The easiest way for me to do this would be to post a nice sample hand with my thoughts inserted. I'll choose a nice hand that I won, rather than one of the many I've lost because I've come to the wrong conclusions.
No-Limit Hold'em Tourney, Big Blind is t200 (6 handed) converter
Preflop: Hero is SB with Ac, Th.
UTG raises to t400, 2 folds, Button calls t400, Hero calls t300, 1 fold.
I have a playable hand and money already invested in the pot, so it's worth playing even though I'm out of position. UTG seems a pretty standard player who must have at least a decent hand here, Button is loose/aggressive and his call signifies a probable weak/marginal holding, as he's aggro preflop and would most likely reraise with good hands. I call to see a flop, hoping to hit but thinking the pot is winnable even if I don't.
Flop: (t1400) Ad, 7s, 8c (3 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets t400, Button calls t400
Nice flop. I check, expecting a bet from one of the other 2 players (Button bets when checked to on the flop most of the time). Pretty sure UTG would have bet more if he'd hit the flop - seems like a continuation bet with KQ/similar or a mid-low pocket pair that the flop missed. Button's call signifies he's hit something but it's weak or he's going to try to take the pot away at a later street with nothing - Button is very much a "raise or fold" player postflop (same as preflop, so 2 calls is odd), so I guess he has 7s, 8s or a weak Ace (A2-A6). I think I'm ahead of them both, and I don't want to give a "free" card to them - I raise and would be happy with isolating one of the other players or taking down the pot now.
Hero raises to t1600, UTG folds
As I thought, probably KQ or a low pocket he couldn't justify calling the reraise with.
Button raises to t2800
Oops? The last thing I expected was another raise - let's re-evaluate Button's possible holdings. I don't think he'd play a set or 2 pair like this, (a) slowplaying with 2 other people still in the pot is dangerous, (b) he just isn't the slowplaying type, and (c) he overvalues pocket pairs preflop. The only possible draw on the board is a straight involving 78 - it's possible he's semibluffing with this. I figure the probability of him having a pair of 7s or 8s, a weak Ace, a straight draw or absolutely nothing is a lot greater than the probability of him having 77/78/88/AA/A7/A8/AK/AQ/AJ given his style of play and his betting so far. Possibly he's sensed I've changed gears and raised my aggression over the last dozen hands or so, and is trying to push me out of the pot, figuring I have a vulnerable hand. I think I'm ahead, so I push, fully expecting a call whatever he has as he's pot committed now (it's also strange that he didn't raise quite enough to put me all in, but I have no idea what, if anything, to make of this)
Hero raises to t3307, Button calls t507.
Turn: (t8414) Kh (2 players)
River: (t8414) Ks (2 players)
Final Pot: t8414
Hero has Ac Th (two pair, aces and kings).
Button has Ah 3h (two pair, aces and kings).
Outcome: Hero wins t8414.
Basically, to summarize in general, I have no predetermined questions, but depending on the situation some of the questions I will ask myself are...
- What is my opponent's playing style? What can I derive about his possible holdings from this?
- Why did my opponent bet/check/raise preflop/on the flop/on the turn/on the river?
- What are my plans on later streets if I call (preflop or on the flop)? Can I bluff my opponent off the pot if I miss my draw, for example?
- What holdings does my opponent put me on, given my actions in the hand and at the table so far? How close is this to my actual holding? How can I take advantage of this?