Reviewing Hand Histories To Improve Your Play

Reviewing Hand Histories To Improve Your Play

Poker players wishing to move up in limits or increase their win rates at the games they currently play in are required to improve their game. One effective method of improving your poker game is reviewing hand histories of previous hands you have played in. It is a proven effective method to learn the game, which every professional poker player will admit to using, because it enables you to find leaks in your game which you probably would have ignored if you weren’t getting winning players to give feedback on the hands.

First of all, you want to make sure that it’s possible to retrieve your hand history files. Don’t assume that every online poker room will automatically save the hand histories to your computer as a default setting. This is often not the case, and on sites like Full Tilt Poker, you are required to enable the saving of hand histories so they get stored on your hard drive for retrieval at a later date.

To store poker hand histories in Full Tilt Poker, click on Options, then Hand History settings, and you want to tick the check box where is says “Save My Hand Histories” to save them. Select a location where you want to store the hand history files on your computer, and also make sure to change the days in which you keep the hand histories, to something like 9999 days, otherwise they will get deleted and you can’t review specific hands at a later date.

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Next, because you will be posting the hand histories on poker forums for other experienced players to review, you want to convert the hand histories to a format which can be conveniently displayed when you post it. The raw hand histories look really ugly which makes it difficult for other players to comment on the hands, since they will have a difficult time understanding who is involved in the hand etc. By converting the file in a more readable format, you will get more feedback on the hand, which is the main objective.

It’s a very straight forward process to convert hand histories. Hand history converter websites such as will convert your raw hand history file into a format which is suitable for posting on forums. Select what forum you will be posting it on and the conversion will take a second. Keep in mind that you don’t want to include the results when you are posting hand histories, because some of the feedback you get on the hand can possibly be results orientated due to them knowing the outcome.

With the technicalities out of the way, it’s good to know that big pots, whether you win or lose them, are usually the best hands to review, because you are faced with a tough decision. Notice how I said winning hands too? The reason I say this is because althoguh you may have had a good outcome for the hand, it doesn’t necessarily mean you played the hand in a optimal way to extract the most value. And it goes without saying, pots where you lose are usually through no fault but your own, unless you were unlucky and get sucked out on the river etc, which you just have to suck up and accept is part of poker.

When you post a hand history, make sure you include any reads you have on your opponents, their hud stats, or any other information at your disposal. The more information you can include, the more accurate and detailed the answers will be regarding the hand, which will only help to improve your play. For example, if you were involved in a big pot against a player with 40/20 vpip stats over a 60 hand sample, you can probably assume they are somewhat fishy and likely to get out of line with their betting/raising.

Analyzing hand histories will enable you to more accurately calculate odds, outs and bet sizes, which are things you need to be constantly analyzing on each street. By going back and reviewing your hands, these thought processes will get embedded in your mind, and you will have more focus and make better decisions at the table.

Because there are a wide range of limits and games you can play online, it’s good to try and get feedback from player who you know are winning players at the same limits, and obviously players who play in tougher games.

In conclusion reviewing your hand histories will enable you to effectively identify weaknesses in your game and that of your opponents. Naturally, by spotting the amateur mistakes you are making, it will enable you to punish your opponents who will be making the same novice mistakes! While you will never be involved in the same hand twice, a similar situation is likely to occur in the future, and you will be better prepared for it since you are a student of the game.

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