So, still chugging along and getting pretty close to playing no PLO25 tables, which is exciting.
I'm also once again bankrolled to play some live poker, so I'm looking forward to that (probably this Sunday).
As is often the case, I think this recent experience of a really emotionally difficult downswing has really sharpened my mental game. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still getting frustrated when I lose a big 75/25 (especially on Ignition, like, enough already)... and I'd be lying if I said I didn't ever swear out loud when those things happen... but the truth is, I think I'm processing it much better in real-time now.
Before I talk about how my mental game has sharpened, I want to admit to one quasi-leak: I truly think that it's fairly important to not utterly remove emotion from my poker career. Actually feeling the highs and not just being "ho hum, just grinding out EV BBs" about it is very motivating. It feels good to win money playing poker, and if I trained myself to not feel good about winning... it's just hard to imagine being motivated for the short-, medium-, or long-term.
And it's all pretty easy to break down in psychological terms: it's all fueled by uncertainty and partial reinforcement. It's just as true for a winning player as it is for a losing player, even if the two approach and understand the game differently.
Obviously, I do not play poker "for fun". And it's not always fun. But sometimes it is! And the fact that it's fun sometimes (even just for a fun table atmosphere; I really do enjoy a live game that's sociable even if I'm ultimately there for cold, hard EV BBs) is motivating in the short term: there's that really basic partial reinforcement of "winning feels good but it doesn't happen every time but it happens enough to be compelling". And this is the short-term picture. (Now, a losing player has that same experience, right? It just so happens that their winning sessions do not outweigh their losing ones. It doesn't mean that we can't enjoy the dopamine hit as winning players.)
The medium-term picture, at least for me, is all about seeing my poker career unfold and evolve. Not only is a winning session satisfying in itself, but it also pushes my bankroll towards higher stakes. Which leads directly into the long-term picture: finding out how much money I can make not only annually but lifetime by playing poker.
One of the things that gets frustrating about my poker setbacks is that I do think I'm wired and conditioned to succeed at this, and I can get impatient about getting my bankroll to where I need it to be to compete on a level that I'm confident I can succeed at. It would be very surprising if I couldn't beat low stakes live MTTs (up to and including $1500 bracelet events) and low (maybe mid) stakes live cash (I have to imagine that $5/$5 PLO is a game I can beat healthily), but I'm just not at the point where I can play those regularly. (And when I have taken shots at low stakes live MTTs, it's just been a very poorly timed run of misfortune, as any long-time follower of my career is very familiar with.)
Because I do think that, even if I end up just grinding low/mid stakes and never achieving more than that... I'm not sure that I have any better way of making money. And—even after all of this time of not (in my opinion) yet reaching my poker potential (not even close)—I enjoy the process of playing and studying (in part because of leaving some emotion in), so it's far from the worst way to make money. So, for a long-term picture, there's the motivating uncertainty of seeing just how far poker can take me. Whether it's $30k/year or $300k/year, I'm excited to find out.
But, as much as I wanted to share all of that, that's not what I've come out of my recent downswing newly equipped with.
Now, before I follow through on what's been helping me (it's actually very simple), I want to state something that I believe is the twofold cause of tilt: lack of confidence and/or lack of bankroll management.
I may be missing something, but I feel like any frustration or anxiety is always going to stem from one or both of those issues.
The latter is easy to explain: if someone isn't financially prepared to lose at whatever game they're in, they're far less likely to be emotionally prepared for it. There's an anxiety that easily creeps in, asking, "Am I going to run out of money for poker... or worse?" The solution is easy: if you're disciplined with your bankroll and aware of the statistical likelihoods of the swings you'll face, you should be able to maintain a bankroll indefinitely (unless there's some catastrophic life expense that demands money from it).
