What's up RIO? Another month in the books, and a lot of improvement poker wise (at least that's what it feels like).
The downswing from September continue a bit further in to October, but I think I hit the bottom of it, and have grinded my BR back to the point where I first started playing on GG. Throughout the month, I made some pretty big changes to my approach to the game, and it seems to be going pretty well so far. It doesn't show on the graph, but I've won another 10 BI's or so since the start of November, and with another RB spin coming up shortly, I should be able to start shot taking 25NL again.
In other life news, Germany has started another lock down, so I should have a bit of time this month to click some buttons, and work towards the goal of shot taking 50NL by the end of the year. Throughout October, I found that my motivation to train for sailing was waning, while my motivation to grind poker was at an all time high. With that in mind, I've made the decision to take a step back from sailing, and put my focus in to reaching the highest levels in poker. This may be a temporary hiatus from sailing, but after having spent 5 years focussed solely on one task day in, day out, with very few results to show for it, I think I need a break from the life of an athlete. That isn't to say that I won't approach poker with less intensity than I did sailing - ever since I was a kid learning to surf at age 7, I've thrown myself fully in to any endeavour which I was trying to succeed at, but I want to approach poker with more 'balance'.
The thing I've come to realise is how important it is to approach a task in a way which fits your personality. Throughout my career as an athlete, I have very little doubt that I was putting in way more hours than the rest of my peers, and forcing myself to do so at times when I didn't feel like it. The result being the burnout expressed in this blog, and a lack of passion for a sport which I spent years trying to perfect. Everyone has heard the stories about people like Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan etc grinding day in, day out at all hours of the day to perfect their craft. This approach has obviously worked for them, and probably suits their personality types, but it's also an approach which is easy to glorify from an outside perspective. Seldom do you hear about the people who only trained 'when they felt like it', yet are able to achieve great success. Further, I think it's easier for a lot of successful people to recount the days where they trained for 12 hours straight, but fail to remember the days where they binged Netflix for 12 hours. I may be completely off about this, but I think long term consistency and purposeful practice is a much healthier recipe for sustained success. Sure there will be days where you 'don't feel like grinding', and you may need to push through these occasionally, but I think neglecting those feelings consistently is a recipe for disaster. I'm naturally very disciplined/driven, so I don't think putting in the hours will be difficult for me, but I would like to try and use more 'feel' when approaching my grinding/studying, rather than trying to tick off a certain number of hours each week. Other people may need to have a target each week to keep themselves accountable.
I'm sure there's a lot more that can be said about this topic, but those are my immediate thoughts, and I'd be keen to hear any other opinions/disagreements below.
Thanks for reading, and GL in November.
Nov. 3, 2020 | 11:13 a.m.
Awesome results man, and glad to hear you're moving up and that joining Detox is working out for you.
It's interesting how no matter how many primedope 'sims' we run, it's still hard to not let short term results affect our mind set and our opinion of our ability. I like the idea of the mental cue flash card warm up. I've also experienced too much 'urgency' when I'm playing, and the need to win every hand resulting in a lot of spews. I think it takes a lot of experimenting to figure out what the best routine/habits are for generating an 'A-game' mindset for playing. It could be worth also keeping a journal to document how various changes in your routine affect your mindset whilst playing. GL this month
Nov. 3, 2020 | 10:38 a.m.
Hey man, thanks for watching!
Are you suggest a full range 1/2 c-bet on those B/w low low boards EP vs BB?
1:50 - sure he's not fully capped, but I would think that a solver (or human) would be betting any 2p+ at pretty much full frequency when checked to here? The 5 doesn't do that much to uncap him except give him some possible sets?
2:15 - Given villain min 3-betting, I'm anticipating that he's taking this line with a pretty wide range/is probably a fish. I would've thought calling once would be okay here, but definitely close
99 hand - makes sense especially given how heavily weighted donks are towards TP. That being said, villain also seems like a fish so they could be doing this with anything like 77, 88 etc?
Oct. 19, 2020 | 9:38 a.m.
H9, I agree this is our weakest TP here, and not that much value to be had. Exploitatively, do you think we can bet small when checked to a lot on these boards since opponents probably aren't balancing their checking range well?
H11 - In hindsight, this hand is probably a little too vulnerable to be checking often on this board, maybe AsQx would make a better candidate for this. Didn't know there's an auto time bank setting thanks!
H14 - would you use something more like 1/2 pot then to target his PP's and bricked BD draws?
