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Simplify Your Approach

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Posted by posted in Mental Game

Simplify Your Approach

Hey guys,

After a few coaching sessions with a couple of my students recently, as well as a few live sessions with some regulars at my local poker room I have found that players are too often perpetuating leaks due to the simple fact that they tend to over complicate or essentially level themselves in many situations. Now, this of course isn't some sort of revolutionary find and I don't have some ridiculously innovative way to solve this issue, but I can offer a couple of simple tips that have helped me and other players/students that I know that will help some of you hopefully save mental energy and net more EV.

Avoid mixed strategies if you aren't quite sure how to properly implement them or if they aren't needed vs your player pool

For example, let's say you play in a NL2 pool and you are in the SB facing a CO open. You have decided that you would like to implement a mixed strategy of 3betting and flatting because you have found via PIO that is the most optimal strat. The problem that often occurs is that you either are unbalanced one way or the other with your frequencies or maybe you are using so many mixed strategies in other situations that you forget exactly which combos you want to take what action with. This can result in lost EV due to not implementing the strategy correctly and you may start to even tilt yourself in situations like this. One way to help yourself out in this situation is to just 3bet every combo that you want to play. It saves energy and time and although it may not be "optimal" it may be the best way for you to maximize EV in the long run by saving yourself from possible tilt and user error.

Focus off the table on mastering one concept at a time instead of trying to learn multiple concepts and risking information overload

Another simple example is deciding whether or not to cbet OOP vs a tough regular in a NL500 pool. You know that having a mixed 30% cbet and a 100% Cbet strategy is optimal in this hypothetical, but maybe you haven't had the time to really nail down this strategy off the table. Choose one sizing and go from there. It will help you focus on really mastering one sizing for that situation and you will likely cut down on user error again. Once you get up to speed with your mixed strategy and that is in your mind the way to net the most EV, then implement it and print money. Until then though, simplify the approach.

What does the player pool do in this spot on average? If you don't know, then where are you at in your own range?

You end up in a tough spot on the river in a PLO200 pool. You have a king high flush and are facing a river X/R from an unknown opponent with absolutely no read. What does the player pool do there on average? Instead of mentally stressing over ranging this opponent in a manner that is so specific, simplify the approach and go by what players do on average in that spot. Do they bluff at way too low of a frequency? Are they over bluffing the dry ace or two pair in that spot. Let's take it a step further and say you don't exactly have that info either. Where are you at in your range? Of course in this scenario it seems like we are very high up there and maybe at the very top with how this hypothetical hand has been played. Mathematically you have to defend at some kind of minimum frequency, therefore it is very helpful to determine where you are at in your range and this may help a lot of you save mental stress and even possibly help you prevent mistakes of either over folding or over calling.

These concepts and thoughts are going to be very obvious to some of you, but for many of you start to implement some of these thoughts not only into your in game process, but to your off the table grind as well. Look for situations where you may be overthinking the process and just take a step back and see if you can become more efficient. There will be time for you properly improve (and complicate) your game all while still grinding and studying in a much more simplified manner! Thanks for reading and hope you guys get some value out of this post.

Nick

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