June 20, 2011

Understand PSB or big bets at 10NL and under...

After stepping back into 10NL - after a 4 month break with a better game, one thing for sure has become apparent. At all levels of micro stake poker that I have encountered thus, there is no small edge that you exploit against opponents to optimize maximum value from a hand. I have read and watched numerous peeps discuss finding that small edge against an opponent and then exploiting and using this to win a ton of money. At the micro stakes there are no small edges to exploit. Realizing this is when you can really start to make some cash and quick. No opponent is every check raising your on the flop with a BDFD and a gut shot. You are never getting value bet on the river by 3rd pair. All the tricky stuff doesn't really exist, amongst most opponents. So you can stick to the baluga theorem with confidence but also look at bet sizing if they donk into you or if you check OOP. Look how close a bet is to the size of the pot and then look at the texture of the board. Sometimes it will be as simple as an over pair to the flop but other times it might be a NFD or 2 pair or a set etc Good size bets on any streets at the mircos usually means nutty hands. Sometimes they might be a bluff but you need to recognize a good thinking micro player (rare) vs a bad aggro fish micro player (common) workout what a bet of that size means. 
This doesn't mean we just insta fold all the time to strength, it should mean our "spidey sense" should go off when we get c/r or bet in large by a bad opponent on a non textured board. It will often only be TP, sets, or slow played over pairs. On a textured board we should have a relevant equity to the perceived strength of our opponent to make an informed decision. 

Posted By CaptainScope at 05:30 PM


Tags: reads 10nl micros betting patterns PSB

June 05, 2011

Time to suck it up, take the hits and move up!

When I first started this blog in Feb 2011 I was messing about at 10NL. And now I'm back. But what I've found about moving up is that it is this kind of weird experience where you expect to keep crushing and things just stay the same as they were. What I think it actually is, is like a  boxer stepping up in class. You know where a boxer or MMA guy is good and has put in decent results and had some decent fights and then they have that next big fight. Where they move up to fight a better class of opponent. Doesn't mean that our fighter is worse, it means our fighter faces a better challenge. And that is what moving up a limit in poker is like. Don't change your game when you move up a limit. Yes for sure. 100% agree. But also don't expect your opponents to be just like they were at the previous limit. They will do things that are different. They will do things that other opponents at other limits have not. Whether they do them correctly or not is kinda not the point as you move up. It's about you adjusting to these new moves and understanding why they are happening. So when I moved from 5NL to 10NL - I'm getting 3bet pre flop a lot more, not a super amount, but more than at 5NL. I'm getting called a lot more on the flop and also raised a ton more on the turn. What does this mean? Well this mean we need to tighten up a little more pre flop OOP when facing a 3bet and also mean that we can be a little looser IP when facing a 3bet. We need to make sure we are not just c betting 100% of the time like we did at 5NL, cos we need to understand that our opponents pre flop hand ranges are better at 10NL than at 5NL therefore on certain board they will hit when you miss. We cannot just bet flop and turn and force folds. We need to really start to hand read better on the flop and work out whether the turn is a good card for us to barrel against our opponents perceived range. 

I think I wrote a similar post about moving up from 2NL to 5NL. I am starting to feel that 10NL is resembling poker a little bit. Where we can 3 bet Q9s or A10os on the BTN and get folds or calls from worse. You can never do that at 5NL.

Also though I have realized this and this I think is massively important. When our fighter steps up in class against his better opponent, he is gonna get hit more. He is gonna take more hits than he has in previous fights, cos the oppo is better and will be able to get to him more. And this will happen to our bankroll. For sure. I am positive for the first 1 - 3K hands perhaps at a new limit you might be a losing or break even player. You might lose the first 1/3 of the fight. But if you adjust, if find away to make your game win, tweak it here and there, then you win the rest of the fight and you make your bankroll go up again as it has previously. Thats what I believe. So that is what I will do!

We are @22BI's for 10NL

Posted By CaptainScope at 05:57 PM


Tags: moving up 10nl micro stakes MMA

May 15, 2011

11k hands at 5NL with 8.99 winrate = Happy =)

For those of you that have been following my blog or checking in, you might know that at the beginning of the blog I was playing 10NL. Well playing is one term, more like losing and playing badly is the more realistic version. I finally checked my poker ego at the door and moved down to 2NL. Which was the best thing I have ever done for my game. Grinding 2NL for a good sample size really helped to improve my game no end. Fundamentally I feel like I have really improved.

