Hey Demon. I was fascinated by your A3dd hand that you posted. I think that hand highlighted that you have both a very strong technical game and also a very strong mental game. I wanted to ask you about bluff jamming and its effect on one's mental game when it works or doesn't work (but especially when it doesn't). I have a mental game issue wherein, if I bluff jam a river and I'm right, I feel great, but if it doesn't work and it gets snapped off, I feel like a bit of a cretin. I call this the feast-or-famine analogy. I would like to get to a point where I am mentally indifferent to whether a bluff is successful or not, so it's not affecting my mental game much either way. I have got used to the various ways you can lose a stack when playing poker, but there is something about bluffing and being wrong that seems to throw off my mental game more than any of the other methods. If I get coolered or sucked out on for a stack for example, I can just shrug it off and move on to the next hand, as I know that I usually haven't done anything wrong myself. When a bluff jam goes wrong however, I often feel as though I have just voluntarily punted off my stack. This is particularly prevalent if my opponent makes a call that deviates significantly from GTO. I also find that if I bluff a player once and I'm wrong, it can disincentivise me from bluffing in similar spots that may arise in the future against that opponent.
Nov. 24, 2022 | 11:43 p.m.
Hi Demon. I wanted to ask for your thoughts about a couple of topics. The first one is playing HU. As you climbed the stakes, have you needed to study how to play HU? It is my understanding that as you climb the stakes and pools become smaller, the necessity of starting your own tables increases. I am only playing 50NL so I don't currently need to start my own tables, as the pool is large enough that there is always a full six-handed table to join. I find heads-up play quite intimidating, personally.
Also wanted to ask you, have you found it necessary to study deepstacked play? One of the primary benefits of playing zoom is that it's very easy to sit out and rebuy for 100BBs after you reach a particular stack depth. For me it's usually 140BB, then sit out and rebuy. This is otherwise known as ratholing. This is banned on GG, which is one of the reasons I don't play there lol. I understand that ranges change dramatically as stack depth increases. I also have to factor in the mental game impact of losing big pots while deep. I'd prefer not to deal with that, but I guess it becomes unavoidable once you reach higher stakes where zoom games rarely run (500NL+) and ratholing isn't really an option.
Nov. 20, 2022 | 9:14 p.m.
Hi Demon. I would like to ask for your thoughts about watching videos as a tool for improving at poker. I have greatly reduced the amount of videos I watch on RIO and elsewhere and honestly, I feel as though my poker game would be considerably stronger if I had made this decision earlier on in my career. I believe that the best ways to improve at poker are private coaching and solo study. I once erroneously believed that watching videos counted as studying, before I eventually learned that it doesn't. I often found that I was watching videos without learning much of value.
Also, as others have mentioned, the quality of videos on RIO has declined recently as more people gravitate towards CFPs and the mass data based strategies they provide. There are also coaches on RIO who coach in CFPs or privately. It is common for coaches to hold back on sharing the most valuable info in publicly available videos, as they have CFPs and private students who will be paying them significantly more than what they get from RIO. Any thoughts on all of that Demon?
Oct. 29, 2022 | 1:46 a.m.
IAmNeo Firstly, thanks for sharing your story and also for your willingness to share details about your study process. I actually wanted to ask for your opinion about Poker Detox. I have a couple of specific questions about the Detox CFP. I'm currently
evaluating various CFPs and as a part of that evaluation process, I'm talking to people who are currently in CFPs (or have been in one previously). I've heard from a couple of people that the MDA and strategic blueprint used by Detox is primarily based on exploiting the player pool on Ignition/Bovada. Consequently, I am wondering if Detox might not be the best choice for someone who doesn't have access to Ignition. I'm not in the US, so unfortunately I therefore can't play on Ignition. I've been very impressed with Nick Howard's content that he has previously produced on RIO, and also I consider him to be one of the most eminent analytical minds in poker. I have no doubt that the Detox blueprint works well on Ignition. I guess I am just slightly concerned that it might not be as effective against the pool on PokerStars and GG, given that the pools on those sites there are widely accepted as being tougher than the Ignition pool.
I understand that other stables have more coaches and players who play on PokerStars and GG, so I would make the logical assumption that the blueprints provided by their CFPs (along with their MDA) would be more relevant to the games I'm playing in. Would you still recommend Detox to someone who can't play on Ignition?
Sept. 25, 2022 | 8:11 p.m.
RunItTw1ce MatoStar sauloCosta10 I have a few more thoughts about CFPs that occurred to me. I see that BrPC and other CFPs often advertise that their blueprint tells you what to do to maximally exploit recreationals. I actually find that most of the tough postflop spots I get into are against regulars. I am curious if these blueprints tell you how to exploit regulars. I have no doubt that maximally exploiting recreationals is valuable, but as you climb stakes and recreationals become scarcer and pools become more reg-heavy (with the average regular being better as you climb each stake), I wonder if relying completely on exploiting recreationals to maintain a large winrate is feasible. Do you just naturally improve at playing vs regulars as your knowledge and skill level improves?
