Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pre- and post- game process - Part I

I'm finding that more and more, in order to continue being a successful poker player, one needs to maintain discipline at all times. Discipline includes more than just playing your "A" game at the table, but putting in time after the game is over to review your hand histories, as well as education and researching. The following is part of a series of four posts that I will be posting dealing with my pre- and post- game process.

Working full time as an engineer, if I have learned anything, I have learned that process is critical to success. Although process can be tedious at times, the simple fact is that if a process is not in place, quality inevitably decreases and issues with the product eventually surface. Poker should be no different than an engineering exercise; in fact the parallels are uncanny. The "product" is the game you play, the thought process you use, and the winnings you take off the field. Forgoing the process once in awhile, aka short-cutting, will, for the most part, allow you to get away without decreased results. However, total long term neglect to the process will, without a doubt, net you decreased profits - and perhaps a session or multiple sessions loss. What is important here is formulating a process and sticking to it with the discipline talked about earlier.

The Hand Review

As part of my process, I am continually reviewing my Poker Tracker database hand histories, looking back at my hands (major and minor pots) to see what I did correctly and what I did incorrectly. More frequently, I look at the major hands (I sort by pot size and look at the max gain / max loss), but I also look through the middle sections (smaller wins or losses) to find hidden issues or leaks with my game. Every once in awhile, it is necessary to dissect overall profitability from individual hands (i.e. Known Starting Hands Summary) to find your profit centers and loss hands (I was a losing player with The Poker Meister J9s, last month :-( ). In my opinion, the hand review is tantamount to maximizing profit while playing the game.

In my mind, I exercise the Six Sigma (6σ) strategy to cut down these issues and / or formulate appropriate strategies to combat putting myself in the awkward losing spots or not getting enough value out of the hand in the winning spots. 99% of the time, I always have issue with at least one hand in the session, where I either misread my opponent's strength or weakness and made an inappropriate move. Part of my "improvement" process includes posting hand histories to this blog - where I have an opportunity to get outside opinions on my play. Another part of my "improvement" process is discussing the questionable hands with other poker players whose game I respect. Hand history review accounts for around 30% of my non-playing time.


  1. Does Poker Tracker let you mark hands while you play for review later. I find this one of the biggest plusses to Holdem Manager.

  2. Yup. You can mark for review and later play back. That's one of the ways I mark a hand for posting on this blog.


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