Ryan 's avatar


411 points

Comment | Ryan commented on Ryan's Journal

"Well, yeah, sometimes I also have a thought that those guys are playing these games for fun and can afford to lose they whole stack again and again.. However, I don't see any benefit who is coming from focusing on this paradigm since even at the higher stakes, there's always gonna be some business man who just don't care about losing 10k or even more."

I guess this is my point. If there are people in a position to be able to lose that kind of money, and I doubt they are any smarter than I am, what is preventing me from making those kind of gains. Not saying I would ever want to come in to dump money like that, but being in a live environment, I see alot of very wealthy people that aren't necessarily rocket scientists haha. It just makes me wonder, if I can make more money, while doing something more engaging/things that are more interesting to me, than I want to start doing those things.

I do agree though that focusing on the paradigm of other people being at a higher financial place can be detrimental, and I have definitely experienced this. I am trying to practice gratitude for where I am and for what is in front of me. Focusing on that definitely can sap any joy from playing the game, and it's something I can do a better job of not focusing on. Gratitude>envy.

"Out of interest, but would you like to describe more your future plans? (outside of poker:)"

This is what I am working on. ATM, I am interning at my friends brokerage for 2-3 hours each morning learning the backend systems of real estate, working on his marketing strategy, and trying to understand the industry better. This may be something I get into, and seems like a way to make really good money in a relatively short period of time. I'm fortunate here because I live in a very wealthy city where real estate booms, and I am also plugged in with a few successful brokers/agents, so I would likely have a bit of a jump on others. Plus, my internship is focused on building relationships with leads and learning effective sales stuff, so if I went ahead with getting licensed, then I would have that inside info immediately. Plus, I think one of my strengths is connecting with people, and from what I gather so far, real estate seems to be almost purely about building relationships with other people. But not for sure on this yet.

I am also working on developing a vegan baked goods brand. TBH, I am kind of all over the place right now, just trying things and seeing what sticks. Here is a rough draft for my logo haha

I currently make Vegan Cinnamon buns for a couple businesses, and it seems like these products sell themselves, so I am paying attention and thinking this could also be a really good direction to go. I literally gave away the business 2 years ago(3 accounts;made them for 3 cafe's in town/festivals), and then in past year, people started reaching out to me again to start making them. Seems like a pretty strong indicator that the market is ripe for something like this. It's all very new to me, and I often feel overwhelmed/like I am just making shit up, but I think there is potential here. When I get the website up and running I'll share it on here and maybe you can give your feedback

Ideally I want to develop my own business(es), and get them functioning largely on their own where I play more a creative/administrative role. Want to be able to earn more so I can give back alot to my community/society, and also just have a very strong financial foundation.

"Btw are you from America? :D"

Yes. I live in Florida. Sunshine and great games :)

Where are you from Martin?

Edit: Also, I really like this dialogue. It's tough for me to just sit down and bring out my own ideas, but this active back and forth is really helping me with idea forming.

Oct. 28, 2020 | 12:45 p.m.

Comment | Ryan commented on Ryan's Journal

"I believe thats why our opinions our a bit different.. would be interested to know at which point you came to the conclusion that you are no longer interested in pushing it to the next level and grind the highstakes"

I think it's just experience in the industry and lost interest. I achieved largely what I set out to achieve in the game (being able to support myself through the game), but just generally get pretty burnt out at this point, and over time realized that if I don't start making changes now, I'll be in this same position 5 years from now. After playing full time the last couple years, I know I don't like showing up to a poker table 5-6 days a week. As far as pushing to the next level, I suppose I feel like the amount of effort and focus and sacrifice required for this is just not worth it when compared to other areas of industry and personal strengths.

Playing live poker just really opened my eyes. It's like, while I'm sitting here collecting my hourly(while pretty good, especially compared to other jobs), the players I'm playing against are still crushing it in other areas of life, and it made me wonder, who is really the fish? lol. Sure, I can beat almost anyone in my area on the felt, but regarding the bigger picture, my income is their recreation, so who really is the winner here? This is a pretty pessimistic perspective here, so bear with me.

