3 Steps to Avoid Poker Study Overwhelm

By Sky Matsuhashi
November 12, 2021

Maybe it feels like you’re always overwhelmed with your poker studies and the things you’re struggling with:

  • I need to improve my 3-betting skills.
  • I get angry too easily and MUST learn to control my emotions.
  • I still can’t hand read.
  • I can’t use my HUD properly.
  • I don’t know when to double-barrel bluff.
  • I keep getting distracted by new videos, and I’m not able to complete the work on my current course!

Been there, felt that… dozens of times over.


That is, until I decided to get beyond overwhelm and devised these three steps for myself (and it totally works!).

1. Commit to ONE strategy per week

“One until done with action” is my learning mantra, whether it’s for poker study, improving my membership site or doing projects around the house.

Fact: You’ve got the rest of your life to improve your poker skills.

Fact: You can’t rush improvement; it takes time and intention.

So, embrace these facts by choosing ONE strategy to focus on this week.

So, if that list of six bullet points above are the things you’re struggling with, just choose the one that seems the most important.

And, if you don’t know which is most important, flip a coin or roll a die. It doesn’t matter which of the six you target first.

Put all your focus on that ONE thing, then next week, choose another one. After 6 weeks, you’ll have studied each topic and you’re going to be so much better for it.

Imagine if you had started this six weeks ago… you’d be done and moving on to strategy #7!

2. Embrace JOMO (the joy of missing out)

Great, you chose to work on c-bet bluffing this week! All of your studies and play will be dedicated to this.

But, what about that email notification about a new blind defense strategy? And that YouTube notification about running PT4 reports? And that new video released in the Poker Forge about flush drawing math?

Delete them… and be happy about it!

Allow yourself to feel the joy of ignoring that “shiny new thing” that tried to pull you away from your current focus.

Those items will always be there for you to learn from in the future when you choose to focus on that topic.

Make friends with your Delete button.

3. Practice the things you learn BEFORE learning more

Maybe that c-bet bluffing video you watched today taught you four things:

  1. HUD stats to look out for.
  2. Bet sizes to use.
  3. Gauging how their range interacts with the flop.
  4. How to plan for double-barreling the turn.

Watching a video gives you knowledge of strategies, but taking action and practicing the strategies gives you experience.

And experience is how you’re truly going to improve your skills because action is the greatest teacher.

How do you practice the four things you learned? Here’s an idea for each:

  1. Write down the HUD stat percentages you’re looking for on a piece of paper. Analyze the player HUDs and write the names of the perfect ones to target for c-bet bluffing. Then target them.
  2. Write down the recommended c-bet sizes, then force yourself to use them as you play. If you exit the hand, put yourself in the c-bettor’s shoes and decide which size you would use.
  3. When you get a caller, put ‘em on a range of hands. Then, when the flop hits, try to figure out how well (or poorly) their range interacts with the board.
  4. For every hand that sees the flop, whether you’re involved or not, analyze the situation and gauge whether it’s a good double-barreling spot or not.

Now that’s a lot of things to practice in one session. So, focus on one per play session until you feel comfortable with each of them.

It doesn’t matter if it takes 8+ play sessions to practice and become comfortable with all four strategies. Remember, you have the rest of your life to improve your skills. Allow yourself all the time you need to practice and you won’t feel overwhelmed.

Only after you feel comfortable with all four strategies can you watch another video and repeat this process.

Enjoy avoiding poker study overwhelm!



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Sky Matsuhashi poker author
Written By.

Sky Matsuhashi

Sky Matsuhashi is the creator of the Smart Poker Study Podcast. He has authored 4 poker books including ‘How to Study Poker Volumes 1 & 2’, ‘Preflop Online Poker’ and ‘Post-flop Online Poker’. As a poker coach, Sky is dedicated to helping his students play more effectively, earn more money and be 1% better every […]

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