Poker · · 3 min read

Using online poker software to review your hands

Using online poker software to review your hands

Online poker software can help us sort out those poker hands that cost us the most and hopefully plug some leaks! By reviewing last night’s poker session, players may find out that their poker bankroll could have increased if they hadn’t made expensive mistakes. That is how I discovered that I could have avoided losing 7 buy-ins over the past 3 days, since I restarted playing texas holdem poker at Full Tilt Poker. I simply reviewed the first 10 hands that cost me a full buy-in and I already knew that I could have at least broken even.

Ok, first the embarrassing news. I lost money 3 days in a row playing at 50NL!

Here is the even more embarrassing poker graph (source: Holdem Manager poker software):

I seem to have trouble getting back on track playing cash games. Generally I am not in the mood to gamble, given the recent Greek legislation about online gambling. Since Full Tilt Poker began operating again however, I was looking forward to sitting down again at one of the tables that the eye-appealing software of that poker room offered. Now before I tried my luck once more, I needed to review my poker hands in the Holdem Manager poker software to determine whether it was lady luck to blame or me. And poker stats never lie (read about my favorite poker stats color-coded in my poker HUD).

When reviewing poker hands, I prefer sorting them in money won/lost order. That way I am able first to check out the hands I lost most of my money with and then move on to see if I could have played any better the winning hands. So, here are my losing hands of the previous 3 days that cost at least a whole buy-in.

When you review those losing hands, keep track of the money you would have saved if you played correctly each hand. For instance, let’s see the first hand of that list.

I open-raised from UTG with a suited connector (87s), which isn’t obviously the optimal play. Upon reviewing the hand, I notice that two not-so-good players are sitting at late position, both playing more than 35% of their hands. That should have forced me to fold my hand easily, if I had paid more attention to the table, since I would be expecting a lot of action by them. And it’s not recommended to go to a battle holding such a hand out of position! Button and small blind joined the pot and the flop gave me a flush draw and a scare card to force my opponents out of the hand. The button called my continuation bet and I still can’t find a good reason to bet that turn, given the button calls the flop bet only 30% of the time and never folds the turn! Yet I fired the turn continuation bet, button min-raised me and I went all-in! My chance of winning that big pot was merely 18%.

So, how much money could I have saved if I had played this hand differently? On turn I could have folded to the min-raise, saving me $50 or a buy-in! How about if I hadn’t played this hand at all from the beginning as I was supposed to? That would save me $67.70, since effective stacks were 135 big blinds! Thus, instead of losing 7 buy-ins, I would have ended up losing “just” 5.5! When I reviewed the rest of those 16 hands, I found out that I made more mistakes that ultimately led me to have lost so much money!

Before you curse you luck for losing money in Texas Hold’em poker tables, my advice is to review your losing hands in your favorite online poker software. You’d be surprised to discover how much better you could have played each hand and how much money you would have saved! It would only take 5 or so minutes to fully review 10-15 hands but by doing so you might find out that there is still a lot of room for improvement.

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