I guess I just came to a point where I realized that I want more out of my work life than just playing cards, and that's really all there is to it ultimately. I just don't see how doing this long term can possibly be fulfilling, so I am exploring other new ways to make a better income, find more fulfillment, and have a higher quality of life day to day. I just don't enjoy playing 30-40 hours a week of poker, and don't see myself being able to at this point consistently, so it's time to spend time else where.

It doesn't mean I can't still make a pretty good living on 20 hours a week, and continue to be engaged, study and learn, but it means I'm definitely not banking my future on it at this point, and diversifying my energy and efforts.

I think it's a place most come to eventually. There's just a lot more interesting things in life to be doing than playing poker, and I think alot of those things may be more lucrative and fulfilling. But don't get me wrong, it's been a worthwhile journey. Painful, but also thought provoking and perspective shifting, and it's probably one of the best educations someone can get.

I just see poker playing a smaller role in my life moving forward, but it will still play a role in my life until I fully commit to the next chapter.

Oct. 26, 2020 | 6:43 p.m.

Why strictly limp. Looking back, I think we could have a base raise size of like $30(6x+$5 per limp, making it a $50 open formulaic-ly) Could also just make it like $60 for collection of dead money purposes/can still be getting called by worst hands. It's almost like a 3b squeeze spot. Would you 3b squeeze KQs from the LJ vs a min raise range of like 50% + 3 cold callers? I think so

Oct. 22, 2020 | 7:50 p.m.

Id limp before raising small. Raising small doesnt accomplish anything that a limp could do.

I think limping is an option for sure. I think raising is also an option, we just have to go big. I think raising is attractive because of how wide the limpers ranges are. Think when they are limping a wide range, we want to juice it preflop and potentially get some folds/called by loads of weak hands. I do think raising is probably slightly better than limping as long as we go big, but limping is also a fine option. If the limpers were tighter then I really like limping behind as it doesn't accomplish as much

Oct. 22, 2020 | 6:18 p.m.

Comment | Ryan commented on Ryan's Journal

Good morning Mato,

I think it's good to always be looking to improve, but also be wary of over complicating. This is something I am pretty bad about. It's easy to over estimate how much a tweak would make, as you stated. Having a plan is the difference between 0EV and 100EV, while the extra tweaks might give you 103EV, but they also might make things so complicated you end up back at 0EV. A great quote that comes to mind is "Perfect is the enemy of good"

I thought about your comments above, and I think it is totally fine to include/exclude the exceptions to the system, and think it is a preference thing. But I fall on the side that it is unnecessary. It brings to mind a common situation that arises in live games. Say I'm playing on a Wednesday, I'm in the last 30 minutes of a session and a known whale plops down, and you know he is ready to lose up to 2k over the next couple hours. Our mind starts thinking "hmm, this is a good spot, should I be pushing my edge and playing longer with this guy?". I think it's common for people to say "Why yes! Obv's gotta play with the whale". But I disagree. I've already been playing the hours I already planned to play, and the reason I was here in the first place was because of a good opportunity. I have already taken advantage of the opportunity by being in the game, with or without the whale. Live games are so full of opportunity that you can play basically whenever and be the strongest player in the game. If this statement isn't true for you, then you probably have to take a different approach. I am coming from a perspective that games are good always in the live games I play, so consistency is going to trump anything else. I am in an ecosystem with abundant opportunity. I don't feel the same way about online. If I was to grind online for a living, I'd have to make some additional sacrifices, and be more selective of the times I play to really magnify my efforts.

I would question your notion that the best games are when people aren't working. This may be true for online, but not so much for live. Consider who plays online poker, and who plays live. The person who plays online poker is likely younger, and who is knowledgeable enough to make a deposit online, feel comfortable doing that, feel comfortable sitting alone playing a game online. The person who plays live during the day is often a wealthy retired person, or somebody with resources that they can come and play during working hours. They are also not the type of person who would want to sit alone in a room playing a game. They are doing it for social interaction and recreation.

