May 18, 2010

When I am Playing MY 'A-Game' I...

I have decided to write this post as a result of coming off the back of my best month ever in April winning close to 60BI in 25k hands feeling ready to take on all comers, only to come crashing back down to earth when I take a shot @ moving up properly to 100nl losing 12BI in my first 15k hands… needless to say I am more than dissapointed.

I took a few days off and distracted myself from thinking about it too much by chasing girls and partying, but I couldn’t kid myself for too long because I really wasn’t able to stop thinking about it; I kept on constantly running over in my head all the silly hands I over played or spazzed out in or basically out-levelled myself by overthinking against the new regulars I have to face. Some crushing rivers and set-ups/coolers added to the mix and I was already thinking I should head back down to 50NL. However, I’m not a quitter and I know I have the game to play higher – IF (and sometimes it’s really a big IF) I apply what I already know about poker at the tables and truly focus on doing what I do best, and avoid the leveling all together.

In search of some answers I headed to the trusty DC forums to see if I could find any pointers. Thankfully I re-discovered the MindGuru thread, so I decided to ask him his thoughts on the topic of moving up. You can see the thread here

His answer:

write down exactly how you play when you are playing your best, and make sure this is what you focus on for the first 2 weeks of a new level, this will help the early stages of moving up go a lot smoother.

His idea to look over the hands I play very well was kind of surprising as I have never actually done this before, but I can see why this approach will work. First of all, you are focusing on what you already know and re-tracking your thought processes in successful pots which gets you back into a confident mindset, away from thinking about all the hands you make mistakes in. (I think this is another major problem for me when I post HH’s in DC, I recognise now that most of the time when I post hands, they are either set-ups or semi-coolers or in some way I just want some sense of confirmation that my thought process was OK in a losing hand, rather than focusing on seeing if my lines both winning/losing can be improved in any way by adding a different move at a certain point in the hand to make my overall play more +EV. But I digress…)

So I decided to give it a shot. I opened up my pad of paper and started thinking about what I really do well, and what I already know about this game. I found, to my delight that I actually can play this game pretty well in alot of different spots.

I will write down what I put down, my thought processes and also add the HH’s to illustrate the example.

So:

“When I am playing my A-Game I…”

1. Play positionally and am aware of my opponents ranges and tendencies:

Prima Network $50.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BTN: $49.25
SB: $88.12
Hero (BB): $51.25
UTG: $59.02
MP: $71.36
CO: $46.44

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BB with T Diamond T Spade
1 fold, MP raises to $1.50, CO calls $1.50, 2 folds, Hero raises to $6.25, MP calls $4.75, CO calls $4.75

Flop: ($19.00) K Diamond J Diamond 7 Heart (3 players)
Hero checks, MP checks, CO checks

Turn: ($19.00) T Club (3 players)
Hero bets $19.00, MP raises to $65.11, CO folds, Hero calls $26 all in

River: ($109.00) 5 Heart (2 players – 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $109.00
Hero shows T Diamond T Spade
MP mucks J Spade T Heart
Hero wins $105.00
MP wins $0.50
(Rake: $3.50)

Here in this hand I am against a loose raiser and another bad player, I want to isolate one of these guys and get HU with a hand ahead of their range. I 3bet and get two calls. This flop smacks alot of their random hands like KTo, K5-9s, flush draws, pair plus backdoor str8 and flush draws. Being OOP and facing two fish with TT I don’t think I have a profitable cbet here, and my plan is to C/fold the flop to any action, but afterall they are bassive bad players so they dont like to bet without the nuts and so it gets checked through. Turn brings the money card for me as I have a set which is effectively the nuts and as this hits alot of their 2pair range and improves many more hands to pair + str8draw I can not see a fold from both players, so I lead for full pot and snap call the shove. He hand JTo and I win the hand.

2. Isolate fish wide and bet a wider value range to a bigger size

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Hero (SB): $100.50
BB: $119.08
UTG: $282.86
MP: $89.66
CO: $47.45
BTN: $40.95

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is SB with T Club A Diamond
3 folds, BTN calls $1, Hero raises to $5, 1 fold, BTN calls $4

Flop: ($11.00) A Spade 3 Heart K Diamond (2 players)
Hero bets $8.50, BTN calls $8.50

Turn: ($28.00) 2 Spade (2 players)
Hero bets $28.00, BTN calls $27.45 all in

River: ($82.90) 8 Club (2 players – 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $82.90
Hero shows T Club A Diamond
BTN mucks 9 Heart K Spade
Hero wins $79.35
Hero wins $0.55
(Rake: $3.00)

Here the fish raises the button and I have an obvious value raise here. Top pair is easily the best hand most of the time, so I bet bigger here for value vs the fish. He calls and now I’m certain he doesnt have a stronger Ace than me as he would have shipped the flop with AJ-AK so it’s and easy bet on the turn.

