I started learning Poker seriously in July 2019. The goal I had was to initially learn about psychology and decision making. This changed to also include Game Theory, Probability and Statistics and other aspects of the game that were more mathematical in nature.
The goal I have in this document is to create a decision making framework for play decisions. These will not go in depth as there are other books that cover the indepth aspects. What I wanted to cover was the main points of decisions and the tools to make those decisions. Namely, how do you behave in each part of a game and what do you do in each part of the game to make effective decision. 



Decision Making

  • Start of Game
  • Situational Awareness
  • Play Style
  • Players
  • Where to Sit
  • Pre Flop
  • Probabilities
  • Players
  • Bluffing
  • Post Flop
  • Probabilities
  • Players
  • Bluffing
  • Post Turn
  • Probabilities
  • Players
  • Bluffing
  • Post River
  • Probabilities
  • Players
  • Bluffing

Situational Awareness

• Who are the players
• What do they do and betting style
• What are the odds


What are the odds?
Continue playing if the odds are in your favor and you are intimidating your opponents.
Stop is the other players are good and you have nothing to do but lose. 
Figure out your hourly rate.
How much are you earning?
Make small bets with strong hands initially so you opponent makes bad calls later
---Use the community cards to your advantage. If you bet make the other person believe you have higher cards than you do. 
Poker ante
• When you are setting up the ante don’t think about the money you already put into the pot. That already belongs to the pot.
• So it is better to play when you are the blind even if you don’t have good odds since you already largely put in because of being forced and it costs you less to play.
• When you have a high ante play loosely and bet forward, when you don’t have a large ante which are most game play more selectively based on odds and draw out bets to the latter part
Pot odds
• Bet based on pot odds. If you think your odds are better than the bet to pot odd then call
• Know the odds in your favor.
• What are the other people like you are playing
• Are they goofy or not?
• What is the outcome?




Probability = number of desirable outcomes / number of possible outcomes. 

Effective stack size

= size of the smallest stack between two different players in a hand.
The most you can win or lose in a hand against any one particular opponent. 
You have to do this against every single person as the effective stack size between you and each opponent will yield different outcomes because the strategy will change with the size of the stack.
Example, I have 150 in my stack and my villain has 40. So the effective stack size is only 40  because the villain only has 40 to wager even though you have 150. 

Stack to pot ratio = SPR

SPR = effective stack size / pot size
Effective stack size is how much you have
Pot size is what is in the pot
Lower SPR
• commit with weaker hands
• Smaller effective stack sizes
higher SPR
• commit with stronger hands
• Larger effective stack sizes
Spr is how commuted we are to any hand. So we need to understand how the opponent is playing and what they SPR is.

Player and Playing Styles

  • Avoid getting to a point where you show your hands.
  • This gives your opponents clues about your plays so it is better for them to see it
  • Rather if you are playing show the strong hands and hide the weak, so psychologically the other person thinks you have strong hands.
  • It is war
  • It is important to start categorizing the player as a strong or weak player
  • Every poker play also has to consider the individual tendency of the opposing player. 
  • You need to play both the conservative and aggressive styles.
  • Vary your style
  • If you keep to a single strategy you will give your opponent the nature of your play and you give them information about what you have and most importantly don’t have.
  • By alternating styles you make it unpredictable what you have and make it harder for your opponents to read you.
  • Balanced Strategy
  • Vary both your calls and raises when you have a hand that entails a play
  • 80% Raise
  • 20% Calls
  • This prevents the other person person from knowing what cards you have to play.
  • Use a watch Seconds 0-48 → Raise, 48-60 → Call
  • Use the OODA Loop.
  • Vary your tempo and speed, get inside your opponents OODA cycle then throw them off by playing in a different style.
Plays (Full Table Where You are First to Act in a Table of 9)
Game Play
  • Early (first or second)
  • high pair (ace, kings, queens)
  • medium pairs jack and tens
  • ace-king (suited or unsuited)
  • ace-queen (suited)
  • Middle (third to sixth)
  • Above
  • pair of 9s
  • pair of 8s
  • ace-queen
  • ace-jack
  • king-queen
  • Late
  • Above
  • pair of sevens
  • ace-x
  • high suited connectors queen-jack, jack-ten
Really righty players
They only play strong hands and usually fold
When they play they usually have a strong hand
Risk averse
Only play a limited range of plays. 
  • They mostly play good hands
  • Hard to tell when they bluff.
  • Only play if you have good cards versus theirs
  • Play only the major plays
Tight and aggressive
  • Conservative Plays
  • All pairs
  • Any two face cards
  • Ace-anything
  • Suited connectors, even as low as five-four suited
Play a tight range but not as tight as the nits 
They competent in all aspects of the play
They are hard to play against 
Able to bluff in opportune spots
Good play to be for most beginners
Poker aggressive play
  • Be confident in your preflop play
  • Be confident in your postflop play
Good and loose
  • Play a lot of pots and see a lot of flops, cheaply
  • Play based on the following questions:
  • Have a lot of players already folded?
  • Will they have position after the flop?
  • ARe the players behind them weak or intimidated?
  • Do the players behind them have smallish stacks?
  • Are the players behind them playing conservatively?
They play a wider range of hands
Bluff more often
Fight for the pots they are in
Do not fear risky situations and embrace them
The put pressure on their opponents with the worst hands. 
Know how to control their aggression to get maximum value. 
  • Hammer
  • If an aggressive player comes in then come with a raise.
  • Agressive players aren’t looking for confrontations, they want to appear as if they have stronger hands and get the pot cheaply
  • Rope-a-Dope
  • Just check if you have a strong hand and put a big raise of half the pot at the end.
  • Accumulate big stack before you play agressive since you can throw your pot around.
Bad Player / Loose passive
Bets only to see pre flop
They fit or fold after the flop and will not bluff. 
Only raise Preflop at the top of his starting hand range
Bad Player / Calling stations
Like loose passive but hate to fold
Usually only bet with high hands. 
Bad Player / Bad aggressive 
Don’t control agression
Love to gamble
No strategy
Can’t really tell what they have or if they are bluffing or value betting


• Decision Making Process
What are the steps to take for any given hand?

• Bet high if you have a good hand.
• This clears the field for you.