All this being said, it reminds me of something Gary Vaynerchuck often says that I think is super true. He often alludes to how there's a lot of fluff in the weightloss industry. This or that diet, this or that supplement, this or that technique. It's all unnecessary, secondary. The truth is usually quite straightforward and simple(and unsexy). Eat a deficit of calories/don't overeat. Exercise/move regularly. Eat a balanced diet, free of processed stuff that has additives. It's not the atkins diet, the vegan diet, the whatever whatever diet, it's just prioritizing whole foods and making exercise and movement a regular part of your lifestyle. Same thing with everything else. 99% of the ideas in the world is generated by marketing, AKA it's propaganda.

Last thing I will leave on, is consider where I am at, and take everything I say with a grain of salt, because your aims may be different. I do not see a future in poker for myself, and thus do not see the point in over prioritizing it. I worked for a long time playing part time and learning to play this game full time. I achieved that and have been doing it for a couple years now. And I now have a totally different perspective on the game and what it means for a good life. I think poker is incredibly capped in earn potential unless you are incredibly interested/dedicated/talented(say the Sulsky's out there). I am just not that, at least not for poker.

The way I view poker now, is really it's a means to an end. It's the most lucrative thing I know how to do presently, and therefore the most efficient mode of work currently. It's place in my life is really to provide the most basic level of financial freedom, while not distracting me too much from exploring different careers and then dedicating myself to the next phase in my life, which will hopefully be more fulfilling or lucrative.(haven't yet decided which I care more about). I view poker as a really cool part time thing, but not the best full time career. But this is for me. And I respect whoever has it in them and who find meaning in grinding out 30-40+ hour weeks playing this game.

Again, thanks for the discussion, I am enjoying it.

Kind regards,

Oct. 21, 2020 | 12:59 p.m.

sounds like a great idea to play 54s from the bttn/co and JTs from the LJ+ and to use a 3-4x open sizing

Oct. 21, 2020 | 12:22 p.m.

Yeah think folding flop is even reasonable then. He did even use a bigger cbet size too

Oct. 20, 2020 | 12:56 p.m.

Comment | Ryan commented on nl200 vs rec

I think river we can use a small sizing to try and get hero calls from Jx and lower sets. Don’t like jamming as an option because his range will be condensed to flushes and weak pairs mostly, with a maybe a few sets and two pair. It’s also possible for small portion of AA or AsKx to get here to me thinks. I like to use a small sizing here to capture value from the widest portion of his range. If we get jammed on, life sucks, and it depends what you think on pool tendencies, but can get behind folding or calling just depending if people may go to thin here or actually find bluffs.

On turn, against a recreational I think the max exploit is to just bet bigger. Not so big you blow him off his Jx, but like 40-60% pot. As a rule of thumb I think it’s good to just use bigger sizings against fun players because they call too much and can be bluffed later on, so it compounds their mistakes.

Oct. 20, 2020 | 11:47 a.m.

Is your dynamic aggressive enough that he is reraising the flop w air or draws here? I can see it being possible.

On turn, some of that air improves on the Tx for sure. It does seem like his range is super polar here, but because some of his range is Tx, and you can have things like 3x as well, 4x, and 8x to go along with those other draws, he is using a small range sizing with strong hands+top pair, and maybe something like QJ or 99. So I can see the small bet being okay. Think we call

On riv, I think I can fold. Flop/turn we are just getting a really good price, and it’s plausible he can having a small portion of bluffs. By the river tho, I think all our assumptions need to be accurate, and many of the flop reraises seem good enough to go for value here(JT, T9). There’s potentially a significant value region and possibly a very small bluff region. I also think we can have better hands, like T8, sets ourselves, and our range will be pretty narrowed by the river I think, so sets and two pair will make up a significant portion of that range

I think I’d be flatting my range on flop. Maybe much of those value hands find a turn check raise, but not necessarily. So yeah I’d call call fold. I could see calling being okay if we are very confident, but it seems marginal and I’d err on folding

Oct. 20, 2020 | 11:25 a.m.

FWIW, before seeing results I thought hero fold would be okay. Just hard to see bluffs here or worst value as you mentioned.

Oct. 20, 2020 | 1:37 a.m.

Comment | Ryan commented on Ryan's Journal


I agree it is controversial to walk away from opportunity, but I think it also holds merit. Something that is often overlooked in the age of solver analysis is the psychological reality of being human.

