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Reviewing a Session After Playing

dpbuckdpbuck Posts: 1,872SubscriberProfessional
One of my goals for 2018 is to spend more time reviewing and analyzing my sessions after playing. During each session I jot down in Evernote every single hand I VPIP. I also periodically make notes of my mental state for my tilt profile (a la Tendler's "The Mental Game of Poker"). Even though I literally have every hand I've played since the start of 2015 saved in Evernote, I do not use them enough. I will typically a day or two after a session run through my notes quickly, maybe post a hand in the forums, or chat with a friend about a hand, or maybe put a hand in Stove to make sure my equity calculation was correct, but otherwise that's it.

How do you guys review hands/sessions after the fact?
How long after the session ends do you wait before digging in?
For every hour you spend playing, how many hours are you spending reviewing sessions?
What situations are you highlighting?
What tools do you use to review (Stove, FlopZilla, etc)? What are "must haves"?
Do you ever go back to sessions from 6+ months ago and re-review?
Any other tips and tricks?

For reference, I only get 250-300 hours in per year, and my average session is 5-8 hours. Not sure if that volume should change my perspective. Any insight is appreciated.
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Comments

  • SuperDonkyCrusher Posts: 120SubscriberProfessional
    I'll give this a go. For reference I'm not a professional. I play about 400-500 hours a year.
    How do you guys review hands/sessions after the fact?
    I try to write down any hand that I see a flop with and I will usually bookmark hands I have questions about when I catalog them.. for example, I'll write down a hand I'm unsure about in bold font. I usually start with those hands when I review. Also, when you review older HH's you can see the kinds of hands that give you trouble (previously bold/bookmark'd) and you can see if there's a pattern or if you're improving on certain concepts/situations.
    How long after the session ends do you wait before digging in?
    I generally try to review my last session some time before my next. But usually its within a week.
    For every hour you spend playing, how many hours are you spending reviewing sessions?
    maybe 5 to 1.. play to study.
    What situations are you highlighting?
    I usually know which hands I had trouble with or wonder about right after I played them.
    Generally, the most common situations for me are :
    high spr scenarios
    hands oop
    defending against raises pf, (MDF)
    What tools do you use to review (Stove, FlopZilla, etc)? What are "must haves"?
    those are great, I use PokerCruncher but you can accomplish the same with FlopZilla
    Do you ever go back to sessions from 6+ months ago and re-review?
    Yes, it's a great way to track your progress
    Any other tips and tricks?
    I try to write down some hands that go to showdown that I'm not involved in. Generally, I pick the ones that involve two regs or when I see a reg do something that seems "non-standard". This is especially true if it's someone who's game I respect.
  • CycleV Posts: 604Subscriber
    I used to note every vpip like you do, not any more as I feel like I miss too much stuff. I did get what I wanted out of it, in that I made a huge Excel and broke down hands into categories based on how I played them. Preflop I was calling or limp/calling way too much (in a 1/3 300 cap game).

    If a hand stymies me I use Equilab (same as the others basically) to get a sense of what equity I had vs the range I put him on. I do not do this enough; I'd wager no rec and almost no live pro does.

    Tendler 2 (I think) recommends doing a write up right after every session. I now go with this and even though I hate turning on the computer after midnight if I get home late. I have problems falling asleep after a long session if lots is running through my head, and jotting everything down helps me unwind a bit before bed.
  • dpbuckdpbuck Posts: 1,872SubscriberProfessional
    CycleV said:
    I used to note every vpip like you do, not any more as I feel like I miss too much stuff. I did get what I wanted out of it, in that I made a huge Excel and broke down hands into categories based on how I played them.
    Oooooh. I like this idea...
  • pokertime Posts: 2,175Subscriber
    Already mentintiend in another thread but I try to review a hand right away if possible. If I’m screwing up I want to fix it right away. Usually you’ll have a run of bad hands you are folding and can quickly plug a hand into poker cruncher. That’s the only program I use and would consider it a must have or any equivalent odds calculator that lets you do ranges and mumtilple villains etc. This is for a quick check so I don’t spew the rest of session in a spot I had iffy math in my head or something. If I take a beat I can go for a walk, clear my head and sometimes find out I wasn’t as big a fav as I thought. Or I was so far ahead I want that action everytime!

