elcanon's avatar


10 points

I'd rather jam that last hand pre to try to drive out bigger straight draws.

Sept. 19, 2018 | 10:37 p.m.

It's harder to be outdrawn in holdem that it is in other games, so you can really do some damage when you think your hand is best. It's the game where being better at reading hands and tells is most valuable.

Sept. 3, 2018 | 2:21 a.m.

I think re-raising on a bluff would be reckless because his value range has too many big hands in it. He's probably either bluffing QJ or worse, or value betting A4 or better. You beat only a tiny % of his value range (maybe none of it). A large bet here from a good reg generally looks more like a VB, but deciding whether or not to fold really depends on your read on his tendencies.

May 5, 2017 | 5:37 p.m.

I think the money in live cash is in discovering exploitative plays that work well against opponents who are weak because they tilt / give off tells and have a horrible-to-mediocre fundamental understanding of poker math and strategy. In other words, studying to stay ahead of a curve when it comes to general cutting-edge strategy is nowhere near as valuable as working out strategies on your own which are targeted to your specific opponents.

eg, taking a lot of mental (or written) notes during and after play, like:
- seat 3 has folded many rivers so I'll adjust by showing more strength on later streets
- seat 4 hasn't laid a drawing hand down since the 80s so I'll value bet super thin (or size larger in NL/PL)
- almost all players in my game seem to c-bet flops HU after raising pre near 100% so i'll tighten up a bit in the blinds and CR flops more

After a recent trip I wrote out a list of 20 or so general points (like #3 above) about a game I'd just played for 200 hours and discovered obvious leaks in my game. That was a highly valuable few hours of study for me. It's probably something one could devote an hour or two to per 100 hours played.

I'm trying to look for more and more exercises like that which are tailored to my game. I think attacking poker study in a personal and specific way is effective, but that for some reason a lot of players don't want to approach it like that. Like self-help/self-reflection for your strategy, thinking deeply on your specific game and opponents, and also on your own mental states (considering things like tilt, stress, and motivation).

I think that a bot that could play a truly great GTO strategy would earn much much less in a live poker game than a human player who knew the game conditions well and was good at adjusting -- even if said player applied only good (not great) fundamental strategy and math.

If you have no specific common sense ideas on how to exploit an opponent, then you should consider them very strong and avoid them. If you're a serious player with decent fundamentals, and you find many of your opponents are very strong, then you're probably playing very high stakes and moving back down to mid stakes is advisable.

Also, re: high stakes, it's worth noting how edges can diminish very drastically as stakes go up, and stress and risk of life tilt increase as your risk of big downswings and ruin increase, so it's really not worth moving up IMO until you're absolutely certain that the game is not full of very strong players and you have a clear and articulable strategies for exploiting a decent % of the players you will face (getting back to the idea that most profit is in exploiting weakness, not in beating the best).

April 29, 2017 | 4:40 p.m.

I'm 36. I was a pro from 23 to 32, quit for 3 yrs to work on a startup, and I'm now a few months back in to playing again. Anyhow, I have a few points that I hope can help:

I think it was Doyle who said that 35 used to be considered young for a serious player. Sure, there are a lot of young guns out there today who are good educated players, but my point here is that if you're in your 30s, you're young, and probably still just entering your prime.

Take the top section in a room like Commerce (I've been spending a lot of time there lately), there are often 2 or 3 big games going and I'd say probably 90%+ of the player pool in those games is over 30 (virtually everyone in the limit games looks 30+ and many are 50+). My point being that big stakes poker (live at least) seems to offer little advantage to the very young. Personally, I feel that in many ways I'm just getting started and have 20 years or so left to play in my prime, and that I've probably only just entered my prime as a player.

I think players under 30 can be truly great, but I also think most or all of them will get better with age if they keep at it, and also that they will have the potential to continue playing at more or less their highest level past age 50. (Sidenote: I read somewhere that chess players peak at 32. I think due to the variety of challenges poker presents, poker players may peak later, but idk. Any estimates?)

