Ask Phil: Answers (Part 1)

Hey Guys,

I asked for some questions, and I got a whole bunch. If I don’t get to your question, I’m sorry.

I’ll keep responding over the coming days though, so hopefully I’ll get to a lot of them. I’ll be picking out the questions I think are more interesting first, and thinking about what you guys would prefer to hear answered.

Keep in mind that I’ll be much more likely to pick your questions quickly if they are more specific and interesting.

Mr. J asks:

1. Let’s say poker, in every way, shape, or form, became impossible for you to play (online poker banned across the world, casinos shut down, all other poker players simultaneously find other hobbies). What would you do? Not in a “how would you react” way but “what sort of projects would you take up, would you look for an actual job, etc.” way.

I’d have to do some soul searching. The two first things that came to mind were teaching and starting a business. Second two were writing a book or getting into finance. Hmmm.

Since I have no college degree, I can’t really teach. Something I’ve often thought about and would like to do would be to start an organization that offers all around tutoring and SAT tutoring to children who’s families can’t afford those advantages, as long as the kids show the desire to learn and work hard. I think it’s something I’d be good at, and I feel strongly that investing in education is one of the more worthwhile causes around.

This obviously wouldn’t be a money maker for me. I technically could stop trying to earn money, but I’d have to live a more modest lifestyle than I do now. Plus I also enjoy the challenge of success. So I’d need to do something alongside with that.

I guess starting businesses or getting into finance would be my main two options for earning a living. Writing a book or teaching in some way (like that above) are two things I’d like to do on the side. I’ve thought about both for a while, and have even started to write a little bit, but I just find myself to be so busy and burnt out from poker.

2. I give you magic sunglasses that let you see every player’s hand, but in return, you will have the nut low every time and will never win at showdown. You enter the Main Event and no one will catch on during this tournament. What is the probability you final table? Probability you get 2nd place?

Interesting. You’d be at a massive advantage on the first few days of the tournament. Hopefully you can build up a big enough stack to have some room later on. Actually, you’d do very well later on too. You can steal or resteal anytime everyone left to act has weak hands. You try to keep pots small when you can, so you can bluffraise or bet turns or rivers.
I think I’d be a large favorite (90%) to final table, and around 50% to make the top 2. Stacks are so short at the final table that it’ll be difficult to use my advantage, especially since I’ll lose every showdown. (I’m assuming you always have nut low by the river, not just when the money gets in)

3. Favorite books?

I don’t really read. Wish I did, but I get bored so quickly. I’m more of a TV guy.

4. Advice you would give yourself 5 years ago? 10 years ago?

Well, I’ve learned a lot about myself- the way I think, the way I’ll react to certain situations, things I can do to help myself when things aren’t going well. So I’d explain all of that to the old (young) me. Same thing for people in my life… who I can trust, who I should keep in my life, how I can help them.

The only general advice I’d give would be very cliche. Something along the lines of “Take more chances. You won’t regret things you do, only things you don’t do.” This is good/standard advice for anyone, but for me especially. Though it may not make sense, since I play nosebleeds (and have played underrolled even), I’m one of the most all around careful people I know. I’m the opposite of impulsive. I think for a long time before doing anything. I even will usually think through something before speaking out loud.

Mr. C asks:

i was wondering if you’d take us through your thought process on a hand from the last season of High Stakes Poker…between you and Phil Laak.

Phil Laak raises with 77 from the cut off

you 3-bet to 11,500 with 3s4s from the SB
Laak calls

Flop is 9s 4c 6h

you lead for 13,500
Laak raises rather quickly to 40,200
you tank for a bit then shove all in (144,000), Laak folds.

i’d love you analysis on this hand.

my take on the hand was you using Laak’s play against him. Laak is a tight player and loves to slow play big hands, especially post flop. Laak opened, called your 3-bet. then quickly 3-bet your lead post flop. i’m guessing you figured Laak would never play a monster like this, and knowing Laak’s tight nature – if you shipped it here – he’d lay down virtually all one-pair hands. obviously AA, KK and overpairs didnt really bother you too much.

you can view the hand here…
starting about 40 minutes in.

