I help you put more thought into your decisions by asking yourself great questions that force you to utilize the information available to you.
Listen to this episode #365 as you follow along below:
Most poker players don’t put enough thought into their decisions.
Basically, all they do is look down at their cards, compare them to the board, gauge the strength of their hand, then simply make their plays based on this. This is first level thinking.
Players fail to take into account the plethora of information available to them, such as:
- Villain’s range of potential hands and prior actions taken
- Villain’s tendencies
- Stack and pot sizes
- Table position and relative position
- What cards can come on the next street to help or hurt Hero’s chances in the hand
- How Villain may respond and what Hero will do in return
As a rule, the more information you take into account, the better your decisions will be.
Train Yourself to Utilize More Information
The best way to train yourself to consider more information is to ask and answer questions before every decision.
- Before you 3-bet with AA pre-flop, ask and answer: “What’s the best sizing to use vs. this loose-aggressive open-raiser to convince them to come over the top?”
- Before shoving the river with your nut straight, ask and answer: “Do they have any hands they think would be good enough to call my shove with?”
- Before calling their raise after your flop continuation bet, ask and answer: “What hands are they raising that I beat?”
Thoughtful answers to the useful questions above will guide you to the correct action to take.
Developing the Right Poker Habits
You must work to develop a habit of asking and answering questions before every decision, and this begins with your off-the-felt poker study sessions.
While analyzing hands, force yourself to ask and answer a question with every decision you review. Focus on doing this same thing during your play sessions. It’s going to be tough at first, but eventually it’ll become a beneficial habit and your poker decisions and results will be improved for it.
You might be wondering “what are the best questions to ask?” Well, this knowledge comes with putting in the reps. Asking and answering questions repeatedly will develop an intuition for the best questions to ask and the information you need to answer it properly.
If you’re ever in doubt of a question to ask, fall back on Poker’s Ultimate Question:
“What are they doing this with?”
You can ask this question in just about any situation and the answer is going to be helpful.
A Real-Life Example
You open-raised from late position with KJ, and Susan is the only caller in the big blind.
The first question that should pop in your mind is, “What is she doing this with?”
The answer will force you to think about Susan’s pre-flop range of hands, and you’ll be forced to remove hands that she would normally fold along with the hands she’d normally re-raise. This will help you play against her post-flop.
The flop is K92r so you hit TP with your KJ. Susan checks then raises your continuation bet.
A great question to ask would be, “What is Susan check-raising me with on the K92 flop?”
To answer this question, you must compare her pre-flop range to the board, but also take into account what you know about her tendencies. You also have to consider the size of her raise and her remaining stack to see how “pot committed” she may be.
Let’s say you called her flop check-raise because you think she could be doing it with a hand worse than your TP. This makes the pot on the turn 30BB. The turn bricks with an off-suit 4.
Susan now bets 25BB, leaving only 60BB behind and if you call, the pot will grow to 80BB. She seems pot committed with this 25bb bet and with the prior street’s aggressive check-raising play.
Here’s a great question to ask, “What is she committing herself with on this board?”
If she can do it with hands worse than your KJ, like KT or K9 or even a draw like TJ, then you can call or raise as you feel is correct. However, if she’s only committing herself here with a hand better than your TPGK, it’s an easy fold.
Your answer to Poker’s Ultimate Question on every street has led to the realization that your lovely top pair hand is beat. Your best option now is to fold, so you fold and Susan shows 22 for the flopped set. Good fold.
If you simply relied on the strength of your hand, TPGK, it’s possible you would’ve called the turn and then lost it all on the river. However, these questions forced you to consider everything Susan was telling you and you made a better decision for it.
Now get out there and take action to develop asking and answering questions as a beneficial habit before every poker decision you make!
Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:
Write Poker’s Ultimate Question on a sticky note so it’s in front of you as you play. “What are they doing this with?”
Start each of your next 5 play sessions with 1 table for 30 minutes. Anytime somebody enters the pot against you, ask and answer this question.
If you’re not in the hand, ask and answer it in relation to one of the players in the hand.
Doing this over and over will train you to use more information in your decision making.
Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.