Douggyfr3sh's avatar


82 points

Assuming a full table with 10% Antes:

If villain is pretty active and opening 30% and calls your shoves with: 17.8%, 55+ A7s+ A5s-A4s A8o+ K8s+ KTo+ QTs+ JTs

We should probably shove a linear range including A9o+ and A5o should be in our flatting range. As for postflop you either need to fold or shove after checking and I would shove. This board does not hit villain's range all that well and he is likely cbetting almost all overcards.

Pot on flop is around 5.8bb and you have 9.8bb back- once villain cbets 2.3bb ish pot is 8.1 and you can shove for just over pot, which in a small live MTT should generate some fold equity vs. air. If you get called you are generally always going to have 28-38% ish equity so it's not horrible. This is one of the better flops for both your hand and your range so I think we should be jamming.

Jan. 20, 2017 | 4:53 p.m.

Thanks! That is helpful and I have had a similar approach. I've tried to play around with node locking a bit but every time I try it seems like I'm wasting time and not getting much done. I really like that exploring multiple bet size GTO solutions can reveal a lot about an easy simplified one size strategy we can use for a given spot. I've been finding that Pio prefers smaller sizings in a lot of flop spots even with deeper effective stacks!

Jan. 17, 2017 | 2:40 p.m.

Weekly update 1/16/17

I set my goals this year to be more achievable and forgiving than I did last year. I felt that I was setting myself up for failure by having goals which were far too ambitious and extremely difficult to attain for 2016, and I think I did a good job of focusing on process-oriented and life improvement goals this year.

I studied more last week than I have in many,many weeks prior. I watched a bunch of RIO videos and did some dabbling in Pio. Sam Grafton's recent vid about check raising BB with Pio findings got me pretty excited to do some more work w/ the software. I did OK with meditation, but didn't exercise at all. I was also late to work every day, and one of my goals for this year is to be on time. I show 10-15 minutes "late" because there is 0% chance of getting anything done for the first ~30 minutes on the current project I'm working on (due to factors outside of my control), so there isn't much point in me being there "on time", but I want to be just to prove to myself that I can consistently do it.

My weekdays are currently insanely busy. I'm studying poker and software engineering every night, working 10-12 hours a day, building 1-2 websites on the side for clients, and cooking good dinners most nights which take 1-2 hours to prep and cook. I'm also trying to become more of a minimalist, so some weeknights I am spending going through all of my belongings and getting rid of most of them via donations, selling stuff, etc.

I went to Boston on Saturday to visit the girlfriend's family and watch the Patriots' game at a bar. We got pretty drunk and I didn't get a great night of sleep, so by the time I got home Sunday I was pretty tired, definitely not 100%. I still played a session but played far fewer tables and quit early. I broke even bubbling a $12k GTD final table calling a flop shove with TP vs 2nd pair, villain binked trips. It was annoying and I said f*ck out loud, but immediately settled down and went to bed. Slept really well, and I'm ready to kill this week!! I plan to study some more postflop with Pio and might post some analysis here if I get into some interesting findings.

Jan. 16, 2017 | 3:36 p.m.

Great vid Sam!

I have a couple of questions:

-It looks like you are only exploring our strategy vs. an optimal c-betting strategy in these check raise spots, but aren't modifying villain's cbet strategy and node locking to explore the best exploitative strategy for hero. Is that correct?

-If so, do you often node lock when using pio, or are you more interested in viewing the initial GTO strategies to explore optimal bet sizes and frequencies? I'm new to the software and trying to learn how to use it effectively.

Jan. 14, 2017 | 12:36 a.m.

In general, I think that it makes more sense to polarize the Ax's in your range a bit more. EG raise some of the best ones for value and the worst as bluffs and flatting the middling Ax. Also think flatting middling suited connectors and one gappers is good because of playability (High R factor). I also agree w your bluffs and think it's good to bluff a lot of stuff that does not play well postflop and has a hard time realizing equity. I also think that you should be raising some K hi as bluffs, but not really sure about that. As you get more stats on villain you can develop some exploitative strategies around their tendencies, such as raising a very wide weak range full of bluffs vs. a villain who limps ~100% and doesn't defend vs 3b wide enough.

Jan. 12, 2017 | 4:31 p.m.

This really resonated with me. Just found this journal and really enjoying reading through it! Thank you for writing this.

Jan. 11, 2017 | 7:04 p.m.


