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SB Opening Range, Game Tape & Virtual Study Groups | Q&A | #57


Sky Matsuhashi

on April 22, 2016

In today's podcast Q&A, I answer 3 listener Q’s about my SB opening range in cash games, recording your own game tape and running virtual poker study groups.

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


SB Opening Range, Game Tape & Virtual Study Groups | Q&A | #057

Question 1 from Amir (2:20)

Morning, Sky. I was looking at your information on 6max small blind play. It's 14 percent. Looks very small. I never played 6max or online before and I'm looking for any help on small blind play or ranges in general. Let me know if you can help.

  • HUGE correction: there's no way am I only opening 14% in the SB.  I think at the time when I made the podcast he’s referring to I had tightened my SB opening range considerably, down to like 28% or so from 40%.
  • Now my SB opening range has widened considerably, sometimes going as high as 100%.
  • And, it’s all based on my opponents.  I use the Total Fold to Steal stat and the Fold BB to SB Steal stat to gauge how likely he'll defend his BB.
  • Often players fold their BB 80% or more, and you can’t pass up the opportunity to steal from these guys.  My standard open is to 3bb’s, so making it 3bb's in the SB costs me only 2.5bb's.  I’m risking 2.5bb’s to win 4bb’s total, so my steal needs to work only 62.5% of the time (which is 2.5/4).  If he’s folding any more than that, I’m making money with each open in the SB.
  • Great targets are also flop hones and continue only when they catch something
  • Some of my more astute opp’s are picking up on this and they defend more.  When this happens I simply tighten my opening range from like 80% down to 30-40% or even tighter, so when they fight back I’ll likely have a stronger hand than them and can get value out of them post-flop because they think I can have ATC.

Question 2 from David (5:25)

Hi Sky,
I would really appreciate some advice.
I have started a study group to study the book “Poker's 1%” over on the Red Chip Poker forums. There was some discussion about starting a study group but no-one seemed to want to commit to a time, so I took the bull by the horns and extended an invite. The response was really good, with about 8 people wanting to join.
Problem is, I have no idea about study groups. The only study groups I've been in were in Uni and typically degenerated rapidly into drinking sessions. I don't think that's an option here – this will be a “virtual” study group, with people spread across the world in many locations. Time zones will be challenging for setting up live group discussions, particularly for me because I am in Asia, and am only available for a limited time each evening. As the instigator I also think people will defer to me for leadership, which is not my preference because I'm not the most organized person.
I'd appreciate any thoughts you have on what the elements of a successful study group are. Also, is there any etiquette around using the forums for this? I plan to reach out to Splitsuit, but I wanted to engage you first.
Thanks, David

  • Keep this as a text based study group (no Skype or anything) because of the limitations you mentioned as well as you not really wanting to lead in the first place.
  • Do this in the forums or in a private FB group.
  • You need to structure and guide the discussions.
  • Create some group behavior rules around respect and responsibility in the beginning so you have something to refer to in case you need to kick somebody out.
  • Create a ‘Poker's 1%' syllabus that you'll follow for the full duration.  Try to make each week follow natural divisions within the contents.
  • Start off each week with some discussion questions, or even do one per day.  Make sure you're responding to all questions and posts as well (assuming they need a response).
  • Encourage opinions and responses from others.  You can also throw in HH reviews that illustrate points and elicit discussion, and ask that others do the same.
  • Ultimately, just BE THE LEADER and have fun!

Question 3 from Rob (10:00)

I’m planning on doing your 30 day Poker Study Challenge.  Can you tell me how to record my game play to review?

  • I use a screen capture software called Bandicam to record game tape.  It’s super easy to use and is pretty inexpensive.  You can load the videos directly into YouTube as well, no editing or formatting needed.
  • I’m an affiliate for it, and if you go to  it’ll take you to my affiliate page where you can read up on the software and download it.  And if you decide to purchase it, it’ll support the show!
  • Good luck recording your first game tape!
  • When you create your first video, put it up on YouTube and send me the link.  I’d love to watch it and give you any feedback.
  • And a great bonus for having a screen capture software, you can record webinars with it.

Challenge (12:10)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode: Increase your steal frequency from the SB. Most players don’t defend often enough to make steals unprofitable, so just start doing it more. Consider your opp’s stats before you do so, tighten up your ranges if they defend a lot, and widen them more if they defend little. This is great for any kind of poker you’re playing, whether it’s cash, SNG’s or MTT’s.


Sky Matsuhashi

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