Assuming you're a winning player, that is. And that's where the other issue comes in: lack of confidence. Now, most poker players appear to be confident. But I think it's a very fragile confidence most of the time. Because a lot of poker players have a need to prove that they're winning players by talking too much strategy at the table, berating poor play, etc. It all just screams insecurity (and I'm not perfectly innocent of this kind of stuff; if you look at my 2p2 post history—please don't, btw—there's a lot of... defensiveness as I grew as a player and a person).
Thankfully, I've gotten to the point that I have a fairly stable confidence that I can beat most games. Not "most games" meaning "most levels available", but—you know—most of the tables on a poker site or in a poker room. It's mostly micro and low stakes that are spread in these places, and I think I've put in the work to be able to beat most micro and low stakes games (and that's largely regardless of format: PLO is my specialty but I have to assume I'm a winner at basically any $1/$2 NLHE table and maybe even $2/5).
I've just got a lot of hard evidence to back it up at this point, which a lot of poker players don't have just due to not having a long enough poker career. But—with some caveats—I've been a winning player since about ten years ago (I hesitate to say "for ten years", it's more like... "for four years" due to taking a lot of time away from the game... but I'm not new to poker! I was playing NLHE online semi-professionally in undergrad pre-BF).
I'm winning pretty healthily at PLO cash over many, many hours of play this year (after admittedly having destructive leaks last year as I kept improving). I have a positive online MTT ROI in an okayish sample and some strong final tables(/wins) to feel good about. Live cash: crushing it in a modest sample, but also knowing why I'm a favorite in the games I sit in (identifying my opponents' specific mistakes). Live MTTs: ...less said about that, the better, haha. (No, but seriously: I just haven't played anywhere near a big enough sample of live MTTs to have even a fuzzy picture of my true ROI, but again: I sit in these lineups full of players whose mistakes I can identify, so I assume I have an edge.)
But, to return to what I said ("Thankfully, I've gotten to the point that I have a fairly stable confidence that I can beat most games")... note that it's merely a "fairly stable confidence". I was feeling really worried at the bottom of this recent downswing that I was fooling myself. And there's still room for doubt moving forward. But—with 2019's data as evidence—it's getting increasingly unlikely that I'm not a winning PLO cash player, at the very least.
So this is all to say that I have the luxury of having a basic degree of confidence to fall back on. I've put a lot of time into poker and I know why I take one action or another in real-time. So I'm just a lot less prone to doubt and the anxieties that follow, at least compared to 2018.
But sometimes anxiety crops up! Especially when the chips go the wrong way!
So what is the real-time thing that's sharpening my mental game?
Immediately following the loss of a big pot (or sometimes the win of a big pot), I literally ask myself the following:
"Can I reasonably have expected to make money there?" First (and this is slightly results-oriented), I just look at the all-in equities and the action preceding the all-in. In a lot of these cases, neither player is making a mistake postflop to get all-in: they both just have too much equity and the pot is already too big. (Or, sometimes, I get my money in really good against a player who made a poor decision! Even better!) Second, sometimes a spot demands running a sim versus range to make sure I'm not just getting lucky or unlucky with regard to the top or bottom of my opponent's range... if my play was +EV versus a range (which I'm experienced enough to estimate responsibly), then I can have expected to make money (even if I ran into a set with AA and an SPR below 1 smfh).
So getting upset when I lose one of these spots is unreasonable, as the answer to my question is "yes". EV is all we can ask for, and so long as our bankroll can survive the swings of the game, there's nothing to worry about.
Now, there's a corollary to this. I don't always make a +EV decision, folks. It's true. I sometimes make... mistakes! (Gasp.)
Mistakes are frustrating. They should be somewhat frustrating to anybody serious about their game. But they don't need to be tilting. So, after a big pot, if the answer to "Can I reasonably have expected to make money there?" is unfortunately "no", there is a follow-up to keep tilt in check: "Can I learn from this?"
