A small guide to improve your (replay)poker strategy

don’t get me wrong, i appreciate the feedback u give, but i have to disagree on this one.

first of all, it’s not that i gonna avoid playing poker, it’s just that i’ll take a break until the impatience gets away. as you, me, and more people mentioned, bankroll management is one of the most important things in poker. and still while i do know that without doubt, i am still screwing up in it. this i why i take a break, after the impatience leaves, i play my good poker game again and start winning again.

the tourneys above 50K i have played often and made good roi on them, including the 250K and 1M ones. as for the ring games, the 20K/40K gets me mixed results, but when my concentration is going well here are my results are also more often good then not. as it’s going now, i do indeed lose way more on all these stakes then i win. this is why i go take a break, and afterwards my good play returns (have got such a period before, don’t know why it comes however).

and about the making of guides, i can’t make any promises of that, since all i want to do is trying to help. what i can do however is wait till my good game returns and my trustworthyness with it. i understand there will not be much help in it if i am giving the wrong example in my own game.

hope this helps.

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@yiazmat. What ? you are taking a break ? I am a retired United States Marine and we Marines have a lot of sayings and one that comes to mind after reading your post is , Adjust, adapt, overcome !

You contribute a lot here and I would hate to see you just log in and go everyday. The key to succeeding is try and try again. The old saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day holds true.

It doesn’t matter how many times a person falls down, it’s getting up after the fall that counts and I mean this for everyone and everything in life my friend.

Please reconsider. You, like everyone else are a member of this community.

I’ll stop now and hope to see you on the tables and in the Community Forums tomorrow.



Yiazmat -

I wouldn’t let people get to you here. You know the difference between bad results and bad play so in and of itself, a 25 million chip loss doesn’t mean much. Heck, I’ve seen several of the “wizards of poker” here donk away their entire bankrolls (of 175 million + each) in under 2 months. It happens.

I’ve watched you play and there are 2 things I’ve come to learn from that:

  1. You have talent and creativity in your game. You are at least thinking about ways to win other than out-drawing the other players at the table.

  2. You are reckless and go off the rails too frequently. Your play seems to get too loose and too aggressive when all signs are pointing to the need to tighten up. Get control of your emotions. Sometimes poker isn’t fun. Sometimes its just a grind.

You know what to do and you have the game to do it. You’ve made 30 million several times already and you’ll do it again. If you can’t experiment with your game here, where the heck would be a good place to try?


have to say that both of your comments seem very true to me too. instead of taking a long break, i shall just do it for only a few days and look how my game improves that way, perhaps this would be the best way instead, just enough time to get rid of the tilty behaviour and perhaps the downswing with it, and not too long to be away too long. thanks for the advises.

the thing is, i know that im_a_dog is a good player, which is based on the big bankroll but even more on the comments i have already seen in the forums, which makes very clear he knows the game well, this is why i take his comments very seriously and want to adapt the right way, but the exact same thing counts also with you @1Warlock , i have also seen you give very smart comments on the forums. which makes me also curious how you think about the thread i made, do i have to edit some stuff or do you like it as it is?

and as you and everyone said (including myself) my biggest leak is the poor bankroll management, so i gonna work on that one first.

at last i also saw that you @im_a_dog have edited most of your feedback posts into lol, lol, lol ??? i don’t get it, can you explain please?


So anyone that loses 75% of thier Bank no longer offer advise on the forms ?? thats a bunch of crap. Your intent was to help others, thats commendable… I think your correlations are off a tab bit, no prob… and I might find 1-2 that I dissagree with, but I was @ 5.5m and lost down to 1.2m before I got it back… recently I was bored and got hot, pulled 2.5m in 2 days…I’m sure kharma will take some of that back soon… but none of that means I , you or anyone can’t contribute on the forum…

There’s only so many ways you can play the same hand, usually certain hands play themselves… can you seriously worry about those 1%ers ??? Now sure, not ending up in those situations is the 1st place is preferred, but if you have 1/2 your bank tied up with quads and someone calls and gets a miracle suckout ( str/royal flush ) can you really say you played it wrong… not really… and poof, there goes 1/2 your bankroll…


Hi, Yiazmat. I think it’s great that you put in all this effort to try and help others improve their game. I can tell that you have a lot of enthusiasm for the game and are eager to get better and aid others along the way. From your guide, it seems as if you put a lot of emphasis on intangibles, such as “player image” and “reading the player”. While these factors should impact your decision making in marginal spots, the core determinant should be how the equity of your range fares against the equity of your opponent’s range. Of course, you meant the guide as a quick intro to replay, but I can also see why other forumers have expressed the sentiment that you are not qualified to give such advice. While I’m sure you have many strengths as a player, I do believe there are areas where you can improve. After reviewing the hands that constituted the largest portion of your recent downswing, I have come to the conclusion that your play is more at fault, rather than poor bankroll management.

