How to Analyze your Poker Hands
Analyzing recorded hands is the key thing to get better at poker. It gives you the opportunity to define your current style and make changes based on your leaks. Once you define the leaks, you can focus on fixing them. Multiple resources are at your disposal in order to help you find a solution. You can go over related articles, make additional calculations, check discussions in forums and with friends and prepare for the next similar spot when you will be ready to make the better decision.
Choose the Right Hands to Analyze
Selecting which hands to analyze is crucial. If you are able to find your most common mistakes and those which cost you the most money it will already be a huge step in improving your game and increasing the win rate. Of course, you cannot go through all of your recorded hands, so you can start marking hands during play to work with later. Choose the ones which were your hardest decisions or those which lost you a significant amount of chips.
As a part of the analysis group they marked hands and work with one group at a time with a higher number of hands. Examples of group names could be: “preflop mistakes“, “delayed cbet went wrong“, “bluff catchers“, “multi-way cbet”. This will also work as keywords to search later for additional sources of information to understand where exactly are your mistakes. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. At first, your goal might be just to learn how to avoid putting yourself in the same spot where you systematically make mistakes which will reduce losing chips and will extend your tournament life.
The name of the group can also tell a lot more about your current playing style. A group with the name “preflop mistakes“, from the example, might mean that you don’t have solid preflop ranges. You may need to work on defining a balanced range. This includes a better understanding of which hands would you raise/call, which would be raise/3bet for value and which exact hands would be your raise/3bet bluff. Once you make this clear the number of the hands in this group will become lower and lower so with time you will stop working with this group.
Pay Closer Attention to your Opponents
Reviewing your hands will also give you a closer look at your opponent’s playing tendencies. It’s important to analyze their style and make notes that will help you later during play. Defining the opponents’ playing style as “tight-aggressive” or “loose aggressive“, or “tight passive“, or “loose-passive” will change your strategy to help you choose your preflop actions, post-flop aggression, and bet sizes. For example, if you notice during the analysis that your opponent is willing to overplay their bottom or under pairs, you should definitely make a note about this. Next time you will be more comfortable calling a second pair because you will be aware of your opponent’s wider range and you will be able to calculate your odds more accurately.
The Best time to Analyze
Choosing the right time to analyze is also an important aspect to have in mind. It is not a good idea to make deep analyzes just after you finished your session as you will be very tired already. This might slow you down and push you to make mistakes defining your opponents’ ranges. Though, it is probably a good time to choose 5-10 hands that you plan to go through during your next analyzing session. A better time to analyze hands is before you start your sessions for an hour, for example. This could act as a nice warm-up prior to starting registering tournaments. You will be rested, fresh, and inspired for new experiences and will prepare your brain for what is coming. The corrections you make in your play will be added in your play style that same session which is perfect.
To Sum Up
Next time you play, try to mark hands that were tough (both hands you’ve won and lost) and start the next play session analyzing these exact hands. Try to make a decision which mistakes are a tendency and work with them first.
Add new play lines and experiment during play and then review the results. If you are still not happy with how these hands went, continue to work with the same problem until you neutralize it. Continue with the next part of your game that could be improved. After all, development is what keeps us on top of the charts, right?
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