July hasn't really gone to plan in terms of the volume I wanted to play, but fortunately my bankroll has gone in the right direction at least. Life has got in the way of poker, but in a good way, and I'm looking to put in some good sessions over the next week until the end of the month when I'll post graphs if I have enough hands to make it worthwhile. This update is mostly a quick BBV post; I satellited into the Sunday Warm-Up yesterday when this happened...
July 25, 2016 | 10:40 a.m.
End of June update:
I moved into my new apartment on Tuesday, it's going to make a great place to grind but sadly I won't have internet for likely two weeks, so I can't play poker. I've got a bunch of hands marked for review from this month though, so I'm going to be spending a good amount of time going through those with CREV and trying to work on my postflop game which I think is my biggest weakness.
I played around 50k hands in June, mostly at 10NL and was down a handful of BI (maybe 10 or so) overall but feel like I improved immeasurably over the period, so I'm not too worried at all about the losses. I learned a lot about discipline and how important playing my A game is to winning, as well as plenty of technical things. My preflop game got a lot more solid over the last month, and my cbetting strategy is also heading in the right direction but there's still a lot to work on.
For the first two weeks of July I will either be studying or not working on poker at all in my free time, and for the second two weeks I am considering taking a couple of weeks off work to play as I have a lot of holiday to use. My plan would be to play cash Monday - Friday, Saturday off and Sunday MTTs, just to see how realistic grinding full time is, if I still enjoy it, can I make any money etc.
I'll probably write another update in a couple of weeks, and will post HUD stats/graph at the end of July when I have a decent sample size.
June 30, 2016 | 9:39 a.m.
Haha yeah it was, I thought I'd take a shot at it tonight because I figured there would be a bunch of guys who had got drunk watching the football and then went home to play poker :-P
June 11, 2016 | 11:51 p.m.
That is great advice, I will definitely think about the best way to do this and incorporate it into my mental game. I am playing zoom at the moment, the first idea I had would be to just sit out for a minute or two and refocus, sort of similar to step 9, would you agree that's a good thing to do?
June 11, 2016 | 10:22 a.m.
As part of my efforts to improve my poker game I wrote out "10 steps to a successful session" which I plan on using before and during every session. I thought you guys might be interested, let me know if there's anything obvious I missed!
1) Are you hungry/horny, angry, lonely, tired? HALT!
2) Do you have everything you need for your session? Water, coffee, snacks, a hoody to regulate temperature etc?
3) Turn your phone off, remove all distractions (close FB)
4) 10 minute guided meditation for focus
5) Personal meditation:
a) Confidence - you have a large edge on the players you are playing with, and you are more capable of making more optimal decisions than them.
b) Focus - your goal is to make every single decision as close to optimal as possible
c) Visualisation - visualise taking your time for decisions, not rushing
d) Passion - why are you playing the game? For the love of the strategy and competition, not for the money.
6) Sounds - rainymood.com while playing. If struggling with confidence, can put poker playlist on on Spotify.
7) Start with two tables while you warm up, then move to four tables if you feel like you are playing your best.
8) How to tell when you’re not playing your A game - are you thinking “I won’t do this action because they’ve had it every other time?” or “oh I bet he just has it this time”? Are you rushing your decisions? Are you making a decision and then immediately wishing you’d made a different one? Sit out + walk away.
9) If you find your concentration slipping, sit out for a few minutes, go for a walk, get some more water, come back and refocus.
10) Stop when you feel like you are no longer playing your A-game.
June 10, 2016 | 5:41 p.m.
Do you not think this is very exploitable? If the BB knows that you have a linear calling range in the SB, you can get squeezed a lot, and you will have a capped range OOP postflop. I'm not necessarily saying I disagree with you, but I think those are the main arguments for not having a linear range to flat in the SB with.
June 10, 2016 | 3:54 p.m.
In my opinion it depends on what stakes you're playing at, so for example in Stelios Serefidis' most recent video, he recommends playing 3bet/fold in the SB at 10NL, and I would guess it's probably a good strategy at 25NL and maybe even higher. Having said that, I think it makes more sense to have a polarised 3bet strategy vs EP because their RFI range is smaller, if you don't want to be play 3b/fold. I believe the reason that it is recommended to play 3b/fold at small stakes is because both players will have much wider ranges postflop, and your range might be capped, which could lead to an inexperienced player making more mistakes. If you feel very confident postflop then maybe having a calling range in the sb could be profitable as other players might not play postflop correctly against a preflop caller.
June 10, 2016 | 3:42 p.m.
The "max" in "6-max" actually stands for maximum fun... so play that :-D
Seriously though I think most players would agree that you will improve your game faster be playing 6 max, being involved in more hands will teach you how to better deal with certain spots.
