What We Will Cover

In this article, we will:

  1. Define what hand histories are and provide some expert advice on how to analyze them effectively.
  2. We will also offer valuable tips on how to utilize the information gathered from your hand histories to bring about positive changes in your gameplay; and
  3. Point out some of the most common blunders that players make when analyzing their game and show you how to avoid them.

What are Poker Hand Histories?

A poker hand history is a detailed record of the preceding poker hand, with each player’s actions documented at every stage of the game, from pre-flop to post-flop. The record includes all the betting actions, such as raises, bets, calls, and folds, which can be used to determine what happened during the hand and who ultimately won the hand. This information is particularly valuable for players who want to evaluate their gameplay and explore whether they could have played the hand differently to achieve better outcomes.

Poker Hand History In-game table

To access your hand history, most online poker sites have a simple button-click option. However, the level of detail in the hand history can vary, and it’s crucial to look at your hands meticulously. Thus, it’s worth checking whether your poker site provides access to the full hand history of your session. Most reputable sites do, but if they don’t, consider using software that will provide the necessary info that you will need.

Why Are Reviewing Hand Histories Important?

Reviewing hand histories in online poker is of utmost importance and cannot be emphasized enough. Going back to past games can lead to new insights that one’s memory might have overlooked. For example, have you ever been eliminated from a tournament and blamed your loss on bad luck? It’s easy to get into a victims mindset and believe that luck was the only factor that contributed to your loss.

However, upon reviewing the hand history of the tournament, a different story emerges and you could have played the hand very differently. You could’ve made different bets to get your opponent to fold earlier, avoiding the unfortunate river card. If you look back even further, you could’ve also won by playing the previous dozen hands optimally, reducing the player’s chip stack, and giving them more fold equity at the final table.

Identifying personal patterns and recurring mistakes is a difficult task, as those mistakes can become habits over time. However, identifying these patterns become easier through the use of hand histories, and you may notice that the flaw in your game isn’t where you think it is. For example, a player may feel unsure about their post-flop betting strategy, but upon closer inspection, they may discover that it’s actually on the turn, rather than the river, where they’re not making the optimal decisions .

Lastly, it’s essential to keep an eye out for opponents’ mistakes during gameplay. It’s commonly said that fools never learn from their mistakes, wise players learn from their own mistakes, and geniuses learn from others, avoiding mistakes altogether.

How to Review Hand Histories

To effectively analyze your hand histories, it’s crucial to prepare yourself for what you may discover and approach the process strategically. The first step is to ensure that you’re in the right mindset. Emotions should be set aside, and your focus should solely be on identifying areas of improvement.

Think of reviewing your hand histories as a scientific experiment, requiring a methodical and brutally honest approach. Keep in mind that even the most skilled player has room for improvement, so approach this process with a clear focus on self-improvement.

Poker Hand History Table

When examining the details of your play, your mission should be to identify general areas of weakness, specific errors, and missed opportunities. By correcting each example found in these three categories, you can optimize your future gameplay and create positive change. This approach will ensure that you get the most out of your hand analysis.

Tools for Analyzing Hand Histories

Using poker tracking software is highly advantageous for reviewing and analyzing your gameplay. Programs like the ones below offer comprehensive data and present hand histories in a clear and easy-to-understand visual format:

  • Poker Tracker 4
  • Holdem Manager 3 

To streamline the process of analyzing hand histories, hand history converters are also valuable tools. Although most sites provide written hand histories, visual representations are often easier to digest. Online resources like FlorTurnRiver, CardsChat, ShareMyPair, and Upswing Poker are great options for improving the structure of hand history analysis. Sharing your insights with your fans is an additional benefit that can enhance your interaction with your audience.

Common Mistakes Revealed in Hand Histories

Avoid Misinterpretation

When examining hand histories, it’s important to avoid misinterpreting the details of the hand. It’s easy to misremember facts or misread your own actions, but honesty and objectivity are key. Deliberately misrepresenting the situation to make yourself look better is a mistake you should avoid at all costs.

Don’t Overvalue Hands

Another mistake to avoid is overvaluing past hands. It’s important to find the right balance when correcting mistakes, as overcompensating can be just as harmful as doing nothing. Betting too little or too much, failing to bluff effectively, or missing out on opportunities to extract value are common errors that hand histories can reveal. Analyzing these patterns can help you make necessary adjustments in future games.

Don’t Overlook Opponents’ Tendencies

Furthermore, hand histories can also highlight the lack of consideration some players give to their opponents’ tendencies. Although playing as optimally as you can is important, it’s equally important to adjust your strategy to the specific player you’re facing. If your opponent’s style differs from the norm, taking an unorthodox approach may be necessary. It’s important to identify mistakes that arise from misreading the opponent as well as the hand.


Analyzing your hand histories may initially appear daunting, but recognizing its positive impact on your profit margin is crucial. Many poker players utilize this time to review their gameplay and assess what worked and what needs refining after a taxing mental session.

While some may find it unideal to examine data immediately after gameplay, returning to hand histories the next day with a clear mind can be beneficial. Regardless, integrating hand history analysis into your sessions is crucial.

During your hand history examination, assess your decision-making process and pinpoint areas for improvement. Prioritize critical aspects that can result in positive changes to your game. To identify weaknesses or negative patterns and make necessary adjustments, we recommend utilizing a Poker HUD in conjunction with your hand history analysis.

Did this article deal you a winning hand?

Jackpot! You’ve flopped a winning hand! This article has surely added some extra chips to your stack. Tune in for more valuable insights and pro-level strategies!

Looks like you’ve been dealt a bad beat. We’ll shuffle the deck and try again.

Paul seaton


Paul Seaton, a poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He’s not just a spectator; he’s been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker.

Paul’s poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he’s interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton’s expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide.

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