Because even if we made a -EV play, it is going to be abstractly net +EV long-term as an experience if (and only if) we learn from it. So... while the answer to "Can I reasonably have expected to make money there?" is, again, unfortunately "no"... the answer to "Did I create value for myself?" is arguably "yes" either way.
And if we're creating value for ourselves, then we win. And, as I said earlier in this probably-too-long post: winning feels good.
So if we created value for ourselves, why feel bad?
(Caveat: don't go getting spewy all the time justifying it as an "educational expense" ;p)
Aug. 16, 2019 | 3:56 p.m.
Story of my effing life on Ignition, especially when you consider I lost a 45/55 race for a stack the hand immediately prior to this one:
PL Omaha $0.25(BB)
BTN ($27.02) [VPIP: 50% | PFR: 10% | AGG: 33.3% | 3-Bet: 0% | Hands: 10]
SB ($13.3) [VPIP: 21% | PFR: 17.7% | AGG: 36.4% | 3-Bet: 14.8% | Hands: 62]
Dealt to Hero: Ad Ah 9d 3s
BTN Raises To $0.75, SB Raises To $2.50, HERO Raises To $8.25, BTN Folds, SB Calls $5.75
Hero SPR on Flop: [0.29 effective]
Flop ($17.25): 8s Jc 2c
HERO Bets $16.75 (allin), SB Calls $5.05 (allin)
Turn ($39.05): 8s Jc 2c 8c
River ($39.05): 8s Jc 2c 8c Qd
SB shows: 5h Jh 6s Js
SB wins: $26.35
Aug. 15, 2019 | 9:07 p.m.
ENORMOUS heater tonight, on the heels of an afternoon losing session that threatened (but did not completely erase) my meager profits for the month. (It was like one buy-in lost earlier today. NBD.)
Made more than 9 BIs in about three hours tonight. Hard not to feel pretty ecstatic about it, as I'm pretty comfortably in the black for August now after being in a very frustrating and pretty deep hole.
There's still plenty of time for the swings of PLO to attack my profits, but I feel really good about my game right now.
As a poker player is wont to do, I took a hard look at some of my strategy during these recent struggles and, after looking through my database, I realized some important exploitative facts about the populations I'm playing against.
It's a lot of little stuff, but it's increased my NSD winnings a lot.
I've also studied flop betting quite a bit and I think I have a much more profitable and robust approach now.
And I'm not just being results-oriented: my results weren't amazing before tonight but I could tell that my adjustments were having a lot of success (and I knew why, compared to my previous approach).
I will say though: I'm still struggling on Ignition, to the point that I am just creeped out. It's so easy to find games full of ~70 VPIP players but it's oddly hard to beat them. I can't claim a sample so bulletproof that I'm not just mired in the variance of the short- and medium-term, but there are folks making plays that are just mind-boggling and (frustratingly) beating me.
I'm just losing a ton of all-ins and big pots over there.
I'm not sure what to do about it. I don't want to be one of those guys claiming it's rigged or otherwise be unreasonable/superstitious, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad to be playing fewer Ignition tables as I transition to PLO50 (where the rake steeply increases on Ignition, especially compared to Global).
It's just been a painful poker venue for me. (But the games are, superficially, so crushable! I'm just not sure how many thousands of hands to be patient with them, though...)
Aug. 15, 2019 | 6:32 a.m.
Currently in the black for August.
Obviously, my meager August profit could vanish in a few hours when I play my nighttime session, but it feels good to have dug myself out of what was honestly a very deep hole. Plenty of time to put together a bona fide profit on the month, too.
Yes, the Ignition bonus (mostly cleared, btw) is a significant part of what got me out. But when my August dollars under EV on Ignition represents the majority of that bonus amount, I refuse to feel guilty about it.
Aug. 13, 2019 | 9:25 p.m.
By the way, just to quantify it a bit: I haven't run over (or at, but let's be realistic) EV on Ignition for consecutive sessions in weeks: more than 11k hands.