H16 - do you rely on the VPIP stats on the HUD much? I'm not sure how accurate they are - they seem to be all over the place pretty often
H17 - I think you're right that more often than not that will be a losing call, but if villain is a fish there's also an argument that he'll be too loose pre and have too many bluffs so we can't really fold
H18 - Turn sizing definitely too big. I think I've been overplaying my hands a lot in 3b pots - this is a pretty clear example of that
H19 - my thoughts were that we block so much of the range we want villain to call, and that going big will probably isolate ourselves against boats given there aren't that many draws available. Could just be results oriented...
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to go through the whole video. Really appreciate it!
Oct. 13, 2020 | 4:21 a.m.
Hey man, thanks for the comments (and for using timestamps). Don't worry about being too harsh, I can handle it.
H1 - I agree, given villain's flop sizing, there isn't going to be much he folds here, but the line seemed kind of strange with any decent strength hand.
H2 - yeah it's close calling the flop with given the low effective stack. Value betting river seems good, but I was hoping villain might try and bluff with a hand like he had, but not sure if the player pool are aggressive enough on rivers to justify it.
H3 - This is a board that I would normally range bet on, but I think exploitatively people bet way too much IP, so going for a x/r doesn't seem too bad? That being said, if we expect villain to have a lot of medium PP's, he's unlikely to be betting those too often
H5 - is this a board you would be range betting? If I'm going to be open a lot wider in the SB than optimal, and we don't think villain's will defend the BB correctly, then we probably should be doing a lot of checking OOP. Not sure if this is the board or hand to do that with though
16:50 - isn't typically a hand I would put in to my squeezing range, but I should look at adding it especially vs LP.
H6 - are you talking about the 65hh or the A9cc hand?
Thanks for taking the time to watch!
Oct. 9, 2020 | 5:33 a.m.
I recorded a short session I played 2-tabling 10NL Rush n Cash/Zoom the other day. Sound quality is a little shit, but if anyone wants to take a look and offer some feedback, that would be much appreciated!
Oct. 8, 2020 | 4:27 p.m.
Saw your PGC on 2p2, and really enjoying your YT and IG content so far. I'll be interested to hear more about your journey and your tips on getting the most out of a poker career. Really useful information for someone who's trying to follow the same path. Thanks for sharing!
Oct. 8, 2020 | 7:09 a.m.
What's up RIO? September was a pretty hectic month for me, which kicked off with a small trip to Germany to reunite with my GF despite lack of flights, troubles leaving Australia and COVID fears in general. I'm still living with her in Kiel (small city north of Hamburg) and would say that I've 'semi-relocated' here given the uncertainty around restrictions for getting back in to Australia. Somewhat fortunately for me, most of the sailing competitions in the Australian summer have been cancelled, meaning I don't have an urgent need to return home before then. I was planning on entering some competitions over here, but there are some issues with COVID restrictions, so I'm taking this time to really focus on poker, and assess what the next few years will look like.
Since coming here, I've jumped on to GG/Natural8, and begun grinding there, given the daily leaderboard and reasonably low rake at the Rush n Cash/Zoom tables. I started my playing there with an insane heater, where I begun taking a few more shots at 25NL which went well, but variance caught up with me and since then, I've managed to lose nearly every big pot to leave me stuck a decent amount. I've made a lot of improvements to my game, including upping my aggression and winning a lot of pots which aren't 'mine', but I've also gotten a little careless with running big bluffs costing me a few BI's. Given GG rakes 3b pots pre flop, I was thinking that I should be 3 betting less than I would at a normal micro stakes game, but in doing so, I think my range has also become quite capped on a lot of board in 3b pots. Running in to the nuts fairly often has also lead me to being a bit nittier than in the past, so need to keep concious of that, and not let results affect me from not pulling the trigger. Nonetheless, I'm pretty happy with how my game is going, and working on it harder than ever with more volume at the tables as well.
This was a bit of an impromptu post, so I might come back with another one in a few days with a couple of interesting hands. If anyone reading lives in the Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein area, let me know and it would be cool to meet up! Thanks for reading and GL!
Oct. 5, 2020 | 5:06 p.m.
Thanks man, thanks for reading! Don't how many people who sail also play poker. I've raced against Julio quite a bit, always had a lot of respect for him for being so consistent at the Olympics across his whole career. Small world!
Oct. 5, 2020 | 4:50 p.m.
Thanks for following through on the suggestion, and good work on getting through all those hands!
Do you have a set sizing that you use for your overbets, or are you picking a sizing which can make getting the money in easiest?
I've been using 120% as a default, I don't think the exact sizing will matter as much EV wise (and will differ from board to board), but more as a means of simplifying decision making.
Oct. 1, 2020 | 10:18 a.m.
Hey Tariq, really enjoyed the video. The part about the donk bets was pretty insightful, and valuable to most micro-low stakes players regardless of site. As the others have mentioned, I'd also be interested in some population analysis of flop x/raises.
