July 05, 2011
I've had a bad last 2k hands, and am down around 8 buyins. I lost mostly with AK AIPF (4bi vs TT, KK, KK and AA) and twice with KK (they had AA both times), several smaller pots added up to another two buyins, so I am stuck 8 buyin for the month. Not a good start to the month!This reminds me of a video I watched with Nikachu about preflop aggression in small stakes. I distinctly remember him saying the following:
Preflop aggression in small stakes is easy, you can breeze through these limits by simply minimizing the spots you are getting in preflop dominated and slightly behind by a few simple actions. When you open AA and KK and get 3 bet, you 4bet and get it in. When you open AK and QQ and get 3bet you flat and see a flop. When you Open JJ, AQs and below and get 3 bet, you fold.
Sounds so simple doesnt it. Yet, I actually believe that this is largely true. Of course, having hard and fast rules which you never deviate upon makes you very exploitable should your opponents figure you out. However, at small stakes, on larger sites like Stars, Party and iPoker the chances you play with a handful of regulars enough for them to know you are doing this is so small that the reality is they will never know. You can also of course adjust to them once you know they are beginning to adjust to you, so it works both ways.
I am going to make a conscious effort to keep my preflop aggression high by 3betting for value with very strong hands like AA and KK, as well as with bluffs, reserving stacking off for premiums and keeping my range strong when flatting opens.
Professional No Limit Holdem always harps on about Range, Equity, Maximize, and that is because that is the essence of good poker.
When I reviewed those hands mentioned, it is no surprise that I would be facing a very strong range in most of the instances and that my equity vs those hands in that range is not super great. Even though KK is a stack off, and AK is also considered a stack off, the relative strength (of AK especially) has to be factored in when the original opener is TAG regishlooking player who hasnt been getting out of line.
Why flip (or better put, be dominated) for 100bb with AK vs a range of QQ+ (let's be honest, at SSNL that IS the range people are 4betting for value as UTG or UTG+1 opener vs a 3bet from another regish looking player), when for 3bb you can see a flop and play in position, take it away on good boards for our percieved range and still get big value vs his AQ, KQ, type hands?
Furthermore, on one of my tables I was OOP vs two solid players and another one of my tables didnt have a fish. I should have just left that particular table and tried to get a better seat on the other. It is an age old adage but it seems to be also true; Do the simple things repeatedly well and the tough stuff becomes easy.
An interesting article I read on 2+2 forum was about the benefits of chewing gum for your focus. Alex ferguson can't be wrong - Chew gum when playing!
These three things are important so write them down and put above your monitor:
• What do my opponent's actions mean?
• What is the best action to take vs. his range of hands?
• Consider all of your options carefully before deciding and make sure to take lots of deep breaths
Non poker wise life is getting a bit boring, so I am content to focus on improving my play and reviewing more hands. I am reading 'The Godfather Of Poker' the Doyle Brunson Autobiography, so far a pretty interesting read. I am now sure he was a huge degenerate when he was younger, from the sounds of the first 4 chapters he spent the majority his early twenties hanging around nothing but drug addicts, con artists, thieves, killers, pimps and whores!
I am now also midway through the Owen Gaines book 'Poker Math That Matters' and wish I would have had something like this a long time ago, right as I was starting out. Its an extremely well designed and thought out book which covers everything you need to know about all the mathematics of No Limit, and I hate to admit this but that is something which I did not fully grasp at first and that I have struggled with for a long time. Having strong fundamentals in math can only be a benefit while playing, so if you consider yourself as a feel player, or just simply dont fancy yourself as much of a math guy, get a hold of this book, it is well worth it! The chapters start off simple and build up to more complex things later. Nothing is too big of a jump though because each chapter you are quizzed to make sure you understand the concepts outlined in the previous section. You build upon this knowledge step by step and by the end you are feeling confident. Save yourself a lot of time and effort worrying about poker math and get this book now. I can tell I will be re-reading this book right away after I finish it just to make sure I am super confident while at the tables and also able to properly analyse my play away from the tables.
Finally, my TEFL course is back on track again, I'm doing it through i-to-i and once completed I will be heading to Korea!