Poker Hand Histories: How to Analyze Your Hands More Effectively

Poker Hand Analysis Guide
Read BeatTheFish’s in-depth hand analysis guide to come up with a great strategy for looking at your toughest hands, to become a better poker player.

Analyzing your poker hands is part of becoming a successful player, who makes a long-term profit. However, hand analysis is more than just posting on forums; a lot of work goes into it, and we’re here to help you come up with the best way to analyze your live and online poker hands.

Preparing To Analyze Your Hands

If you’re planning to give some in-depth analysis to you poker hands, the first step is to download poker tracking software. We’re not talking about HUDs; we’re talking about software that lets you look back on your hands like Poker Copilot, which allows you to develop your own strategy rather than telling you how to play your hands in real-time.

While the built-in hand histories do an adequate job of letting you look back on your previous hands – but, a poker tracker gives you a lot more insight. Some of these tools have built in hand analysis which asses how you’ve played hands and report trends in your playing style.

If you’re a live poker player, there are some useful tools that can make recording your hands easier. Apps like Share My Pair and actual notebooks like the Liver Poker Player’s Journal make the process super quick.

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If you’re going to chat with others about your hands, you should prepare your histories so that they are easy to read and understand. Most poker forums allow you to display cards as little icons, but if you’re talking on Reddit or over text, you should come up with a good shorthand that isn’t too difficult to decipher.

Remember to include:

  • Everyone’s stack sizes (it’s best to record these as BBs – big blinds – rather than the actual number of chips)
  • What the small blind and big blind post
  • The size of the pot after each round
  • Some notes about the your opponent’s behavior
  • What you’re having trouble with

When you’re thinking back on your hand, it might be obvious where the issue is. However, other players might not know the tight spot just based on your hand history.

How to Choose Which Hands to Analyze

You can’t do a deep analysis on every hand you play, so it’s important that you pick the right ones to put under the microscope. When using poker tracking software, you can take a look at trends and identify the hands that tend to lose you the most money. Ensure that you pick those where you struggled hardest to make a decision or where you lost the most chips.

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You can group your hands together based on the issue that you’re encountering – such as “preflop mistakes or “c-bet didn’t work out”. Doing will give you an idea of your playing style and help you correct these mistakes in the future.

As you look at these hands, also look at these hands, pay attention to what the other players in these hands are doing. You’ll soon be able to identify the different types of players, such as “aggressive” and “tight”, allowing you to change up how you play when you encounter them.

Running The Numbers for Your Poker Hands

Since you can’t ask other players about every single hand (it would get super annoying), you should download an equity calculator. There are quite a few good, free options out there like PokerStove and PokerEquilab.

When you know your equity in a hand, you’ll be able to make better decisions about if you should value bet, bluff or just call. Over time, seeing your equity calculated over and over will allow you to make better calculations while you’re playing in real-time. This is particularly useful when making the transition to live poker.

Questions to Ask Yourself

If you’ve picked out hands to analyze but aren’t quite sure what you need to look at in depth, these are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Did I take the right actions during this hand? What can I improve?
  • Did I choose the right bet size?
  • If I was passive, should I have been aggressive? If I was aggressive, should I have played it more aggressively?
  • Did the player type influence how I played this hand?
  • If it’s a winning hand, did I play it in the best way possible to make the most profit possible?
  • If it’s a losing how, was it possible to avoid this?

Talk to Others About Your Poker Hands

There are plenty of different forums in which poker players congregate online, and their users are always very eager to help out. It helps your own game to look at other players’ hands, so it shouldn’t be hard to get feedback from other players about how you’ve played hands.

When You Should Analyze Your Hands

It’s always best to wait before you analyze your poker hands. Doing it right after a session means you’ll be quite tired and even a bit emotion, which will hinder your ability to analyze your hands objectively. It could be a good time to pick which hands you’ll analyze, though.

Some players suggest doing a little hand analysis before you start your next session. It’s can make for a good warm up, getting your head in the right place as you’re gearing up to play.

Take Notes

As you learn more about your behavior, make sure you take notes about your habits. You’ll begin to see trends in how you play the game and be able to come up with ways to improve.

Keep a notebook specifically for poker, or a Google Doc. You’ll be able to refer back to old hands easily, as they are all stored in one handy location.

Help Others Analyze Their Own Hands

Once you’ve found a forum that you enjoy browsing and are becoming more confident in your analysis abilities, make sure you participate in helping other players analyze their hands. In many situations, the player’s behavior could reveal something about your own play.

You may also come across some situations that you’ve encountered in the past. Seeing how those play out with other players will certainly help you in the long run

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