    If I’m on a heater and need to keep playing I make a quick note in my phone for review later.

    Regardless, I still go back after the session and review hands with poker cruncher and think them through while it’s fresh. Then I can focus on sizing and did the V do something I should have picked up on where I’m missing some value or I should have slowed down/folded.

    I would say I spend anywhere from 30 min to an hour after a session reviewing which may include posting hands for feedback. This is in addition to watching videos, reading forums etc. I don’t track every hand I VPIP as many are super standard. Mainly hands that played out and could have gone a couple different ways or hands where I maybe shouldnt be playing it at all!

    I may think over a hand for a couple weeks if I feel it’s a common spot I need to get right but that’s about it. I’m not going back too far as the game is always changing and I like to think I am too!

    GL!
  • MonadPrimeMonadPrime Posts: 803Member
    pokertime said:
    Already mentintiend in another thread I try to review a hand right away if possible. If I’m screwing up I want to fix it right away. Usually you’ll have a run of bad hands you are folding and can quickly plug a hand into poker cruncher. That’s the only program I use and would consider it a must have or any equivalent odds calculator that lets you do ranges and mumtilple villains etc. This is for a quick check so I don’t spew the rest of session in a spot I had iffy math in my head or something. If I take a beat I can go for a walk, clear my head and sometimes find out I wasn’t as big a fav as I thought. Or I was so far ahead I want that action everytime!

    If I’m on a heater and need to keep playing I make a quick note in my phone for review later.

    Regardless, I still go back after the session and review hands with poker cruncher and think them through while it’s fresh. Then I can focus on sizing and did the V do something I should have picked up on where I’m missing some value or I should have slowed down/folded.

    I would say I spend anywhere from 30 min to an hour after a session reviewing which may include posting hands for feedback. This is in addition to watching videos, reading forums etc. I don’t track every hand I VPIP as many are super standard. Mainly hands that played out and could have gone a couple different ways or hands where I maybe shouldnt be playing it at all!

    I may think over a hand for a couple weeks if I feel it’s a common spot I need to get right but that’s about it. I’m not going back too far as the game is always changing and I like to think I am too!

    GL!
    Great advice.
  • CycleV Posts: 604Subscriber
    dpbuck said:
    CycleV said:
    I used to note every vpip like you do, not any more as I feel like I miss too much stuff. I did get what I wanted out of it, in that I made a huge Excel and broke down hands into categories based on how I played them.
    Oooooh. I like this idea...
    So if you use Excel or Libreoffice, I had one sheet that was the master, with all the hands. Then a whole bunch of other sheets: PF monsters, PF premiums, etc. Also sheets based on PF play: pfr, l, l/c, etc. Finally one based on final pot size. I'd then highlight a hand, and copy/paste it into whichever sheets were relevant. That's how I determined that I was l/c too much (amongst other leaks). I also found that over my first 2-300 hours, literally all of my money came from pots over 100BB; when the money went in I was almost always a fave, but on small or medium pots I was completely breaking even. I was def more of a nut-peddler when I first started, but I realized some spots I neded to change my style. Going through what was admittedly a lengthy process was worthwhile in the end for me.
  • pokertime Posts: 2,175Subscriber
    CycleV said:
    dpbuck said:
    CycleV said:
    I used to note every vpip like you do, not any more as I feel like I miss too much stuff. I did get what I wanted out of it, in that I made a huge Excel and broke down hands into categories based on how I played them.
    Oooooh. I like this idea...
    So if you use Excel or Libreoffice, I had one sheet that was the master, with all the hands. Then a whole bunch of other sheets: PF monsters, PF premiums, etc. Also sheets based on PF play: pfr, l, l/c, etc. Finally one based on final pot size. I'd then highlight a hand, and copy/paste it into whichever sheets were relevant. That's how I determined that I was l/c too much (amongst other leaks). I also found that over my first 2-300 hours, literally all of my money came from pots over 100BB; when the money went in I was almost always a fave, but on small or medium pots I was completely breaking even. I was def more of a nut-peddler when I first started, but I realized some spots I neded to change my style. Going through what was admittedly a lengthy process was worthwhile in the end for me.
    Wow. If you created that I’d be selling it. I’m assuming it’s doing all the math for you kind of like leak finder?
  • CycleV Posts: 604Subscriber
    edited January 13
    No, I had to do all the math. It wasn't a program, just a spreadsheet. I come from online so I'm used to/spoiled by being able to call up every spot imaginable and see how I'm doing. But due to both the time involved, and the lol small sample size, I just went with the obvios categories, and almost all preflop. Just not enough data for post flop dbl barreling, etc.

