Have you ever lost a big hand – or won a big hand, for that matter – and wondered if you made the right play or not? There’s one way to find out: Pull up your hand history. Every hand you play at Ignition Poker is logged for future reference. Once 24 hours have passed, you can download the hand in question and all the others you played in the previous seven days. Then you can take time away from the table to study those hands and see how well you played them.

Not everyone does this, but it gives you an edge. Hand histories are an incredibly important tool in becoming a better poker player; top athletes look at video replays and biometric data from past games, and top poker pros look at the hands they were in. They don’t just assume that they played well because they won, or played poorly because they lost.

Captain’s Log

To download your hand history through the Ignition Poker software, click on Account, then Hand History, then Game Transactions. Select which type of poker game you want the hands from: Zone Poker, Ring Games, Sit and Go Tournaments, or Scheduled Tournaments. Then choose the time period and the specific session you’re looking for. If the hands are still “Available for Download”, click that button, and you should see the status change to Download Requested.

Once that’s complete, click on Open Hand History File, and you’ll see a notepad with a log of your requested hands. This log can be copied and pasted into a hand replayer so you can visualize how each hand unfolded, pausing the action as required. You’ll find a number of decent hand replayers available for free on the internet.

Do the Right Thing

If you really want to step up your game, there are other pieces of software you can use to help analyze your hands. Some are more expensive than others, but in general, they all use math to figure out what the “optimal” play is in a certain situation, and how far from optimal your play was. Don’t take this analysis for gospel; use it instead to open your mind about how you might have played the hand differently, and how the results may have changed.

Whether you use fancy software or not, make sure to look at all your hands, not just the ones where you went all-in, and not just the ones where you lost. Sample size is very important here. If you find some consistent mistakes in your game, work on them, starting with the ones that are easiest to correct. If you find you made a great play in a situation when you weren’t sure what to do, you’ll have the knowledge and the confidence to make that play again the next time. This is how we learn.