Analysing Your Play - A Tool to Self-Improvement
Hey gang -
I think it is important to analyse your hands. After a session, I'll go through my PT3 database and watch the action on each hand, and go through it again and again to see what story the hand told me. I think this is a valuable tool for growing as a poker player. The best way to win money is make the smallest number of mistakes, and there's not a mistake I make that I don't put a lot of thought into - and yes, I make a lot of mistakes. So I have a lot of room for growth.
Steps of Hand Analasys -
1. The Plan -
As you play your hand, you are trying to gather as much information on your opponents as possible. With a HUD and basic information, it is very easy to gather information on your opponents - just sit at a table with them for a few orbits. Your HUD will tell you everything you need to know about your villain to give you a basic concept of their playing style. Watch how they play as the hand plays out, and importantly - watch how you
play as the hand folds out. While most of my all-in decisions tend to have +EV, just because I get my money in good doesn't mean I can't learn something from watching the hand. So as the hand plays out, constantly be analysing, what's going on, what am I going to do when this card comes, when he calls my bet, when he raises me?
2. Immediately After -
You've made your decision(s) for the hand, all the money's in the middle (or the pot is being pushed towards a player), and hole cards are or are not exposed. Immediately after a hand (especially if I have a fellow player on the rail) - I'll discuss the hand, what went through my mind at each point, each decision I made, and more often than not, I'll be right. But sometimes I'm wrong, and without properly analysing my hands, I'm going to have a hard time improving my game.
3. Post Session -
Your session has ended. PT3 says you're up X BB's, you're down X BB's, you've lost 4 BI's, or you crushed
- now take some time to go over the session again. With our without PT3 or HEM, walk through the big hands again in your head. Did you make good decisions? Did you make poor decisions? Did you follow your intuition and get your money in good to get sucked out on? That's fine. Just look over your session to make sure you're getting your decisions are +EV. Of course, you can't be right every single time, or you'll be banned for being a super user and get into a giant fiasco.
Here are some examples of recent hands I've played, the decisions I've made, and the analasys I've made afterwards. The bold text is the analasys I made during the hand.
Hand #1: Weregoat goes Bluff-Catching (1/2 NL, FR)
Dealt to me in UTG+1: 77 ($105 stack)
Villain is SB, 5 hands of data, 60/60/67 - or super aggro from this sample.
UTG Folds, I pop to $6. Folded to villain, 3-bets to $20, BB folds as I look up villain's 3-Bet % - 50% over 5 hands
, I call.
Pot = $42
Flop = T65r
Villain is 3-betting light, so it's not impossible he has AT or 88-AA here. I am doubtful of him 3-betting OOP with 66 or 55. He is first to act and bets pot, $42. I look up Villain's Flop statistics - 100% bet/c-bet value. While I'm there, I see villain has seen turn twice, and river once, where he won at showdown with a call. Since our villain is betting 100% of his flops, and this big bet does not say "best hand" I figure he was 3-betting light and missed, and figures me for a hand like AQ/AJ that missed. Very rarely here do I expect villain to have AT or a set, let alone 2pr or a draw. I figure villain for a c-bet bluffer and reraise all-in, another $35
. Villain calls, shows over A9o, fails to improve. I double up.
Our villain in this hand was - well - terrible - and while I would have had to fold AJ here, my read was my hand was good, and was most likely against two overs (I actually have him credit for as good as AK and was slightly afraid I was paying off a hand like 88-99, but those don't seem like 3-betting hands from this villain). Even with my all-in shove, I was getting little to no fold equity, as with two overs (AK), he's still got 6 outs (x4%) to win the pot, or 24% to win. I don't fault his call, but his bet was huge and reeked of not being the best hand, so I go back and re-evaluate. What % of the time am I paying off AT that bets like that? ~92% of the time. Noted. Some people bet their TPTK hard. Same for 88-99, JJ-AA. I'm paying TT off here every time.
I analyse the hand several times later and realize I was bluff-catching, and rightly so, as my read on the villain at the time was he was bluffing, and I was correct.
Hand 2: Weregoat gets TpTk
I'm on the button with AJs, table is 6 handed 1/2 NL. My stack is $105. Villain is SB, and over 7 hands shows 29/14/0, and hasn't won a pot yet. I don't have a solid read on villain as he has only played two of the hands since he's got to the table (of 7).
I raise to $7, villain calls (I doubt he has a bigger A, or PP JJ or better because he calls here)
, BB folds. Pot is $16. Flop comes JT6r.
Villain checks. To me this says "I don't have T6 or J6." Which goes hand in hand with him just calling my raise pre.
Having TpTk - a hand not likely to improve - against a villain who I have no information on - other than I don't think he's playing J6, T6, or JJ+, I bet $10, mostly to see where I'm at.