I have been playing 5NL now since April 25th and I have found that I have been winning steadily. I have adjusted my game slightly, making more calculated cbets on the flop and the turn, as well as getting paid more by worse pairs, or opponents chasing draws. The level at which players are willing to gamble with you more is greater and you can quite easily make a decent profit from this. Over 11k at 5NL I have a win rate of 8.99bb/100 which I am super happy with. It really is all about value betting your decent hands and playing draws or semi bluffs aggressively. It plays a little different from 2NL in that opponents seem to be willing to call 3 streets a lot more than 2NL. Perhaps they think everyone is bluffing. 

Anyways in my mind I am now thing about moving up to 10NL. I am not completely rolled for it yet, I have about 24BI's for 10NL and I think ~26-28 is the right amount. Would like to play some more at 5NL as well just to make sure I am not on a complete heater. Which I don't think I am. 

So we are @48 BI's for 5NL. Wow that is a long way from 22.5BI's for 2NL. Feels good. No. Feels Great!

This weeks graph at 5NL:

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Complete graph at 5NL this year:


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Posted By CaptainScope at 09:34 PM


Tags: microstakes winrate 5NL winning

May 02, 2011

April = Moving up, running under ev and winning

Moved up to 5NL for the last couple of weeks. After trying a few times to move up, I have finally "stuck" at 5NL. This limit seems really soft, to a certain degree it seems a little easier than 2NL, which might sound weird. It took some adjusting to, to the different villain's in that they are a little more aggressive on the flop and I seem to find that 50bb short stacks seem to be really aggressive with draws. So it's easier to get value from these players. I am finally finding that I am able to put opponents on ranges pre flop - as 3bets seem to work a lot better than at 2NL. I think a lot of players seem to think they know what they are doing at 5NL - but don't really. At 2NL players don't know what they are doing, but I think they are just having fun and probably learning as well. 

I have won about 6BI's this month at 5NL most of which have come in the last week or so. This is mainly due to just running so so bad at the beginning of April. So we are @28.5BI's and I also have $50 of steller rewards and then another $25 from the VIP, so that is whopping $75 (lol) so that is a massive 15BI's in rewards / rakeback. Finding the VIP rewards programme really difficult at 5NL and if volume is your problem, then it can prove tough to get the best out of it.

So as per 2NL - I think I will try to play x thousand of hands at 5NL and after I feel I have a decent winrate and at least 20BI's for 10NL - I'll start to think about moving up again. Until that point - into the battle of 5NL. Hope it's an enjoyable one! :)

April at mainly 5NL:

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Posted By CaptainScope at 05:19 PM


Tags: moving up micro stakes 5NL ev

April 25, 2011

OK Lets try to move up.... again.... :)

The past month before the end of this week, I had been thrashing about at 2NL. Running into some coolers, getting 2, 3 or 4 outered and instead of winning $25 over ~16k I had lost $25 or 14.5 BI's. Trust me at 2NL, playing a fit and fold style, kinda weak tight and sticking to the Baluga Theorem that is brutally dull. Boring in fact. I was starting to really not enjoy playing poker. Which was not good. So when I dropped down at the beginning of the year from 10NL all the way to 2NL, it was simply to format my game and re-learn what I had forgotten before. You see 2NL is is a simple game. It really is, but it takes you fundamentals breaks them apart and rebuilds them for you, better and stronger. I learn a ton about fish's ranges, what aggression means on flop or turns on certain textures. I learn to get the max value from my bet sizing, on nearly every street and I learnt how to fold marginal hands, in marginal spots. I really felt like I improved.

And for ~16k worth of hands for last month or so, I have been doing all this, but just running like shit. So this week it dawned on me. I doubled my roll at 2NL from 22BI's to 47BI's. I was ever so slightly under rolled for 5NL. But what was I waiting for? Why was I still playing 2NL? What was I trying to prove? Well nothing. Time to move up.

