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devwil

420 points

One of the big things that's been on my mind for the past couple weeks is the difficult impression that I'm just bound to make far less than I'm statistically supposed to. I know that past results are not predictive of future performance, but being so dramatically below EV for so long just makes it feel like that's what I'm destined for. It just feels normal to have my EV WR significantly reduced for my WR.

It's far from motivating. Instead, thinking about playing just has me thinking about all the times I've lost all-in as a favorite. It's dreadful and anxious and just overall not enticing.

That said, I woke up today after a week and a half of not playing any poker at all, and I had some time to kill before breakfast would be ready.

I figured I'd play just to see how it felt, knowing that the session would be short either way. The result couldn't be too intense.

Being early in the morning, games weren't especially plentiful. My BRM has me playing PLO30 and PLO50 right now, and there was only one table of each (the latter being one guy sitting alone waiting for someone to join).

After the PLO50 table filled up more, I added some NL50 just to keep myself occupied between hands.

Once breakfast was ready, I logged out.

I lost about $10 in 24 minutes, being $40 under EV.

It was only 114 hands. I know that's nothing.

But it sucks. And it just feels normal for me, which sucks more.

And I just don't care about fighting through the bad luck anymore. I've demonstrably dealt with more than my fair share of it, and I'm not willing to see if pushing through the pain would pay dividends. (Because I may not see the long run realize itself for like 2-3 more years, which I refuse to wait for after being so diligent already.)

I've spent a long time caring about playing and improving, but I don't care anymore.

I'm just tired of being disappointed by this game. Which is why—after giving it some time (say, a week and a half) to make sure I didn't act too rashly—I'm deciding to definitely withdraw most of my bankroll and give up on playing in any especially serious way.

I'm still giving myself enough bankroll to play stakes that are just barely meaningful without immediately losing all of that money, should I get the urge to throw some virtual chips around. And I haven't decided what exactly to do with what I'm withdrawing, so it will be available indefinitely if I change my mind.

But this is the end of the dream for me, I think. I just can't get myself to spend more time trying to build a proper professional bankroll, which is where my bad luck has left me unless I decide to be much more aggressive with my bankroll (which I'm very uncomfortable with).

And considering how it's been a long battle that I feel like is being decided by fight judges in my mind who saw me getting beat up in most of this journey's rounds... I'm not really that upset. I've already felt enough disappointment that feeling more right now isn't going to be cathartic, and I'm grateful to be able to walk away with a few thousand dollars. A lot of people who try this can't say that, and they have a much more difficult "flash knockout" type of experience.

I've basically mentioned this briefly, but for any of this to be of value to anybody in the future, I want to make the following clear:

I didn't actually run that bad.

Like, I ran bad. And it really sucked. And it has discouraged me in a way I that never expected to be possible without, like, going broke.

But I have a 250k+ hand database of PLO hands (plus some NLH for a total of almost 400k). With or without NLH, using the PokerDope variance simulator, I'm in the bottom 25% of results for my EV WR.

Not bottom 5%. Not bottom 0.5%. Just bottom 25%. And I hate that I'm in that bottom 25%, but anybody who understands probability (hopefully anybody here at RIO) should know that 25% happens pretty easily. This is a huge part of why I'm not willing to give this another year or whatever. The one in four chance that I'll be at least as frustrated for another 250k hands of PLO is unacceptable to me.

Pursue your poker goals. But understand the survivor bias of all of the people you seek to repeat the successes of. Understand the range of likely outcomes. Understand that the games always get harder (even if PLO in particular is still eminently beatable). Understand that (especially in PLO) your true winrate is going to be very fuzzy for a very long time. (I'm still only cautiously confident in mine.)

And, as always, make sure you're not a gambling addict. I'm grateful that I'm not, but there's a fine line between being passionate about poker and just being a gambling addict that prefers poker to other games.

Anyway, as I said: I'm not swearing off of poker. I'm just giving up on poker as a career; I'm just too frustrated and financially it's not an obvious use of my time, even as (in my immodest opinion) one of the best PLO players on PokerStarsPA (frankly maybe the best, at least up through PLO100).