Well, let me start by saying that my reasoning happened to be totally off. After the hand I laughed to myself at how lucky I was that I made the right play based on a totally wrong read.  I’d love to take all the credit for a sick read, but I can’t lie to you guys.  I’ll tell you what I was thinking.

Preflop is a semi-standard light 3bet against a late position opener, so I won’t go into that.

After betting flop and getting raised, I had to figure out how often I thought he’d fold to a shove. With my pair + backdoor flush/straight draws, I had over 20% equity against any 1 pair hand, and a teeny bit of equity against 2pr or sets. Obviously, with 20-25% equity at best when called, I need to be pretty confident he’ll fold if I was gonna shove.

So, the basic way I think it through is to start with all of the hands I expect him to play this way that will call my jam:

Sets: All sets play this way preflop, and I can definitely see him raising flop with them (though he would slowplay sometimes as well, so I have to discount some). Also, there are only 7 hand combos that make sets, given the 4s in my hand. Very rare.

2 Pair: Would he raise flop and call with 2 pair? Absolutely. But how often can he have two pair? I expected Phil to have a tightish calling range against my 3bet. So can he have 94s? No way. 96o, 64o? No way. Could he have 96s or 64s. I thought probably not, but maybe.

However, look at how many combos there are for those hands: 96dd, 96cc, 64dd. That’s it. 3 combos, IF he would even play it that way.

Overpairs: This was the hand I was most worried about, by far. I thought that Phil might slowplay some overpairs preflop, and get it in here, and there are far more combos of overpairs than sets/2pr. I discounted QQ, as I thought he’d 4bet that hand almost always. JJ and TT, he may not want to get all in with. AA and KK, he may want to slowplay. QQ might be strong enough to get in, but not strong enough to slowplay, in his mind.

Those were my guesses. So, 6 combos each for 4 hands = 24 combos, and I felt he was more likely to play these hands this way than the above two.

Top Pair: There are more than a handful of hands (handful of hands? weird image) that he’d call preflop which contain a 9. So I had to ask myself, “would he raise J9 on this flop?” I decided that he wouldn’t. This is where my read seems to have been off (since he raised 77, which I never would have expected).

I felt that he’d put me on strong overpairs, missed high cards, and lots of weak bluffs, some of which may have hit the 9. By the way, this is why I draw a distinction between TT and J9… with TT, I feel he’d get it in, knowing he’d stack all my 9s- and overpairs just have a different feel to them. Most people have too much confidence in an overpair and too little confidence in top pair. A9, and even K9/Q9 are much stronger than TT in his spot, but most people don’t treat it that way.

Anyways, point is, I felt he’d just call with his 9s and try to get to showdown, rather than treat them as a value hand, since they’d (perceivably) only get stacks in against the strong part of my range that has them beat.

This was the ultimate deciding factor for me. I thought he wouldn’t raise a hand weaker than TT or maybe A9 for value, and there were so few hands that met that requirement. I felt that even if he only occasionally bluffraised with KQ and QJ type hands (wayyy more combos), his bluffs would outweigh his value hands in terms of frequency. All-in!

As it played out, I assume he raised 77 because he thought he was likely to have the best hand, and he wanted to protect it.  He might have felt uncomfortable calling and facing a turn bet on almost any card.  Once I raised, he probably felt I had the strong end of my range (overpairs) or the weak end that hit a 9.  Very lucky for me.
 I wasn’t trying to bluff him off of a pair… only to make him fold his bluffs and protect my hand.

Mr. X asks:


First, thanks for taking questions. I am sure you will get a ton. I just turned pro. Cash game only. I am married. The wife has given me this wonderful opportunity to play cards.. do something I love for a living. How do I keep from letting her down? what I mean is.. I can feel deep in side that I am not making the right decisions at the table because I don’t want to take a big loss and have to tell the wife.

I know the rule is to make the right moves at the right time at the table. Always the best play regardless of chips. (for the most part). Let me say that she is nothing but supportive so its not a fear thing. I just want to succeed so badly that I can tell that I am not making the right play when needed.