I suck at posting here regularly. Part of the reason why is because I have my own blog website where I tend to write major updates. I wrote a reflection on my 2016 there, and will continue to blog there throughout this year. I also plan to keep this thread going. As of right now, my plan is to study during the week and grind massive MTT sessions every Sunday. My phases of dabbling in cash games has not been working out very well, and I still think I am good enough to have a big edge in MTTs.

I need to stop grinding MTTs during the week while working 50-60 hour weeks, it's massively -Life EV and I'm way out of balance and feeling burnt out. I'm also going to have a big life change coming up later this year which will make it impossible to grind during the weekdays.

Life Update:

I've had some pretty cool things happen since my last post. I took 2 weeks off from work to have a pretty big surgery that I've been putting off for years. During the time off I taught myself JavaScript and applied to Hack Reactor, an elite coding bootcamp and arguably the best software engineering school in the world. I got accepted! I hope to attend this school at some point this year, graduate, and land a job as a software engineer. (maybe at RIO Poker???) :).

I also had the tenant who was renting the downstairs storefront in our building move out, and a new one moved in who pays more and pays in cash 2 months in advance! They are running a Medical Marijuana dispensary, which smells great. The new legislation here in Maine really worked out for us.

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll be able to post more regularly here this year!

Jan. 11, 2017 | 4:49 p.m.

Post | Douggyfr3sh posted in MTT: Designing Study Routines

Hello Hello,

SO I have been thinking about doing an experiment and changing my grind schedule for a while now. I really want to try grinding Sundays Only. I think there are a ton of benefits to this.

I want to try studying in 3 hour blocks 3 days/week and also plan to have a 1-2 hour warm up study session before my Sunday grind. This will give me close to a 1:1 studying to grinding ratio and allow me to balance life and hopefully enjoy the game more (been feeling pretty burnt out lately and need to stop grinding week nights while working 50-60 hours).

I could really use some help in optimizing my study time. I feel like I'm floundering lately. I find the RIO videos to be great resources and generally enjoy watching them, but feel that it is very important to come up with my own insights and run sims with tools like HRC and Pio. I've been having a really hard time trying to use Pio effectively and getting the most out of my time with the tool. In fact, I kind of feel like all the time I have spent trying to use Pio has been a complete waste.

How can we build optimal study habits?

-How should we identify topics to study for the coming week?
-Should we dedicate a fixed amount of hours each week to mental game or meta skill topics?
-How can we go about quantifying how much better we get with studying? This seems really hard to do.
-What other questions can you think of?

This shit is something I am realllly interested in. I very much want to study effectively but can't seem to figure out how to improve my game very well. FWIW I do think that my preflop RFI ranges and push/fold game <= 20bb is solid, I've spent a lot of time on that but need to start expanding and studying more postflop, 20-50bb post ante, >60bb pre ante, etc. etc.


Jan. 11, 2017 | 3:03 p.m.

Thx for input. I actually modified Nick's 30 sec exercise to be 50 sec. for MTTs and did this exercise for an hour yesterday before my session! I feel that it's an excellent way to get the mind warmed up and in "Poker Mode" before starting.

Jan. 9, 2017 | 3:05 p.m.

I feel the urge to chime in here regarding the quality of MTT content. I play exclusively MTTs (well, I've spewed a bit of money playing mid stakes cash but 99% MTTs) and I've been an elite member for some time now. I don't get as much value out of the site as I could or should, but that's 100% due to my own laziness or lack of priorities (grinding too much, studying too little). I still happily pay the monthly fee because I feel that the value of a membership more than justifies it. Honestly, I think it's a little absurd how many people have complained about the price. If you don't think it's worth $100, the truth is theres a good chance you are probably not working hard enough to get as much value as you could out of this site. The simple solution is to work harder rather than complaining about the totally reasonable price.

Having said that, I think that the MTT forums on this site are terrible, but then I haven't really seen any site that has good MTT forums. There seems to be very little community participation going on, but I don't know that RIO can do much of anything to fix that. It kind of seems like it's up to the community.

Also, I see a lot of discussion about cash game content being much better than MTT content. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but feel very strongly that there are a TON of cash game videos which do directly apply to MTTs (mainly cash theory videos). I also think there's a lot of good mental game and meta skills content on the site. Just because a video isn't filtered under the "MTT" category doesn't mean you can't greatly benefit from it as an MTT player.


Jan. 7, 2017 | 12:38 a.m.

Thanks for posting this Phil, great read and we're excited to see what these mystery projects are!

Jan. 4, 2017 | 9:16 p.m.

