Over the last week or so I’ve been developing a plan to accelerate my hand reading skills. Progress has been moving at a snail’s pace in this aspect of my game due to two things. First, I haven’t made hand reading enough of a priority in my study sessions. Second, when I have studied, it hasn’t been in a deliberate or effective manner. I was inspired to take on this project from reading the Scott H. Young blog. Scott writes about effective learning practices, but what connected with me and prompted this project was his writing on what he calls “ultralearning.” Ultralearning is a system Scott has been working on for learning vast amounts of difficult knowledge in a much shorter time than the standard. He’s done some fascinating work in learning languages, computer programming, and drawing. His accomplishments have been phenomenal, especially considering the time frame he completes his challenges in. I recommend you check out his work. Though my project isn’t nearly as ambitious as his projects often are, it’s very intense relative to my normal daily study practices.
The project will last for thirty days at which time I’ll reassess to see if I should continue, restructure, or move on. The plan is to knock this out first thing in the morning before life gets in the way. When I leave my study until the evening, distractions inevitably throw me off track. Another benefit will be starting my day with the knowledge that I’ve already studied more than most players do in a week (if they study at all) and the day has only just started. Hopefully that will give me a little motivation to stick with the program. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this plan will require me to get up much earlier than I’m used to and if you read that post, you know I’m not excited about it. But there has to be sacrifices when you’re pursuing excellence and this will be one for me. This project will also be in addition to my normal study time. In the evening I plan to continue my normal study, which at the moment is a combination of Red Chip Poker and Tournament Poker Edge videos, homework from my strategy coach, and in-depth study of Alexander Fitzgerald’s The Myth of Poker Talent and Easy Game by Andrew Seidman.
Check out the plan below. It will consist of two hours of study. The first hour will be a study of relevant materials. The second hour will be practical application of learned concepts.
If you have any feedback or if you have recommendations on additional hand reading/range analysis materials that you think I should include, please leave it in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
One hour of Study
Prior to beginning the project, create a detailed schedule so there is a balance between subjects and I’m covering all components.
Range Analysis Study
- First learn proper mechanics of range analysis, including using Flopzilla
- Next practice range analysis on my own hand histories (remember to note interesting hands at the table)
- Finally, begin to implement newly acquired skills in online focus sessions and at the table in live games
Articles to Study:
- Just Hands Podcast – In Depth Analysis: Episode 39 (see website)
- Just Hands Podcast – In Depth Analysis: Episode 40 (see website)
- Just Hands Podcast – In Depth Analysis: Episode 41 (see website)
- Just Hands Podcast – In Depth Analysis: Episode 42 (see website)
- Thinking about Ranges by Andrew Brokos (see hard copy printed from website)
- In-Depth Hand Range Analysis by Jonathan Little (see hard copy printed from CardPlayer)
- Range Analysis: The Correct Way to Analyse Poker Hands by Alex Fitzgerald in Excelling at No Limit Hold ‘Em pp. 229 – 280
Videos To Study:
- Using Flopzilla To Range Opponents by SmartPokerStudy (YouTube)
- Range Construction by Andrew Brokos (downloaded from TPE)
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 4
- Part 5
- Part 6
- Part 7
- Part 8
- Part 9
- Hand Reading by Andrew Brokos (downloaded from TPE)
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 4
- Complete two hands (Should only take about 15 minutes)
One Hour Online Focus Session
- One micro-limit table at Ignition Poker (I like using this site because it’s HUD-free and anonymous so it more closely simulates live play than other online poker sites)
- Remember to be present/mindful during the entire session
- Stay focused, even when you’re not in the hand
- Literally ask each question every time it’s your turn to act. In The Myth of Poker Talent, Alex Fitzgerald talks about the benefits of speaking to yourself out loud when walking yourself through new concepts. Utilize this idea and actually verbalize these questions and answers.
- Is this hand in my pre-flop range for this position?
- If not, is there an exploitative reason to play this hand?
- Choose bet-sizing considering the pain threshold for the table.
- Choose the optimal play and execute.
- What is the opponent’s stack size?
- What part of the opponent’s range would he make this action with?
- Considering previous actions, what is his most likely hand type? Monster? Marginal? Draw/Air? (Note: this is from Andrew Brokos Hand Reading Made Simple)
- Consider your options (bet, raise, call, fold) and force yourself to make a decision between all the options.
- Before you call a bet, list off the hands that you beat.
- When you bet for value, categorize the holdings that are calling off.
- When you bet as a bluff, name the hands verbally that you’re folding out.
- Execute the decision.