First things first- Your marraige is more important than your poker career. I’m sure you know that, but remember to keep it in mind. It’s easy to be consumed by poker and how it’s going and what you should be doing differently. It’s easy to temporarily lose sight of the things that really matter.

You’re lucky that you have a wife who supports your love of the game. Many poker players have family, and especially significant others, who are not so comfortable with gambling as a profession. You should keep that in mind, especially when you are conflicted about poker related decisions that will impact your wife.

Since it’s something she’s seemingly gone out of her way to let you do, even if she’s a very kind-hearted person, it will be hard for her to avoid feeling extra resentment if you’re neglecting her or otherwise inconveniencing her because of poker. You want to avoid putting her through that, for her sake and for the sake of the marraige. (Seems like you’re already very worried about how things will impact her though)

Non poker players have an extremely difficult time understanding variance, and how powerful it can be. Our brains aren’t built to understand it. You should play around with this:

Take a look at how possible it is to run horribly, and show your wife. She needs to fully understand that the swings usually aren’t your fault, even the bad ones. She needs to be prepared for how bad it could get. She may even need this opportunity to change her mind about poker… you don’t want her figuring out 3 years from now how big the swings can get and regretting her decision.

Now, to your poker game!

It may help a little bit if you know your wife is mentally prepared for the swings. It still seems like you’ll have this problem- the fear of a big loss… the fear of disappointing your wife. It also seems like you know perfectly well what the problem is, and what you ‘should’ do (pull the trigger, make the best play).

I’ve tried to out-logic my emotions for years, and I it’s been a waste of time. I believe you have to work with and around your emotions.

Without knowing the games available to you, and your financial situation and goals, it’s hard to give specific advice (feel free to follow up with more details and questions). That said, it seems like the best fix would be to move down in stakes, where a big loss isn’t a big loss. I’d expect you to play your best here, and to be playing against worse players. Maybe those two factors combined will result in higher, or almost as high, yearly earnings with much much smaller swings. Remember, as your winrate goes up, swings get cut substantially + you’re playing smaller already, which reduces swings.

I think it’s always good advice to move down and play overrolled, but I think it’s especially perfect in your situation. Hopefully that’s a viable option for you. Good luck!

Mr. D asks:



1.Have you been asked to represent any online poker site such as Pokerstars or Fulltilt etc? If you have, why haven’t you signed with any? You are a top notch professional and have always had a clean reputation. I would surely think you would be a valuable representative of a company.

After winning a bracelet in 2008, I recieved an offer from FTP (I thought this over and don’t see why it would be a problem to reveal… I’d be more discrete with new offers from (more) existing companies). It was similar to what I understand their ‘standard’ deal was, which wasn’t worth very much to a nosebleed player like me. I declined.

In addition to the money not making a huge difference for me, and the potential for not being allowed to play on other sites (very costly), I was very confident in my game and my future. I had proven myself and had the respect of the high stakes online regulars, but I had no recognition outside of that. I felt that it was reasonably likely that my status would grow over the coming year(s).

A little while after the UB scandal, they offered me a deal. I likely wasn’t interested at any price, unless they could somehow magically satisfy me fully that things were completely different, and all of the people in power were no longer in power. I wanted to give them a chance and hear them out. Not that it mattered, but they offered me less than FTP had before (and my reputation and BR had grown a fair amount in the meantime). No thought or investigation required.

I have been asked to hear offers from some newer smaller sites, and I’ve declined to listen. Regardless of price, I decided I didn’t want to represent a site that I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting $500k on.

I’ve been in talks a few times with potential start ups, some which have since launched, and some which never took off. I was extremely careful and picky (probably to the point of seeming very unreasonable), and nothing ever came of it.

I’m not against representing a poker site, but I’ve never received a meaningful offer. I’d rep a site if I believed in it and the price was right. (Not that I would audit the company first or that you should be positive a site is safe just because I or another pro signs with them. I fully believed in and would have signed with FTP for the right price.)

Anyways, nowadays, there aren’t many large deals being thrown around, especially for Americans. If and when the legal situation in the US changes, I’d hope to get some good offers.