My reasoning for calling turn is more that we block everything and want villain to continue bluffing on rivers with a portion of their range and also to allow them to continue value betting worse.

Jan. 3, 2017 | 4:27 p.m.

Big difference is a lot more room for exploitative strategies in MTTs where 6max hypers are probably gonna play closer to GTO/optimal preflop. Also correct optimal ranges will in general be much wider in MTTs because ICM is a bitch.

It is valid to have a small 3b size at 20bb and to have r/f strategies at >12bb in MTTs, but these may not be optimal strategies vs. the tendencies of your opponents.

Jan. 3, 2017 | 2:16 a.m.

3bet flop polarized, float the checkraise wide, adjust cbetting range

Jan. 3, 2017 | 2:08 a.m.

I think calling turn and river is reasonable and maybe a higher EV line vs. villain's full turn range, but we def. can't ever "get away" from the hand, that would be criminal IMO.

Jan. 3, 2017 | 2:05 a.m.

I think that it could be possible in certain tournament situations to open KK and end up folding preflop without ICM pressure (not talking about a special case satellite bubble situation). I think that you have to have an extremely strong read that your opponent has tight ranges and that they have somehow reverse-capped their range and chosen a sizing which is extremely exploitable and only used when they have AA or KK+ (and fwiw I do think these players and spots exist, but that they are very few and far between). It also helps to be in an extremely soft and/or well structured tournament that you expect to have a massive edge in. No ChipEV or ICM calculator available today can factor this into the calculation, so it's currently all but impossible to quantify, but IMO it matters.

Jan. 3, 2017 | 12:48 a.m.

Agree with Flopstarr. Also I think that in LP you should be isoing a very wide range vs. this player, and should include a ton of suited connectors and one gappers, any Ax suited. When you get flatted you're playing against a face up capped range of 22-JJ,KQ,AJ, you get 3b pretty rarely and when you do villain's range is so narrow you can play near perfectly vs. it in position.

Also, if you can determine how villain likes to float flops you can extract a lot of value from them. If they get to the flop with a ton of pp's and float all of them on dry-ish boards, you can double barrel quite liberally and pick up a pfr + cbet very often.

Dec. 30, 2016 | 5:33 p.m.

Also, a more specific question:

How do you combat getting bored x hours into a long MTT session, and/or seeking out distractions while playing online? I've been having a big problem lately where every time I play an MTT session my focus is terrible. I can't seem to focus 100% on my tables and I end up firing up youtube or netflix on a secondary monitor sometimes. Even if I don't have anything else open I have been struggling to focus. It's funny because just a few months ago I had my 2 biggest scores ever within 2 weeks of each other. Since then I've been downswinging a bit, which may be part of the problem. I feel motivated to play and study, but once I get a few hours into a session I'm struggling. I've even switched to cash for my last few sessions in order to play 1-hour stints to maintain maximum focus (which has worked). I think it makes it much harder that I play mainly on Ignition with no sync breaks, so I have to play 13 hours with no time at all to relax/ refocus.

Dec. 30, 2016 | 5:21 p.m.

Thanks for the reply, big fan of your theory videos. I think that if you're not Fedor Holz assuming you will lose on a live trip is a good approach. Do you also tend to assume that for a Sunday online session? We probably play around the same volume on a single Sunday online as we would in a lengthy live MTT trip, and the fields tend to be larger as well. We also don't have the added edges live play can sometimes provide. It feels different to assume we will lose every Sunday than it does to assume that for a live trip, but I'm not sure why. Are our $EV's and variance really that different?

Dec. 30, 2016 | 5:15 p.m.

Hey RIO!

I would like to get a dialogue going about some out of the box or non traditional ways to study or improve our performance in MTTs. Some of the more traditional methods of study include:

-HH Review
-Database analysis
-Watching Videos
-Studying ranges with software (HRC, Pio Solver)
-Watching replays of big events

what other ways can we study? How else can we improve our MTT performance? Here are some ideas/examples:

-Practice regular mindfulness meditation
-do combinatorics drills to be able to more quickly determine value/bluff combo ratios in game
-exercise regularly/exercise right before a long MTT session
-Minimize/remove distractions (HOW DO WE DO THAT??)
-Have life balance

Any comments appreciated. I think it would also be cool to discuss more specifically how to implement the above in an effective way.

Dec. 29, 2016 | 3:01 p.m.