And as much as poker has beaten me up, I'm excited about writing a PLO book. I think it fills a gap in poker literature, and I think I have some new, useful ideas to offer. I hope that after my long and dedicated time here, the RIO community will tolerate me plugging my personal website (www.devinwilson.net), where I'll be sharing anything new like a poker book (or my probably-never-mentioned-here music).

Cheers, everyone. Good luck. (Trust me, having it helps!)

June 28, 2020 | 4:58 p.m.

Just a small update:

I've been in similar spots before where I figured I was done with the grind, and the problem is it leaves me not knowing how to define my relationship to poker.

As you could easily conclude from this blog and its previous incarnations, the way I've redefined my relationship to poker has always been me falling back into a half-time-or-more grind.

Trying to avoid falling back into that means I don't know how to approach poker. At the same time, I don't really like the idea of abandoning the game altogether. It's just become a big part of who I am.

But the truth is that, while I think poker is a cool game, I don't like it so much that I want to play it for nothing or virtually nothing. If I'm playing a game for (virtually) nothing, I'd really like to play one that's less luck-based and less risky. One that doesn't risk thousands of dollars.

Conversely, if I'm playing for meaningful stakes, it's too easy to start setting goals and trying to maximize my hourly. There's also the opportunity cost of having that money tied up in poker, as well as the stress of hundreds of dollars flying around.

I just don't know how to balance any of it out.

I feel like one of the best ideas I've had (though it's not perfect) is just to put aside a modest amount of money every month and play it aggressively BRM-wise, with no volume goals and a hard stop loss. But again: even if it's $x/month I'm now budgeting, that's $x/month I could be using on other things.

June 21, 2020 | 4:44 p.m.

(Caution: word vomit coming. It's not really all addressed to you; it's just stuff I'm getting off my chest and some of it is in response but a lot of it is just me getting my thoughts out.)

Hey. I don't know how much more I'll hang out on RIO for obvious reasons, but I wanted to thank you for your comment. A lot of this journal (and its previous incarnations) has felt pretty "screaming into the void", so having someone acknowledge how crazy-making hundreds of thousands of hands severely under EV is... it's actually deeply appreciated, because I have almost no poker friends to talk about this stuff with.

Thankfully, throughout this whole process I've been married to someone who totally understands the process and believed in me. She understands that this should have worked out better and hasn't for reasons that are not my fault.

Conversely, I worry a lot about my broader family's perception of this. Over the past year, I should have made more than minimum wage at this. I didn't. And now I'm just done waiting on poker to give me what I statistically deserve.

And I just hate the optics of the entirely true but easy to misunderstand statement of "I tried to play poker professionally but I was too unlucky so I gave up". Because anyone with a gambling addiction and/or no actual edge can say that. I legitimately did everything right (in all broad terms; obviously I didn't always play perfectly) and I arguably didn't even fail.

I just can't feel good about persevering at this anymore when I know I could be facing another year or more of similar luck (that luck not even being all that extremely bad at bottom ~25%; just consistently and profit-crushingly bad).

I highly doubt that I've played my last hand of poker, but I'm just as certain that I'm done with the grind of it. It's just been too disappointing for too long and I've just been doing this for too long to still not be comfortably bankrolled for PLO100 or above. (If I were to play again, my latest session's poor result plus my personal BRM would have me back down at PLO50 maximum.)

I thought this year was going to be the first year I made a serious living at the game, and that's just become extremely unlikely. The amount of rebuilding I'm being forced to do over and over is just unacceptable to me at this point. I literally, statistically deserve better (not that anything's guaranteed), and I'm just tired of it.

Your away-from-the-table tips are good ones. Thankfully, poker has had very little impact on my sleep or social/home life.

I identify as Buddhist and have for many years, so that combined with the mental game perspectives I've learned for poker in particular have kept me in reasonable shape mentally. And as upset as I've gotten at poker throughout all of this, I'm actually very proud of my mental game through all of the crap I've had to deal with. I've honestly been very depressed about poker (and my broader professional life) away from the tables, but it's been very rare for me to dip below my B-game while playing. And I honestly think I'm better at keeping up my A-game than most, mostly due to having a confident and easily repeatable thought process during hands. (I'm going to be trying to turn this thought process into a book. It's already outlined with a lot of specificity and I've got like 10k words drafted for the most vital chapter.)