2. Why did you choose to relocate to Vancouver? New York is pretty close to the border and you chose to move all the way to the west coast instead of choosing somewhere closer to home like Toronto.

Yeah… weird choice I made. I wouldn’t say I relocated. I kind’ve split time between Vegas, Vancouver, NY, and Maryland (where my family is)

1) I thought I’d travel back and forth from Vancouver to Vegas all the time. This didn’t exactly happen.

2) I heard nothing but great things about Vancouver. After spending time here, I agree with them.

3) I have a good amount of poker friends in Toronto, and more that went there after Black Friday. I didn’t know anyone in Vancouver. This was exciting to me because I wanted to do my own thing, to meet non-poker people and not just live in an extension of what WSOP time is for me. This didn’t totally happen, as I only hang out with a few good poker friends here so far. I still have been able to be very productive since I have fewer social obligations (and options) than I ever have.

3. Maybe talk about how many WSOP events your going to play this summer.

I’m very much on the fence about this. I’ve started to appreciate live poker more, so it may actually be fun to play a bunch of WSOP events. The cash games should be great, but you play 25 hands an hour, so I don’t feel I’d be missing out on a ton if I just skipped most of them.

I think I’ll just play it by ear. I tend to end up doing that anyways, even if I make a plan.

4. Any thoughts on the 1 drop? Or buying pieces of anybody playing in it?

I think it looks awesome. I may or may not play myself. I may or may not buy pieces. We’ll see.

5. Why does stars only have table limits up to 200/400 for big bet games NLH and PLO. Why dont they have any tables higher than that? And why are heads up tables only 50/100? What advantages do they see in not having any 300/600+ etc.

It’s bad for a poker site when players go broke. If they could, I bet many poker sites would stick with 5/10 or 10/20 as the highest stakes game. Weaker players (and even some strong ones) go broke to easily playing that big.

The sites benefit if we all just pass our money back and forth and continue playing as many hands as possible. (Same reason some sites don’t have or have waited on HU tables… too large of a disadvantage for the weaker players)

I’m thankful that the sites have all gone the route of offering bigger games.

The financial value of games 50/100 and higher for the sites lies solely in their ability to entertain, in my opinion. People watch and follow the high stakes action. Those people deposit and play on the site. Free publicity on sites like HSDB, people talking about the games, etc. Even with the recent rake increases, I don’t think they make much money at all directly from the games I play in.


Thanks for the questions, guys! There are many more that I’ll get to, assuming you guys want to hear them. Please keep them coming to  As I added to my last post:

I’d much prefer to address problems/questions more specific to you (especially outside of or only peripherally related to poker), or specific questions about me or perhaps parts of my game or thought process that haven’t been talked about.

In addition to more questions, feedback is always appreciated… even when I don’t get a chance to respond.

Take care.


39 Replies to “Ask Phil: Answers (Part 1)”

  1. Can you talk a bit about betting for protection, especially as it pertains to the HSP hand? There are some poker players who say that betting for protection is passe, but in that hand it seems that both you and Phil Laak do it. Maybe it’s a semantic matter, but when you’re looking for folds, isn’t that essentially betting as a bluff? Or is it just a matter of defining bluffing as betting to make a better hand fold and betting for protection as betting to make a hand with decent equity fold?

  2. “3. Favorite books?

    I don’t really read. Wish I did, but I get bored so quickly. I’m more of a TV guy.”

    You’re going to have a hard time writing a book, then.

  3. …You enter the Main Event… “I think I’d be a large favorite (90%) to final table, and around 50% to make the top 2.”

    — Please be explainin’ 🙂

    RE: The Phil Laak hand
    “A9, and even K9/Q9 are much stronger than TT in his spot” Please explain the theory to us fishes!

    Thx for all!

    1. I could be wrong but if we are drawing TT has 2 outs to win but 1pr+kicker has 5 outs. Again I could be wrong but this seems like what PG was talking about.

    2. I’m going to hazard a guess that *IF* Laak called with an overpair our equity is much higher vs. JJ+ than with TT.(~18% vs. ~10%)

    3. Just in case Phil does not answer this…
      9x hands usually have 5 outs to improve (for example vs QQ), while a hand like TT only have 2 outs ..