3. cold 4bet re-steal vs regs

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

SB: $100.50
Hero (BB): $102.15
UTG: $52.33
MP: $105.09
CO: $27.50
BTN: $105.50

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BB with T Heart K Club
3 folds, BTN raises to $3, SB raises to $10.50, Hero raises to $24, 2 folds

Final Pot: $24.00
Hero wins $24.00


Both BTN and BB are known regs to me and its obvious whats happening here. BTN is opening wide on the button and folding to 3bets 69% of all hands, meaning he is folding ALOT with his weak button range. SB is a reg who has 3bet of 7.5 and 3bet from the blinds of 9%. Both of their ranges are wide and weak here, so this is a perfect time for a cold 4bet as I look super strong and I have blockers for AK and KK as well as a good image at this table. I 4bet and take it down.

*4. 4Bet bluffing vs light 3bet defence *

Here I have two examples from the past week against different regulars, but the dynamic is essentially the same.

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 5 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BB: $108.98
UTG: $64.50
Hero (CO): $113.21
BTN: $136.34
SB: $102.55

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is CO with J Diamond K Spade
1 fold, Hero raises to $3, BTN raises to $10, 2 folds, Hero raises to $33, 1 fold

Final Pot: $21.50
Hero wins $21.50


Here my CO open is standard and the BTN (who is one of my regular poker buddies) decides to 3bet me. COnsidering his overall 3bet is 11% and its against me, I think this spot is a very good one to 4bet. However, I elect to bet bigger as we a slighlt more than 110bb deep and I want him to think I am committed to the pot, where as if I bet slightly smaller he can sometimes flat and try outplay me postflop or shove a wider range which I don’t want, so I 4bet big and he instamucks.

Same holdings, different regular and positions:

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BB: $151.93
UTG: $100.00
MP: $100.00
Hero (CO): $185.88
BTN: $121.89
SB: $110.97

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is CO with K Spade J Diamond
2 folds, Hero raises to $3, BTN calls $3, SB raises to $12.50, 1 fold, Hero raises to $22, 2 folds

Final Pot: $29.00
Hero wins $29.00


This time the situation is totally different in that while we are both regs their is no ‘leveling’ in the sense that we don’t personally know eachother like the hand before. This situation again a standard open, the BTN playing 44/14 obviously calls any two cards and the reg in the SB squeezes to try to take down the dead money in the pot has a Sqz of 6% and a 3b from the SB of 9%, I am running at 17/14 at this table and so I think he perceives me to be a nit that he can take it away from preflop or outplay on scary boards later on. Acknowledging this, a 4bet bluff makes total sense here and I take down the pot.

5. Betting bigger for pure value

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 5 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

SB: $101.50
BB: $105.15
UTG: $116.34
Hero (CO): $105.48
BTN: $104.61

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is CO with A Diamond A Heart
UTG calls $1, Hero raises to $4.50, BTN calls $4.50, 3 folds

Flop: ($11.50) 9 Diamond 8 Diamond 2 Club (2 players)
Hero bets $8.00, BTN calls $8

Turn: ($27.50) 3 Heart (2 players)
Hero bets $16.00, BTN calls $16

River: ($59.50) 2 Spade (2 players)
Hero bets $58.00, BTN calls $58

Final Pot: $175.50
Hero shows A Diamond A Heart
BTN mucks 4 Club 4 Heart
Hero wins $172.50
(Rake: $3.00)

Here I open AA and the BTN playing 39/11 calls. The flop runs out semi wet but the 2off on the board means I can get value from TONS of hands here (pp’s, flush draws, overcards, gutters) I bet, he flats. Turn is a blank, I fire again, he calls. the 2o river brings a great card as if he was being fancy and slow playing a hand like 89, he now is counterfeited. However thats such a TINY party of his range that I think the most likely hand he has here is a 9x type hand like T9-K9. Considering this and the fact he is a passive fish who generally like to call any hand which is better than 1 pair, the decision is how much can we extact. I think pot he will pay off rather than a cheeky 50-60% bet which some people try to do because they desperately want to show down aces, but this is a mistake imo as there is alot more value in betting big on the river as it kind of makes your range look more polarized and induces calls lighter anyway. He snap calls and flips over 44. (lol)