Over the past 2 months every time I had tried to move up (which is about 3 times) I had run bad but mainly played too loose and made to many calls, as I felt I was getting bluffed to much. This time I stuck to what I learn and it work perfectly. I had a really good 4 days at 5NL and won 6BI's which is great. 

So I'll keep on keeping on and see what happens :) I have about $75 of rake back from the Pokerstars VIP programme to come pretty soon-ish, so that will be sweet too!

We are @25BI's for 5NL

This weekend's graph:

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Posted By CaptainScope at 09:06 PM


Tags: moving up micro stakes 5NL 2NL

April 17, 2011

A Black Friday and a Black Month

I really hope that the U.S really sort of some sort of legislation for online poker. This has been rumbling on for far too long - I hope it all goes the right way.

I have had a horrible month. Not a lot you can do in periods like this but keep grinding. However I think the whole state of poker is a lot more important than my very small bankroll.

We @45 BI's for 2NL

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Posted By CaptainScope at 05:41 PM


Tags: microstakes 2NL under ev

April 03, 2011

A month of 2 graphs...

This month I took a shot at 5NL. It went badly. Really badly. I have been trying to figure out exactly why this might be? Did I run under ev? Was I card dead? Are 5NL players better than me? Before I had posted a recent blog I thought perhaps it was the players are indeed better than me atm. But after a couple of DC members told me that the players really are not the different, I wondered otherwise. This is my graph for 5NL for March:

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That is pretty gross.  That is $70! Or 14 buy ins!! You can see that is over a reasonable sample size of 14K hands. So it was not a mad tilting session - lol! 

So what did go wrong at 5NL? If the players are not that different how come I lost so much? Well at the moment the conclusion I am drawing to is that - the 5NL players are actually worse than 2NL players. Maybe. There are certainly a lot more aggressive. On one street particularly, the turn. However what I have found is that the 5NL player will play 2 pair + on the turn properly. They know how to value bet. What they also are willing to do is gamble more. This is where it makes them worse than 2NL players. But of course we need to be able to extract value from these players when they are willing to gamble, perhaps I need to learn how to do this. Watching betting patterns more closely should help this.

So again I think it is just a case adjusting to the players of the new limit rather adjusting your game too much. This my 2NL graph for March, playing the same way as I did at 5NL:

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10K hands at 2NL and nice profit. So lets see if I can find a middle ground. We are @ 77.5 BI's for 2NL

Posted By CaptainScope at 05:50 PM


Tags: adjusting 5NL 2NL monthly round up

March 27, 2011

The sinister and clueless villains of 5NL

I must say I played a couple of sit and go's this weekend, won 1 and came 2nd in another. Think that was good for about $9. It is important that you know that. 

So recently I have moved up from 2NL to 5NL. I wrote a few posts about what I expected. How I expected the villain's to play better poker. How I expect it to be a technically hard limit to play. I was wrong, very wrong. 

In short 5NL players are horrible! I mean 2NL villain's are bad, but perhaps they are learning or playing for fun or whatever reason that might be. 5NL villains are plain horrible. And this is squarely accentuated by the limp callers. When a player limp calls, it really devalues your broadways or your pocket pairs from say 55-TT. Why? Well this is the exact reason:

If we raise a limper (obvs with pos) with AQ and miss the flop, c bet and get called on say a 9K5 rainbow board. What is the villain's range? Same applies if we have 77 on the same board. At 2NL limp callers in my experience will fold around 70% to a c-bet from a re-raise that they have limped called. At 5NL they fold about 40%. That is a massive ~30% difference. So what does this mean?

Well it means we now have a massive hole in our game. See we can try and iso raise the limp caller that does it consistently, but what if we have another 2-3 players at our 6 max table that is the same? That have no pattern, rhyme or reason to when they call or fold to a c-bet? Well our predicament is multiplied by 3. Think about that for a second when playing 6 max.

So what do I see? Basically limp callers, all over the shop, running down their stack to around 50-70 BB, then finally they find the cooler they are looking for, or the massive draw verses an over pair and they double up. Then? Well you do it all over again. Limp call. Call the re-raise. Call or fold to a c-bet? (Just flip a coin for that decision). Run your stack down to 50-70 BB and then find your cooler, or slow play your KK and double up. Then what? Rinse and repeat. Again and Again and again....