      1. phil means that hands like A9 K9 are better than TT because if phil is shoving something like 9T you are dominating them with A9. If phil has a hand like 9T J9 he only has three outs vs. A9. If he is shoving 9T or J9 vs. your JJ than he picks up an extra two outs to beat your over pair.

  4. For the guy not wanting to have a big loss because he doesnt want to let his wife down. Dont tell her results based on session to session. Have a talk with her and say that you will go over your results every month/2months/6months. Not only will it allow you to play better at the tables but it will have her lead a much happier life as well. Money is a huge issue with couples no matter what. If you have a bad session/week she is going to start worrying about the money. But if every month you can say “hey i made $xxxx this month” it will help her a lot in understanding poker is a long term game.

  5. Hey…

    great post Phil, just wanted to say that this seems like a great idea to keep the blog going, and it was great to read as well. also I just saw a heap of Bluefire videos (sorry if that topics taboo) but geez the’re good, you really did a good job with your videos, it really helps someone like me (dont have anyone to discuss thoughts with, and i dont get alot from forum post, more of a million questions at once).

    ok on to the question/s….

    -At the end of the first question u say your burnt out from poker?? do u mean currently, your sick of it?? or are you saying that it comes and goes and your just on the “goes” phase??

    -Ive heard it else where that you have students (this is not a “will you coach me plead” this is a “these are the facts” question) is this true?? if this is true, can you tell us who they are, if we’ve maybe seen them online?? are they getting up there in terms of world competitive…ness (cmon we all know this is a word) etc?? if this isnt true, would you eventually take on coaching someone?? if so what would they need qualities other than the enough money?? (i ask as i assume that u get flooded with pleas for coaching) and lastly to fill out the blanks, if you don’t think you’ll coach someone personally, how come?? you give the impression you like teaching poker?? so what would stop you doing it on a one on one basis??

    -Do you have any Nick names?? ones that aren’t say screen name realted?? (omg, jman etc??)

    anyway cheers Phil, great post and great videos!!

    (Ps. I really hope you read this cause you should be thanked for the amount of effort you put into your videos etc)

  6. Hi Phil, huge fan for years.

    It seems the live nosebleed cash games have migrated to Macau. Any plans to play with some businessman?

  7. Hi Phil,

    thanks for doing this. You wrote that relocating to Vancouver was appealing to you because you didn’t have as many poker-friends there, so you’d have to meet new people.
    I play poker professionally as well and have a hard time connecting with people who are unfamiliar with poker. Every time I tell someone what I do, it turns into a Q&A session. I also don’t want to answer questions about anything money-related because it alienates people (plus I don’t want to get into that), so that often kills the conversation.
    This results in very topical smalltalk (talking about sports in the gym or stuff like that). I’m only close friends with people I knew before I became a poker player.
    Any tips on that?

    Thanks alot

  8. Phil,

    Thank you for soliciting questions and giving sincere quality advice to those of us who visit your website.

    I am 31 years old and have been playing poker for 10 years. After playing in a small home game and becoming hooked I have been a winning player ever since. I later moved to playing online and was successful but it never clicked and I did not stick with it. I later went back to it and put in over a million hands. It was hard work and I did not progress past .50-1.00. One month I was the top winner on Full Tilt at .50-1.00 but never had a breakthrough. I have also worked full time while playing poker.

    I had recommitted to playing online and was again successful when black Friday shut it down. I continue to play in small very loose home games and travel to Vegas and play 2-5 and 5-10. I have always been the best player in the home games but recently have been struggling. I have been lost in hands and have not had my normal confidence. I have always felt like I had the potential to be a very successful player but now worry that I have hit a plateau or a wall.

    I realize this may not be something you can relate to but wonder if you have insight into my predicament.