I know it's PLO and this is what we sign up for, but running under EV session after session gets to be exhausting.
Aug. 10, 2019 | 11:49 p.m.
I caught myself in mental game spew today.
Like, near-F mental game. Almost blacking out and just being in utter despair and feeling like I'm literally just too unlucky to succeed at poker.
I'm only human, you know? It's just so hard working through this downswing. I'm card dead for so long and then I get a hand and I lose a big all-in one way or the other.
It's not good to rely on this, but I did have my attitude rescued by a big pot. Right now I'm playing 4 PLO25 tables and 1-2 PLO50 tables (I'm still deciding whether 6 tables is too much for me; 5 I'm very comfortable with). This was on a PLO50 table three-ways with ~200bb effective stacks:
Unknown opens for less than 3bb UTG. HJ calls, I call with a QcQsKd5c OTB (loose, but workable deep at a table full of suspected/confirmed rec players). BB, a noted spewmonster, 3bets. UTG calls, HJ folds, I call.
Qd5d9c flop. BB pots. UTG re-pots. I shove for a little more all-in. BB and UTG call, and we're off to the races.
If I had lost this pot, I may have quit playing poker on the spot. It's just been really hard lately, and this was after a long session of running below EV in both my $25 games and especially my $50 games.
I know I've ruined the suspense, but trust me that in real time I was not hapy to see the turn 2d. Surely someone had a diamond draw; I wasn't sure, because Global isn't always quick to turn over all-in hands. "Pair the board, please..." I'm thinking.
River 9s. I see AA65 with nut diamonds from BB and JT93 with 9-high diamonds and J-high clubs from UTG.
The pot comes my way... and I still have a losing session anyway, after all is said and done.
It's just been a really difficult stretch... and I just wish I didn't have to deal with so much of this every time I start to get optimistic about building a professional bankroll.
Anyway... today's losses were... survivable, ultimately. I'm just really tired of playing what I know is very good poker in very beatable games... and not turning a profit very often, lately.
Hoping to bounce back financially soon. Bounced back mentally a bit after that ~600bb pot... but yeah: I'm really struggling to create winning sessions lately, and I know it has an awful lot to do with the cards being uncooperative.
I've been keeping my composure and playing well through most of this, but I did reach a breaking point today and I'm not proud of it.
Here's hoping things turn around soon.
Aug. 10, 2019 | 11:24 p.m.
Uh... well this is a surprise:
I got a pretty big "Rewards Cash Back" bonus from Ignition out of the blue.
After some research, it seems they credit you with a cash back bonus based on recent losses based on certain criteria? Seems like something I should have known about, but it's a pleasant surprise.
I have a lot of poker to play to clear it (yes, this one does clear via poker rake, not only casino games like most Ignition bonuses)... but I play a lot of poker. And I wasn't necessarily looking to withdraw money from Ignition especially soon, so the fact that it's locked up (but playable) isn't a problem.
A very welcome bailout... though I keep scrutinizing it, feeling like it's got to be too good to be true.
Seems like I should probably be able to unlock the whole thing with about 15 hours more of play, if I did the math right...? Not sure. I'll find out soon enough.
Aug. 9, 2019 | 8:36 p.m.
Well, it's official. I'm now a bb/100 loser on Ignition this year despite being a healthy EV bb/100 winner. Super fun.
I'm also way below EV big blinds lifetime in their tournaments.
It's enough to make me wonder, but I don't know.
Aug. 8, 2019 | 9:07 p.m.
Small thing that's tilting me slightly over on Ignition: I'm trying to sit at tables and I get stuck at a table with one other player who's sitting out with 30bb. Because there's more than one of us, I'm not moved to another table. Instead, my time just gets wasted.
Aug. 6, 2019 | 6:36 p.m.
Hey all. Another Global "HH" for you. As always, sorry for the formatting (or lack thereof).
25c/50c PLO 6max (full table).