Let’s first review this hand: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/307954371

Facing a minraise with A7o, you have 3 choices: call, fold, or raise. You only need 25% equity against his button raising range to make a profitable call, and A7o easily has that (probably even is ahead), so calling is a decent option. Folding is out of the question for obvious reasons. A raise is a reasonable option, but must be done for the right reasons. The main purposes of a 3bet are to deny the villain’s equity when they fold and to extract value when you have premiums. Moreover, playing postflop with the betting lead allows for more ways to win the pot without having a hand. Thus, if your opponent was raising the button at a 100% frequency and folding to most of your 3bets, then it is profitable to 3bet any two cards, and I can get behind your 3bet. However, A7o is not strong enough to be 3betting for value. Against a 3bet calling range, A7o is not far ahead enough equity wise to outweigh the lack of playability (not suited or connected), possible reverse implied odds when an ace comes, and the fact that you are playing out of position.

Once you face a 3x 4bet, you need 33% equity against his range to continue. Assuming a 4bet range of [99+, AQ+], you do not have enough equity to call the 4bet. Hence, your best option would be to fold. You could consider a 5bet, but almost no players at 20/40k have a single 4bet bluff, so I would highly recommend against this. You could have easily saved your stack simply by folding facing the 4bet.

Once the flop comes 7 high and your opponent bets the size of the pot, I think it is an easy fold even though you have top pair. Given the preflop action, it is highly likely he has an overpair. Furthermore, you block 8 combos of his most likely bluffs (AK and AQ) since you hold an ace in your hand. You decided to raise and call his 3bet allin, which I believe is just throwing chips away. Of course, all this could be prevented by just folding preflop.

Next is this hand: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/307954067

Your call preflop with Q8o is good. It is too strong to fold to a minraise and too weak to raise for value. When the flop came 458 with two spades, your opponent cbet a large size and you decided to raise. While a raise for value can be good in some spots, I do not think this is a marginal hand to do it with. You have nutted hands like sets, 2 pairs, and straights that can raise for value on that flop. You probably thought were trying to “protect” your hand against the straight draw and flush draw on the board, but if you are going to raise thin with 1 pair hands, it is better to do it with a hand like A8 no spade, since with Q8 there are still 1 pair hands that beat you. Once your opponent 3bets the flop, I think you have an easy fold. You are almost dead to sets and straights, and drawing thin against 2 pair. I have never seen a player at 20/40k 3bet a flop as a bluff, and even against the most likely bluffs (combo draws), you are flipping. When the turn comes a blank, you should not lead out. Sure, he can have a combo draw and you can extract value, but against the majority of his flop 3bet range, you are simply putting in money with the worst hand. When he raises your lead on the turn, it becomes an even easier fold. Combo draws will likely just call and hope to hit on the river. I think the key takeaway from this hand is trying to think about your opponent’s range, rather than putting him on a specific holding. From the way you played it, it seemed as if you thought he had exactly a flush draw and no other possible holdings. If you had considered the other possible hands in his range, I think you could have found a fold on the flop and saved your stack yet again.

Next: 307947775

I think your call of the 3bet with A6o is too loose. Against 20/40k players who usually have nutted 3bet ranges, A6o is simply too weak to call (similar reasons why A7o is too weak to call a 4bet). When you cbet the 6 high flop with top pair, your opponent raised, you 3bet him all in, and he snap called with pocket Aces. I assume you put him on a hand like a flush draw again, or possibly overcards, and that’s why you 3bet him all in. You forgot to consider that he could easily have hands like sets, plus a lot of overpairs, since those will constitute a large portion of his 3bet range. Against a flush draw with 2 overs, you are a slight underdog. Against an overpair, you are drawing to 5 outs. Against a set, you are almost dead. Therefore, I think the best play would be to flat his raise and evaluate the turn. Alternatively, you could exploitatively fold the flop, understanding that his range is so strong. Again, I think your issue had to do with putting him on an exact hand rather than considering all the possibilities. Judging by the way you played the aforementioned 3 hands, you also tend to overplay top pair hands. It’s easy to say you were just coolered and chalk it up to bad luck, when in reality, you could have easily only taken a relatively miniscule loss in all 3 hands.