I was impulsive in my 20s and I had a chip on my shoulder. I thought I had to prove I was the best and it hurt my progress. Day to day, I'd feel like I was either on the way to being the next Phil Ivey, or on the way to being a pathetic small stakes bustout "pro" fish. The truth was that I was always somewhere between those extremes and improving. I just couldn't see that reality clearly. I was a confident mid stakes player, but I didn't know how to properly recognize where my game was at and what games were truly OK for my bankroll. I managed money very poorly and practiced atrocious game selection. I survived but in the end I got good and broke. But nowadays, it's like I can just get down to business and play (and my results thru 650 hrs are way better than I've ever done in the past). I'm not sure if you're anything like I am/was but I just thought I'd share.

There are a lot of things to balance when playing professionally and I think being a bit older helps because expectations really come into focus, and a lot of ego BS falls away. Make sure to game select well, play in games that challenge you which you can afford, and hone in on some things you can do in your life away from the table which help you to rejuvenate your motivation to play and study.

April 24, 2017 | 10:08 p.m.

3 things should be true before you try moving up:
1. You're running good, playing well, and you feel great.
2. You can afford it (arbitrary, but at 9k I think you're due to dust off a few $400 buy-ins)
3. Most crucially, move up only because you have good reason to believe the game is better than it normally is and that you can you beat it, eg. you see players in the game who are significantly weaker than you.

April 19, 2017 | 2:20 p.m.

Comment | elcanon commented on LHE Variance

Thanks! I haven't used this tool before, it's handy. Swings aren't as extreme as I thought.

Studied for a bit and it looks like if you're trying to make a living, having only a 0.1 big bet per hr edge in live LHE probably isn't enough. If you play 1,000-2,000 hrs per year, you could easily still end up loser after 2-3 years.

An edge of 0.25 big bets changes things dramatically and a losing year only happens only ~3-5% of the time. So if you have a nice bankroll it wouldn't be ridiculous to play something like $200/$400 LHE with an expectation of just $100/hr. (There aren't a lot of regular LHE live games available between $40/$80 and $200/$400, players have to choose, so this sort of analysis seems pretty relevant.)

A 0.5 big bet per hour edge is the sweet spot where you'll pull in a decent annual income no matter what. I think it would be really tough for a new player to jump into $200/$400 LHE and right away be making 0.5 big bets, so there's definitely quite a barrier there when it comes to moving up stakes in live LHE.

April 19, 2017 | 1:26 p.m.

Post | elcanon posted in Other: LHE Variance

What's the most a player who beats a LHE game for just 0.1 big bets per hour could lose in a downswing? (Or, how much could a 0.1 big bet per hr loser win?)

April 18, 2017 | 3:26 p.m.

yeah the pot is large so the prospect of BN raising out BB/UTG's equity is not too bad, meanwhile giving 3 ppl who may have folded flop a free card to beat you is really bad. When you donk you get valuable info about how to bet throughout the rest of the hand.

April 18, 2017 | 2:24 p.m.

Your equity is probably still 50%+ when low cards flop.

I think it's too transparent to only check back when you're weakest. A good strategy is probably: betting your weakest hands, checking your next-to-weakest that would fold to a turn bet (or flop CR), mixing it up with marginal hands that are strong enough to consider calling T and R bets, and sometimes checking strong hands for deception.

My method for deciding whether to bet flop hinges mainly on what I think my opponent will do on the flop and turn. If I feel like he will CR a lot on the flop, I check more, and if I think that he will barrel the turn with weak hands, I check more. If I think he's a station that will call very wide on the flop and rarely CR, I bet more mainly in hopes of gaining a free river card when I blank turn, plus gaining bets on river when I think he bluffs too much.

April 18, 2017 | 2:09 p.m.

If you start calling down spots like the SB too light then you're playing the same weak game they are. Cards in the middle (7-J) are a big part of the portion of SB's range which you were ahead of pre, so either he sucked out or you didn't. Plus the real profit is in punishing them for calling light. IMO you should fold all kinds of marginal hands to bets from spots like the SB to encourage them to bet more against you OOP, allowing you to punish when you have it (A5 high on this board is not it).

April 17, 2017 | 7:47 p.m.

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