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Q&A: Robotic Play, Profitable Poker, In-game Hand Reading and Anonymous Players | Podcast #292


Sky Matsuhashi

on May 21, 2020

I'm sharing answers to your ???? burning ???? poker questions that will get you taking action with purpose (and not playing robotic poker) both on- and off-the-felt to improve your skills.

Listen to episode #292: Q&A on Profitable Poker, In-game Hand Reading, Robotic Play and Anonymous Players

1st Q: Playing Profitable Poker

I’m struggling to play more profitably. I have a 1bb/100 hands win rate over the last 24,000 hands, and I want to do better. What’s the best thing I can do for more profits?

-Sam G.

My Answer:

Put yourself in more Bread & Butter situations. This means you are in position on the flop as the preflop raiser against 1 or 2 players. It’s the most profitable situation to be in.

In order to put yourself in more B&B situations, you're not playing robotic poker. Instead, you're considering the merits of every hand you enter.

When you play in a B&B spot, this gives you positional and range advantages. Having these will will help you gain more value from your best hands, win more pots when bluffing and avoid money-losing situations.

Get more Bread & Butter by playing more hands in the CO and BTN, make more raises than calls and do NOT defend your blinds without a good reason.

2nd Q: Anonymous Tables

Excellent video, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I wish I could use the stat info more, but being I play on Bovada, the only stats I get are “per session” stats.  I use Drive HUD and it certainly helps, but I typically don't have more than 50 hands on a player at any given time.  This drastically lowers the reliability of the stats shown.  Still, the quality of your video and the way you make the material easily understandable is great.  Please send more.




My Answer:

Yeppers, anonymous tables makes it tough. But you can still…

“Exploit at the extremes”

If someone folds to steals or versus 3bets at 80%, even if it's just 4/5, that indicates a player willing to fold so you can experiment with steals and resteals against them.

Conversely, someone at 0% or 20% (0/5 or 1/5) is less likely to fold, so value raise them bigger.

Also, think about position. In general, players are more capable of bluffing when they have post-flop position. And, they're more likely to fold when they don't have post-flop position.

3rd Q: Robotic Play and Anxiety

Long email, boils down to a desire to:

    • Ditch anxiety from a fear of making mistakes and also losing money
    • Ditch robotic play

-Jimmy Fischer

My Answer:

1. Remove your hand from your mouse.This gives your brain time to think and communicate with your finger to prevent your emotions from hijacking your finger and causing you to make terrible decisions due to the anxiety you feel.

More time for decisions = more thought = more confidence in your chosen play = better results.

2. Ask/answer a question before every button click.This forces you out of robotic play. You can’t play robotic poker if your mind is working through all the information available to make the best play. Think about your options and about what your opponent could be holding.

Some great questions to ask and answer:

  • What are they doing this with? (Poker's Ultimate Question and can be asked any time you face a bet or raise)
  • What hands will [give me value / fold to my bet]? (any time you're considering a bet or raise)
  • How do they play the next street? (to help you plan for the future)

4th Q: Dealing with Aggressive Maniacs

The Zoom poker tables are full of very aggressive players with stats like 45/38 and 50/25. I never know how to play against them. What do I do?

-Brian Hargrove

My Answer:

Don't Fight Fire with Fire

In today's games, you’ll encounter incredibly aggressive maniacs who love to 3bet and 4bet preflop, and they cbet and bluff raise with abandon post-flop.

Do not get aggressive right back at them. Your aggression is going to incentivize them to up the aggression against you.

Instead, fight their aggression by tightening up and playing IP. Choose hands that are stronger than their range preflop.

And post-flop, let them spew those chips against you when you hold top pair or better post-flop. Don’t try to bluff them if they never find a fold.

5th Q: Hand Reading In-game

I am still helpless putting an opponent on a range. I have run through many (not all yet) of your days of hand reading and tried it myself, but when I get on-the-felt it gets fuzzy. Help me.


My Answer:

1. Do 30 days of hand reading exercises, 2 per day. You said you’ve run through a lot of my 66 Days of Hand Reading Videos and you’ve “tried it” yourself. No more trying. Become a hand reader. I have a full course on hand reading within The Poker Forge to help you out. But, if you simply watch one of my hand reading videos every day then do two hands of your own, that’s perfect. Doing it off-the-felt builds an intuition for it on-the-felt and you’ll gradually learn to do it as you play.

2. Create and use range cheat sheets for preflop 2bets, calling 2bets, preflop 3bets and calling 3bets. Here's a video where I demonstrate this:

This will help you put your opponent on a range and hopefully, with the sheet in front of you, you'll continue thinking about how their range interacts with the board through the streets (instead of solely thinking about your hand).

6th Q: Bet Sizing

I feel like I never know what bet size to make any bet or raise. There’s so much advice out there and I’ve watched tons of videos and read articles but I still can’t seem to get it right. What size should I make my bets and raises?

-Manny Wilson

My Answer:

Your bet size must accomplish what you want.

So, know what your bet is intended to accomplish then size your bet to hit their “pain threshold” and give you what you want. You don't want their call or fold to be a no-brainer for them.

Is a 2bb open-raise giving you value with AA?  No, they’re calling this almost as frequently as 3bb’s.

Is a 2bb steal likely to work?  Again, no. Nobody folds in the BB vs a 2bb open, right?

You flop the nut straight on a flush-draw board, is 1/3 pot enough to charge the draws for making a bad call?  Not at all.

Is shoving with the nuts on a dry board giving you the value you want?  Nope, you’re just making it easy for them to fold.

By putting more thought into your bet sizing, you’ll also avoid robotic play and force yourself to think about your opponent’s range more.

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  I’m sure one of these questions and answers struck a chord with you. Whichever it was, take action on the answer I gave in your next play or study sessions. Take action and work to make yourself 1% better every day.

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

Support the Show

Richard Wood and Oscar van Loosbroek picked up PokerTracker 4 (get it here to support the show), the best poker tracking software.  I love it and use it everyday!  In appreciation, I sent each of them a copy of my Smart HUD for PT4.  With an ever-growing database of hands to study and all the helpful features, PT4 is the go-to software for serious poker players.

Sue O'Connor, Tom Arne Kammen, Zack Angel and Rene D. bought the Smart HUD with a 1.5 hour webinar for PokerTracker 4.  It’s the best online poker HUD in the business with every critical stat in the HUD and the 7 custom popups. This is what every online player needs to maximally exploit opponents.

Bitcoin is the easiest way to deposit and withdraw on any poker site and Coinbase makes buying and selling bitcoin super easy. Thanks to Chris S for using my Coinbase Friend Referral link (click the blue picture to the left). For his purchase, we each received a bonus $10 in bitcoin. Thanks for the support!


Sky Matsuhashi

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