No problem! I think it kind of depends on the situation. It's not always going to be feasible to type in every single payout. For example, what if you are in a tournament where 127 places get paid and there are 130 players left and you want to compare ICM for this spot to chipEV. That's a lot of work!! However, comparing chipEV to ICM for a spot where 27 are paid and 29 players are left is a pretty interesting exercise and these two ranges will be very different. This also gives you an idea how you should be changing your ranges in the 130 players left scenario as it is similar. At least with you approximative method you are considering ICM in some way. It will be closer than chipEV ranges would be.

Dec. 29, 2016 | 2:52 p.m.

Sounds to me like using this processs would not get you usable results. In fact, I think the ICM ranges you would get using this approximation would be very bad ranges to use and would not be even close to the ranges you should be using (for example with a push/fold stack situation). The latest HRC version has the ability to do a calculation where you type in all 27 prizes and all the stacks at your table, total chips in MTT, etc. and get a more accurate ICM result for bubble situations like this. It takes a bit more work, but this is the way those spots should be calculated.

Dec. 26, 2016 | 1:11 a.m.

Shove or fold IMO never a flat. I would shove here often, min cash be damned- but folding isn't really bad. Vs. villains range you have decent equity when called- likely enough that it is a profitable chipEV jam with no fold equity. It's also nice blocking a 9 since villain gets sticky with their J9,Q9 combos in this spot having a big stack IMO.

EDIT: Some Maths:

with 0 FE you are putting in 48k and total pot will be 115,500 so your equity needs to be 48/115.5 = ~42% to break even. It becomes a question of whether you want to risk your MTT life for this thin ish spot. Given that you think the table is really soft and you have a good edge it may be a spot worth passing on- hard to quantify that sort of thing.

Oct. 11, 2016 | 7 p.m.

Yeah I'm probably gonna try to focus mainly on studying and hopefully play like 1hr a day 7 of the 10 days or something. I doubt there's any chance of a perma ban for playing in legal states after notifying them. I think you're 100% spot on about it being a no communication/no standards issue within the company.

Oct. 11, 2016 | 4:47 p.m.

SO I thought this email response I just got from Ignition (formerly Bovada) was hilarious and wanted to share it here. I emailed them with my itinerary for my upcoming trip including dates and what states I would be in, explaining that I wanted to log in and play from these states while traveling. I know that none of them are on their list of banned states. Here was their reply:

Thanks for contacting Poker at Ignition Casino Customer Service.
We don't see any issues with accessing your account in the locations you've provided; however, we recommend that you don't access it outside the registered address on file as your account may be disabled.
We’re available to help 24/7 if you need anything else.

How would you guys read into this reply? IMO it means that I'm fine to play from those locations while traveling BUT Ignition doesn't want any liability and wants to always have the doomswitch option at their disposal, basically it's ok for me to play but they are covering their bases. Would you guys just grind and not worry about it after getting this response?

Oct. 11, 2016 | 1:59 p.m.

Yo guys,

So the Foxwoods trip didn't go well results-wise. I actually lost a decent chunk of my bankroll. I busted the $1200 level 6 and lost money in $2/5 NL and $2/5 PLO cash, and had one deep run in the $250 super stack turbo with an 11th place finish for like $900. Overall, I am quite happy with my play and decisions regarding game selection, balance, etc. I meditated and worked out, I ate reasonably healthy meals, and I played well for the most part. There were some mistakes made where I should have quit sessions earlier than I did, but I felt that I did quit in a reasonable amount of time.

The $2/5 PLO game I hopped in was super sick. I felt total confidence at the table and had the feeling like nobody wanted to play pots vs. me. I was Squeezing tons of pots exploiting the overall tendency for players to 2bet/fold too much and also to flat pre and fold to 3bets WAY too much. The game felt much softer than I had expected it to be and I gained a lot of confidence from playing it, even though I walked away a loser. I lost my whole stack (180bb ish) in a 3bet pot where I 3b pre in position and flopped 393 with the 99 in my hand. Villain flopped quads with 33xx and we got it in. I snap left even though I could have reloaded because I felt like I wouldn't be able to continue playing my A-game for much longer. In addition to the beat I was also super hungry and it was only 3 hours before time to go home anyway, so I quit early which I felt was a really good decision. There was one other really sick pot in PLO that I will be posting in the strategy forums and will probably post here as a separate post when I get a sec.

