Here are the 10 most common mistakes new poker hand readers make. Are you guilty of any yourself? If so, put the fix in place and become a better hand reader today.
Watch this podcast episode on the Smart Poker Study YouTube channel:
Mistake #0. Failing to Learn Hand Reading
If you haven't taken the time to learn hand reading, you're missing poker's #1 skill.
Best Fix: Join www.thePokerForge.com or get the Online Poker Hand Reading Workbook:
Limited time Poker Forge deal ends 4.23.23:
The Online Poker Hand Reading Workbook:
- Get it directly from me at https://go.smartpokerstudy.com/HandReadingWorkbook
- Get it on Amazon
- Watch my 66 Days of Hand Reading videos on YouTube. Teach yourself how to hand read by following along with Flopzilla Pro as you watch each video.
- My epic Hand Reading post: How to Do Poker Hand Reading
Mistake #1: Building to THEIR OWN preflop range, not the opponent's
Example: “The big blind Villain 2 called me. Well, I call 7% of the time, so I'll just use that as his range!”
Fix: Play the player and take player type, tendencies, stats, history… everything you can into account when you assign their preflop range. Your range isn't his.
Mistake #2: Using the wrong % (or even statistic) to build a range
Example: Using VPIP (19%) or Total Call 2bet (15%)
Fix: Find the related stat by position. He calls 2bets 19% in the BB, that's the best % to start with.
Mistake #3: Just building their preflop range to a percentage
Example: Call 2bet in BB = 19%
Fix: Use % to start, but add/subtract logical hands. Starting with 19% gives us the following, but we add more calling hands like K9s-J9s, KTo-JTo and 87s-65s:
Mistake #4: Failing to remove hands that would make another play
Example: He has AA, KK, etc. still in his range above. However, he's a TAG player so…
Fix: He CALLED. Remove 3bet and folding hands.
Mistake #5: Failing to use all available information
Example: NOT including prior A2o blind calling hand you saw at showdown.
Fix: Ask yourself Poker's Ultimate Question, “What's he doing this with?” Use all info available to finalize his preflop range. Then, save it in Flopzilla Pro for future use.
Mistake #6: Adding hands to the range after the flop
Example: The flop comes 9h8c6c… and he check-raises you! “Straights do this! But he doesn't have any in his range. I guess I have to add T7s and 75s to give him some straights.”
Fix: Preflop range is set in stone! So, what else check-raises you? Sets, 2p, overpair, draws, etc.
Mistake #7: Failing to practice hand reading daily
Fix: Make a goal of 1 exercise per day. You can do them during studies, warm-ups, or even after playing.
Mistake #8: Random hand reading choices
Example: Do a 3betting hand today, call cbet hand tomorrow, face donk bet hand the next, etc.
Fix: Choose hands that correspond to your chosen strategy focus for the week.
This way, hand reading exercises do double-duty for you! You're building hand reading skills + a strategy focus.
Mistake #9: Ignoring equities during the hand reading
Example: Your equity (QJo) vs his preflop range, it changes on the 986 flop, changes again on the Q turn, etc.
Fix: Pay attention and estimate changes in equity as the hand goes on. Ask, “Why?” when your estimate is way off.
Now you're doing triple-duty! You're building hand reading skills + strategy skills + equity understanding.
Mistake #10: Failing to use hand reading skills in game
Example: just playing your hand & board, ignoring their range.
Fix: Play 1 table and range somebody with every hand dealt!
Say their range aloud to help you visualize it.
Download and use my range cheat sheets:
Take Action to Fix Mistakes!
If you haven't done so already, learn hand reading right now!
Correct your mistakes with the fixes above.
Make a goal of doing 1 exercise per day.
Pair it with a strategy focus & notice changing equities so your hand reading exercises are doing triple-duty for you.
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