June 10, 2016 | 2:35 p.m.
This might seem really obvious to a lot of people but hopefully it's useful to others. Whenever I watch a training video on RIO I write typed out notes, just like when I was at uni. I have them all saved in google docs so I can access them anywhere, and they're easy to review, add my own thoughts to etc. I find it helps a lot, for example if I'm trying to apply a particular concept that was the subject of a video, I can reread my notes and remember a lot of things from the video I would've otherwise forgotten. If there are several videos I watch on a similar topic then I can combine all the notes into one document, which helps link the concepts together across multiple videos and makes it easier for me as well.
June 10, 2016 | 1:38 p.m.
Nice one man, keep it up :-D
June 10, 2016 | 1:23 p.m.
So maybe break his range into managable chucks, of say "value" and "bluffs" then figure out the ratio of these to each other, then estimate equity v each?
I am still very much a novice poker player, but yes I think this is the correct thing to do as a stepping stone to the higher level stuff, and it's what I try and do when I'm playing.
June 7, 2016 | 3:51 p.m.
I think this might be an interesting spot to see whether we can look at a different application of the Zeebo theorem, one which might be more relevant at lower stakes. So instead of:
“No player is capable of folding a full house on any betting round, regardless of the size of the bet.”
Perhaps we can also say:
"No player is capable of not getting it all in with any full house"
And then we can look at all the reasonable boat combos and see which ones we're ahead of and behind of.
We're behind to: 8x, where x>=9, and 99
Chopping with: 8y where y <9
Ahead of: 6z, where z is any card.
And maybe there is a very small % of the time where he's bluffing, but he's probably doing that less than 5% of the time.
So based on those assumptions it seems like it should be a call, but my assumptions could be completely wrong. If you folded this then I have a huge amount of respect for your discipline and mental game :-D
June 7, 2016 | 2:20 p.m.
I think raise here for value, there's still plenty of hands worse than yours he might call with and very few you're behind.
He's going to be 3 betting AA and KK pre, so the only boat that could have you beat is A9, but he could still call you with flushes, maybe some Ax hands.
I think his calling range has enough hands that you have beat to make shoving here profitable.
June 7, 2016 | 12:08 p.m.
I would agree, I'd add too that it seems unlikely that villain has too many 2pair hands in his 3b cold call range here, but the line he takes doesn't really make too much sense. You'd expect him to be 4betting QQ here but maybe with the UTG raiser left to act behind he is deciding to flat some percentage of the time, he could definitely have 88 but probably doesn't have many Q8s type hands.
Given that he is in position on you, it also seems unlikely that he'd jam here with a set. If he calls, pot will be $7.20 and villain will have $6.71 behind, so he can comfortably jam any river. I would say his range when he does this is weighed much more heavily towards draws, JhTh, AhKh, Th9h, maybe AQo in there too which you're ahead of.
However, like Kalupso said, I'm guessing you're posting this because he had a hand which I didn't expect to be in his range, I think the best thing to do when that happens is just make a note on the player and move on to the next hand, I think calling here is likely to be correct a lot of the time.
June 7, 2016 | 11:38 a.m.
I think it's important to remember the rule of 2 & 4 is only ever meant to be a rough estimate towards your pure equity, and like others have mentioned doesn't take into account a whole bunch of other factors, such as (reverse/)implied odds, the fact that you won't realise exactly 100% of your equity etc. Instead when making these kind of calculations I try and think about how my hand does vs. my opponent's whole range, rather than any specific hand I might put him on (obviously there's only an incredibly small number of situations where you can narrow your opponents range down to enough hands where specific EV calculations are important).
June 6, 2016 | 7:07 p.m.
Sasuke-kun, you leaving Konoha has been so... troublesome.
June 6, 2016 | 1:16 p.m.
I'll try and articulate why I think this is the incorrect way to play the hand and hopefully point out where I believe your thought process is wrong and where it can be improved, because I can definitely see where you're coming from.
Your range does hit this flop slightly better given that you have more suited connectors in your range than he does (and perhaps more sets), but your specific hand doesn't have a huge amount of equity on the flop and against his calling range postflop, it has virtually no equity on the 8h river. In general, unless you have a strong read that opponent cbets flop too much, I think reraising is probably the least profitable action postflop. When considering hands to xr in a spot like this, I think we should look for monster draws, in particularly in a 3bet pot where villain has lead flop. Without a backdoor straight door or any type of flush draw, I don't think this is a great candidate to check raise - is our opponent going to fold better when we xr this? He's continuing with any overpair and any set which are all in his range, any AhKh suited type hand, and the only hands that are better than he could fold are 88, 77, AKs/AQs not of hearts. Is he going to call with worse? Almost certainly not, I can't really think of any combos in his range that have less equity than our hand. So when we look at this xr on the flop, I think we can conclude that it's not the best play, as anytime he continues we are almost certainly a long way behind.
