Episode link: https://solveforwhy.io/programs/poker-out-loud-season-2?cid=2036707

Poker Out Loud was created by Solve For Why, an advanced poker training company. Solve For Why’s founder and lead instructor is Matt Berkey, a long-time high-stakes poker professional in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Poker Out Loud is a unique approach to poker training and entertainment. Top poker professionals play a cash game format, while all wearing noise-cancelling headphones. Before their actions, they speak their thoughts out loud, revealing to the audience their thought process and reasoning behind each poker decision.

Everyone sits down at the table in the Solve For Why studio with thousands of dollars of their own money for an hours-long session of $5/$10 No-Limit Texas Hold’em. Their noise-cancelling headphones provide privacy, allowing each player to freely break down what’s on their mind when it’s their turn. While nobody playing is a proficient lip reader, they’ve also been asked to refrain from looking at their opponents when they’re speaking.

“I have an Ace. I’m gonna raise; I’m bored,” says Kelly Minkin to start Episode 3, opening A-4 offsuit to $40 from under the gun. A middling flop brings no love, though, and with three callers behind, all of whom happen to have stronger holdings, Kelly gives up, and the money in the middle eventually makes its way to Matt Hunt.

A few hands later, Christian Soto opens 88 to $40 from the hijack, and Jordan Young calls on the button with J-9 offsuit. Hunt looks down at K-Q of spades, calling it “pretty much one of the best-looking hands in the deck” before 3-betting to $235. Only Chin wants to see the flop, which comes down 6d4c2c. Both players check, and Hunt takes it down after betting 60% pot on the Qd turn.

After walking us through his decision, Chin waits a moment and shoots Hunt a serious glance before mucking, intentionally adding an element of brief discomfort, just in case Hunt happens to be bluffing.

As Hunt rakes in the pot, we can hear Jordan begin to talk about what a formidable presence Hunt is in the poker world, both as a player and a coach. Jordan tells the camera that he’s riveted by Hunt’s explanations of poker strategy, so much so that he decided to take 25 coaching hours from him, despite the fact that Hunt was playing in smaller games than Jordan at the time. Hunt’s been winning and moving up in stakes, though, which comes as no surprise to the seasoned tournament pro. “I think he’s brilliant,” says Jordan.

We also hear from Hunt himself, who talks about why he won’t be playing like a human solver in this game. “Most of the time, I have an awareness of what I’m ‘supposed to do’ according to a solver in a certain spot,” says Hunt. “But I’m rarely trying to follow that blueprint exactly.”

Solid. With wildcard pros throwing caution to the wind at the table, playing like a robot isn’t likely to cut it this season (or at any table in 2021, for that matter).

You can watch this episode in full, along with every other episode from all seasons of Poker Out Loud, at solveforwhy.io. Be sure to use promo code POLBLOG for 25% off your first month!