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The 10 Most Common Mistakes (& FIXES!) New Poker Hand Readers Make


Sky Matsuhashi

on April 19, 2023

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:

Download the audio podcast here.

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 or get the Online Poker Hand Reading Workbook:

Limited time Poker Forge deal ends 4.23.23:

The Online Poker Hand Reading Workbook:

Free Fixes:


Mistake #1: Building to THEIR OWN preflop range, not the opponent's

hand reading mistakes example situation

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.

7% is nowhere near accurate.


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.


Sky Matsuhashi

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