Again, I've done everything right. But I've learned over the past 12-18 months that it doesn't necessarily matter much. I've learned that it's not that hard to have a run like I've had over hundreds of thousands of hands, and (contrary to the title of this journal) it turns out I'm just not willing to find out what the next quarter-million hands of PLO would do to me.

June 19, 2020 | 8:13 p.m.

I'm about 16k hands into June.

I have a high single-digit EV winrate. My bb/100 isn't too far behind.

But I'm almost four figures in the hole and more than all of that is my $EV Diff.

Over the past 18 months, I've played almost 380k hands of cash that have been recorded to my database, including a lot of frankly mediocre (at best) NLH.

In this database, I am under $EV by 101% of my current bankroll. My winrate and EV winrate are on opposite sides of zero.

None of this accounts for how poorly I've run in tournaments, especially live. But I have more than 50k tracked hands of online MTTs in which (guess what) my winrate and EV winrate are on opposite sides of zero.

I don't really want to play anymore. I've waited long enough for this to come together. I'm tired of waiting and I'm not willing to put in months more of work just to hope that I actually make the hourly that I've worked so hard to earn as a PLO expert. I should be making significantly more than minimum wage this year, but instead I've been struggling to make anything at all for months.

I've done everything right except enjoy the top ~75% of results promised to me by my EV winrate over the past 18 months of cash play.

Whether it's measured in months or hands, that's an extremely long time to constantly be in the bottom quarter of luck. And it's just made me feel like it's not worth my time to play (because—frankly—over the past year of playing at least half time I haven't even made minimum wage even though I should have made more if I'd kept my $EV Diff). Not to mention the stress of losing high-value all-ins far more than my fair share and knowing that not only am I not making the money I should be, but I'm also being robbed of the opportunity to play higher stakes (and therefore earn more money).

It all compounds into a feeling of utter disgust with this game that I've dedicated so much of my life to, and it feels horrible.

And my hand hurts from slapping my desk in frustration at losing big, high-equity pots tonight.

I want a job where my hand won't hurt from that.

Poker has not given me what I statistically deserve (not even close) in 18 months of winning play. I very sadly need to move on.

June 19, 2020 | 7:27 a.m.

The only question I have a particularly confident answer for is #2:

My study routine (or lack thereof, frankly) isn't going to help you much. I think that beginners should spend a lot of time reviewing their hands and using PPT to get a feel for how equities versus ranges play out. Part of that means getting a feel for opponents' ranges, which unfortunately requires a beginner-unfriendly mix of guesswork and experience.

Also, make sure your preflop strategy is sound. Preflop mistakes can really compound expensively in PLO.

Cheers,
A fellow vegan.

June 16, 2020 | 6:43 p.m.

(Brief explanation since it looks borderline fake: I've been playing all the way from PLO30 to PLO100 this month. Guess which stakes I've consistently run good/bad at... according to PokerDope's variance sim, I'm on a <1% run of bad luck at PLO100 this month. Frustrating, obviously.)

June 11, 2020 | 6:44 a.m.

June 11, 2020 | 6:42 a.m.

Comment | devwil commented on OE + Weak FD 3-way

Preflop seems a little loose; I'm not sure.

Check/call (one bet) seems prudent OTF. We unblock a lot of continues but we rate to have some real equity.

June 8, 2020 | 10:15 p.m.

Grunching.

I wouldn't be shocked if it's a fold preflop. Three of a suit is a problem and our position isn't good.

I could see flop going either way. Calling allows us to control the pot when a lot of runouts will be tough, and raising is going to strengthen villain's range to stuff we're not doing amazing against. But raising doesn't seem too wild to me.

You can't keep playing slow on the turn. With just one card to come, we're too far ahead to not build a pot. And we have position, so we can check back the river if we really want to.

Against an unknown, I don't think I can fold river as-played. We do completely unblock straights, but we also unblock natural bluffs. And A3xx/63xx really shouldn't be an especially likely holding for an UTG RFI.

June 8, 2020 | 10:12 p.m.

