October 01, 2009
Whatâ€™s up Degens?
The last few days have been pretty sick. My desire to play is the strongest that itâ€™s been in a long time, and it feels good to finally log some hands. Itâ€™s really cool how much and quickly you learn when youâ€™re playing a bunch of hands.Iâ€™m enjoying it because the more I play, the more situations I find in my game that need some improvement. For example, I s find myself spew-calling way too much on rivers where itâ€™s very obvious my opponent has me beat, but out of frustration I call them anyway. Iâ€™ve also noticed myself taking the lazy route too much (just mentally timing out and mindlessly checking because itâ€™s easy to do without making considerations for the actions before me). Like pretty much all other players, I think my turn game needs some work as well. Overall though, Iâ€™m satisfied with my play, and look forward to taking it to another level in the next few months.
While setting up Google Reader today, I noticed that Iâ€™ve been reading way more poker blogs lately than Iâ€™m used to. Maybe itâ€™s the result of looking for interesting ideas for topics I can use in my own, but if you get a chance I think thereâ€™s a few you should definitely check, especially if you like reading about poker strategy and the life of a professional gambler. Hereâ€™s a few of my favorites:
Taylor Cabyâ€™s Blog http://blogs.cardrunners.com/taylor
Phil Galfondâ€™s Blog http://www.bluefirepoker.com/blog.aspx?blogid=25
Wilt on Tiltâ€™s Blog http://www.plusevpoker.com/blog/
Krantzâ€™ Blog http://www.dangerlion.com
Brian Townsend http://blogs.cardrunners.com/brian
Haseeb Qureshi http://blogs.cardrunners.com/BLAG
Brian Hastings http://blogs.cardrunners.com/Stinger885
Ok thereâ€™s a bunch, but I donâ€™t really want to copy paste anymore of the links, lol. But fwiw, you should check out Negreanuâ€™s blog, Alec Torellis blog, and Tony Dunstâ€™ too.
After reading all the writings of these poker players, I got into a discussion with my roommate Kai about what it takes to be a successful poker player. We were talking more about longevity than anything, but nevertheless, I think itâ€™s a topic thatâ€™s worth discussing.
First, one thing Iâ€™d forgotten about but was reminded of while putting in a ton of volume this week were the â€œlittle thingsâ€ the good players do to gain an edge over the competition. I think thereâ€™s a ton of people who have really solid fundamentals in poker, but are seriously lacking in many other categories that are equally important to being profitable in todayâ€™s game. To be more specific, Iâ€™m talking about things that donâ€™t directly involve poker strategy, such characteristics unique to playing online as opposed to live. For example, if you took a live pro who never played online, he may be able to deconstruct a poker hand based on range analysis, but he wonâ€™t know the little tricks you can use to increase your win rate.
Iâ€™ll try to be more descriptive. Since I started living with Kai, Iâ€™ve been able to pick up on the skills and tricks he uses to find the weaker players. Whenever heâ€™s out of a hand at his table, heâ€™s constantly scanning the lobby looking for good or better games to play in. In addition to this, heâ€™s also an amazing note taker, so itâ€™s no coincidence he crushes the MSNL games so hard.
I often times see this with my students. By looking at their HUD, I can tell theyâ€™ve played thousands of hands with their opponents, and yet thereâ€™s not one word in their note box about the opponents game. If nothing else, you should be writing down what that player probably thinks of YOU if youâ€™re unable to notice any glaring tendencies in his game beyond the obvious inferences from his HUD stats. One small nugget of information can help you solve other parts of his game. Doe he c/c big draws? Did he see you fold to his barrel in a 3b pot? Whatâ€™d he c/r with? What does he donk with? How many tables is he playing? USE ANYTHING! A particle of information is better than none, so do your best to absorb what you can and make an educated guess.
Inside the game, thereâ€™s several qualities in a successful poker that are commonly overlooked. The ability to play your A-B game on a consistent basis is the first that comes to mind, simply because I believe most poker players who take the game relatively serious are capable of playing at a very high level when theyâ€™re under favorable circumstances. The main challenge stems from trying to balance playing a high volume of hands with accompanying high level of play. These are the qualities that are vital to the success of all poker players.