Sept. 21, 2022 | 3:42 p.m.
Hi MatoStar . I have done some research into each CFP and Poker Detox is the one which appeals to me the most. I've been really impressed with Nick Howard's content on RIO and his courses that he used to sell publicly (which you now have to be in the Detox CFP to access). What is your opinion on Detox?
Sept. 21, 2022 | 2:45 a.m.
I saw that no one has mentioned Poker Detox yet. That's Nick Howard's (former RIO elite coach) CFP and has been around for over 4 years. I don't know how it compares to BrPC and others, except from what I have seen on Twitter etc, PD has a lot more US players than the other CFPs.
Sept. 19, 2022 | 2:45 a.m.
RunItTw1ce I'm pretty sure PDNV is Poker Detox Night Vision. It's a course made by Nick Howard. It used to be available for sale to the public, but now you have to be in the PD CFP to have access to it, as I understand it. I've heard from various people that it's an outstanding course.
Aug. 6, 2022 | 11:53 p.m.
Hey Max. Great video. At 15:15 you cold 4b QQ on BTN against MP 3b. If MP jams there, would you ever cold 4b/fold to a shove? I think I am prone to overplaying some hands preflop (especially QQ-AK) in these tight formations. You mentioned later in the video that it's important to pay attention to the positions. If it was a BTN open, SB 3b and you were in the BB, I assume that would be a standard cold 4b and stack off preflop with QQ. In the formation shown in the video (where it's UTG open, MP 3b, BTN 4b), I would guess that ranges should be much tighter for 4-betting and also for felting pre.
Aug. 6, 2022 | 10:45 p.m.
Hi Steve Paul I noticed in this video that you used pot-sized cbets on the flop in multiple spots. In your older videos, I don't think you did this very often (if at all). Is the PSB flop cbet a new heuristic that you elected to use recently? I don't think it was explained in this particular video. I'm wondering if you have covered it in previous videos.
Aug. 1, 2022 | 12:16 a.m.
Hey Dekkers. Thanks for this video. It's cool to see a video of a pro playing regular tables as I think around 90% of the content that is released now is on speed tables. I am currently debating if I should switch from speed tables to regular tables. Do you find regular tables softer or is there not much of a difference?
July 31, 2022 | 9:59 p.m.
Hi emsterdad. I have seen videos from Pete Clarke where he advises playing the highest stake you can afford to play due to the rake. At 25NL for example, the rake cap on pokerstars is 8bb. At 10NL it is 15bb. At 5NL it's 20bb. Would be interested to know your thoughts on this.
July 30, 2022 | 9:29 p.m.
Great post. As someone who hasn't used a solver yet myself, would you go so far as to suggest that PIO makes Wizard redundant? I guess I'm wondering if it's worth paying for Wizard when a few months of Wizard premium would cost around the same as just buying PIO and having lifetime access to it.
July 19, 2022 | 1:14 p.m.
I've played on ACR myself but didn't really like it. My biggest issue is that you can only withdraw in crypto. I know how to use crypto, but it's useless for me in everyday life. It's also a hassle having to transfer crypto to an exchange, then converting the crypto into standard currency (Euro, dollars, etc). Also ACR is unregulated here in Europe so if the site ever goes bankrupt, you would lose all your money.
July 16, 2022 | 7:21 a.m.
I'm playing a 3-bet or fold strategy in the SB as that is the strategy I have seen recommended on RIO and other sites. I am wondering if it is worth considering building a flatting range in some situations. The issue I have with playing 3-bet or fold is that I feel I almost put myself into a cage where when I 3-bet, I'm getting to the flop with a very obvious range of pocket pairs and broadways. This can be easily exploited by villains who can call 3-bets in position with a lot of hands (especially when they are in UTG/MP and have a strong opening range to start with). On a lot of flops, they will have the nut advantage. On low and middling flops, the IP caller will have more sets and two pair combos, and they can also have more straights on connected flops, and flopped flushes on mono flop. They will also have more FD combos and two-tone flops as they can call IP with stuff like QJs, T9s, A5s that I'm not 3-betting in the SB. I have been thinking of trying to play a less linear and more polar 3-bet range in the SB, similar to the BB 3-bet range.
Also, is it best to never have flatting range in the SB even if you are deepstacked with the opener? I understand that you are supposed to 3-bet less often in any position when you are OOP and deep with the opener, and the IP player is incentivized to call much wider when facing a 3-bet when deep (as positional advantage skyrockets into orbit as stacks get deeper), which would seem to incentivize calling more in the SB in some spots.
July 2, 2022 | 6:15 p.m.
At 34:44 Giovanni Giurdanella has AK in the BB. The UTG opener checks back the river with QJhh on T9A9Qsss. Do you think villain makes a mistake there by not betting the river and turning it into a bluff? That was my thought as it seemed that combo would be near the bottom of the range that villain gets to the river with in this node.
June 17, 2022 | 10:59 p.m.
