10 Steps of Poker Hand Analysis

Experience is a great teacher, but it is not the only one. Most good poker players did not get that way simply by playing. Reading strategy books and articles, discussing play with others (preferably good players), and carefully analyzing hands you’ve played, are just a few of the ways to improve your poker game.

Best Poker Hand Analysis Software - Poker Hand Analyzer

1. Calculatem - Visit Site or Free Download
2. Sit N Go Shark - Visit Site or Free Download
3. Holdem Genius - Visit Site or Free Download

We have narrowed it down to the best poker hand analyzers on the Web.  These 3 poker hand analysis software products along with our poker hand analyzer guide below, will virtually guarantee you instant success at online poker and online poker tournaments.

Analyzing Poker Hands

Analyzing a poker hand is not necessarily a simple task, but like everything else, it becomes easier with a little experience. On the basic level, if you have A K on a board of QQJJ10, you could say wow, a straight, and go crazy, but the simple truth is that on that board, a flush, a full house, quads, and even a royal flush are easy to make, and you are probably behind here.

Using Online Poker Hand Histories

Studying poker hands you have played is especially simple if you are playing online poker, since complete hand histories are available with a click or two. Some poker sites have “instant hand history” or “previous hand” access right on the table. A good idea is to open that up right after an interesting or tricky hand happens, copy the text of the hand history, and paste it into a word processing program, even a simple one like Notepad. The hand histories will then be available for study later.

Note that you should do this even for hands you were not involved in, if there was a showdown so you can see how it was played out. Any big win, big loss, or tough decision qualifies for later study. As you advance your play and obtain a tracking software, you can find such hands with filters in the software away from the table.

Ten steps for thorough, instructive poker hand analysis:

1. Step one of a hand analysis is not found in the hand history. It is understanding the metagame. This means the current style and attitude of the table as a whole, and of each specific player. Have there been a lot of big pots lately? Is there lots of preflop raising? Are there any players that are running hot (or running over the table)? Has one player been weak-tight and suddenly woke up betting and raising? If you believe it will be some time before you study that hand, make some quick notes in your word processor like “crazy table, villain was a rock.”

2. Note specific reads on any of the players who got involved in the hand. Were any of them regularly limping in? Did one of them seem very aggressive? What strength hands did they generally tend to show down? How often did each of them raise preflop? Do any of them regularly raise from late position when they are first in the pot?

3. Look at the stacks. If a small stack was involved, had they just lost a big pot and not reloaded yet, or did they seem oblivious and were gradually getting worn down by the table? In a cash game, a player who doesn’t reload might be playing on a short bankroll. In a tournament, a short stack that feels desperate tends to push all in with relatively weak hands. If you folded a middle pair against that, you probably made a mistake.

4. Compare positions of the players who were involved. Who had position on whom? Did a tight player raise from early position (usually a sign of a bigger hand)? Did the big blind make a call with a weaker hand, but they had good pot odds, and the call closed the action on that street?

5. Identify the hero and the villain(s) in each hand. When analyzing a hand, you should play the hand as if you were both players. This helps you understand people’s thought processes better and will improve your play in the long run. It’s okay to play yourself as “hero,” but make sure you change roles and play the other side too.

6. Check the preflop action. Were there several limpers in the pot when somebody got involved? Did they raise? Was there a raise to them? In no limit games, what were the sizes of the raises? Were there any minimum raises? How about 3bets or 4bets? What was the relative strength of each player’s hole cards when the action got to them?

7. Study the flop. How many players saw the flop? How much was in the pot? If there was an ace on the flop, and six players saw the flop, it is almost certain that someone has an ace, so yes, you should have folded your kings. Was the flop two or three connecting or suited cards? Have you seen those players get involved with draws?

8. Check your own poker hand strength. A pair of red nines is a nice preflop hand, but on a flop with AKQ, your red nines don’t look so pretty anymore. Do you have a flush? A straight? A draw? If you have top pair, how high is that top pair? How good is your kicker?

9. Consider what your opponents might have played. A maniac might have anything, but a rock who raised preflop from early position likely has a good pair or two big cards. Can you beat the majority of that range? If they probably have a better hand at this point, do you have any chance of improving to a better hand?

10. Repeat steps seven, eight, and nine, for each of the turn and the river. On the turn and river, consider: did someone bet on the flop and take a second shot on the turn? Did they bet on all three streets? Did a scare card come that may have filled their draw, and they woke up betting? Did they check and call the flop and turn, but bet first on the river? Did they bet or raise on the river? (Most bets, and especially raises, on the river are for value. They believe they have the best hand.)

Bonus Step: Discuss interesting hands with your friends (preferably people who know what they’re talking about). Ask for advice. If you currently devote no time to study, but simply play, play, play, try trading a little bit of your poker time for a little bit of hand analysis. Doing so trains your subconscious brain to instinctively make the better plays. If you analyze hands for perhaps ten minutes out of every hour you play, you will become a better player in the long run. Understanding people and the motivations for their actions is a big part of becoming a great poker player.

Remember, these poker hand analyzer software programs will help you to achieve success at the tables:

1. Calculatem - Free Download

2. Sit N Go Shark - Free Download

3. Holdem Genius - Free Download