Finally: 307955563

Facing a minraise with J3s, I do not think a 3b makes much sense. You certainly are not 3bing for value, and as shown by the fact that your opponent flatted your 3b with K4s, he is not overfolding to your 3bs and is actually calling them relatively light. You have better hands to work in as “bluffs” aka suited hands that are more connected. I do not mind a fold if you are very uncomfortable playing out of position and you are facing a superior opponent who likes to barrel postflop. As a default, I believe you can just flat his open getting those odds. When the flop comes K63 with two clubs, you decided to make a continuation bet. This is a reasonable play. As the 3bettor, you have strong hands like AA, AK, KQ in your range and can deny the equity of hands like 9T that have overcards to your pair of 3s and reasonable equity, but cannot continue facing a bet. You can also consider checking this flop with some frequency since you do have showdown value. Your opponent decided to minraise you, and getting those odds, it is very reasonable to call. The turn came another 3, giving you trips. You decided to check it over, and your opponent bet half pot. At this point, you should be narrowing down his holdings to hands like 45 (open ended straight draw), a flush draw, possibly a set of 6s, and 2 pair hands. Facing that bet and considering your stack size, you should have shoved. You are well ahead of his range in that spot with trips, and since you are oop, you want to give him incorrect odds to call with his draws, as well as get value from 2 pair hands. However, you decided to minraise, giving him direct odds to call with all his draws. When the turn came the 7 of clubs, completing both the flush and straight draws. You led by going all in. This was a huge mistake. The only hands that are calling you there are hands that have you beat (straight, flush, boats). Of course, you might get a naked king to call, but your opponent would have to be really bad. Plus, that is only a small part of his range, and you should only be betting for value when you beat over half of the hands that will call. If you checked the river, a king would likely check back, and only flushes/straights/boats would bet. From there, you could make a decision whether you want to hero call or not, depending on how bluff heavy your opponent is and whether they are bad enough to shove a naked king. However, your biggest mistake was not raising allin on the turn. Sure, he would have hit his flush this time, but in the long term, you will be profiting off his call since he is not getting the direct odds to call with his draws.

Overall, I think you will improve your game drastically by trying to put your opponent on a range of hands and making your decisions based on how your equity fares against that range, rather than putting him/her on a specific hand and playing as if he has that exact hand. Aside from that, try to stop overplaying top pair hands and gain a deeper understanding of the reasons behind the relative strengths of starting hands. I’m sure you take your game to the next level if you keep working at it, and I hope you will continue having such passion for the game


I didn’t read all of the comments, but here’s my 2 cents about tilt and bankroll management. If you aren’t playing your best game and are losing, it can help to take a short break to regain perspective. That applies to all players, regardless of skill.

The hardest thing about bankroll management is that once you have a big loss, you want to make up for it, and that just leads to more losses. You need to start playing at the level of your bankroll (i.e., 500/1k if you have 4m), and work your way back up. After being very cautious with my bankroll and getting up to 70m, I took a few bad beats and lost 10m, then I went to elite stakes for the first time to try to get it back and immediately lost another 30m, which undid all of my good bankroll management. It took a while, but I finally got back to where I was (and further). If you play above your bankroll, you are at a disadvantage to your opponents because you cannot survive variance.

I think your guide was useful to new players, and the level of your bankroll isn’t really relevant to its usefulness.


I don’t have anywhere near the amount of time in on this site to critique your assessments of the player pools one way or the other. I watch more hands than I play by a large margin and that tends to give me the view from 30,000ft, not a ground-level detailed one. If I had to make a general comment about what I see that works here, it would be a higher amount of betting for value. Players seem to look for any excuse to call so extract as much value as you can from them. This advice applies for games up to and including the 20K/40K. Basic play works and you will get paid on your strong holdings.

Heck, I was watching one of our friends the other day rake a pot of over 30 million chips betting 3 streets and being passively called by someone who presented A-high at showdown to a double-paired board. He passively called a standard open pre-flop with AKo and then passively called all 3 streets for everything he had on the table. Never made a move to take the pot. Never made any attempt to find out where he was in the hand and called off his whole stack when the only thing he beat was a nonsensical 3-barrel bluff. Horrible play on one side rewarded the patient and steady play on the other. Nothing fancy or tricky about it. Our friend was basically playing his hand face-up (large pocket pair) and getting called anyway. Doesn’t get any more basic than that.