I have a few questions about this hand. My first is, after I 4-bet pre, is this a flop where I should be range betting OOP? I was thinking about check/folding flop, but I thought it was ok to x/c with the bdfd. As played, I am wondering if x/c flop and x/f turn was the worst line (or at least worse than betting myself or check/folding). I only had 8 hands on opponent when the hand was played so they were basically unknown. Also wanted to ask, is the sizing ok preflop?
Winning Poker, Hold'em No Limit - $0.05/$0.10 - 6 players
UTG: $13.55 (136 bb)
MP: $13.78 (138 bb)
CO: $11.30 (113 bb)
BU: $15.07 (151 bb)
SB: $26.46 (265 bb)
BB (Hero): $10.17 (102 bb)
Pre-Flop: ($0.15) Hero is BB with K♠ K♣
2 players fold, CO raises to $0.25, BTN 3-bets to $0.70, 1 fold, Hero 4-bets to $2, 1 fold, BTN calls $1.30
Flop: ($4.30) 8♦ 8♣ A♣ (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $2.15, Hero calls $2.15
Turn: ($8.60) 6♥ (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $4.30, BB (Hero) folds
June 15, 2022 | 4:29 a.m.
Nice video Peter. @29:00 I have some thoughts about the A9o hand here. I think this is an underbluffed spot. I would prefer to just fold the flop. Most regulars won't X/R with just a bare gutter on the flop. When they raise it's usually 66, A6s and sometimes K6s. His bluffs can be QTcc, QJcc and JTcc. That range crushes us. I feel like bet/calling flop and folding turn is worse than folding to the X/R on the flop. If you think he can be check/raising with stuff like JTo and QJo then I don't mind calling flop, but I wouldn't be happy facing another big bet on the turn. A lot of regulars in these pools just shut down on turns where they don't improve after they X/R flop with bluffs. Please tell me if you think this is too pessimistic.
June 13, 2022 | 11:58 p.m.
Hey emsterdad. I saw that you mentioned you had coaching from threads13 (Jacob). I actually had coaching from him myself back in 2013. I think it was $50 an hour and I had 8 sessions with him. You are correct that he sadly passed away. I read an obituary online and it said he died from brain cancer in June 2019.
I also read that he was originally diagnosed with the cancer 7 years before he died. He beat the cancer once, but then it returned and killed him. I last talked to him about 5 years before he died. I actually parted ways with him as my coach (I don't want to say "fired" but if you wanted to call it that, you could) because I felt my game was stagnating and I was having some doubts about the stuff he was telling me to do. I was playing 25NL at that time. I also posted on reddit a few years ago where I asked other players for their thoughts about the advice Threads gave me about how to play specific hands. Several people said the advice he gave was horrible. I can also give you the link to that post if you are interested. I wonder to this day if Threads already had the cancer when he was coaching me, and that affected his judgment. That is just a theory of mine. I don't want to be too hard or disrespectful to someone who has died, but I spent a significant amount of money on coaching from him (relative to my bankroll) and I was disappointed. I later got coaching from another coach - Matt Doran, who was a coach on Cardrunners at the time, and I got along much better with him. I believe he plays mid-stakes PLO now.
June 13, 2022 | 2:54 a.m.
I am currently trying to figure out how often I should be checking with some top of range hands to protect my checking range. This includes hands such as top set on dry flops, flopped trips, flopped flushes and flopped FHs. Usually when I check as the IP player, it's with hands that either don't want to get check/raised, can't get multiple streets of value, have SD value and don't need to bet (or function better as bluffcatchers vs probes), or give-ups that have no equity on flops that are good for OOP's range. What are people's thoughts on such spots? Is having a capped checking range something to be worried about at the microstakes?
June 9, 2022 | 5:42 p.m.
I just have a question about Hand2Note. Is Hand2Note intended to replace PT4/HM3 completely or do you use it in addition to those? I am currently still using HM3 however I am impressed with the features of Hand2Note. I see a lot of people using H2N now.
June 6, 2022 | 4:48 p.m.
Thanks for the video Dekkers. It's always interesting to me to hear a pro's opinions about the player pool on a site. I have heard a lot of people saying GG has a tough player pool. I have not played there myself.
June 4, 2022 | 10:09 p.m.
I'm a member in various poker groups on facebook and discord, and also watch a few microstakes streamers. I have noticed that recently, within the last 6 months especially, there are a lot of people in these groups who are saying microstakes speed poker is very difficult to beat. The reasons most commonly cited are that there are not enough fish and the rake is too high. I also know of some RIO members, who I consider to be good players, who are struggling to beat speed poker. I myself have accepted that I am unlikely to ever win consistently at speed poker, so I now focus on regular tables. My strategy now is primarily focused around bumhunting at regular tables on different sites. This can take a lot of effort, especially on sites that have low traffic. You can be waiting a long time just to get a seat or be forced to play HU until a table fills up. If I'm sitting at a table and don't see an obvious spot within a couple of orbits, I typically bail and look for another table. Not ideal, but I find this better than speed poker where you can't table select at all.