SB (HERO) ~$201
I don't remember all player reads (and don't have immediate access to them due to transcribing this from Global's anonymizing replayer in a tab I've had open since last night), but I do remember the table generally being quite loose with the MARKED exception (and I do mean marked; I made a note to this effect) of HJ. Not even an hour into their time at the table, I realized I wasn't seeing them in, like, any pots. And I was playing a lot of pots (running hot; see stack size), so I would have noticed. So I made a note on them, suspecting them of being very tight.
So when they RFI/call, it's not liable to be trash.
Hero is dealt AsJs7sAc. HJ raises to $1.75. CO & BTN call. Hero 3bets to $9.25. HJ & CO call.
Flop ($30; Hero w/ $192, HJ w/ $242, CO w/ $7.32)
Normally, I'm betting $15 here with a lot of my range: KK+, Qxxx, and a lot of heart draws as long as they have something else going for them too.
But I unblock a lot of high-equity raises from HJ, and it's a short trek from a cbet to making a decision for my stack. And my nut outs are extremely limited. (Backdoor quad draw, obv.)
I decide I don't really want the pot to get much bigger with where I am in my range on this flop. I check.
HJ pots. You know, HJ? The guy who I'd pegged as a rock? Yikes.
Aug. 6, 2019 | 4:39 p.m.
A much needed healthily winning session: increased my bankroll by 10% in 3 hours. Ended up winning some really big, deep-stacked pots.
Still a rough time EV-wise. Big wins on Global, but over on Ignition this week my EV bb/100 is 22.39 and my bb/100 is -9.42 in ~1500 hands.
Hard not to feel better after tonight's session though.
Aug. 6, 2019 | 5:11 a.m.
Cool start to the week!
Cool hand below!
PL Omaha $0.25(BB)
Dealt to Hero: Ah 6d 9h Ad
CO Raises To $0.50, HERO Raises To $1.85, SB Folds, BB Raises To $6.15, CO Folds, HERO Raises To $19.05, BB Calls $12.90
Hero SPR on Flop: [1.02 effective]
Flop ($38.70): 5d 2c 7d
BB Bets $37.70 (Rem. Stack: 1.73), HERO Raises To $42.58 (allin), BB Calls $1.73 (allin)
Turn ($120.71): 5d 2c 7d Jc
River ($120.71): 5d 2c 7d Jc 5s
BB shows: 5h As Qh 8c
BB wins: $116.56
84% equity OTF, 90% OTT nah how about just losing a 466bb pot! Why would I want it? Why wouldn't I want to just keep downswinging forever?
Aug. 5, 2019 | 9:51 p.m.
I've figured out my problem.
Anytime I've turned a corner with regard to my confidence or my bankroll... anytime I start thinking "hey, poker is really working for me"...
I'm just slapped with an extreme downswing.
This week has just been unreal. My bankroll dropped by almost exactly a third. In three days of August, I've lost more than I made in July. It sucks. It really, really sucks.
Knowing that it's literally mostly bad luck has my confidence buoyed somewhat, but I just hate feeling like poker is counterproductive for me. I hate feeling for thousands of hands like there's nothing I can do to help my results.
But if there's nothing I can do to help my results (beyond continuing to learn and improve, which I'd do if I was winning, too), then all I can do is keep trying to play my best and not get frustrated.
And I'm experienced enough and studied enough (thanks, PokerDope) to know that stuff like this is going to happen, but I just hate how sustained it is and I hate how absurd certain situations are.
Like, how do I not just get extremely frustrated here?