Hi June.

How could I possibly complain. This is clearly my fault. I'm clearly doing something wrong. I haven't been patient enough. I need to work harder away from the tables. I need to table select better.

June 6, 2020 | 12:29 a.m.

A lot of my journaling here on RIO has been me discussing my feelings, and a lot of that has been pretty stormy.

There's been a lot of disappointment and frustration. There have been times in which I've openly considered quitting for good. There have been breaks. There have been some comebacks.

I think this may finally be the end, though.

May sucked. It was a very bad month for me at the tables.

June is off to a somewhat unremarkable bad start, but I just can't take it anymore.

I've played just 1712 hands this month. I'm already down more than 7 BIs. I'm more than 4 BIs below EV. None of this accounts for, say, running into quads heads-up yesterday. Or getting almost all the money in as a huge favorite and making my "mistake" on a street for which the SPR is vanishingly low.

I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of being disappointed. I'm tired of getting so much less out of poker than I've put in. (Plus, PokerStars has recently made that horribly frustrating decision to give out a big portion of their rewards as casino credit. I was all but guaranteed minimum wage with rakeback alone before this.)

I often use January 2019 as a major reference point for my poker career. Before then, I think I was pretty good at poker but maybe not a firmly winning player. Then I read Janda's NLH4AP and a lot of important ideas clicked for me.

From that point, my ability to win at poker was just certain. Period.

Across both NLH and PLO, I have a database of 353,482 hands I've played that show me as an EV bb/100 winner. That's pretty solid.

In that sample, I'm also a bb/100 loser.

My $EV difference in this sample is more than 76% of my current bankroll.

But let's not freak out just yet; that sample includes a brief flirtation with NLH that didn't go well and I don't stake a lot of my opinion of my skill on my NLH skill in particular.

So let's just filter by PLO. I think I'm a very good PLO player.

And the stats bear that out.

Again, EV bb/100 winner. I frankly think my EV WR here is too low, even in 240,816 hands, but anybody could say that, so let's not dwell on it.

My WR is less than 20% of my EV WR.

My winnings (which, thankfully, are positive in PLO) are completely overshadowed by my $EV difference. My $EV difference is almost twice what my winnings are. My $EV difference is more than half of my current bankroll.

I've been patient for so long. So incredibly long. Through my still-active live MTT cashless streak. Through my miserable all-in luck in online MTTs. Through all of the above cash woes.

All the while, I've been playing and trying to improve and just not building a real poker career.

My games are soft. That's the worst part. I'm playing against players who always have either insanely obvious leaks (usually playing too many hands preflop and being face-up postflop) or almost-solid players who I figure out how to exploit.

But I'm not doing well in these games. And frankly, that gets embarrassing. And it feels like a waste of time. And—even before I was on PokerStars PA—it gets to feeling like a big joke that I'm the butt of.

I don't know. I didn't get as much sleep as I should have last night. And I live in Philadelphia, which is a whole other set of anxieties at the moment. Maybe I'll change my mind like I always have.

But jfc can I please just win my 70/30s more often than not, or not lose both runs of a coinflip quite so often? I'm really not asking a lot.

June 3, 2020 | 3:26 a.m.

Something that I don't mean to ruminate on, though it explains a lot about why this month has felt so bad:

I just noticed that, in my HU hands from this month (which are a little under 10% of my overall volume), I'm 10 BIs under EV with a very breakeven-ish EV WR.

That sucks. And that would feel sucky as it unfolds.

May 26, 2020 | 5:53 a.m.

For quite a while now, the main thing that motivated me when things got tough was utter stubbornness. It wasn't really optimism or hope. I mean, expected that I have the skills to succeed at this and I wanted to succeed at this, but it's been quite a while since I thought about poker in terms of "I think I can do this" or "I hope I can do this".

Because I know I can do this. I know PLO cash strategy well, I know how to keep from going broke due to variance, and I know I'm playing in crushable games. That's basically all it takes; I don't need to believe I'm an especially gifted player in order to succeed.

So, instead, the attitude I've needed to muster over and over has been: "I refuse to fail at this by quitting." Because, realistically, quitting is the only way I'm actually going to fail at this. Even if I hit an even bigger downswing than the ones I've had to endure, I would quit before I literally had no money left in my bankroll.