    A friend was thinking about making an app that would do this for us, we input the hand and it gets categorized. Theoretically it would be as easy as taking a HH. Never got it off the ground, in part cuz idk how much of a market there would be; he was thinking to make it worth his time it'd be $5-10/mo sub, I said idk how many cheap azz LLSNL players would pony up for it.
  • pokertime Posts: 2,175Subscriber
    True. Would be cool but a lot of effort and little return. Anyone trying to get better is likely playing online and using all those analyzers with way more hands.
  • maphacks Posts: 1,940Subscriber
    edited January 14
    I talk hands with my friend as soon as possible after the session. some take two minutes, some take up to 15-20 minutes. very occasionally I check equities vs ranges in equilab. I don't make notes during playing. I think reviewing the hands weeks/months later doesn't make too much sense because oftentimes there are so many other things going on at a live table which you can't remember by then.
    my friend sometimes blugs in some ranges into PIOsolver which I find quite useless. sometimes you find out something interesting/get new ideas but usually the conclusion is that it's not applicable especially in a live game.

    writing down every hand you VPIP is a complete overkill since dynamics change so much and most plays can be justified in most situations.
  • dpbuckdpbuck Posts: 1,872SubscriberProfessional
    Okay, I feel like halfway through 2018 my studying has gotten a lot better from a macro level. I've found some leaks, and have fixed some while continuing to work on others. But I can get better about digging to the micro level, looking at specific hands that are common spots. How do you all look at an individual hand to evaluate decisions, ranges, lines, etc?

    Here's an example of a hand I played that I'd really like to dig into further on a range vs range (vs range) basis, and look at betsizing, and overall strategy on these type boards (wet board multiway as the preflop raiser).

    $2/$5 $500 Cap
    SB is a pretty bad rec player who calls way too much rather than folding or raising when he should.
    BB is new to table, but puts off vibe as a solid player.
    Hero is in CO with a solid winning image.
    Both villains have $500 and Hero covers.

    Preflop: Folds to Hero in CO who opens T 9 to $20. SB and BB call.
    Pot $60. Flop 7 8 9. SB checks. BB checks. Hero bets $40. SB calls. BB calls.
    Pot $180. Turn K. SB checks. BB checks. Hero bets $100. SB tank-folds. BB folds quickly.


    I am not looking for feedback on how I played this hand. I am looking for how you perform a post-mortem on this hand...
    - What tools/software would you use?
    - Do you do any manual range analysis?
    - How would you look to use this hand for shaping future hands?
    - Any other tips?

    Let me know if you think I am overcomplicating. I'm studying off the table more than I ever have, and not coincidentally am having my most profitable (non-tournament bink) year ever. But I want to make sure I keep moving forward.
  • neverlearn2 Posts: 2,712Subscriber
    After a big hand or a trouble hand I write down as much pertinent info on my notepad app and either stove at table or later.