In live environments when your skill edge is huge in almost any lineup, I think it's a matter of prioritization, and having a strict system allows for a continual focus on what really matters(showing up consistently and playing ABC poker), and not getting sucked into unproductive states of mind such as greed, and overextending too much which may lead to burnout. I think it's also wise to prioritize a simple system as to maintain a focus on self generated goals that are within our control.

I also agree with your idea of creating rules that allow you to extend a limited amount each week for the cases of a really good game(I might adopt this idea into my routine). But I don't think it is mandatory, largely due to the abundance of opportunity in live poker. As for online, to make progress I do think that game selecting very prudently is going to really accelerate things, so taking advantage of rare opportunities is likely much more important and something to plan for. There is a big disparity between live and online games, most notably there is immense low hanging fruit in live poker, whereas there seems to be much more limits to this online. When I play live, I'm often the only knowledgeable player in a game, while online, there may be up to 5-6 other good players in a game(at which point I'm typically getting out).

Ultimately, a lot of this is a case by case basis. After playing full time the last couple years, I've learned myself better and my values and what I want in life. So my approach may not be applicable for other people.

Notably, I've come to a place where I don't really see poker as an awesome full time career any longer. I find it is very capped on it's earn potential, and there are much more lucrative things in life that are way less mentally draining/it gets boring after so many hours each week. I see poker as a great part time job/hobby to earn really good money, but it's definitely not as sexy as I first imagined it to be when I first got into it. I think a large part of this is age. In my early/mid 20's, I highly valued freedom and not being committed to things/independence. As a man edging on 30, I've come to a place where I still value freedom and independence, but also am striving for more security for the future, and the ability to be more involved with my community, society, other people. Obviously poker can be a bit isolating/lonely, as when you are working, you're not directly working with other people. So this is going to hugely impact how I manage my time with poker. It's still one of the primary focuses as it's where I am making bread, but I'm also not trying to earn 6-figures through poker these days.

To summarize, I just think mental peace is this incredibly important thing, and it's hard to understand because it's a bit intangible. The best I can describe it is that when making decisions, it's important to remember our limitations as humans and factor this in when planning how we are going to move forward. By skipping marginal situations, that say may be 52/48, sure, maybe we sacrifice some EV, but we gain huge EV in the long term by simply burning out less. And often, if something is really a 52/48 split, we could even be wrong and it might be a 48/52 split. Obviously a whale entering the game is not quite the same as a 52/48 split, as a whale skyrockets our immediate winrate, but it may have an impact on our ability to follow through on our commitment the next day, which may impact our future winrate. And I think that is where the danger lies. I'd rather have a focus on following through on my commitments, because I think it empowers my sense of self control, which at the end of the day is way more important, because it generates self trust and follow through.

This doesn't mean to not play in juicy games. It means to have a plan before to take out some guesswork which is mentally exhausting. Like, if specific times of the day/week are really great, then plan to play then. I admit to giving up EV by not playing nights, for sure. Some of my biggest wins/sessions have come on a friday night when there are drunk whales in a game. But the life EV of having dinner with people I care about is also really important to me. Further, I have found even with a greater immediate EV generated by playing in awesome night games, my follow through lacked, because I didn't like how I spent the rest of my time. (I'm a really social person, so playing nights and waking up at noon interferes with having a social life for me). But playing a more normal schedule that allows me to cook dinner with friends and see them regularly provides a sense of purpose and meaning into my life that motivates me to follow through more readily. So while the immediate EV of a night game may be very high, the future EV may not be if I cannot get myself to show up on a regular basis. Again, I do agree that having a rule in the routine that allows for an hour extension is probably a good idea, but don't think it is mandatory, and only if it doesn't interfere with other priorities.(say getting to the gym the next morning before your session the next day)

Anyways, I'm glad to have the discourse, and happy you find the content I have made helpful. Part of the reason I began making it is because I thought it might be helpful for micro/lowstakes players out there, and feel there is a huge gap for this kind of player in general right now. I agree I am likely not reaching them, which I am okay with. I view it more of a hobby and am just trying to improve the quality of it atm. But think it is good information, and people who are in the game will see that, and if they find it valuable then they will use it/share it with their friends.

