Hand Thought Process

brandlorbrandlor Red Chipper Posts: 19 ✭✭
edited October 2014 in General Concepts
Hey Guys,

So the more I play and learn the more I need help with the thought process of a hand. What I should be focusing on now and what I should add later.

What I mean by this is I find I can only focus on 4-5 things throughout a hand, like stack sizes, SPR, hand ranges and should I bet, check, or fold if card X comes on the turn. I am slowly moving things to the back of my head that I don't have to focus on like a Flush beats a Straight, what the best hand is given the board, what are my hole cards, etc.

As an example, I have found that there is a limper in middle position, I raise from the button and he calls. The flop comes and he bets half pot. As I'm think about his range/stats, play stile, the board texture and if I should raise, call or fold, I notice he only has 10bb's left after his raise. Although this now makes the decision easy, I should have noticed he was short before the start of the hand.

I am wondering, given the 1,000 things to focus on in a poker hand, which are all important. What are the 4-5 things I should be focusing on actively while I work on just knowing them, so I can add more active thinking concepts later as things become second nature.

I hope my rambling made a little bit of sense...



  • SplitSuitSplitSuit RCP Coach Posts: 4,057 -
    1. Stack sizes
    2. Position
    2. Mistake propensities
    4. Edges
    5. Hole cards

    That's my overly-simplified attempt at this. Never tried to break it down into 5 elements before =)
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  • brandlorbrandlor Red Chipper Posts: 19 ✭✭
    Thanks SplitSuit!
  • JCWJCW Red Chipper Posts: 93 ✭✭

    Keep a small notepad at the table. When you see something or think of something, write down a question that would make you think of the answer. Like the TV Show Jeopardy.

    For example, guy bombs the river and then shows a bluff. Good Questions...

    Can he bluff the River?
    What does his bluff look like?

    Example, guy with 10bb limps in and then folds the Flop.

    Is he Fix and Fold?
    Is he aware of his own SPR?

    So just keep writing down then questions in your notebook. You have the answers already, you saw the action that got you the question. It is the questions you are looking for really.

    At home, take some time to look over the questions. Condense them. Look for redundancies.

    Because right now, 4-5 things to look for will not be of great help. Poker is too big for that. It is too dynamic than a matchbook cover set of rules. So start from the best place. Ask good questions about your opponents at the table. Watch the action and come up with your own list of questions to ask, in your own words that gets you finding the answers.

    So next time when a guy bombs the River, you would have already been asking yourself the questions to get you the answers you need.

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