Regarding the Q8s hand, if villain had stats more like 55/40, I assume you'd be much more willing to call him down light given he likely as a lot of bluffs in his range?
Thanks in advance!
Sept. 8, 2020 | 2:26 a.m.
Great video, really enjoyed topic. Would be good to see a HH review with some overbet spots reviewed. I've been trying to add some more overbets to my game, and similar to what you mentioned towards the end, it feels like opponents struggle to defend properly against them. With that in mind, do you think it's worth adding a heap more bluffs in to our overbet range (if opponents are going to overfold), or exploitatively size down when we could be overbetting so that our value hands get paid? Thanks!
Sept. 5, 2020 | 1:29 p.m.
Another month is in the books and it started off with a bit of run bad/punting off a few stacks, but I ran like absolute fire in the last few days to finish the month off break even. I still need to do quite a bit of work on maintaining aggressiveness, especially attacking the weak checking ranges of my opponents and trying to deny their equity more effectively. I've cut back the number of tables that I'm playing, and it's really helped me focus on spots for upping my aggression, and thinking about range vs range interaction on various boards.
I've also started experimenting with only playing up until midday, which I'm going to try for the whole of September. I've found that I have a solid win rate in the AM @ 4.4bb/100, but I'm losing a heap in the afternoon at -2.7bb/100, both over decent samples. Could be mental game leaks (scared about donating back my wins from earlier sessions), could be fatigue (I'm naturally a morning person), could also be player pool composition (AM in AUS is equivalent to afternoon/evening in the US when ACR has the most traffic). I'll be heading to Europe later this week, so I'll be able to test out the player pool hypothesis - grinding in the AM EU time will be early hours of the morning US time. This will also result in a bit less volume, but I'm hoping that an increase in win rate more than makes up for it.
A couple of interesting hands from this month, that have been somewhat controversial when I've asked for other opinions.
Yatahay Network - $0.10 NL (6 max) - Holdem - 6 players
SB: 28.7 BB
Hero (BB): 219.9 BB
UTG: 126.1 BB
MP: 163.2 BB
CO: 127.3 BB
BTN: 101.5 BB
SB posts SB 0.5 BB, Hero posts BB 1 BB
Pre Flop: (pot: 1.5 BB) Hero has Js 8s
fold, MP raises to 2.2 BB, fold, fold, fold, Hero calls 1.2 BB
Flop : (4.9 BB, 2 players) 4d 8c 2s
Hero checks, MP bets 1.7 BB, Hero raises to 5.8 BB, MP calls 4.1 BB
Turn : (16.5 BB, 2 players) 3s
Hero bets 12.3 BB, MP calls 12.3 BB
River : (41.1 BB, 2 players) 9h
Hero bets 11.2 BB, MP calls 11.2 BB
This was played vs a reg. Preflop, I think this hand is towards the bottom of our calling range, but it's pretty high up our range on the flop. This doesn't seem like a board where villain can bet 1/3 with full frequency, and I'd expect he'd size up a bit with his overpairs. On the turn, I think this sizing was a mistake, and I should probably split my range between block bet and big bet, with this hand going more towards the block sizing or check. I imagine villain would continue on the turn with any Ax, especially with spades. On the river, I'd expect we're mostly going to run in to villain overpairs, but I don't think x/c is the best option.
Yatahay Network - $0.10 NL (6 max) - Holdem - 6 players
BB: 100 BB
UTG: 115.2 BB
MP: 113.5 BB
Hero (CO): 255.3 BB
BTN: 101.5 BB
SB: 100 BB
SB posts SB 0.5 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB
Pre Flop: (pot: 1.5 BB) Hero has Kd Qc
fold, fold, Hero raises to 2.5 BB, BTN raises to 9 BB, fold, fold, Hero calls 6.5 BB
Flop : (19.5 BB, 2 players) 9c Js 6h
Hero checks, BTN bets 7.8 BB, Hero raises to 25.3 BB, BTN calls 17.5 BB
Turn : (70.1 BB, 2 players) 5d
Hero bets 221 BB and is all-in
Another hand played against a reg. This should probably be mostly folded preflop, as villain has a lowish 3b% of 9.3%. I think at equilibrium, it would be a mix. This also seems like a board which is decent for our range, as we'll have all the sets, straight draws and even J9s at some freq. On the turn, I thought we'd be able to fold out a lot of villains PPs, and overcards that are ahead of us. It also helps that we block some of villain's best Jx.
Thanks for reading, and happy grinding!
Aug. 31, 2020 | 9:04 a.m.
Hey Akshar, great video - it's good to see some lower stakes play & explains on RIO.