Glad to see you getting a lot of support for putting yourself out there. I respect anyone who makes a sincere effort to improve their game. There is an old saying that applies:

Hard work without talent is unfortunate
Talent without hard work is tragic

You have some talent for sure, given the relatively short amount of time you’ve been playing and the concepts you are already becoming familiar with. If you continue to put in the time and work towards improving your game, I honestly believe you will become very skilled at it.


ty you for the in site

Doesn’t matter what strategy you use , If your lucks left you your luck has left you. Now a lot of players
seem to think that at a certain point Replay flick the switch on you , particularly when you go for weeks
on end and no matter what you do you will loose. Does this happen to all players or just some ?.It certainly
is curious as no money is involved you can sit back and watch this happen objectively. Personally I don’t
subscribe to this idea but as Isaid it certainly is curious.


wow! amazing post. thx a lot for taking the time to point all those hands out.

i shall give my thought process that was going on in the hands to show what i was thinking

in the A7 hand i was 3betting for value, because i knew his BTN raise % is very high (same 2 me however). the 4bet call however had a different reason. not long before i made a light 4bet and he asked what my hand was and showed him the low suited connector i was bluffing with. so i assumed he could be doing the same because i knew that he knew that i could be capable of buffing these spots. as for the post flop situation, my thought was that i had hit a great hand and wanted to check raise it, because he could also have something like AK or AQ. however when facing the 3bet i almost knew i was beat, but because of the odds i called.
but now with your explanation, i totally agree i should have folded to the 4bet since it’s not worth the risk for a “may be or may not be a bluff” situation, and besides of that i agree that just calling would probably have saved me a lot of chips too. and with the post flop situation i should have considered the big possibility of overpairs and bet instead of check raising to see if i’m ahead or not. long story short: great analysis.

the Q8 hand was the same thought process when calling. the check-raise on the flop was the exact thought process you pointed out. i thought i had the best hand but vulnerable to the draws. can’t really remember what my thoughts were when calling the 3bet postflop but i think it was something like strong but not enough to 4bet. as for the lead on the turn, it seems like some sort of instinctive protection but since i was almost commiting myself i have no idea why i did this oddly enough.
also great analysis again, thx.

the A6 call was also because i thought he though i was raising light from the button. also i have seen him make a light 3bet once and seen him fold to a 4bet two or three times, which made me think he could be 3betting light. as for the lead postflop and 3betting all-in, the thought was that my hand was strong and since it’s such a low flop i assumed he won’t hit often and thought that he thought the same of me so because of that i thought he could raise bluffing me or perhaps even “valuebetting” ace high.
but in your analysis it indeed seems like i’m putting him in a way more loose image then he probably was. you also said i was overvalueing top pair top kicker hands. it indeed seems i did. no idea why because i have made laydowns with way bigger hands. so long story short: fully agree with you and while i thought i already did, i should blame bad luck less then i already did. in fact i don’t like it at all to blame bad luck when i just played poorly and yet i did without even noticing, so thanks a lot for pointing me to this.

the J3 suited hand was indeed meant as light 3bet and not for value but i agree this isn’t the right hand to do it with. postflop the same thought process applied to represent the king with cbetting and calling because of the odds. the checkraise was indeed for value, but as you said i should have shoved instead of minraising, no idea why i did that. the shove on the river was meant to get value from K hands, but also fully agree with you that this makes no sense at all. i guess i was in some kind of small tilt already when this hand came, way too much mistakes have been made.
as for the analysis: fully agreed again.

thx a lot again for this amazing post and i will defenitely work on the things you pointed out.

yes, that’s indeed the reason i take a break of it hopefully afterwards it’s going better thx.

after i’m done with the small break i defenitely gonna play better bankroll management again so i can build it again.

thx, nice to hear that :slight_smile:.

thanks for the advises and the nice words. i will absolutely keep spending time and effort to improve my game.


i don’t know everything about it but when not counting normal downswings i had it twice. these 2 stayed on for months.

the first time i had build my bankroll to 2M (was still new to the site at the time so 2M was a lot for me at the time) i had my first one. almost everytime i played i got lost with strong hands like 2pair or more to even bigger hands, lost with strong winning hands that rivered a card which made me lose. if i folded i often got trips or more. and even if i won the losing hands came way more.

the second time i had a bankroll of 140M and got down to 250K. this time the exact same thing happened but was also combined with tilt from time to time and poor bankroll management, but besides of that it was still a horrible bad luck swing for months, the biggest proof i found was that when it was happening for a month a player asked me what happened to my bankroll and i told the story. at that time even another 2 players responded and told the got the exact same problem but also that it started the same time that my problem also started.

now luckily the horrible swing is over and i’m building my roll back, the downswing i mentioned that happens now is nothing like the 2 before and is just completely normal, and as idiotplayer explained most of the things are also completely my fault and not of bad luck, even if it was, one day of bad luck would be very normal to happen from time to time.

so do i expect something strange happens sometimes? yes
but do i think replay is rigged? absolutely not! perhaps something strange happens from time to time and maybe it’s some bug or maybe there is really some insane bad luck swing. but i have seen much of replay that proves me that they want to help players and want a good working site. so i have full trust in them.