The past couple of weeks, I haven't been able to arrive at that defiant headspace, though. Rather than feeling like "I refuse to fail at this by quitting", I felt more like "I don't care about succeeding at this anymore" and "I refuse to keep feeling this bad because of poker".

But something changed over the weekend, and I'm feeling defiant again. And just like my last post wasn't rational; this isn't rational either. It's just an emotional fire that I need to have ignited when my results have been so disappointing (and so far below my skill level) for so long.

I played a short, winning session last night and felt pretty good for the most part. (It helps that I ran pretty good all-in; positive EV WR too, though.)

I don't think a winning May is realistic at this point, but I do feel like I'm back on the proverbial horse.

May 25, 2020 | 4:11 p.m.

Took a week off. Played 1100 hands at a level lower than I could be. Made a little bit of money, but almost -20 EV bb/100.

I just hate playing poker at this point. It doesn't seem to matter at all what I do at the table.

Maybe I'll change my mind by my next regularly-scheduled session a few days from now, but I just feel completely hopeless and joyless about poker.

I somehow can't crush loose-passive players by playing tight-aggressive. It doesn't make sense.

And when I make objectively +EV plays, I either run into miracle combos or run horribly under EV for a quarter-million hands.

It just doesn't feel like I'm making money (theoretically or actually) and I'm definitely not having fun. So I'm completely unmotivated.

Meanwhile, I'm actually enjoying working on a PLO book.

But as far as actually being at the table goes? It just feels beyond pointless. I raise preflop, I miss postflop in every possible way, and I'm not going to be able to bluff my way to a win often enough. End of story.

I know I'm not being rational, but that's kind of the point. I'm irrationally angry with poker.

May 22, 2020 | 11:34 p.m.

A couple of days later, I'm more interested in playing again (eventually), but I honestly get a knot in my stomach when I think about getting back to it.

Running bad all-in for so long has just seeped into my bones, and I can't shake the irrational feeling that I'm just going to get so much less out of the game than I statistically deserve. I can't defeat the anxious expectation that I'm going to continue to have worse luck than almost 80% of players (which is mathematically where my EV WR vs WR results have been at for almost a year and a half of cash PLO). I just viscerally don't expect to make money, even if logically I know I can expect to.

I'm going to continue my indefinite break from playing until the knot in my stomach doesn't appear. I do expect to get back to the game sometime (I'm going to drop down in stakes to mitigate any pain at first), but not immediately. I need time to forget how frustrated I've felt.

May 16, 2020 | 4:59 p.m.

I might not be able to motivate myself to play anymore. I've cooled off like I usually do, but I'm not left with the will to endure whatever swings might come next.

I'm pretty conditioned to expect large, negative results at this point, regardless of what I do. And I know it's not entirely rational, but it's how I feel.

And more specifically: I'm feeling a dreadful anxiety about poker. I'm tired of losing a quarter of my bankroll at a time (especially for the dollar amount that is at this point). I'm tired of waiting for my poker career to pan out.

I'm just tired.

May 14, 2020 | 7:17 a.m.

Played a second session tonight. Ran under EV for 7.5% of my bankroll, in less than 90 minutes.

Losing both runs of a 70/30 is sort of what inspired a sub-90m session.

I find it very hard not to ruminate on how much better all of this should have gone, on average.

I'm one mundanely bad session away from needing to be more careful about how many PLO100 tables I play.

Meanwhile, if I'd run at EV over the past year and a half (not to mention my live MTT woes), I'd be playing PLO200 fairly comfortably.

Again: really hard not to ruminate on that stuff when I just feel like no matter how well I play I lose (or at least don't win nearly as much as I should).

May 14, 2020 | 3:54 a.m.

I've played 14k hands so far this month and it's felt hopeless the whole time. I always miss my draws, opponents always hit theirs, generally spewy opponents always have it, I build pots then have to fold...

My EV WR as PFR for May is less than 40% of that EV WR for 2020.

