Skip to content


‘The Course’ Skill #3 ‘Assess Your Hand Value’ #27


Sky Matsuhashi

on February 8, 2016

Assess your hand value and ditch the negative mindset.  Extract value when you flop strong, win at showdown and get your opponents to pay you along the way.

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


‘Assess Your Hand Value' | Podcast #27

Podcast Mission

My mission for today is to get you out of a negative mindset of avoiding loss and into a positive mindset of extracting value.

7 Step Process for getting the most from Skill #3: ‘Assess Your Hand Value'


We're looking for the main ideas of a text; for key words and important details that stick out to us.  The goal isn’t to read everything, but to internalize the major concepts we are about to apply to our game.

  • Title: Skill #3. ‘Assess Your Hand Value'; Talking about different hand strengths on the flop, how to extract value;
  • 38 pages long
  • Headers:
    • What Weaker Hands Will Call
    • Streets of Value
    • Which Streets
    • Slowplaying
    • Don’t “Protect” Your Hand
    • Bet Sizing – 5 tips or points or concepts regarding bet sizing
    • Getting Value in Multi-way Pots and Loose Games
    • Final Thoughts

Set a Goal

Now that we have a basic understanding of the chapter, we want to read productively and effectively.  To do this, I’ve devised 3 questions, and finding the answers to these is our goal while reading.

  • What skills can I learn from this chapter?  Sounds like we’ll how to extract value with good flopped hands.  I could sure learn that.
  • Why are these skills important or relevant to my game?  Mr. Miller says it in the chapter, but the first two skills are about adding folding skills to your game, and this is the first betting skill he talks about.  Betting and showing aggression leads to winning poker.  Folding skills just help you tread water, while betting skills get you across the pool.
  • How can I implement these skills in my game?  Let’s read and find out how to extract some value.


Wow, lots of great value, but one thing I’d like focus on, he says:

  • When you flop a good hand, you don’t want your opponents to fold so you can win the pot. You want to get the hand to showdown.  And, along the way, you want your opponents to pay you.

That makes complete sense and is antithetical to how a lot of low stakes players think.

Summarize and Analyze

So, let’s continue the rest of the 7 steps with the idea of avoiding this negative mindset.

  • Ed Miller says that players at the lower stakes often have this mentality.
  • I can totally agree with that b/c that’s how I often used to feel, and sometimes those thoughts can creep back in.
  • This negative mindset will lead to less profits b/c you’re blowing opponents out of the pot who would call one, two or three streets and give you tons of value if only you bet something that they could justify calling.
  • Ed Miller doesn’t really discuss this next part, but I know that from personal experience that this negative mindset leads to tilt and to a victim mentality. When you think like this way and somebody stays in when you think they shouldn’t and draws out on you, it’ll likely send you on tilt b/c the thing you were fearing actually happened.  And of course, tilt leads to more bad play and compounded losses.
  • Let’s start by looking inwards. Are you affected by this negative mindset?  Do you sometimes overbet pots or make abnormally big bets to get folds when you flop TP+?  If so, you know you suffer from this and you’ve got to fix it.
  • Next, we should analyze hands in PokerTracker 4 to see how we react when we flop a hand value of TP+
    • Choose the date range you want to look at.
    • Under the “Hand Value” tab, select “Made Hands”
    • Choose the hand you want to analyze (I recommend TPTK or better) along with choosing making the hand on the flop
    • Now, review the hands that come back. Are you trying to blow opp’s off their hands, or extracting value?  For myself, I know that now I’m looking to extract value for the most part, but occasionally I’m trying to blow them off.  These are the spots I’m trying to work on.

Take Action

Now for the most important part in this whole process – taking action on what we’ve learned.

So, we’re trying to have this positive mindset of extracting value from opp’s with good hands.  In the next few sessions you play, every time you flop TP+, go for value.  Have the following sentence written on a piece of paper on your desk that you can quickly refer to to keep your mind focused on this positive mindset:

“I’m committed to extracting value with my value hands and getting to SD is the goal.”

This is basically an affirmation, and as discussed in podcast episode 13, affirmations lead to beliefs.

The more you repeat this line, the sooner it’ll become ingrained in you.

At the end of your session, answer the following Q’s:

  • How do I feel about the session played?
  • How did I like employing the skills learned? (in this case it’s your skill of folding when likely beat)
  • Do I think this skill has some value and does it merit further review before fully integrating it into my repertoire?


The next day you’ll do an assessment of your session.  This step is doing a hand history review of the entire, with major emphasis on any hands that pertain directly to the skill you tested.  Make sure you look at the session as a whole and not just the specific hands where your flopped hand value was TP+.

How did you do?  Were you trying to extract value?

If you found yourself trying to get opponent’s to fold, why was that?  Was it a particular opponent?  Was it the situation?  Did board texture or your kicker play a role?  Did you suffer a beat on a prior hand that affected your mindset on this hand?

Analyze why you think you reverted to your negative mindset and commit to not suffering from that again.

Take notes on what worked and what didn’t, what you learned or questions you may have and things to follow up on for more study.  Make changes to your summary based on any relevant info.

Rinse, Repeat, Review

Now that you’ve made the initial assessment, it’s time to take action again in another session and try to extract value with value hands.  Use this new skill and make any adjustments you want to make, and then assess again afterwards.  We’re just going to repeat steps 5-7 until we decide to fully commit to this new skill of value extraction.


Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Purposely play your next three sessions with the sole intent of extracting value with your flopped value hands.  See how this mindset shift affects your game and your tilt over these sessions.

Purchase your own copy of ‘The Course'.

Check out the rest of the episodes in this 11-part series:

  1. How to Learn from Poker Strategy Books
  2. Play a Simple and Effective Preflop Strategy | Skill #1
  3. Don't Pay People Off | Skill #2
  4. Assess Your Hand Value | Skill #3
  5. Barreling | Skill #4
  6. Evaluating Board Texture | Skill #5
  7. Making LIVE Reads | Skill #6
  8. Emotional Numbing | Skill #7
  9. Exploiting Aggression | Skill #8
  10. Playing Deep | Skill #9
  11. Taking on the Pros | Skill #10


Sky Matsuhashi

Don’t Miss Out!

Get expert tips and strategies straight to your inbox each week!