PL Omaha $0.25(BB)
Dealt to Hero: 9s Kc 7c Ks
HJ Folds, CO Folds, BTN Raises To $0.85, SB Calls $0.75, HERO Raises To $3.40, BTN Calls $2.55, SB Calls $2.55
Hero SPR on Flop: [2.12 effective]
Flop ($10.20): 5s Qh 6c
SB Checks, HERO Bets $3.35 (Rem. Stack: 32.97), BTN Calls $3.35 (Rem. Stack: 23.21), SB Calls $3.35 (Rem. Stack: 18.25)
Turn ($20.25): 5s Qh 6c 8s
SB Checks, HERO Bets $9.62 (Rem. Stack: 23.35), BTN Calls $9.62 (Rem. Stack: 13.59), SB Folds
River ($39.49): 5s Qh 6c 8s 3s
HERO Bets $23.35 (allin), BTN Calls $13.59 (allin)
BTN shows: 2s Th As Jh
BTN wins: $64.67
Why can't I win with the second nuts on the river with an infinitesimal SPR after having the nuts OTT? It just feels cruel, you know?
The runouts I've been seeing are just creepy and infuriating, whether I'm all-in or not.
Aug. 3, 2019 | 7:51 p.m.
I need to study SB open raise/call ranges more, but this seems extremely loose to me. Open limping I can kind of understand (this combo realizes its equity sorta okay and SB always has a nice price), but this is really a pretty trashy combo.
Three-of-a-suit hands are very overrated, we have a gap at the top, and our cards are very low.
OTF, I really don't like a c-bet. You seem to really be overestimating the power of our blockers (which, in my opinion, are basically nothing), as well as our equity.
This is honestly a check/fold to me. I don't like our standing versus either villain's betting range or their calling range, and I'm definitely not sticking around if they raise a bet from us.
We have a gutshot and a terrible flush draw. Making the pot bigger and strengthening villain's range when we have no super significant blockers to their continues...? I'm just not seeing it.
Like, there are basically three good turn cards for us (and then quite a few bad rivers).
Having three clubs makes it less likely that villain has higher clubs, but if another comes, we're OOP with a really tough hand. 3c doesn't even make us a straight flush.
I'm just not seeing what you're seeing here.
Aug. 2, 2019 | 9:29 p.m.
Afternoon session included both eking out a profit (thank goodness) but also getting all in with the nut flush against a gutshot straight flush draw (no other draw, I don't think... maybe 4 outs to a FH via two pair at most)... and dude hitting it.
Just running so miserably all-in. Earlier today, I estimated running 12 BIs under EV this week including Global, but my database now shows me running 12 BIs under EV just on my non-Global sites.
Add the above 1-outer, losing a big 60/40 this afternoon, and all my other Global runbad... I've got to be 15+ BIs under EV this week.
But being able to eke out a winning session this afternoon helps. It was five losing sessions in a row previous to that, and that's the kind of run that really gets to me, mentally. Once an objectively unlucky run stretches into the thousands of hands, it can feel a bit helpless and it can be easy to lose perspective on what winning play even feels like.
It just stinks knowing that this would merely be a dull ~breakeven stretch if I wasn't running so bad all-in.
And looking at my database (filtered for this week) and seeing a big percentage of my bankroll represented under "$EV Diff" is just really annoying.
Oh well. I know I'm playing very well, and my bankroll—while not where I want it to be—still allows me to play for reasonably meaningful stakes. These are things to be grateful for, and I just hope I can have better all-in fortunes for the rest of the month so I can get out of an early, irritating financial hole.
Aug. 2, 2019 | 9:16 p.m.
I haven't been this upset about poker in a very long time.
I'm at least 12 BIs under EV this week, just estimating from my database plus some memorable Global hands.
This does not quantify how often I've had people hit low-equity draws on me and how often I've missed enormous draws (in non-AI pots).
It does partly quantify how I am losing an obscene number of coinflips and 65/35-type races.
I've lost 20% of my bankroll this week. It's absurd. I'm supremely confident in my playing but the cards are just so extremely uncooperative.
Edit: I'm already calming down... when I zoom out on 2019 I'm still winning at a very healthy bb/100 over an increasingly significant sample... I just really hate feeling like I'm wasting my time and losing progress towards my poker goals. Stretches of thousands of hands where it just feels impossible to win are no fun at all.