-487.75 EV bb/100 as a 4bettor (-1151.79 bb/100 too, great fun) this month versus 701.76 EV bb/100 as a 4bettor in 2020 (though I've run under $EV by about a quarter of my current bankroll, so that's nice).

Just ridiculous.

So yeah, not having a great time and it's really hard to have perspective on it when it's constant misery at the tables.

I'm actually running significantly over EV in big blinds, but my $EV diff is insignificant (I mix stakes).

And I think I've had, like, literally only one really good month in my whole poker career. It's just exhaustion on top of exhaustion on top of exhaustion all the time.

May 14, 2020 | 12:29 a.m.

Comment | devwil commented on Unsure about turn spot

I misread the flop; I thought it was rainbow.

I still think it's a low EV call at best, but I'm not particularly animated about it.

May 14, 2020 | 12:14 a.m.

Comment | devwil commented on Unsure about turn spot

...why are we calling flop?

May 13, 2020 | 7:01 p.m.

Grunching.

I agree with the flop action, but not the reasoning. There are a lot of bad turns for us and the SPR is high, so I don't want to overcommit just yet. I'd x/c but not to "trap". I'm keeping myself from trapping myself in a bloated pot on future streets.

The turn shouldn't slow villain down super often (unless they just want a free river, which is possible) and we just turned a lot of good rivers for ourselves, so x/r is the move imo. Our second nuts are nicely disguised and we block the nuts and we're never drawing dead.

(Ungrunched.)

I don't see any reason to x/c turn. If villain folds to our raise, that's fine. We've won two bets from them and our worst rivers never come. (And if we run into the case KK, oh well. Sucks. We have NFD and one Q to save us.)

May 13, 2020 | 6:54 p.m.

Grunching.

This ends up being very villain-dependent, but usually I'd just dump it OTF. Donk bets (unless I have a specific read otherwise) are almost always something with high SDV, and usually SDV that thinks it's vulnerable.

Say, trips.

And we have Ac so they don't have the NFD. KcJc maybe, but that's optimistic.

Raising turn is a pretty unsatisfying waste of $1.76. Could have bought a can of soda or somethin' idk.

May 13, 2020 | 6:48 p.m.

No, not all of them. I don't know how I forgot. (Actually, I do know. I was blinded with rage to a degree I've probably only been 3-4 times before in my poker career, maybe less.)

The hand that made me cut my session short was getting all in preflop with AAxx versus Q966ds. 99x flop no help to me later ran it once obv.

I can only motivate myself so much when I've been running bad consistently for coming up on two years. I'm trying to build a career out of this and it's not working and it's not my fault. (Note how I quit when I was upset. All I do is everything I'm supposed to do: +EV plays, responsible BRM, strong mental game or self-awarely quitting when it slips. But I'm constantly struggling.)

May 12, 2020 | 5:01 a.m.

What's the point. Ran it twice in most or all of these pots tonight.

May 12, 2020 | 4:55 a.m.

I prefer betting to raising.

May 7, 2020 | 7:18 p.m.

Really frustrating start to May after a really difficult April.

Here's the thing: because I've underperformed so horribly in my poker career (according to PokerDope, I'm in the bottom 22% of results for my PLO cash winrate for my tracked hands since January 2019), I've needed to get good at losing and I've gotten a lot of practice at it.

But I'm still not great at it and I'm very tired of needing to be good at it.

Because I'm very good at poker and I'm very tired of waiting for my results to catch up. Like, I'm glad it's not worse (I could be bottom 21% or lower), but...

It's just really frustrating.

Like... StarsPA has Run It Twice. That just hasn't helped me as much as it should. My PLO cash WR is less than half my EV WR on StarsPA. It just gets really unbelievable how many times I lose both halves of a coinflip (or worse), you know?

And it just gets really demotivating.

But then I'm in an emotionally impossible spot, because I know my EV WR (plus rakeback) promises a higher hourly than I can earn doing anything else (not to mention the value of being my own boss/etc).

But I'm just, like, constantly feeling like I'm not making the money I should be.

It's been hard.

May 7, 2020 | 6:09 a.m.

Comment | devwil commented on 4-Bet KKxxs CO vs. BTN

3betting BTN at 18% isn't that wild if they're just not flatting the button (which is a defensible strategy).