6. Calling unbeliveable lines using a combination of hand reading and math

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 5 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Hero (SB): $105.30
BB: $52.28
UTG: $100.00
CO: $52.11
BTN: $55.58

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is SB with T Diamond T Club
1 fold, CO calls $1, 1 fold, Hero raises to $6, 1 fold, CO calls $5

Flop: ($13.00) 9 Club Q Club J Diamond (2 players)
Hero checks, CO checks

Turn: ($13.00) 5 Heart (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $10.00, Hero calls $10

River: ($33.00) 2 Diamond (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $22.00, Hero calls $22

Final Pot: $77.00
Hero shows T Diamond T Club
CO shows 8 Spade K Spade
Hero wins $74.00
(Rake: $3.00)

No stats/reads on player but since he is short and limps I can assume he is a weak bad passive fish. I iso/build the pot with TT and not surprisingly he flats. The board is terrible for me to cbet as he will not fold any pair, gutshot, flush draw, oesd or overcard so I don’t think betting is good as I won’t know where I am on the turn and given stack sizes he can just bet any card and I have to fold probably the best hand. He checks back which means he doesnt have a pair matching or higher than the board as he bets these but as passive players always like to hit their draw before they put any money in the pot I can’t rule out a lower pair, flush draw or oesd. the 5 turn hits no one and he elects to bet, I follow my read and call. River is the 2o which is the ultimate blank and he quickly bets again. I don’t believe his line here at all and considering I am getting 2.5/1 on a call I only have to be good around 28% of the time to make this play break even, making this a definite call. He flips over K8s and I scoop a nice pot.

7. Checking back to disguise the strength of my hand and to induce action later

Prima Network $50.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BB: $51.25
UTG: $57.99
MP: $46.00
CO: $51.25
Hero (BTN): $51.46
SB: $43.93

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with 4 Club A Club
1 fold, MP raises to $2, 1 fold, Hero raises to $8, 2 folds, MP calls $6

Flop: ($16.75) Q Club 7 Spade K Club (2 players)
MP checks, Hero checks

Turn: ($16.75) 6 Club (2 players)
MP checks, Hero bets $12.00, MP calls $12

River: ($40.75) 5 Spade (2 players)
MP checks, Hero bets $31.46, MP calls $26 all in

Final Pot: $92.75
MP mucks Q Diamond T Diamond
Hero shows 4 Club A Club
Hero wins $84.29
Hero wins $5.46
(Rake: $3.00)

The 55/22 opens for a min raise which means he likes his pretty hand but at the same time doesnt feel like he can open for a proper bet because he doesnt want to have to fold to a raise. Yes fish really do think this way! I iso with A4cc and he calls. He checks the flop to me and I have the nut flush draw. I don’t like to bet here considering he will often check shove any pair on the flop and I will be forced to make a crying call as a dog, where as if I check behind and hit my draw I can still get paid off from the fish anyway when I have 100% equity. I check and the turn is a beautiful club. He checks and I bet 75% pot. He snaps. This means he is not even thinking about the hand and instead just wants to see a show down, the river is a blank and he snap checks so I snap shove and without thinking he snap calls. Ship it.

8. Induce regs to make mistakes

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 5 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BB: $148.41
UTG: $102.50
CO: $85.89
Hero (BTN): $100.00
SB: $102.50

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BTN with A Diamond A Club
2 folds, Hero raises to $2.50, 1 fold, BB raises to $9, Hero calls $6.50

Flop: ($18.50) 3 Heart 4 Club 3 Club (2 players)
BB bets $11.00, Hero calls $11

Turn: ($40.50) 3 Spade (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $25.00, BB raises to $127.41, Hero calls $55 all in

River: ($200.50) Q Spade (2 players – 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $200.50
BB shows 9 Club 9 Spade
Hero shows A Diamond A Club
Hero wins $197.50
(Rake: $3.00)

Here I open the button small to 2.5x as I do with my entire button range. The reg in the BB 3bets a relatively tight 4.2% and I debate between 4betting and flatting. 4betting is the wosrt option here as there are not very many REALLY bad flop for my hand, and a lot of low boards will make him feel happier to get it in with TT+, at the same time he cbets 80% of his 3bet pots so I know I can definately get another bet out of him post flop on any board, as oppossed to when I 4bet him and he jams a much tighter range I think its more +EV to play a flop IP. I flat and the board is perfect. He cbets and I call. The turn is great as I have the effective nuts and at the same time it makes every pair a full house. Even though relatively speaking when he gets it in vs my range on a 3bet pot with a full house he is crushed but even though he probably knows this people still want to call because they have a hard time foldinga boat, ever. He checks the turn which and now I try to make my hand look like a bluffy AJ-AK taking a stab. He takes the bait and ships it in and I snap it off.