Again, thanks for the feedback and sure we will talk again soon.


Oct. 17, 2020 | 4:36 p.m.

you can 3b small and go multiway oop against two recreationals who will call more with a good price, or you can flat and just play postflop with a higher SPR. Flatting is def unexciting, but I don't like 3b small because we basically get similar postflop outcome with a higher price.

Oct. 14, 2020 | 8:12 p.m.

I’d call. Especially vs this size. Think he has worst value hands and your price is very good

Oct. 13, 2020 | 12:30 p.m.

Depending on the limper, and the players behind you, you can start having some flats like this. With the given limper, he seems quite tight, so I wouldn’t be as enthused to get involved in this situation. If he is making big mistakes postflop, or you have players in blinds who are making big mistakes, then I’d get involved. These kind of situations will depend a lot on game dynamics. But here, since it’s at 50nl, and the rake is so extreme, and the limper seems tight, I’d prob start finding some cold calls around T9s+.

If you haven’t looked, say on the site I play, global, they rake $3 at 50nl. That’s 6bb. That’s like playing 2-5 live and getting raked $30. That’s going to hurt. So if I’m going to speculate, which I think can be good, I want to do it when there is a player in the mix who makes big mistakes postflop.

Oct. 13, 2020 | 12:27 p.m.

Curious why you think this is a fold. Well u did say some things. But what value does he even have? Like 44(1), and very very few flushes? Say 5 value combos, only needs like 2.25 worst hands/bluff. I can see JTs/QJ playing like this. And then if he has a wider range, goes thinner, or bluff more than we think, all make it okay to call.

I think it's possible even 99 goes for thin value sometimes here, or a hand like AThh/AcQx that checked back flop with low equity, and then decides it doesnt want to lose to AQ/AK/PP's. Just seems that since the value region is so narrow, our range is pretty capped looking, that there is alot of room for error for IP to make, and folding would be a mistake.

Oct. 13, 2020 | 1:59 a.m.

There’s not much of a value range either. And think it’s pretty easy to bluff too much here. Especially against a random dude. Don’t think I’m folding this after checking twice. Think it’s really easy for our range to look like less than Jx, and they could for sure be going thin or just bluffing against a range that checked twice. Have some friends that consider the double check oop to be a “hotspot” and will bluff súper liberally here. You also don’t know what some people are thinking. Maybe I’m wrong, but seems like a fine spot to call imo

Oct. 13, 2020 | 1:58 a.m.

Happy to discuss. Always good to explore different perspectives and not get trapped by thinking we are always right. Def easy to do, and find getting feedback from other experienced players is a good way to combat it. Good luck!

Oct. 12, 2020 | 11:35 p.m.

Comment | Ryan commented on Ryan's Journal

100NL Play and Explain - 10/12/20


Oct. 12, 2020 | 11:24 p.m.

I think it's a spot that at best is marginal, and at worst costly. Don't see a significant upside, so I would just want to fold until I had a better idea of what was happening. It is possible for the small sizing that dude could be getting out of line with something like AJo or KQo. If this is the case, then def want to stick around. I don't necessarily think calling is a mistake, and I would be tempted to make it as well. But I think folding is better, and just gaining information on the player for free.

Oct. 12, 2020 | 8:04 p.m.

I think you can call river. After you check twice, I think your range looks pretty capped, and a lot of things can be happening here. I think it’s also very tempting for the IP player to bet a lot of his FD on flop.

I think a lot of players will just end up betting flop w strong Jx as well, and not fond too many check backs. He could also be going thin with something like JT, TT or 99, since it looks like you don’t have better than Jx. Think it’s also possible for things like AcQx so show up here as well. I’d just call, but folding probably is an option

Oct. 12, 2020 | 7:55 p.m.

I think we can fold AQo here if we suspect the 3bettor to be on the tight side.

We only need 17% to call, but all things considered I don't think we have it.

HU against a range of AK, QQ+, we have around 24% raw, but we would need to factor that we are OOP and dominated very often. With the 3rd player involved, our equity drops to around 19%. Again, we are OOP, so our equity drops more, plus domination issue arises again. I think we can make a fold pre here. If the guy had more of a range of things he was doing this with, then calling becomes more viable.

