How to Effectively Work on Your Game And Analyze Your Strategy

A person studying poker while drinking coffee.

In this article I will tell you the basic principles you need to know to start working on improving your PLO strategy:

If you’re new to PLO you should put most emphasis on studying the fundamentals of the game. The most important thing is to describe your current situation, think of your desired situation and create a path on how to get there.

Start by putting all your focus into one small part of the game and aim to come out as an expert. This way you’ll surely gain a natural edge over your competition.

What to work on

Work on situations that have a high impact on your win rate, the ones that happen with a high frequency, and situations that are easily solvable and can get fast results.

In-game you want to make quick, short notes. The goal is to write down thoughts that come up to evaluate later and won’t be a distraction while playing.

Such thoughts can be strategical, tactical or mental game considerations.

After the session, you could write down what went well, what could go better and which improvements can be made. That way you’ll be able to learn from every session and this progress will lead to an improved true win rate over time.

Reading notes or replay marked hands from previous sessions as a way to warm up for your next session is another way to study your game. A similar routine can be executed after a session by including questions that take more time to analyze.

When to work on your game

When you’re starting out in poker, it’s best to study more than you play. You might sacrifice some short-run earnings, but you’re much more likely to hit your goal of moving up stakes.

If you’re serious about poker, you should fit in at least one hour of study time every day. Make sure that you have spent some time improving yourself before you jump into the table.

Of course, your study time should also fit into your optimal playing schedule.

If you work on your game in the morning, your mind is more capable of absorbing information from the lessons. If you work on your game right before you play, the information will be fresh in your mind and it will serve as a warmup to play with better focus.

In the following clip, I share my personal preferences when it comes to when to work on your game.

It’s something that varies from person to person. Try out different approaches, give it a shot, and see what works for you.

How to work on your game

Use this step-by-step approach to review your hand and start recognizing the patterns in your game.

  1. Ranges – What is your opponent’s range, and secondly, what is your range.
  2. Parameters – Your range’s equity, polarization, position, and SPR, regarding the board.
  3. Hand characteristics – Look into components like hand strength, nuttiness, and blockers.
  4. Additional considerations – Potential to deviate from a strategy based on reads or exploits.
  5. Final decision – Given your analysis, decide what is the best action you can take

In the following case study from our Crushing Small Stakes PLO course, I go through a typical thought process when analyzing a hand.

This is always something you want to think about when analyzing your game. These steps are also useful for you in-game, so it’s not necessarily only after you play the session.

Learning Resources

PLO Mastermind

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When you’re working with PLO Mastermind content, you should pick your course based on your main focus, situations that have a high occurrence or big impact on your game.

You should also pick your course based on the point of your career that you are in at the time. Are you a beginning player? Or are you more experienced?

All these situations play a role in the decision you are going to make.

PLO Mastermind courses

Once you’ve chosen the right course for you, make sure to write down the most important principles from the lessons. 

Whenever you take notes, your brain will absorb the information much better than if you are just watching. You don’t have to summarize the entire lesson, focus on the key takeaways that will help you become a better poker player much quicker.

Additionally, you will be able to keep track of what you have learned and will have a mini PLO library where you can extract information to help you analyze your hands much more efficiently.

Check out the PLO Mastermind content.

PLO Trainer

This training tool allows you to learn more about your ranges, but also train yourself based on all different parts of the game tree.

PLO Trainer

You can learn and test yourself on all the situations that you struggle within your game. Over time you will improve your knowledge of that specific situation that your game will become better.

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Read more about PLO Trainer.

Tracking Software

Trackers like Holdem Manager or PokerTracker are great for extracting information for reviewing your own game by analyzing your hand history.

It’s also a great way to look at your frequencies, identify leaks, and improve your strategy. Good poker trackers help you answer questions like the following:

  • What frequencies are off?
  • What situations should you focus on?
  • How are your win rates doing?

Try Holdem Manager 3 or PokerTracker 4 one month for free.

Communities

Online poker communities are a great way to get a better understanding of how you are playing and analyze your thought process. 

There are different ways to maximize communities in the PLO Mastermind.

  • Q&A Livestream sessions – coaches review hands submitted by members.
  • Small study groups – constantly talking to a couple of people about poker strategy.
  • Discord and forum chats – online platforms to talk about strategy and other things.

Join our free forum or discord communities.

Conclusion

When it comes to working on your game, it’s all about what to work on, when to work on it, and how to work on it.

Make sure to identify the situations that are affecting your the most, and  train yourself on preflop and postflop situations.

Discuss strategy with other people, become active in the community. It’s all about sharing your thoughts with others and exchanging information.

No winner is made without preparation. You have to prepare and have the will to prepare, which is a different will than the will to win.

Luuk
I am always curious about learning more about the game and really enjoy diving deep into the strategic parts of it. I work together with the PLO Mastermind as one of the coaches, and I am the person behind the PLO Mastermind quizzes.

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