Aug. 2, 2019 | 3:59 p.m.
(Hand is from Global, sorry for the formatting.)
Folds to CO, who limps with ~$53 left.
Hero (BTN) raises to $2.25 with Ad3dKc3c, leaving ~$61. SB folds.
BB (starts hand with ~$57; we saw them make a spewy play at another table, but our sample on them is very limited) calls, CO calls.
Flop ($7): Kd6c3h.
BB bets $7. CO folds.
Hero is confused. K33 in hand means villain could have 66 somewhat easily, but it's a strange lead for them in general. I err on the side of calling when I'm confused, so I call.
Turn ($21): 3h6cKd 6d
Great. Villain has quads. I check.
River ($21): 3h6cKd 6d Td
Villain bets $10.50.
I hit "time bank" and start thinking.
I beat, like, zero value hands taking this line: 66, KK (blocked, but possible), K6 (ditto).
I also block villain's best value-cut/bluff with the ace of diamonds.
But for the price... if villain is ever doing something kind of goofy... (remember, I noted villain as being somewhat spewy due to a different hand)...
Can we call?
Aug. 2, 2019 | 2:25 a.m.
Hi, earth! On my way back down to ya this week!
I also had some frustrating Global sessions on my laptop while traveling last week, but thankfully my July is in the black to the tune of a reasonably solid hourly.
This July result includes my first two trips to Parx. The first was brief but very successful, the second was longer and... thankfully not more painful than it ended up being.
On my first trip, I first played $1/$2 NLHE (seems to always have open seating) and was able to make about a hundred mostly just from bluffcatching with TPWK versus a guy I'd noticed was betting the river pretty liberally (on a runout that suggested a decent number of bluffs). I then got my name called for the $6/$12 OE game and was able to scoop a nice stud8 pot making 65432 multiway.
Overall, I only stayed for a couple of hours but I was impressed by the cardroom and eager to go back.
Yesterday, I indeed went back and sat $1/$2 while I waited for an OE seat. I made $6 in 20 minutes (wooooooo), but then got called for OE.
It was rough, folks. In my first orbit of omaha8, we had a kill pot that I raised preflop with As2sT8. Flop is T63 (one spade), I bet and get two callers. Turn Qs. I bet, two call.
River is a red 9. Ow. Neither half of the big pot goes to me.
Then, in the same orbit, I flopped an OESD+FD (only a backdoor low draw OTF) and missed that as well.
So I was down early and by quite a bit. And from there, it was a slog for most of my remaining hours there: lots of folding.
But I did go on a nice little heater in my final half-hour or so, which mitigated my losses quite a bit. I left down less than six big bets on the day, so it ended up not being so painful financially after missing both halves of that huge, kill-pot O8 draw.
Looking forward to August, I'm going to be playing a lot more poker overall than I have for a lot of 2019. I'm going to try to get 15,000-20,000 hands of cash PLO played online, and I'm going to see how often I can get to Parx to play more OE (which has seemed crushable in my limited experience; very loose-passive play from guys who seem to be there a lot... seems like a good bankroll builder for where I'm at before I can responsibly play $2/$2 PLO... though I've also been wondering about how aggressive to be financially with getting myself in that PLO game).
I'm still generally feeling quite good about poker, despite a lot of bad luck in the past two weeks.
July 31, 2019 | 6 p.m.
The lower the SPR, the fewer mistakes we can make with our AA-heavy range on a flop that's not supposed to help either player very often.
At a "medium" SPR... the real answer is that with no reads we just want to do whatever MonkerSolver says to do. And the lower the SPR, the more easily computed that answer is, though we'll be making assumptions about villain's preflop RFI/call range.
Exploitatively/exploitably... at low stakes and what I assume you mean by a "medium" SPR, I think I bet small and fold to a raise a lot of the time.