Oct. 12, 2020 | 6:48 p.m.

So this is LJ vs Bttn?

I don’t think folding is that bad at 50nl if your pool is under 4betting. I think it’s common for a 4b range here to look like AKs, KK+ and 50% QQ. Even if we have the equity against this, we do have reverse implied odds against AA when we hit K.

Oct. 12, 2020 | 5:47 p.m.

If you 3b small you’ll end up 3 way oop a lot. This seems less than ideal.

Oct. 12, 2020 | 4:45 p.m.

I think this is a fold preflop and a 100% open pre, unless maybe both blinds were tough/button was hyper aggro. Game dynamic>solver range; we are playing against varying degrees of skill, so that takes precedence, and only use fallback range of optimal when unknown imo. An important thing to remember when looking at solves is the stake. Pretty sure the high rake at 100nl makes this a fold. Also, people tend to not be that aggressive w their 3bets at 100nl. Since you only have a hand sample, guessing you may be on bovada/ignition. I wouldn’t look that deep into it to start defending this wide until I knew he was really getting out there, and even then we have a high rake structure to

Oct. 10, 2020 | 3:32 p.m.


Do you need preflop solve to determine EQR? Or can it be done with postflop?

If the later, could you show me how to do that?

Oct. 10, 2020 | 3:24 p.m.


I don’t know. Maybe you’re right on this being a profitable 3b. I tend to not use this and stick to a more static linear range when up against a fun player, just valuing equity highly against a strategy that will probably call too much and not 4b enough. Maybe that means we can use stuff like this, but I’m not that confident, and wouldn’t want my ranges to get too wide(where randomizer comes in I suppose). I guess at the stakes I’m playing I just think not using a randomizer and using pure strats seem to work out for simplicity sake.

Id also be thinking about blockers here too, and just seems like there are a lot of hands id want to choose before this one(All Axs for example), and skip randomizing altogether.

Oct. 9, 2020 | 12:28 a.m.

Referencing more sticky aggressive players.

I started implementing larger sizes Today and it seems good. Even in single raised pots, now using 5x as open and 7x(20) as an isolation. Then additional 2 per limp after that.

I’m straddled situations, seems like 25 or 30+5/per both are good, just depending on villain. But both seems good

Oct. 8, 2020 | 3:53 a.m.

Live situation that got me thinking

Live 1-3 w 500 cap

Bttn straddle is a very loose sticky aggro player. Like raising Q9o Utg, raising 73o on bb w mult limps etc. Seems to be able to float wide and bluff

We get a loose sticky limp Utg
We are 400 eff w KJs in MP

We have another sticky player to our left.

I think In this scenario, if I make it my standard 25, it’s going to go 3 way+ very often. Maybe 60%+. I think as an adjustment I need to raise bigger. Maybe even making my standard isolation in a straddle pot 25+5/per, or 30+5per just to get it heads up more often.

If I am doing this and their ranges continue to be semi wide, do I need to tighten up? Can I continue to open things like KJs, AJo, KQo? Or should I be dropping these hands? My idea is that if they continue to have wide ranges and dominated hands, then we don’t need to drop these hands from our range, but continue to raise hands that flop strong pairs in low spr situation

I think an alternative option is to limp some of these(specifically maybe KJs or ATs, and use the mega big size with just the very top of our range) but I think just going big and using a standardish MP range seems reasonable. Maybe limping more 22-88

Oct. 7, 2020 | 1 p.m.

I don’t like the 3b pre. Against a recreational, why even randomize this into your range? I think you should just be linear

Vs the 4b, it’s hard to see us having the equity to call oop against a likely very tight range.

Oct. 7, 2020 | 12:53 p.m.

Regarding small 3b, it just seems like against someone who doesn’t fold much anyways, I’m going to want to have a strong range with my 3bets. The main purpose of my reraise is to isolate him heads up, and to get called by worst hands.

I could go bigger, but I feel like this unecessarily puts me in big pots with weak hands. If I want to speculate, why not just flat some of those(or just fold if it’s very big raises and not deep spr)

Oct. 6, 2020 | 7:10 p.m.

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