4betting this combo, on the other hand, is wild. The preflop sim I have (which isn't perfect, but it's something) is 4betting 0% of KK without two suits or an ace (and that's versus a 14.8% 3betting button).

Less computationally: three of a suit always hurts and this combo unblocks AA and is far from the most playable. And if we get 5bet, we're in horrible shape almost always.

As-played, your flop rationale is fine.

I don't like anything about the turn bet, though. If you had AA, you wouldn't bet it: it's virtually invincible (no need to deny equity) and it's unlikely to win you much money because villain will assume you're very AA-heavy even if they have a flush or 3xxx (in a 3bet/call range? maybe, I guess). Even 99xx isn't happy (but again, how many 99xx are 3bet/calls?)

That's to say: your bet doesn't actually rep AA well if you're playing AA well (imo).

And if there was ever a turn to give up on, Ad is probably it. You unblock too many calls and you have basically no path to winning at showdown against a call.

As-played, river check/fold is pretty obvious imo.

May 5, 2020 | 5:45 a.m.

PacnyTuH0 That makes a big difference for me: that means they're going to have a lot more straights than they "should" OTT (and checking SDs OTF makes a lot of sense, even if I may be giving them too much credit) and I super don't want to lead so big as a result.

May 5, 2020 | 5:35 a.m.

Grunching.

I don't really like a PSB here. The flop texture just doesn't support it imo, and it makes your betting range (unless you're splitting it, which is probably overcomplicated) emphasize equity denial too much imo. It's just hard for villain to continue light versus a PSB and, while we don't have a ton of slam-dunk runouts, I don't think we need to be anxious to end the hand here. And when villain does continue (especially via x/r), I think we're in a much more uncomfortable spot than if we bet smaller.

And if you're considering the merits of bet/folding at all, I think sizing up on a flop where we don't have any high-equity semibluffs is kind of nonsensical.

(Also: I don't like a PSB OOP here. It has all of the above problems plus being OOP.)

All that said, this feels like a very mix-y spot (maybe just because I don't feel strongly about betting or checking). Backdoor clubs and a gutshot help us play the turn, so as long as we're not inflating the pot too much while strengthening villain's range (i.e. size down, imo), I think it's hard for us to be making too big of a mistake here.

(Ungrunching to see Nick's response, as I saw that he contributed to the discussion.)

I've wondered recently if I've theoretically been sizing down too much on drier flops in 3BPs because we do deny equity so effectively so often, but on this flop I just don't think there's enough to be afraid of. And I think that most low/micro PLO populations have us risking too much to pot in this situation when we deny equity virtually as effectively for cheaper, plus we get some thinner value (all of which increases our EV).

But I honestly haven't looked at the unexploitable sizing for this spot. I would not be shocked if we just want to end the hand as a rule, but it just doesn't make total sense to me and—again—I think the bigger sizing just risks too much in practice (and maybe in theory; I'm sincerely not sure).

May 5, 2020 | 5:32 a.m.

To barely exaggerate: "I've beaten microstakes for 5,000 hands after being a losing player for years; I'm gonna finally go pro!" is an all too common poker blog theme :P (mostly over on 2p2; folks here seems a lot more realistic as a rule, as you might expect).

I'm sorry the geolocating is screwing you like that. I've had very few problems in that regard, and I live in Philly within easy walking distance of the Delaware River, so it should work for you somehow eventually.

The games are great, honestly. There's a weird dip in traffic at PLO100 compared to 50 and 200 (which stinks cuz that's where I'm at bankroll-wise; I guess folks are either scared of 100 or used to a $2 big blind live?), but the hours you'd expect (and later into the night, recently) support a multitable grind just fine. 5-card PLO even typically has a few tables going during peak hours.

PLO500+ runs sometimes, but not many tables and not all the time. I have my table filter set to PLO50+100 but I do take a look sometimes and I feel like there's usually some sort of life up there unless it's a firmly off-peak hour.

And very few players are any good at all. Maybe the folks playing PLO500+ are (I have less history against them typically), but at low stakes it's not a tough game.

May 5, 2020 | 5:22 a.m.

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