    Thank you,

  9. Thanks for doing this Phil. It makes for very interesting reading.

    Now to my question:

    I’ve been grinding casually online for the last 3 yrs, and am now a winning player at 100NL (+10bb/100 over 50k hands). Once I prove that I can beat 200NL I’m thinking about going part time at work later in the year and grinding poker on my days off. I’ve calculated that I can cover the loss of income and potentially even increase my overall income through my poker winnings. I think this could be a good plan for me, as I like the idea of scaling back the hours I spend in the office. However, I’m also not sure if I could handle full time online grinding.

    I know you don’t have any real experience slogging it out with a 9 to 5 job and what the transition might be like, but I’m wondering if you can shed some light on what it’s like to rely on poker for an income? Are there any specific strategies you use to deal with swings? Or how you keep motivated to put in enough volume each month?

    I read your post about not trying to block your emotions, and to be more accepting of the influence that they have on you and found it very useful.



  10. i miss “on the table”, any chance you will do another one? it always made me laugh.

    i wouldn’t mind hearing some stuff about behind the scenes at hsp, or playing with annette obrestad as a partner at doubles. that had to be interesting. it looked like a fun format, i would have liked to see you play with gus or tom.

  11. Oh, and another question. One thing I worry about is being able to make a good hourly in the future given the rate of inflation/wage growth.

    At present I could make an equivalent hourly rate playing poker or working my day job (about $50ph). But as the micros get tougher, and inflation/wage growth increases I wonder how I will cope in the future if I switch to a poker income. I need to increase my poker income at 3.5-4% per annum to keep up with my potential wage increases in my current role (without taking into account potential promotions).

    If the micros/small stakes continue to get tougher into the future, how will I maintain this?

    I know that depositing $200 nowadays shouldn’t be the same impost as it was say 20years ago. So I guess my question is – will the stakes get softer as the value of money declines with inflation?

  12. Hello, Phil.
    Wanna ask, if you remember ur sick fold of Kx on K999Q board against Eli Elezra at HighStakesPoker 6. You didnt even think about it too much. Were some tells from Eli that you folded? Yes, for sure, you didnt beat some hands like KK/QQ/AA/9x
    but thats not so much, and Eli didnt even think also you could have the Kx. sick hand i guess. Would you fold if Tom Dwan take this line? 🙂 hehehe

  13. Hey Phil,
    Great job on the blog, love it. My question is:
    How did u decide leaving college for poker?
    What led u to the decision? etc.. (As I dont want to write an essay of questions, you know where this is going. Please extend on the subject 🙂 )
    What would your advice be for people that are in the dilemma of what choise to make about this.

  14. Great answers Phil, as always a very interesting read. You’re both a great player and communicator.
    Best wishes from a Spanish spewy microstakes fish. I only wish you updated the blog more often.

  15. hey phil,

    recently graduated from madison, still live here. what are your thoughts on the city in general? do you ever regret leaving early (I assume you did leave early).

    also, what sort of ways did you take advantage of in having a ton of disposable income while in college?

    also what was your favorite bar here in Madison?


  16. hey phil,

    When you first started out playing poker, were you a fan of watching it on tv? if so what players were youre favorite.

    Any chance of writing a PLO ebook?

  17. Hi Phil,

    When you started playing poker and taking it seriously, I’m assuming you were putting in a lot of hours. Did you receive criticism from family & friends for “gambling” and if so how were you able to deal with it?

    I put in on average 15hrs/wk at my local casino and overall I am a lowstakes winning player (approx $16/hr). Last year was my first year of keeping track of wins/losses and came out as a winning player (before last year I didn’t take poker seriously, didn’t play often but was more than likely a losing player). I still have a lot of family members that see me as a degenerate even though that it is not interferring with my financial responsibilities. I’ve showed them graphs, explain to them that I also spend a lot of time studying the game, and also make sure I spend time outside of poker w/ family & friends. Nothing has seemed to work thus far.

    Also, going back to the days you were playing low stake cash games. (1/2 – 1/3 – 2/5 NLHE) what did you look for as far as table selection? Did you prefer to play with the older nittier players or the younger players that you would get action out of?

    Thank you for your time and good luck on the felt. I feel a bracelet coming for you in the near future!