Having said all that, I think it is pretty clear why check back and giving up on every river is the best play on the turn.
When we get to the river having played the hand like this, I would normally say that we should jam any river with a high frequency, however because the pot is 121BB and you only have 40BB, you are obviously giving villain a way to good price to call, if you're planning on betting then I think the most profitable sizing is likely to be at least 1.5x pot.
Given your stack, I think it's a pretty clear check back on the river, review the hand, try to see why your play was sub optimal and then on to the next one :-)
June 5, 2016 | 11:42 a.m.
Bit of a weird spot but on balance probably a fold.
It's tough to put him on a range here, you'd assume he'd 4bet AA and QQ pre, 33, 99, AQ and maybe A9s could all play this way. He could have something like KJ and has just seen his equity vanish on the turn so decided to jam but I think he is probably making that play fairly infrequently compared to folding OTT. It's a somewhat dry board so he doesn't really have too many huge draws he can jam here with good equity, maybe he has Adxd or even KdJd but that's just one combo.
I think he is weighted towards being strong here, we need to be right about 45% of the time in order to call profitably and while the line he has taken seems pretty strange, I don't think calling OTT is going to be profitable.
June 4, 2016 | 6:54 p.m.
I think it's probably correct to call here v CO. I put in what I think is a fairly standard CO opening range and KTs has about 45% equity, so we're getting a good price to call especially given that we're in position. In general the hands I choose to 3bet here are usually either a little better or a little worse, when 3bet "bluffing" I prefer hands with slightly less equity that still play well postflop like T9s or maybe weaker Kxs hands. I think we should probably have a BTN calling range v CO when we have no reads against villain, and KTs seems like a pretty ideal candidate to be in that range.
June 4, 2016 | 6:22 p.m.
Do you think he's going to shove as a bluff very often OTF though? I think his shoving range is likely to just be AA, KK, TT, 66 and maybe AK, so we're likely behind to his range. Do you not think it's better just call and let him barrel off with AK or continue bluffing on brick turn/rivers? It's probably close but I think calling is probably slightly more +EV here
June 4, 2016 | 5:57 p.m.
I think we can probably get away from this spot on the river.
When you flat call twice preflop your range is pretty capped v villain's, and the flop hits your range nicely, which I think makes villain less likely to bluff with a small pocket pair or suited connectors. When he bets on the flop he has a lot of AK/AQ/AJ/KQ in his range, maybe some AT too, as well as TT+. Having said that, your hand is still ahead of his range on the flop and seeing as you're IP I quite like the call here.
The turn is going to hit his range quite well, obviously AJ got there, KQ and QQ are now ahead of you, if he decided to cbet with something like 78s (obviously only a small amount of his range) then he's going to barrel this river again. We're still ahead of AA/AK/AQ though so I think calling turn again is fine and can consider calling again on brick river depending on his sizing, would definitely be checking behind on a brick river if he checks to us however.
When we get the to the river, I just don't think he has enough bluffs for us to call, despite the fact we only need to be right roughly 25% of the time. If he has spades connectors he would probably just give up here given how many Jx we have in our range that we're just never folding, and there isn't anything else he really has in his range as a bluff, without some read on him as some fish that's just gone nuts with 99. His range here is most TT+, of which we lose to every hand, AJ+, of which again we lose to every hand, we're behind to KQ if he has decided to thin value bet that. The only things that are potentially in his raise that we're ahead of are A9s, 87s and T9s, which is a very small part of his range and he is probably not three barrelling those hands with a very high frequency either. You can work out the combos pretty easily but I'm very confident that we don't have 25% equity here on the river so I think we should fold.
June 4, 2016 | 5:49 p.m.
Thought I'd give everyone a quick update on how it's going so far and write down some thoughts mostly so I know what I need to work on.
I set myself a goal of playing 50k hands in June and 100k hands in July just at 10NL zoom, and after playing 15k hands in the first three days of June I might re-evaluate that. Of course it's important to put in the hands but I want to focus on playing my A game as much as possible, in my recent sessions I feel like I have played some hands very well and others very badly because I'm just clicking buttons or w/e. I've been watching a few of the mental game videos here and also saw a comment from Ddog I think about listening to music only during session preparation and then putting rain sounds etc on while playing, which I think I'm going to do from now on.
I've constructed all my preflop RFIs and have been trying to memorise them while playing, have had them up on my second monitor sometimes just for a quick reference, I can post them here if anyone is interested and I'd appreciate any feedback. At the moment they're probably slightly on the tight side, but I think that's fine while I am still working a lot on my game and vs. a slightly weaker player pool at 10NL.