I know dozens of profitable poker players ranging from micro to high stakes, and truthfully if you gave each of them a hand to analyze, thereâ€™s a solid chance you wouldnâ€™t be able to tell which response played at a higher level than another. Iâ€™ve found most devoted poker players have the knowledge to break hands down very well, but a lot of them have trouble at actually being a poker player. For me personally, Iâ€™m confident I can bring my A game to a coaching lesson, but for whatever reason I still struggle with consistently playing my best poker. Laziness, boredom, complacency, and impatience often contribute to my decreased level of play, but it could be anything really. Observing Kai has given me a better perspective on what it takes to be a â€œprofessionalâ€ in this game.
Now that Iâ€™ve learned some of the tertiary skills of being good at this game, Iâ€™m excited to learn even more when I start lessons with Tom next week. Iâ€™m still waiting on his ebook, but itâ€™s supposed to be here within the next couple of days so Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll catch some feedback here.
Last time I said Iâ€™d post some hands, so I suppose Iâ€™ll do that now.
Haha, itâ€™s a beautiful thing. http://weaktight.com/1552300
This oneâ€™s pretty funny. Check the flop hoping the short stack would ship and the fish would call. Nice riv haha http://weaktight.com/1552277
If anyone can guess the equity correct on their first try Iâ€™ll ship them $5. http://weaktight.com/1551768
Games are goooooot http://weaktight.com/1542114
http://weaktight.com/1541505 Iâ€™m pretty embarrassed about my line here, but I want to go over it anyway. Flop is std, but the turn is where it starts to get interesting. I felt like an 8 was a big part of his range, but I feel like I kind of suck at spots where itâ€™s difficult to act like youâ€™re a huge hand. I wasnâ€™t sure how strong his 8 was, but I figured thereâ€™s a change it was A8xx or Q8xx because he limped UTG, and he hadnâ€™t been super loose up to this point, so he probably has an above average limping range. I felt like c/câ€™ing the turn was the best line, mostly because it looks like I have AAxx and am not convinced, and if heâ€™s a competent player (which I thought was the case), then heâ€™s going to try and build a pot to get paid on the river.
The river is where I think I lost value. My thought process at the time was that he would never fold a boat, but he could easily check back with a weaker 8, but if I bet pot it might look bluffy, in which case heâ€™ll always call with an 8 (which like I said previously, composed a significant percentage of his range). In retrospect, I think betting half pot or a little more is perfect because his boats will probably ship, but his 8 will almost always call. Iâ€™m not sure though, I donâ€™t think shipping can be all that bad. He tanked forever before he folded.
http://weaktight.com/1552299 Haha lost three of these lately in a pretty similar fashion, but whatcha gonna do.
Iâ€™ve been experimenting a lot with minraising, and I think it has a lot of benefits at many of the tables at the lower stakes. I think the table it works best at is a table with a couple of TAGish regs, and then 1 or two very big fish. Letâ€™s say youâ€™re dealt a hand like TTJ8ds UTG, or even something like AdKs6d8s, and hand that can play ok MW, but also plays well HU, but doesnâ€™t necessarily play fantastic in a 3b pot. By min raising this PF, you deter the regs from isolating you (because they want to keep the fish in), so if they play they only call, and the fish are either calling or folding anyway, so youâ€™re not changing much there. Also if a reg 3bâ€™s you and all the fish do fold, then you can fold comfortably as well if you arenâ€™t in the mood to play a 3b pot OOP. On the other hand, if both fish call, you now can play a big pot in position on the fish in the blinds. This can be an awesome scenario if you have a hand like JJ88, JTT9ds, or something like that. Doesnâ€™t sound too bad eh?
If you get called and need want to cb bluff, you now donâ€™t need to bluff as large an amount since the pot will be smaller postflop than if you had raised full pot PF. What youâ€™re basically creating here is a situation where you can see the flop cheaply, while also keeping in weaker opponents. In addition, min raising a hand you would consider limping makes your HUD stats look better to regs, so it will look like youâ€™re playing laggier than you might be.
Anyhow, ya I have problem with long posts. I hope everyone is well!