    But the lucky thing for me here is I play 90% in same room so I don't need to write down villain description as much cause I know them.

    When I'm studying I like to look at both hands see from his POV if my play is bad from him. Obv not perfect and I use slack and PM some guys often too
  • CycleV Posts: 604Subscriber
    I've never used (or think I've needed) much more than equilab. I'll post HHs for feedback when I am having trouble ranging someone. When I'm at my most studious (which hasn't been 2018) I will pick one hand per night to run through Equilab. Good for you for studying!
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,146Subscriber
    I just review how my 43rd 50% equity draw missed for the 29th time
    and how my 57th set just got beat by quads or a trips for the 38th time

    Then I scratch my head and look for the Adam's Family storm cloud over my head.

    Yes those are pretty much accurate figures for the last 4 years.
  • DrSpace Posts: 709Subscriber
    CycleV said:
    I used to note every vpip like you do, not any more as I feel like I miss too much stuff. I did get what I wanted out of it, in that I made a huge Excel and broke down hands into categories based on how I played them. Preflop I was calling or limp/calling way too much (in a 1/3 300 cap game).

    If a hand stymies me I use Equilab (same as the others basically) to get a sense of what equity I had vs the range I put him on. I do not do this enough; I'd wager no rec and almost no live pro does.

    Tendler 2 (I think) recommends doing a write up right after every session. I now go with this and even though I hate turning on the computer after midnight if I get home late. I have problems falling asleep after a long session if lots is running through my head, and jotting everything down helps me unwind a bit before bed.

    I think it’s an error to write too many hands down
    Being in game flow is important
    We pick up things subconsciously as well as literally

    I model significant Hands afterward and at least say them out loud to a friend of similar ability as the light of sun
  • RagingOwlRagingOwl Posts: 172Member
    edited July 19
    dpbuck said:
    I am not looking for feedback on how I played this hand. I am looking for how you perform a post-mortem on this hand...
    This is how I like to analyze hands with multi-street betting. I did a similar analysis in another recent thread about double barrelling with AJo. I borrowed the format for this exercise from Ed Miller's Poker's 1%

    First I assumed an opening range. We're first to act in the cutoff, I gave us a healthy ~20% opening range that looks like..
    22+,A9s+,A5s-A2s,KTs+,Q9s+,J9s+,T8s+,97s+,87s,76s,65s,ATo+,KJo+,QJo

    258 hands. After removing the flop cards, there are 238 hands. Using a 70% c-bet frequency (we can talk about this later), means I want to bet 167 hands. Miller recommends we balance this range with a ratio of two bluffs for every value bet. So I want to bet 56 hands for value and 111 as bluffs.

    This is what I believe to be our best value bets (57 hands)
    KK+,JJ-77,A9s,J9s+,T9s,97s+,87s,65s
    And here are our best bluffs (110 hands)
    66-55,ATs+,KTs+,QTs+,T8s,76s,As5s,Ac5c,As4s,Ac4c,As3s,Ac3c,As2s,Ac2c,AJo-ATo,KJo,QJo

    Moving right along we do the same thing on the turn. 70% barrel frequency. this time balanced evenly between bluffs and value. We brought 167 hands to the turn. Removing the turn card reduces that total to 157. I want to bet 110 of them. 55 for value, and 55 as bluffs.

    Here are our best value bets (60 hands)
    KK+,TT-77,KTs+,JTs,97s+,87s,65s,KJo
    And here are our best bluffs (54 hands)
    JJ,AQs-A9s,QTs,T8s+,76s,As5s,Ac5c,As4s,Ac4c,As3s,Ac3c,As2s,Ac2c,ATo

    So our hand, T9s, does fit into this basic structure of balanced barrelling. However, delving into the figures above I see that our bluff range on the flop has a crap load of unsuited Jx gutshots. Against two opponents on such a wet board, a hand like QJo is pretty weak.