9. Checking back on the river with a strong hand

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 5 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

UTG: $27.71
Hero (CO): $170.53
BTN: $100.00
SB: $91.10
BB: $154.83

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is CO with Q Club Q Heart
1 fold, Hero raises to $3, 2 folds, BB raises to $12, Hero calls $9

Flop: ($24.50) 6 Spade 4 Heart 2 Heart (2 players)
BB bets $15.00, Hero calls $15

Turn: ($54.50) 8 Heart (2 players)
BB bets $35.00, Hero calls $35

River: ($124.50) 7 Spade (2 players)
BB checks, Hero checks

Final Pot: $124.50
Hero mucks Q Club Q Heart
BB shows K Diamond K Club
BB wins $121.50
(Rake: $3.00)

I open with QQ and villain who is a good reg 3bets, I flat. I flat his cbet to keep in his weaker range. When he barrels the turn I have to begin the serious consideration that I am beat, but with the big over pair and the bdfd I can call here and give up to a third barrel. He checks the river but at this point there is no value in better here as no hand that is worse will call. He flips KK and scoops a nice pot.

10. Represent on good scare cards.

Prima Network $100.00 No Limit Hold’em – 6 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BTN: $128.15
SB: $139.08
BB: $118.33
UTG: $214.64
MP: $100.00
Hero (CO): $157.09

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is CO with K Heart A Club
UTG raises to $3.50, 1 fold, Hero calls $3.50, 1 fold, SB raises to $9.50, 2 folds, Hero calls $6

Flop: ($23.50) 8 Diamond 7 Diamond 8 Club (2 players)
SB bets $17.00, Hero calls $17

Turn: ($57.50) Q Spade (2 players)
SB checks, Hero checks

River: ($57.50) 6 Diamond (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $31.00, SB folds

Final Pot: $57.50
Hero wins $54.63
(Rake: $2.87)

Tight player opens UTG and I elect to flat with AKo here IP. Keeping AKo in the top of my flatting range is good for me and you’d be surprised how much action you get on an A95 board when villain shows up with an UTG AT-AJ-AQ. Anyway, fishy loose 60/40 with a 3bet of 11.9 raises. UTG folds and I happily call with AK here. his range is super wide and in general there is not alot of boards that I will fold on because as an agreesive bad player he will bet bet bet with anything he has all streets but will only usualy fire one when he doesnt improve on the turn. Turn checks through, and he checks on the river. I have Ace high which is often good in this spot but I want him to fold his smaller pocket pairs so I bet half pot and he folds.

—

Wow that took me ages but I am glad I wrote it out I have about 5 more hands but I will leave them for now as I feel like I covered alot.

To Summarise:

When I am playing my A-Game I am..

  • actively thinking about villains ranges
  • actively thinking about what (if anything) villain percieves about my range
  • emotionally detatched from the outcome of the play
  • analytically thinking about the most +EV lines, making a choice and executing it.

I’m done, I’ll do a “When I am playing my C-game I…” post tomorrow :P

Peace

Acomb’ fosho :)

Posted By Acombfosho at 04:45 PM

4 Comments

Tags: when I am playing my A game

4 Comments:

MindGuru posted on May 18, 2010 at 22:48 PM

D2d_logo

Acombfosho, WOW!!!!!

Firstly, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your poker development!!!

What you have displayed above is one ridiculously important edge in the game and that edge is-

Going from knowing what to do and not doiong it, to-

Knowing what to do and doing it!! The next step is-

Knowing what to do and doing EVERY FUCKING TIME!!!!

In my Video Program, my last chapter is titled- Pro or Show!! The chapter is about being a complete Professional or pretending to be a Professional. You have taken a very big step to being a Professional and I am now going to challenge you to live what you have written above, 75+ percent of the time and if you can do that my friend, you will be one very happy poker player!!!!!

Well Done:)


Acombfosho posted on May 19, 2010 at 05:55 AM

Korea-snsd-sooyoung

Thanks Mind Guru


Squishee posted on May 20, 2010 at 16:53 PM

Nordique

Wow mr Josh, I did not know you were writting suck a long post.

I know you are working hard on it and I hope you keep going on the same track.

Signed : The non-ginger hairs man


klingen posted on July 29, 2010 at 22:54 PM

Avatar

This was great for me to read as a quite new player. Its like im getting into your thoughts, patterns of thinking and the routines of thinking as a pokerpkayer.
Now i will apply it to myself.
Thanks


 

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