Villain raises to $34. Damnit, did he hit a set? Two pair? Is my hand still good here? I think long and hard here. I'm half-afraid I'm getting my money in bad, but you can't let your fear take control. I suspect villain is making a play at the pot, and while he's legitimately interested in it, he doesn't have me beat on this street. As my timer begins to run out, I decide I have the best of it, and shove.
I come over the top for another $64, expecting villain to fold a bluff or call with a better hand. This is a classic WA/WB situation, and I'm definitely worried when our villain calls.
Villain shows over 98o, and it turns out my read on him making a play at the pot was correct.
This was a very tough decision for me. As stated elsewhere in the forums ussually it's the tough decisions that make the least difference because the EV is so close to even - I decided there was a good chance I was getting in bad to JT, with only 3 As or a running pair K-Q to save me (I would have hit an A on the river) - so I wonder - should I have checked here? The only turn cards that scare me would be a 7, 8, 9, Q, or K, to make a straight - but if one of those cards come out, I'd have to fold when villain bet on the turn -
Upon further review, this hand was very difficult for me. I've often been prone to say "Online players fall in love with TpTk too often." While I agree with villain's raise here - putting me to a VERY tough decision, I note that his call was awful - then realize he had 8 outs to a straight (32%) and running trips/two pair to win (add a couple outs, I guess (4%), he was getting a 36% decision at pot odds
of 2.3:1. Yes, he made a rather -EV call, and I'm making at best a very close to even EV shove.
Luckily it worked out for me.
Hand #3 - Weregoat Phails, and sucks out.
In this hand, I admittedly played very poorly. I was so disappointed when I saw his hole cards that I didn't even know I won until my rail partner was punching my arm laughing and saying "I figured that was what he had!" And I did too. So bad.
I'm UTG 6 handed at 1/2 NL I'm shorter stack of the two with $241. I wake up with AQs. Villain is CO with stats 20/15/38 after 59 hands.
Folded to Villain, who raises to $20. Folded to me, I call.
Flop comes 2d,Qd,4s (my hole cards are spades) - worried about AA and KK,
I check. I look up some stats on villain - 3-bet 4% (1/23), Bet's 5/8 flops he did not raise, and C-bets 4/5 flops he did raise. I expect him to make a reasonable bet here, my plan as the hand unwinds is to call and hope to improve, or villain slow down on the turn
. Villain bets $36. I put him on a hand on AA or KK, but I'm in love with my TpTk, and he may be on a flush draw, or a bluff with JJ or the much less likely TT. I highly doubt he has a hand like KQ or KQ, even less than I expect him to have holdings involving some combination of 2's and 4's
The turn comes 7c. I expect it to help NOBODY. The pot is now teetering at $117. I check. Villain bet's $72. Knowing where two of the queens are it is HIGHLY unlikely he has QQ here. His bet is either a second barrel, or AA or KK. I figure him roughly for KK after the hand plays out, but make a terrible play here. Absolutely horrid
. I raise all-in, expecting villain to either abandon a bluff, or take my stack with a monster hand. When he calls with KK I am crushed. I set my laptop down, and go outside to have a cigarrette. As I set my laptop down I hear an uproar of laughter from my friend, who comes over and punches my arm. The river was a miracle A. Even though I won a $500+ pot here, I feel like shit. I made such a terrible play here. I'm an idiot, a moron, a fool. Why would I not just call that bet? My gut was screaming "You're beat, fold you idiot
!" And my brain was screaming "Whatever you do, DO NOT RAISE
!" And I stacked off.
I was making terrible decisions at this table. I should have got up, taken a break, anything. I failed to do so, and now see a leak in my game - I'm an idiot because I knew I was beat and had no problem stacking off - and I'm an idiot because I ignore my instincts to walk away.
I sit at the table a while longer, and end up donking off some chips when villain flops quads, checks to the river when I make my flush (had the 7c been the 2c I would have had the winner's share of the BBJP), and get up from the table barely up after some horrendous play.
These hands are a mere example of some of the analasys you can put into your own play - even after you make a good decision it's good to review the play. For instance, on the AJ hand, I probably call that bet about 20% of the time, raise 75% of the time, and fold 5% of the time. On the AQ suckout, I probably call the turn 70% of the time, fold 25% of the time, and shove 5% of the time. By reviewing the scenarios I can adjust those %'s - because repetition leads to memorization (sp) and when you find yourself in that situation again, I can fold my AQ there 60% of the time, and call 35%, and shove 5%.
There were just some examples -
I find that analysing your own play is very important - you can plug leaks, and ultimately better yourself as a player.
As stated before, I make a lot of mistakes. I think the key to improvement is looking inward and doing your best to stop from making those mistakes. The HA section is a great place to get outside analasys, I should use it more, but ussually I can analyse my own hands - but if you're not particularly strong at it, or want a second opinion, it's certainly a great resource.