Skip to content


From Training a Positive EV Mindset


Sky Matsuhashi

on July 16, 2020

Playing with a positive EV mindset means you're always thinking about your options and going with the most profitable one. Your opponents don't do this! They only think about their hand and the board, and they often call or cbet by default. You don't do anything by default because you're always weighing the profitability of your options and you place them on the EV spectrum:

I'm so appreciative of these incredible Forge members who have reached their 1 year anniversary: Bryan Chancey, John Gray, Rob, Mark, Keith Pfeifle, Richard, Ben File, Ed, Mike and Larry Leonard! Thanks for being the super rocking Forge members that you are!

The audio from this episode is taken from a video called “Training a Positive EV Mindset” in the Poker Math Course within the Poker Forge.

Listen to this podcast episode #300: Training a Positive EV Mindset

If you enjoy what you hear in this episode, the Poker Forge is the place for you:

The EV Definition

EV stands for Expected Value; it’s the value you can expect to earn from making the play in question or putting yourself in a situation.

Shoving preflop: AA vs KK

  • AA will win 82% of the time >>> lovely +EV opportunity
  • But, KK wins only 18% of the time (loses 82%) >>> terrible -EV opportunity

Having A Positive EV Mindset

The GOAL for every session you play is to make the best decisions possible at every opportunity.

DO NOT play with a “let’s make some big hands” nor a “let’s get lucky”.

Your goal is to play with a +EV Mindset.

Consider all of your options (visualize them on the EV spectrum) then make the most +EV decision.

  • Other players don’t do this
  • Your decisions > theirs >>> the math is on your side (no luck necessary)
  • Go from “I have a pair, I call” to…
    • EV Mindset: “I have a pair and he’s betting worse hands, so I call”
    • EV Mindset: “I have a pair, but on this board only a straight would bet that much, so I fold”

Training a Positive EV Mindset

1. Review Hands Off-the-felt

  • Related to your current strategy focus (cbetting, calling w/draws, etc)
  • Use Flopzilla for range v hand equities; also range & board interaction
  • Decide if your play was +EV or –EV
  • Record mistakes in your journal
  • Review mistakes as a warm-up, vow to NOT repeat them today
  • Rinse and Repeat

2. Hand Reading Exercises

  • Related to your current strategy focus (cbetting, calling w/draws, etc)
  • Do it completely: 1) assign a range, 2) narrow it based on actions
  • Review mistakes as outlined above

3. Use the EV Spectrum in-game

  • Consider all your options
  • “Does ___ make me money in the long run?”
  • Visualize options on the spectrum
  • Choose the most +EV option
  • Betting/Raising: use the size that will get you what you want
  • Tag important hands to review (#1 above)

4. Use a “Most + EV Tick Sheet” in-game:

  • Tag important hands to review


Sticky Note

Take Action

Over the next 5 days…

Play With Purpose

  • Use the EV Spectrum and a tick sheet as you focus on your decisions
  • Consider each option, visualize the EV nature of each
  • Go with the most +EV option and make the appropriate tick mark

Study With Purpose

  • 1 daily Hand Reading exercise focused on a strategy of your choice
  • 10x hand reviews
  • Consider the EV nature of every play you make while using the EV Spectrum

Take the Post-flop EV Quiz



Sky Matsuhashi

Don’t Miss Out!

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