I've done really well improving my game over the years. I study a ton and love thinking about the theory of the game, and of course playing it. I often bust tables and am really proud of my ability and play. Always studying and applying what I learn; obsessed with improvement. I play anybody heads up (especially if they're better than me so I can learn) and have a really great winrate there, but almost all the action is at 6max.
But my 6max winrate is now miniscule (in a high rake environment) and now I'm barely treading water. I'm getting smashed by the sort of player I've never seen. This type of player honestly makes every one of Phil's high stakes heads up opponents look downright weak and pedestrian.
There are some indications that these might mostly be bots, but some of them are real players. They're absolutely crushing the games and I can't sort it out logically. There are often 2-3 of these types of players at a table (they also happen to be from the same geo location) so I hate to think that they're colluding, but it kind of feels like it. The way they play is both bizarre and genius. I have seen them squeeze and resqueeze pre and post flop, sandwiching the regs inbetween and pushing them around. I also never see these players in MTTs.
I play really aggressively myself, but with logic and finesse when it's optimal. This player choose the absolute most outrageous aggressive line every single hand, ditching any sort of standard play or thought. Playing any 4 cards mostly (sometimes folding pre but rarely.) The problem is that they're great at reading boards/ranges. I'm playing tighter ranges pre of course and getting it in great but losing massively; that's the real problem and nothing can be done about that.
But I'm looking for other ways to counter this insanity. If I play sound, and not like them, when I raise or offer any resistance they fold or know if they have exactly enough equity to make it kinda close to just go wild and nonsensical. Any checking or calling at any point in the hand gets hero pounded on. Even if hero seems to be way ahead.. villain always seems to know something a little extra. In single raise pots on the river it seriously feels like they can see my cards, even if I get tricky and switch a play I had just made once or twice.
The one big advantage I have now are checkraises. I xr the heck out of ppl for value.. It's hugely profitable, but it's destroying my xr range against other players. How to balance?
Another caveat: They do not fold. If they have bottom 2 on the juiciest boards, they'll snap call. So value bet of course. But it goes into the downward spiral of weak-passiveness. Gotta fight fire w fire and I'm starting to get more folds from the very bottom of their range but things are kind of askew; my ranges as it concerns these players and standard regs. It really feels like villa
It's the type of player that loves to shove over huge check-raises with really bad equity just to be toxic when they win, and their ultra hyper aggression in other spots vs players they bully apparently makes up for the losses.
I've watched almost half of Phil's heads up and 6max videos over the years and they're incredibly deep and helpful. But I hate to say it, I've never seen him face opponents like this at any stakes and honestly.. I kind of wonder how he would fare.
If anybody remembers an opponent of Phil's (or another RIO pro) that played like this in a video series, please reference who it was so I can find it.
tldr: I think I'm getting cheated in ring games and never experience it heads up so I might have to slash my volume and play only heads up from now on.