Between the live trip, taking shots at mid stakes online cash games, and being too dumb to not play when I'm not in an optimal mental state, I've found myself all the sudden in the middle of a pretty big downswing. I'm struggling with picking a good healthy and sustainable schedule and deciding which games I want to play. I know MTT are my best game and most profitable, but I can't grind them every night with my job. I also am really enjoying PLO cash and think I probably beat at least up to $1/2 online for a good winrate, but I don't know how to sustainably study and grind PLO and MTTs. I have been feeling lately like I am very good at MTTs relative to the pool I play against, and I feel like my EVROI should probably be massive as long as I consistently study, exercise, meditate, etc. Healthy routines and balance continue to be my biggest challenge. IMO these things are much harder than knowing ranges on turn etc.

Fortunately, I LEAVE FOR VACATION TODAY!!! 10 days starting in New Orleans and ending in St. Louis. Will be posting some Trip Reports ITT. Rungood everyone!!

Oct. 11, 2016 | 12:37 p.m.

Hey Nick! Are subscribers to your Twitch stream able to watch your sessions at any time? I am always at work when you stream and rarely get to catch any of it. Thanks!

Oct. 10, 2016 | 6:08 p.m.

Sitting in my hotel room at Foxwoods right now. Got here earlier today and I am playing the $1200 150k GTD tomorrow. I played a $300 satellite tonight to try and get into it on the cheap and busted that a bit after reg. period ended. After that I lost 2 buy ins in the $2/5 cash games. Feeling kinda shitty about my play in that and feel that I probably would have been better off quitting after the satellite and spending time studying and reading tonight. I really need to get better at quitting well and balancing life. It's a constant work in progress.

On the bright side, I did quit after losing 2 buyins, which was my stop-loss for the cash game. I came back to the room and have been studying for about an hour, and plan to get another hour in before going to sleep. Probably curl up and get real cozy with some HRC calcs. Plan for tomorrow is to wake up and drink my version of bulletproof coffee for breakfast, find the hotel gym for some cardio, and then play my heart out in this tournament. Despite having a shitty last couple of sessions I'm still on a pretty big life and poker upswing and should be able to find myself in a clear headed and focused state for tomorrow's event. GL us!

Oct. 8, 2016 | 4:48 a.m.

Thx man! Yeah it has been fun setting up all the smarthome stuff. Currently have bedroom, deck, and bathroom lights on the network and automated. Plan to finish the rest in the coming weeks.

Oct. 5, 2016 | 12:20 p.m.

Yo RIO!!

The upswong is appearing to continue. On Sunday I binked 3rd in the Ignition Sunday Major! I really wanted that win but played my heart out and was very happy with the result. My bustout was a spot where I 3b jammed BB vs SB and got it in good although with not a massive equity edge. It was the biggest payjump spot I have ever busted in and I didn't really feel upset at all when I busted, which felt quite good. I used some of the bink money to buy Pio Solver and am looking forward to diving in and learning that software. I've been insanely busy with moving into my new apartment building and haven't had much time for anything else. I'm looking forward to getting all settled and getting back to a routine of having more study time.

I'm a nerd and love to tinker with things, so one of the first things I did in the new place was to look into automating it and making it a "smart home". I installed smart light switches in the bedroom and deck, and bought a smart hub to control them all with automated routines and an app on my iPhone. I then picked up an Amazon Echo and connected that to the hub, so I now have lighting that is voice controlled when I'm home and greeting lights that automatically turn on when i arrive. It's really cool and convenient to be able to turn the bedroom lights on/off without leaving my bed.

I'm going to be busy with fun life events for the foreseeable future and I'm pumped about it. This weekend I'm going whitewater rafting on Saturday and grinding hard on Sunday. I'm planning to head over to Foxwoods for the WPF $1200 150k GTD on 10/8 (the only live bird I'm likely to play this year). In October I'm taking close to two weeks off to go to New Orleans for a wedding and then a short road trip to St. Louis afterwards. Then i'll be planning to grind out the last week of the GSPO series on Ignition.

I firmly believe that my recent successes in the online games have come almost entirely from being balanced and happy in life. I still have a ton of room for improvement in that department and haven't been exercising and meditating regularly due to a very hectic schedule with the move, but I have been finding that during my recent grind sessions I have felt very level and haven't let mistakes and bustouts bother me as much as they have in the past. I have also been having some very productive group study sessions, but TBH I don't think my technical skill in Tournament poker has really improved dramatically in the recent past. I think it's just that my ability to perform has increased due to balance/happiness being much greater.

If any Pio Solver studs happen to read this and would be interested in group study shoot me a message!


Sept. 20, 2016 | 11:39 a.m.

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