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Spend Study Time Improving Areas of Weakness

BY

Sky Matsuhashi

on February 1, 2024

What weakness are you working on right now? We're 1 month into the new year, so I'm sure you're taking poker more seriously and putting in more study time, right?

So, what are you filling your study time with?

I recommend you fill it by purposefully working on your areas of weakness (also called poker leaks).

Listen to this episode as you follow along below:

 

2 Ways to Find Weaknesses

It doesn't matter how good you are at poker, there's always something that you can improve.

For many micro stakes and low stakes players, maybe you’re weak at the fundamentals: 3betting and cbetting and preflop bet sizing and going for value when you flop a strong hand.

For pros, they have the fundamentals down pat. However, maybe their weaknesses revolve around intricate stuff like check-raising the turn on dry boards or knowing when to bluff 25% pot versus 33% pot versus 150% pot.

There are 2 ways that I recommend for you to find their weaknesses.

 

1. Pay attention to “unsure” spots

Maybe this past week, you experienced this “unsure” spot four different times:

  • Your opponent bet on the flop and you called.
  • An overcard hit on the turn and your opponent checked to you.
  • You sensed weakness so maybe you should bet. But, you were unsure of your chance of success. So, you checked back instead of bluffing… all four times.

This is a sure sign of weakness, so you need to study this spot to get comfortable with it.

 

2. Use PokerTracker 4

It shows your tendencies in every situation and calculates your win rates when making different plays. If you don't use PokerTracker 4 yet, click here to get a free 14-day trial and support the show.

Maybe you think your game is spot on and you 3bet bluff plenty, double-barrel cbet all the time and you’re a winner when calling rivers.

But sometimes what we think about ourselves isn’t the truth. PokerTracker 4, however, shows us exactly the results of our plays and there’s no hiding from this info.

Perhaps in your last 10,000 hands, PT4 shows you that:

  • You 3bet only 2.8% of the time >>> Weakness: you’re a value 3bettor.
  • You make the flop cbet 74% of the time, but barrel the turn only 42% of the time >>> Weakness: you’re an honest turn cbettor.
  • You called the river 83 times and have lost a whopping 18bb’s on average each time >>> Weakness: you make terrible river calls.

 

Take Note of Weaknesses

Regardless of how you discover your weaknesses, when you find ‘em, you must write them in your poker journal. I recommend keeping a list of your weaknesses so you can work on them one at a time through 2024.

And, to improve most efficiently, you need to prioritize your weaknesses.

 

 

Prioritize Your Weaknesses

Let’s imagine you’ve written these 5 weaknesses in your poker journal:

  • I Don’t 3bet Bluff Enough: I 3bet only 2.8% of the time and my Call PF 2bet is a whopping 15%.
  • I Don’t Double-Barrel Cbet Enough: My cbet drops 32% from the flop to the turn. This makes it easy for them to steal the pot when I check the turn.
  • I Lose Too Much When Calling Rivers: Losing 18bb’s on average when calling the prior 83 river bets is terrible for my bankroll and morale.
  • I Don’t Table Select: I stay on tables with too many strong players, allowing loose and aggressive players to sit on my left. This makes poker very difficult.
  • I Fail to Target the Weakest Players: I don’t consider who my opponent is before entering the pot.

Let’s prioritize this list so you can work quickly and efficiently improve your skills and results.

General rule: Work on the most common spots first, as well as quick fixes that yield great results.

Here’s how and why I would prioritize the list of weaknesses above:

#1: I Don’t Table Select

This is a quick fix. Weaker tables full of fish makes poker easier, more fun and more profitable. My weaknesses are less pronounced and also, easier to work.

#2: I Fail to Target Players

Another quick fix. If I actively target the weakest players and try to play hands against them, poker’s more fun and profitable.

#3: I Don’t 3bet Bluff Enough

This one will take a bit longer to fix. However, if I can turn bad calls into good 3bet bluffs, I’ll be the one pressuring my opponents. I won’t face as many cbets nor river bets, and I’ll be the one cbetting more often with stronger ranges.

#4: I Don’t Double-Barrel Cbet Enough

Now that I’m 3betting more often and calling less, I’ll have stronger ranges with which to pressure my opponents on all 3 streets.

#5: I Lose Too Much When Calling Rivers

This could take a long time to fix without the above four fixes. With the above four in place, the players I get to the river against won’t be able to put so much pressure on me, so river decisions should be improved.

 

How to Purposefully Work to Improve

The first 3 episodes of 2024 were all built to teach you how to purposefully work on your game. Know which weakness you're going to work on first, then hit one of these for great study strategies to get you working with purpose:

 

Now Get to Work

With this prioritized list of weaknesses to tackle, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Simply put all your focus on #1 until you feel comfortable with it and you see positive results.

I was going to end with “Good luck!” But, I recall that Louis Pasteur once said:

“Luck favors the prepared mind.”

So, skip the luck and get to work to prepare your mind for better play!

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Sky Matsuhashi

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