September 22, 2009
Whatâ€™s Up Degens?
Two days in a row FTW!
From now on, Iâ€™m going to try to start the blog off by getting poker stuff out of the way. Iâ€™m down a few buy ins since I started playing again, but overall feel like Iâ€™m definitely dusting off the rust quickly. The first couple of sessions I had, I made a couple really dumb mistakes, like doing the â€œfuck it I callâ€ thing when itâ€™s obvious Iâ€™m beat even though I have the second nuts, so I suppose I just need to pay more attention to the action and being more disciplined with identifying opponents.
Although thereâ€™s several things I feel are essential to being a successful PLO player, Iâ€™ll try to name a few and then give myself a grade level up to this point so far on each, and then try to work through where I need to improve the most. They arenâ€™t in any particular order.
1. A significant portion of your winnings must be derived from Non-SD-Winnings. I know this is important in NLHE as well, but I think itâ€™s even more exaggerated in PLO since most of the big pots are classified as â€œstandardâ€, and youâ€™re mostly just running it. So picking up the small pots is a crucial part of profitably getting it in with less than 50% equity in the bigger pots. One of the biggest leaks I see from my students is not taking down small/medium sized pots when their opponents show weakness. You can develop this skill by simply playing and improving your hand reading skills, and just knowing when your opponents simply canâ€™t â€œhave itâ€. I feel like Iâ€™m very good at this skill right now, and itâ€™s a big piece of crushing the lower stakes. The games just play far too passive, and if youâ€™re not playing aggressively in small pots then youâ€™re missing out on a lot of dead money!
2. Making big folds â€“ This is basically the opposite of #1. You need to get used to comfortably laying down strong hands, and when I say strong, I mean the absolute value of the hand is strong, but against the value range of many opponents, itâ€™s not strong at all. Some opponents just arenâ€™t donking light into 3 people, and some people just never c/r certain boards light, so you need to get used to making big folds. Iâ€™ve had problems in the past by making terrible call downs in spots where my opponents just are never betting as a bluff. When I show some of the hands to my friends, they say â€œoh I always call thereâ€, but I think if youâ€™re a good enough hand reader you should be able to make difficult folds routinely.
3. Not paying attention to table dynamics â€“ With PLO, people really get caught up with oh I play this hand UTG, and I always 3b this hand etc. Thatâ€™s a poor approach to take. Since there isnâ€™t a ton of equity difference between hands, you need to focus on setting yourself up in a profitable position postflop rather than the actual value of your hand pre flop. For example, a common question I see on the forums is â€œwhat hands should I add to my 3bâ€™ing rangeâ€, and truthfully Iâ€™m not sure it should be asked like that. If youâ€™re not 3bâ€™ing enough, youâ€™re not targeting the correct opponents to do so against. At the lower stakes, people need to focus on isolating a little lighter because so many players incorrectly limp call since theyâ€™re so passive. Iâ€™ll write more about all of this later.
4. Not quitting when they should â€“ This is another topic thatâ€™s really important in NLHE, but really exaggerated in PLO. Itâ€™s so easy to make dumb calls or stupid gambles for your 100bb stack when youâ€™re tilted, running bad, or bored. I personally have a stop loss of 3 buy inâ€™s, which seems really low but Iâ€™d rather stay on the safe side. Thereâ€™s nothing worse than grinding up 2-3 buy in wins for a whole week, and then giving it all back with a 10 or 12 buy in losing day. It can be not only a financial bankroll killer, but an emotional/confidence bankroll killer as well. I think Iâ€™d be playing 5/10 by now if I had began having a stop loss earlier in my career. The games are always running, and there will always be big fish at your table. Stand up and take a break. Donâ€™t be a degen; be a poker player. Itâ€™s all about the long term!
Iâ€™ll try to add more to these later. Iâ€™d like to write about folding to 3bâ€™s OOP, what hands to call with, what hands to 4b with, opponents to do so against, and other random strategy pieces, but for now Iâ€™m a little burnt out on PLO stuff since I just finished a coaching session and am about to start another one in an hour.
Iâ€™ve only had a few passions in life, but Iâ€™ll name a few here because I think theyâ€™re all interrelated, and have a lot in common with poker. Pitching (used to play baseball in college), Golf (several parallels with poker; most Golfers have the perfect mentality for poker imo), women (obv), and music (mostly rap/hip-hop). Iâ€™m going to try to write something about each during each entry, but for now I just want to write a few songs I think any hip hop fan should check out.
Jay â€“ Z: Itâ€™s Like That
Kanye, Common, Kid Cudi: I Make Her Say
Eminem: Role Model
Those are the songs Iâ€™m listening to right now, haha, some old, some new.
Anyway, Iâ€™ll try to blog a little more about random shit later after I sesh tonight. Good luck to everyone out there!
On a sidenote, I just received P90x today, so Iâ€™m stoked to begin that tonight. Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll have plenty of reviews for it!