I'm slowly getting some population reads on the 10NL zoom pool on stars, if anyone else agrees/disagrees with the following I'm curious to know what people think:
1) Somewhat obviously, the pool is softer at certain times of day, there are a tonne more recreational players during the evenings European time, weekends etc. I haven't played any at 3am on a Saturday night yet but I have a feeling that if I do, it'd be an aquarium.
2) Most of the pool is not very balanced, people are either crazy aggro and just wanna gamble or they have like 10/5/0.5 stats and don't even fold their laundry. Recognising what kind of player the villain is in a hand and trying to play a fairly balanced style overall seems to be a good way of exploiting this.
3) Nobody has a balanced 3bet/4bet range at 10NL zoom. I think having a solid polar 3/4bet range seems profitable so far, as the majority of players do not 3/4b enough themselves, and probably don't even know that 3betting light is a move people make.
Probably more but I can't think of any off the top of my head.
Going forward I have a few things I am planning on working on to plug my biggest leaks:
1) Mental game, as mentioned above
2) Postflop cbetting strategy, when I last checked I think I was something like 40/60/70 which probably isn't optimal, but I want more hands in my database before I start looking at spots where I might be cbetting too thinly etc.
3) Calling rivers too light. The general trend in my graph is that I'm losing money at showdown and winning money not at showdown, so it seems I am bluffing too often and calling down too light. I think this is heavily tied into playing my A game, as during my last session when I felt like I was playing very well, it was largely because I was folding in spots where a lot of the time I would've paid off the villain usually.
Next time I will update with graph for June so far when I have about 50k hands. I'll post stats and thoughts on them and hopefully get some feedback on what adjustments I should be looking to make.
June 4, 2016 | 4:37 p.m.
Firstly I ran this hand using pokerstove, using villain's SB opening range as about 51% of hands (some people might disagree but I don't think that's unreasonable for 25z), and on the flop you have about 39.4% equity vs. villain's range, so we're very close to having the 40% equity needed to call based on pure pot odds, but if we do that we're obviously giving up on brick turns and probably check calling any KQJ or diamond. However I don't think calling is likely to be correct given that it's probably going to be hard to realise a lot of that equity because we're going to fold a lot of turns.
In terms of whether or not it's a good hand to check raise bluff, in zoom I think it's better to have a less polarised range than what you might have when playing normal cash. I would put KsQd in the middle of the bad hands to have in this spot, and be more inclined to check raise the best of the good hands and the best of the bad hands, ones with nuttier draws (Ad9d or 9xJx), also because we could have some bad reverse implied odds here if we run into hands that have us dominated/flushes/sets etc.
To answer your questions;
1) I think folding is the best play on the flop, as outlined above
2) I think it's better to give up turn, when you check raise the flop with backdoor draws like you say, and they brick, it's likely a big -ev move to continue.
3) Having said that, once you've bet turn and a diamond hits the river where you have one diamond blocker, I think it's best to jam and put max pressure on.
May 26, 2016 | 8:31 p.m.
I thought I'd use these as a place to note down random thoughts and musings on poker and my journey with it, as I'm sure a lot of people here are way more experienced than me and could give me some guidance.
I started playing poker for real money in my first year at uni, two years ago now, playing mostly SnGs and MTTs to start with and have been a steady loser since, not really doing any off the table work and just playing microstakes until my bankroll bled dry and I redeposited. Fortunately I knew full well I was a recreational player and knew I was essentially paying for however many hours of entertainment, and I didn't have much of a chance of seriously grinding up a bankroll.
I've since dropped out of uni and got a job, apartment, car etc - bills to pay. I've start doing more off the table work, reviewing hand histories, watching some twitch streams, trying to think about the game more.
I was pretty excited for SCOOP this year and even remember telling a couple of my friends that I "had a good feeling about [it]". It's fun to play the low events and feel like part of something bigger, plus occasionally I got sat with a big name pro, which is exciting for a fish like me. I played a few lows and some satellites, and, long story short, I ended up sateliting in to the $215 6-max shoot out for $8.80, and then cashing for $26k.
So now I have an actual bankroll, which is exciting, but obviously tournaments are somewhat like lotteries anyway, I just got lucky. Looking at some of the names in the tournament, I am clearly not a winning player. But it has motivated me immensely to work on my game, which is part of the reason I recently signed up for RIO and plan on spending a lot more of my free time playing poker.
Given my bankroll basically just got 50x bigger, I'm planning on sticking to low stakes cash while I work on my game, and will probably look to play 100k hands at 10NL and 25NL until I feel like I have solid fundamentals, which I don't at the moment. From there, I'm going to see how fast I can improve, what my win rate is, and make some decisions about my future in the game.
See you on the felt!