I agree with your point about betting for value primarily. It can often work at even the highest stakes, but there are players who are capable of exploiting that approach, especially once you get to 20k/40k.

Based on your description, it seems like you may be referring to a 30+m chip pot I recently won. If it is indeed that hand, then the one issue with your analysis is that my opponent did not call down each street, but bluff-shoved the turn by raising ~6m more into a pot that was already over 12m. They had min-3bet preflop and called a big bet on the flop. They seemed to be representing exactly AA and hoping I would fold KK or QQ, but I had the rockets myself on an extremely dry board in a 4-bet pot. You could be talking about a completely different hand, but everything else about your description matches up, including the size of the pot, the straightforward manner I played my hand, and the double-paired board. My opponent in that hand was lower ranked and did not have the bankroll to play at those stakes (and neither do I), so it may not be representative of most hands.

Here is my advice about playing very high stakes (and in general on Replay), although I am not an expert and make tons of mistakes (just recently I got stacked with QQ against a flopped set of 7s when I should have been able to fold the turn). Sometimes you can get a lot of value by playing in a straightforward manner like I did with AA by mixing up your play in a variety of ways. Replay is a limpfest, even at higher stakes, so by raising a wider range than the usual TT+, AQ+ or the even tighter QQ+, AK, if you raise a wider variety of hands you can create a looser table image. Players might try to 3-bet you light or make calls that they wouldn’t otherwise, which can put you in a lot of tough spots, but it can pay off when you do have a big hand, and you may be able to win a lot of other pots with aggression.

Sometimes I am tighter or looser, aggressive or passive depending on the table or how much I am concentrating. I would like to think that this makes it difficult for opponents to put me on a hand. It is almost as satisfying to snap-fold a bluff hand when it becomes clear that my opponent thinks I am really strong as it is to actually hit a big hand. One thing I have learned from some outside reading is that it is advantageous to be able to show up with any particular card, so that you can hit all possible board textures. For example, if I open preflop and the board comes 237, I could easily have 22, 33, 77, 54s, 43s, 99, AK, or AA. Many players on Replay are easy to play against because you can immediately put them on a particular range or specific hand based on the ranges they might raise or call with, or how they will play postflop. Playing a wider range leads to more variance and tough decisions, which I often get wrong, but when it happens just right you can play your big hands in a straightforward manner and get paid off without having to get tricky or trappy and losing value or giving your opponents a chance to draw.

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Joe - you are correct about the hand I was trying to reference. I was going off memory and forgot the min-raise pre-flop and the turn bet. I also forgot that it was a 50K/100K table. I did not want to disclose your name or your play as I did not think it was my place to do that without discussing it with you 1st.

Anyway, I hope I got enough right to make the point I was going for. While there are some players capable of making more advanced plays, from what I have seen 95+% of the time, basic value betting will work out just fine.

A lot of people want to play like Tom Dwan or otherwise mimic what they’ve seen on TV. Other than the fact that they aren’t Dwan to begin with, they also don’t realize that the play they see on TV isn’t how he plays every hand. A 1-hour show will take 5-hours of live play and edit out all but 6-8 hands and only show the ones most fun to watch. Invariably those are the ones where Durrr makes plays that most of us can only dream about. Great for TV poker isn’t representative of the game as played.

I wish you could have seen some of the play on the 20K/40K table late last night, It was a spectacle. Some involving the same player as from your hand, along with a few other suicide-donkey-bombers. Just wow. Only a few brave “solid” players sat in on it and that was for the purpose of stalking. Story for another day.

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nice points about the more straightforward play with strong hands, i have added it.

Do you have a systematic way of finding good hands to watch or do you just watch the high stakes tables? I wouldn’t mind reviewing some hands but I wouldnt know where to begin. I don’t mind discussing that hand. I didn’t think he would min 3bet out of position with 76 or 77 or 66, so there was no way I was ever folding on any street of a 67733 board. If I’d had TT I would have folded the turn (though I probably wouldn’t have 4bet preflop) and with QQ it would have been a tough spot.

If I’m remembering correctly, tom dwan is a losing player in high stakes online poker, at least after some initial success. Elite players these days play a wide range of hands, but that doesn’t mean they bluff every time.

This brings up the issue of range balancing. In high stakes you are likely to constantly face the same opponents, so it is useful to get caught bluffing occasionally and to be able to show up with 54s, but in general on replay it is much more profitable to play good hands for value and not worry about balance.