I've got a couple of questions about your multiway strategy;
- You seem to be defending the BB pretty wide multiway for example the A2o at 19:00. Some other coaches I've watched have said that BB defense frequency should go down in m/w situations given your MDF decreases despite the better price. Any thoughts on this?
- In the KK hand where you flop a set (23:29), I think x/r is also the best play here, but are you concerned at all about balancing this with any bluffs? If so, what would those bluffs be?
Aug. 7, 2020 | 7:21 a.m.
Yeah it was great. I'm not sure how many whales you'll get in Belgium (?), so you might have to venture out this way once travel is back up and running!
Thanks for taking the time to come up with such an in depth response to the hand. I agree that jamming was probably an overkill, and in hindsight, there isn't really much 4x or boats that I can rep here. As you said, weaker players are going to be overly merged with a lot of these lines, and might be unintentionally turning SDV in to a bluff, so if I can get some of those hands to fold, I'd say that's a good outcome as I don't beat many of those. I've definitely been on the wrong side of trying to bluff fish before, but luckily it managed to work this time...
Aug. 4, 2020 | 8:18 a.m.
Interesting video, I was also really surprised to see the decrease in Cbet freq. from CO to HJ. Do you think this is a result of HJ having less 2x/3x/4x which interacts with the board better and improves the EV of the range?
Secondly, in all of these scenarios, BB seems to overfolding vs MDF. Would there ever be a scenario in which a solver might have BB overdefend compared to MDF? I guess on boards which are particularly good for BB's range, there will be some spots where BB gets closer to MDF. That being said, I'm assuming that being OOP, the solver will generally prefer to underdefend?
Aug. 3, 2020 | 8:45 p.m.
Been a while since my last update, and a fair bit has happened, but not that much in the poker world (for me at least). After my last update, I started the first post-lockdown training camp with the national team. It was good to reconnect with the other guys from around the country and see how everyone was going after such a long time since our last competition. Most training camps with national team usually take place in Sydney, but this one took place in Coffs Harbour – halfway between Brisbane and Sydney. Being in the middle of winter, the weather in Coffs Harbour (further north) is a little better than that of Sydney, and we managed to get a good window of wind to go along with the warmer temperatures. Not only did we luck in weather wise, we also ran pretty well to get plenty of glimpses of the Humpback Whales making their annual migration up Australia’s east coast. It was the first time I’d gotten this close to whales whilst sailing, and it was pretty concerning at times when they would randomly pop up beside you in our small, fibreglass boats.
After that, I had a couple weeks off where I put in the majority of this month’s volume, but wasn’t able to get as much in as previous months. There was a decent stretch there where I was playing a little too station-y especially OOP, so I’ve been working on rectifying that. I’ve also been doing a bit of work on PreflopGuru to try and dial in my preflop ranges, especially when it comes to responding to 3bets. These ranges seem a little bit looser than what I’ve been playing, and I’m interested to hear if anyone who has used PreflopGuru has any thoughts on whether these ranges are suitable for micros. Another area I’ve been working on is finding a few more ‘creative’ bluffs, probably not necessary at these stakes, but I’m keen to hear some opinions on the following hand;
Yatahay Network - $0.10 NL (6 max) - Holdem - 5 players
CO: 55 BB
BTN: 116.7 BB
SB: 82.9 BB
BB: 123.7 BB
Hero (UTG): 101 BB
SB posts SB 0.5 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB
Pre Flop: (pot: 1.5 BB) Hero has 5c 6c
Hero raises to 2.5 BB, fold, fold, SB raises to 4 BB, fold, Hero calls 1.5 BB
Flop : (9 BB, 2 players) 4c As 6s
SB bets 2.2 BB, Hero calls 2.2 BB
Turn : (13.4 BB, 2 players) 7c
SB bets 6.7 BB, Hero calls 6.7 BB
River : (26.8 BB, 2 players) 4h
SB bets 13.4 BB, Hero raises to 88.1 BB and is all-in
This was played against a looser rec player, so probably not the best villain to be bluffing, but seemed like I could rep most of the boats here, however blocking some of villain’s bluffs. Villain’s sizing didn’t seem to indicate any decent Ax, so I thought I might be able to get them off something like 88-JJ.
I’m currently in the middle of the second national team camp of the winter, this time on the Sunshine Coast – a bit closer to home. We’ve had great conditions so far, and with a good southerly swell rolling through late last week, my coach was able to snap this pic of me which has gone sorta viral throughout the sailing world.
That’s all for this update, with my volume being a bit less with the camps, I might keep these posts to once a month, with any random ramblings which come to mind scattered in between.
Thanks for reading and GL!