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What Would Poker Improvement Look Like If It Were Easy?


Sky Matsuhashi

on December 29, 2021

“What would this look like if it were easy?”

Tim Ferriss, the author of the incredible book called “The 4-Hour Workweek”, asks himself this question in order to clarify his thoughts, to begin with the end in mind and to simplify the actions he needs to take to accomplish his goals.

Listen to this podcast as you follow along below:

It’s kind of a way to figure out how you could achieve your goals quicker and simpler than your current efforts are allowing for.

I’ve been using this question to help me achieve my goals with Smart Poker Study and with

Let’s take this podcast for example. For every episode I have to plan it out before recording it so that I make sure all of my thoughts and ideas are put into the episode. Well, I used to type all of that out and it took so much time. So I asked myself, “What would this look like if it were easy?”

I realized that the tough part was the time it took to type everything out. My fingers couldn't keep up with my mind! (humble brag, I know)

I reasoned that if there was a way to just speak aloud my thoughts on a topic and transcribe them, that would speed up the process. It would also become the show notes page.

So, I did a little bit of research and I found an awesome dictation program called Dragon Speech Recognition Software. And that’s what I use to this day (even used it for this show notes page).


Sticky Note Inspiration for Poker Improvement

You’ve heard me talk about sticky notes that you put on your monitor to help remind you of important strategies that you’re focused on. Well, one of my sticky notes on my computer right now is, “What would this look like if it were easy?”

Not too long ago I was looking at this sticky note on my monitor and an idea hit me: What would poker improvement look like if it were easy?

I think that poker improvement is most easy in 4 steps:

  1. A poker coach tells you what you need to work on after observing your game and finding your leaks.
  2. The poker coach gives you strategies to use that will plug your leaks.
  3. You then simply utilize the strategies in game as often as possible over the next week in an effort to plug your leak.
  4. Your coach assesses your progress and if you haven’t done enough, he’ll reaffirm the strategies and force you to keep practicing. Or, he’ll say your leak is plugged then it’s back to step 1 with a new leak.

So that’s the easiest way: somebody pushing you in the right direction of poker improvement.

But most of us don’t have a coach. So, what is the easiest way for us to improve our poker skills?


The 6 Steps for Easy Poker Improvement Without a Coach

Here’s the easiest path a non-coaching poker player can take to improve:

  1. Dedicate time each week to studying and playing poker with the purpose of plugging leaks.
  2. Measure and analyze your current results to find your poker leaks.
  3. Plan your poker studies for the week around learning strategies that will help you plug one of your poker leaks.
  4. Study 1 or 2 items and take notes on the strategies you need to use to plug your leak.
  5. Create your own action steps from the material you studied so that you can purposely practice the strategies in game and study them further off-the-felt.
  6. Measure and analyze your results to see if your leak is plugged. And if so, start again with step 1 to plug a new leak.


6-Step Leak Plugging Example

I want to run through a complete example of this 6-step leak plugging process utilizing a leak that most of you probably have: Calling and losing too much money from the Small Blind.

1. Dedicate time each week to studying and playing poker.

Build study and play blocks of time into your weekly schedule. Maybe study for 20 minutes during every lunch break at work. Play poker for 90 minutes on Mondays and Thursdays than for 2 hours on Saturday. Treat these blocks like appointments that you CANNOT MISS.

2. Measure and analyze your current results to find your poker leaks.

Maybe every Sunday for 20 minutes you record your statistics and win rates utilizing something like my 41 Stats and Win Rates Tracker. Your analysis of these numbers reveals that your Small Blind win rate when calling is -162 bb/100 hands. If you had folded every small blind, even the times when you 3bet with AA, your total win rate would be -50 bb/100 hands. Your calls and your 3 bets in the Small Blind have greater than 3X’d your losses instead of folding every hand.

3. Plan your poker studies for the week and learn key strategies.

You do some Google searching and you find a detailed blind defense article called “Pre-Flop Blind Defense” at This article teaches you all you need to know about defending in the blinds and give you strategies to help you make better blind defense decisions.

4. Study 1 or 2 items and take notes.

So, you read this article and listen to the podcast and take notes in your poker journal on the strategies and you need to use for better Small Blind defense.

5. Create your own action steps.

After taking notes, you noodle on how you can actively practice these strategies in game. You also come up with some ways to go through your database and analyze your old hands to find your mistakes so you can work to not repeat them in your play sessions this week.

And of course, all your play sessions this week is dedicated to plugging this leak so you try to follow your action steps as you play and study during lunches.

6. Measure and analyze your results to see if your leak is plugged.

At the end of the week, probably on Sunday again, you re-measure your statistics and win rates. If you feel you need to continue working on this, then repeat the process maybe with a new piece of content to learn additional strategies. If you think your leak is plugged, way to go! Now, move on to the next leak with step 1.

So, there you have it! The easiest way that I could come up with for continual and long-lasting poker improvement.

So, you can take those 6 steps and get started this week on improving your own game without a poker coach.

But to help you out even more I created a workbook that will help you follow the 6-step process in just one hour.


Get the 1-Hour Poker Study Workbook

This is an 18-page workbook that will help you build purposeful poker study and play time into your schedule. It will help you measure your statistics and win rates and analyze your numbers. It'll  also help you plan your week of study and play with to specific pieces of content that will help you plug your leaks. And it will teach you how to create your own action steps so you can practice the strategies you learn and it will show you how I conduct effective hand history reviews.

And lastly, this 18-page workbook will help you avoid poker overwhelm. You know that feeling of there is so much to learn out there that you don’t want to miss anything, so you consume every new video in every article that comes your way without a clear direction that your work is taking you in.

With the bonus items that come with the workbook that’s 3 videos and to downloadable items, the whole 1-Hour Poker Study Workbook is valued at $130. But you can get it right now for $17 at

And I want to think some awesome poker peeps you’ve already picked up this workbook from me: Jim Skistimas, David, Mark Estes, Ivan, Philip, Norman Pyka, Ken Latessa, Ed Walters, Steve, Marc Epstein, Aaron, Quentin, Juan Rodriguez and Frank Friel. Thank you so much for the support and I trust this will put you on the right path to easy poker improvement.


Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:

You have 2 options for action taking today:

  1. Follow the 6 steps above to begin improving your game by plugging your leaks.
  2. Get the 1-Hour Poker Study Workbook and use it to help put you on the right study and improvement path. This is the next best thing to having a coach telling you where to focus your study and play efforts.

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.


Sky Matsuhashi

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