so on.



First, for the stat you choose, PT4 will give you the definition and the formula. In the Configure menu, select Statistics. Search for the stat in question, and click on it.

VPIP Definition = “Percentage of the time that a player voluntarily contributed money to the pot, given that he had a chance to do so.”

VPIP Formula: (Number of Times Player Put Money In Pot) / (Number of Hands – Number of Walks)

Once you understand this, do some Google research. Just type in the stats name and look for articles to read, videos to watch or podcasts to listen to.

“VPIP” yields more articles/videos/podcast results than you can possibly hope to read. Choose a couple and get to studying.

Take notes as you study to help you utilize the stat % in-game. Also, take a look at your own %’s for this stat and see how it might change by position.

VPIP – hopefully it increases as position gets later, which shows you’re positionally aware and not playing too many hands in EP.

Lastly, play your sessions with ONE statistic as your focus.

VPIP – Every time somebody enters a pot, look at their VPIP % and try to imagine the range they’re playing. When the flop hits, imagine how well their range interacts with the flop. Do this for every hand dealt and eventually it’ll become second nature glancing at their VPIP % and gaining meaning from it.

Now, you’ll repeat this process for the next most important stat.

Also, try to work out stat combos. For example, VPIP in conjunction with PFR tells you a lot. Play sessions where you focus on both.

Support the Show

Marios Yiannakou and Toni Kiviniemi purchased the Smart HUD for PokerTracker 4.  In addition to the 3-part HUD with 6 custom popups, they also received loads of video links to help them get the most from the HUD and from PT4.

Frank Laureano purchased Mashing the Micros Webinar and received $5 off.  He's looking to break out of the micros, and this webinar is a great first step to doing so.


Sky Matsuhashi

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