It's just really easy for a low stakes PLO rando to show up with 3xxx in a way that's not going to be represented by computing optimal play with optimal ranges, because most low stakes PLO players just VPIP way too wide and have a lot more 3xxx than is optimal. (3xxx is just going to be a large part of an optimal preflop fold range because a 3 is usually going to be a dangler or a part of a combo that's overall too low in card rank to merit a VPIP. Conversely, you'll sometimes see low stakes players see flops with stuff like QT73 single suited to the ten. And you just have to respect the fact that sometimes they'll flop wacky trips on low-paired flops, and you don't want to be risking/losing a lot of bets hoping they didn't.)
And, anecdotally, I think it's a minority of low stakes PLO players who have the guts to bluff you off of a better overpair on 933r. So you don't need to lose sleep over that possibility.
A small bet will win the pot outright with some significant frequency, in my experience.
And if you get called... our next move depends a lot on if the turn brings any new draws or spikes us an overfull.
July 29, 2019 | 10:54 p.m.
I assume we're the 3-bettor and villain flatted? Either way, 933r isn't supposed to be a huge help to anybody especially often. I believe our range has a big equity advantage over theirs; I'm betting small to deny equity at low risk or get thin value (unless I happened to have, like, AA33... then the value isn't so thin). We'll rarely want to play a huge pot on this flop texture, so betting small is the move (especially OOP).
If we're raised and have no reads... I think we can just get away. If the SPR is high (as you said it is), it's just not super sensible to hero all the way to showdown when we can be in miserable shape pretty easily.
If we're bluffed by QJT9 or KK92, so be it. We're going to get bluffed sometimes.
I hope that makes sense?
July 29, 2019 | 8:57 p.m.
You should slow down at some point in this line.
Between raising vs calling flop: being OOP really hurts here, and having J8 complicates things.
With no significant redraw, flop should just be a check/call a lot of the time. We don't want to get freerolled.
J8 is interesting, though, because we have top/2nd set blockers (as well as a decent FH redraw).
I wouldn't be surprised if the optimal flop play is to mix calls and raises, but keep in mind that we're OOP with some bad runouts and limited redraw outs. There's a lot of merit to just calling... but our J8 means villain is forced to fold sometimes and we win immediately (not bad).
Not winning immediately means we need to consider villain's flop bet/call range OTT.
JJ and 88 are less likely due to our blockers.
You really have to assume villain is pretty cc-heavy, and now you're way behind that. Don't bet turn, imo. Even if they don't have cc, we don't even have the best possible straight anymore. This is one of many bad turns for us, and we just need to kind of accept that.
We don't want to get blown off our equity (versus range) by any old hand with any old bet size, but we need to lean towards x/f on this turn. Our x/? depends on the sizing, though I'm not sure of the precise price we start folding for.
OTR our hand value drops even more. We have the second-best straight on a flushed and then paired board.
We're just not doing all that great here, and as-played too much money is going in.
July 26, 2019 | 7:36 p.m.
The 8c hurts our combo just a little (not too much) but I think we want to 3bet here to reduce the SPR, which reduces our positional disadvantage. (We get to thin the field as well, which is generally good.) Calling has some merits, though: we get to invite more folks into the pot who we can later freeroll or flush-over-flush.
But overall I prefer the 3bet by quite a bit.
As-played, I like a check/call OTF. You really don't want to be feeling the heat from AT or T9; we just want to try to realize our (quite robust) equity, imo.
Turn is probably exactly how I play it. I can't really muster a reason to do anything else.
I'd bet something like $15 OTR (maybe even less: $10?). You block (well, "have") the only pure bluff (NFD), and the board just changed dramatically. In a game like you've described, anybody behind you who is going to bet this river is probably going to call or even raise after you bet yourself (imo).
Just make sure you give them a good price, because it's a scary river and you want to make sure they don't fold a worse FH. You may even get AK or KT to call.