    My takeaway here is that my late-position opening range doesn't connect with this board enough to be very aggressive in this hand. Our range is too heavy with unsuited high cards that don't connect with low coordinated flops.

    To correct for this, I would probably reduce my c-bet frequency, so that I can balance my value bets with bluffs that have good enough equity to continue. So instead of betting 70% of our range on each street, I might reduce that to 50, and then re-work the numbers and see what happens.

    In that case though, I think T9s is going to fall out of our turn barrel range. We'll have better bluffs.

    It fits into a "standard" frequency, but here we have some reasons to tighten those frequencies. We're against two players, both of whom called flop, and at least one of whom has shown a tendency to be sticky. To me, that's a solid argument for adjusting our barrel frequency downward. In that case, T9s would probably drop out of our turn betting range.

    We might also consider adjusting the ratios to make our range more value heavy on each street. For example, I left QQ out of our value range, but maybe we would consider including it against these players. If we do that, then something else would have to go, and Th9h would definitely be a candidate.

    Another thing to consider is that I could be completely wrong about your pre-flop range. If so, the conclusion here is probably moot, but you can still use this process

    In conclusion, the "lesson" in this exercise, I think, comes from noticing how badly your pre-flop range connects with this board. Your range is rich with high unsuited cards that don't fit well into a low coordinated flop. The takeaway here is that you should look to tighten up your betting frequencies on this board texture in order to avoid bluffing too much air. The other takeaway is noticing how far down the list T9s ranks within our range. We actually have many many better hands. T9s really isn't as strong as it looks here. At the very least it's a borderline hand that could be good for betting, but could easily turn spewy depending on the specific villains and hero's image.
  • RagingOwlRagingOwl Posts: 172Member
    edited July 19
    I just thought of something else too.

    What the analysis above told us was that a 'standard' c-bet frequency had us betting too much air (hands like QJo). I mentioned how you could correct for this by reducing your betting frequency, or by adding more value hands to your range and justifying it through the station-y tendencies of your opponents.

    Another corrective measure would be bet size. Miller's model assumes that we're making roughly 1/2 pot bets on each street (on average). So, let's say you dropped all the weak Jx bluffs from your range. Now your range is imbalanced toward value. We want to get called more. So we would reduce our bet size, thus reducing the number of range balancing bluffs we would need to bet.
    by 1dpbuck
  • RagingOwlRagingOwl Posts: 172Member
    Finally, for extra credit, do all the analysis above but use different flop textures. See how the ranges work out on Qh9h6c, or on Ah8d2c, or on KsQs9h.

    See if your range can maintain balanced betting frequencies in those situations. Or if you're running into the same problems, it tells you that your pre-flop range needs work. For example, if you consistently struggled to find bluffs with enough equity to continue, then you know that your opening range is probably too wide.
  • dpbuckdpbuck Posts: 1,872SubscriberProfessional
    @RagingOwl this is great. Thanks for the detailed response.

    I did a similar exercise, and came to a similar conclusion - T9s is right on the border, and probably pretty neutral to betting and checking in an optimal setting on the turn, depending on whether hands like As6s/As7s are in my opening range from the CO (in this spot they were), QJo is in my flop bluffing range (in this spot it wasn't), etc.

    Help me take the next step. Villain in the SB is definitely not playing optimally, erring towards calling too much. Do you think about adjusting your ranges (especially on the turn), knowing this villain still has a ton of 6x, 7x, and 8x in his range for continuing, and we may want to get value and/or protect our equity? How do you look to map out those proper deviations and what hands we may want to move from "bluffs" to "value" on the turn? And potentially vice versa? I think that's where my biggest struggles are lying right now when looking at hands from this perspective.

    I've purchased CardrunnersEV a couple weeks ago, and am just starting to work with it in these spots. Probably overkill for my normal games, but I'm hoping it can help me learn how better to set up proper strategies to exploit the bad players in my pool.
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