  18. Thanks a heap for doing this Phil. My question is do you ever feel the need to satisfy your ego in regards to what other good players think of your game. Specifically in regards to being labelled as somewhat nitty, do you ever play sessions where you feel pressure at the tables to prove you aren’t. Do you ever try to play differently just to change this perception for your own satisfaction (not for meta reasons) or do you always play “your game” and just work on understanding how your image relates to your decisions.

  19. Hey Phil,

    I just got home from playing for the first time ever live and lost everything ($120) in less than an hour. Its like I had forgotten how to play. I was so nervous that it basically took over everything. Did this ever happen to you? and how do you fix this?

  20. Hey Phil,

    First off, great blogg I really enjoy reading it.

    Last year you ‘invested’ a lot of money learning the mixed games. What were the biggest obstacles you had to overcome learning these games and at what limit do you see yourself playing the mixed games in a year?



  21. Hello Phil,

    thanks for answering most of the questions!
    my question is heavily poker related. here we go:

    Getting reads on your opponents is a big part in todays mid-/highstakes online cashgames. Often you read on 2p2 or hear in interviews sth like “i had the read that he/she…”.
    For me as a midstakes player i am used to take notes and try to reconstruct hands that went to showdown and try to realize how my villains think about poker and how they perceive me or other players.
    What i got into recently is analyzing players in HoldemManager or Pokertracker. As i have no real experience in doing this, i have no real idea where to start off. What i usually do is to view at there stats and find differences compared to my game. If i found sth (f.e. very high flopraise) i filter for those spots and look with what kind of hands villain raises flops and how he plays the hand on the turn on river (f.e. raising flushdraws und mostly checking back on turns unimproved or sth like that).

    Do you ever analyze players off the tables ?
    If so, how do you start and what are some of the major reads you got on somebody (don’t want to hear names, just reads). While researching how other (better) player analyze opponents, i found a posting in the raptor well on 2p2 where he said he got a read on a guy who was betting more like x00 when bluffing and more like x55 when valuebetting. Did you ever find anything similar ?

    Thanks in advance for answering 😉


  22. Hello Phil and thank you for answering so many peoples questions!

    I have decided to take a wholehearted go at poker now, I’m mainly playing HU SnG and multitabling 6max, and untill now I have been playing without any type of “helping” program. And now I was wondering which programs you think suite best to help me in those areas, I’ve been winning but I feel like some sort of tabletracker and handrewieving programs would excell my game and help me develop alot. I feel like it’s a real disadvantage not to play with any type of program especially when multitabling. So to sum it up:

    Which programs do you use?
    Which programs do you think is most important to have?
    Which programs do you think would help me the most?

    Thank you.

  23. Hey Phil

    Congrats on the SCOOP PLO run you had the other day, was fun to see you and Mercier in action. I have a couple of questions, first up as a PLO “expert” do you ever play 8 or better and if so do you find it difficult to switch between the two? Also wondering if you’re going to be playing many WSOP events this year?



  24. Phil,

    Thanks for the link to the EV++ calculator. I’ve been looking for something like that for a while but hadn’t found anything.

  25. Phil,

    Just a point from your first point – You are already a great teacher so please don’t think you need a College degree to be able to teach. Just widen your thinking and start to teach online. You already have a vast following of people who believe you have something worth listening too, so you don’t have to teach within a school framework.

    I also advise that you seriously start thinking about what lies beyond poker and do it now. Unless you believe that the very best poker player in the world is what you aspire to be and remain as.


  26. Have you played in the high stake games in Macau? If yes, then why dont you play there on a regular basis? If not, what is the reason? Is Dwan and Ivey really killing the game, or is the edge not there?

  27. Hey, asked this not too long ago on Twitter but.. to be honest I doubt you’d answer being as Twitter’s a global phenomena rather than a personal blog. So, this being said, I feel more comfortable asking on here. I was just wondering what stat lines you would suggest to go with on any Poker HUD. I’m using HEM2, just recently started. I’d need tips on what stat lines to use, how effective they can be and easiest way to understand this whole program effectively. Thanks if you even read this, thanks even more if you have time to answer! 😀
    Best of luck !

  28. The other thing the high stakes games provide is the appearance of financial stability. If you trust the site, I can trust the site.

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