There is really no substitute for detailed hand analysis. I have personally been slow to embrace hand analysis videos, leaning more on reading about, listening to, and trying to incorporate macro level strategies in poker. Hand analysis has always felt like a lot of work, and it has been easy for me to dismiss as something that does fit into my schedule between making a living and parenting my children (oh, and yes, actually playing poker whenever there is a window to do so).
But over the past year, I have found myself increasingly listening to hand analysis podcasts, picking books off my shelf that dig into specific hands, and reviewing some of my Advanced Poker Training (APT) training hands. Ever since I began working with APT and gotten exposed to Steve Blay’s (one of the site’s founders) approach to hands, I have grown enamored with the art form. Not that I am particularly good at hand analysis yet, but I find it enjoyable and endlessly challenging. Sometimes I will even listen to a pro break down a hand, and there will be a point where I brashly state “That does not make sense because…..” and proceed to list a series of objections that at least seem, right or wrong, to have some logical foundation.
That’s why I am excited that Steve is now doing a regular video where he does a very detailed hand analysis. The first two are up and you can access them (and all future ones) through this link:
Steve’s videos are also being posted on APT’s Youtube Channel. Subscribers will receive a notification when each is published. You can subscribe to APT’s Channel here.
You’ll see right away that Steve has a really fine analytical and mathematical mind on top of a darn good grasp of advanced poker theory. In each of the first two videos he demonstrates how to use the APT Odds Calculator to estimate an opponent’s hand range and see where you stand against it. In the second video, Steve introduces the concept of Minimum Defense Frequency (MDF) and shows you how to calculate it. Watching Steve step through each stage of a hand and assess the optimal play is enlightening.Poker Hand Analysis Arrives at APT Click To Tweet
So I now fully embrace my future as a Hand Analysis Geek. I even got the clock called on me this past weekend (a first for me) in a tournament because I went deep into the tank while applying my newfound passion. End result: I made the right call and then my opponent caught one of his 5 outs sending me to the parking lot. Oh, this game.
Take a look at Steve’s videos and join the club. Be sure to let me know in the comments below if you have a different take on either of these hands.
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Thanks, Paul. I find hand analysis really challenging, but that won’t stop be digging deeper into it. I’ll take a look into this further now.
This question concerns the shove fold and ICM tools. Are you recommending that these be used in actual live games, and if so what fraction of game operators would allow this?
For the shove/fold tools, no I can’t imagine many, if any, venues would be letting you use them in live in-person tournaments while you are live in a hand (i.e. you have cards). Now between hands or after you fold there is generally nothing preventing you from calling something up on your phone (or even looking at paper copies) to decide the range of hands you are going to shove with given your stack and position (e.g., “I am in the cutoff and have 11BBs remaining, if everyone folds to me I am shoving with this range of hands.”) Or with the APT tool putting in your stack size, what the pot is if everyone folds to you, how much the opponent would have to call, and what range of hands you might get called by from a single opponent. That gives you an idea of how often you’ll get a fold and if called what your equity is against that range if called.
Another use of shove/fold, of course, is to assess hands after a tournament to see what you should have done in certain circumstances to better prepare yourself in the future.
For the ICM, again you likely won’t be allowed to be inputting info while you are in a hand, but when you are not live you certainly could put in the estimates of chip stacks and put in payout amounts to figure out what an ICM chop would be if you are proposing ending the tournament with a chop. Or you could use the ICM to try to predict how to behave in certain scenarios, although that is challenging on the fly in a tournament.