Einstein said doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the sign of insanity. I am yet to work out though, whether 5NL players do expect any else? Lol

So I found myself 3 betting, not light, but wider than I had at 2NL. To polarized the villain's range. Not sure this is right, but seems right. So did it work? Well yes. And no. Basically my ev for the week should have been $10 or 2 BI's for 5NL. Not bad. I would be happy with that. In reality? I lost 8BI's for the week ($40). Most of this weekend I must admit, but non less it all counts for the week. 

So I am really happy with the way I adjusted to the "different" villian's at 5NL. I think I played really well this week. Just a little confused about the variance I have experienced. Do I need to play tighter? Then I am not learning? Not getting better? Not enjoying it?

The up shot of it all? Next week it is back to 2NL. I have less than 20 BI's for 5NL now :( So off to 2NL I go to think things over and hopefully get my roll back to a good size for 5NL. ( I think you need about 24 BI's for 5NL - so that is what I'll aim for)

I would love to hear any of your thoughts. Sorry this is not a positive update. I wished it was. I think variance had it's way with me this week. So back to 2NL, where we re-group, we get stronger. And we come back better for 5NL. That I promise!

We have 44BI's for 2NL. (19 for 5NL)

This weekend's graph:

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This week's graph:


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Posted By CaptainScope at 09:12 PM


Tags: variance 5NL ev villains limp callers

March 23, 2011

Adjusting to the $$$ and variance 5NL

So moving up from 2NL to 5NL started off a little rocky - as my previous post alluded to. I have found a few things of interest so far in terms of moving up. As I have written before the ability to iso raise fish due to the greater flexibility of 3 bet sizing is a definite plus. I have found this especially pertinent in regards to player behind you left to act. Basically we can 3 bet, raise a limp or squeeze with the intention with pricing in other players or iso raising. At 2NL due to the multiples involved it really is not an option. So that is good.

What I have found myself doing is getting my money in good - but with a lot less equity than I am used to at 2NL. Instead of a 65-75% favourite I am usually a 55-65% favourite at 5NL. This is fine I guess it just means reading board texture a little closely than I had to 2NL and this is what I expected. This has meant I have lost a few big pots in spots I would usually not. So I guess this means just being a little more aggressive on the flop and making sure I get as many chips in whilst I still have the biggest equity edge as possible. 

I have also found myself making bigger lay downs. I still don't think 5NL player are shove bluffing or 3 betting the river as a bluff. So though it frustrating to make these laydowns, obviously if we are beat then we must do that. Lay it down!

I have also found adjusting the amount of dollars bet per hand a little tricky. 5NL is 2.5 times bigger than 2NL. SO the acutally monies in the pot is bigger, c-bets are bigger and thin value bets on all streets are a little more stressful! (Lol - 5NL stressful!) I just need to tell myself to make the right play in the right spot and not worry about the actual $ and concentrate on it as BB's. And I'll be fine!

If anyone has any thoughts would love to hear them!

We are @28.5 BI's for 5NL

Posted By CaptainScope at 11:10 PM


Tags: adjusting 5NL $$$ iso raising big blinds laydowns

March 20, 2011

From 2NL to 5NL - The Psychology of Moving Up

I finally moved up this weekend. From 2NL to 5NL - wow! I cashed in $10 rakeback and had 70BI's for 2NL. More than enough for 5NL. I was $15 or 7.5 BI's @2NL - up for the week as of Friday - so I was playing well and I felt good. Time to move up. 

I played 1500 hands at 5NL 4 tabling and I lost including what I had won - $38 or almost 9 BI's for 5NL. (Excluding the bonus). Wow just wow. So did the doom switch hit me? Were the players better than me? Was I getting coolered left right and centre? No. I played awful! I spewed and then spewed some more. I couldn't see the fold button either. I probably tilted a little too. No that is not true I did tilt. So to sort this out I had to ask myself why? This is the part I am happy with! I figured it out.

I turned my HUD back on?

Don't change your game. Right? I mean I wrote it in a previous blog this week. I didn't know that turning on my HUD would effect me so much. I played all day with it yesterday. And why did it change my game so much? Well nearly every player at 2NL or 5NL has fishy stats. So how can I fold? I mean the villain is running 47/18 over 150 hands - he can't have it? He is just 3 bet bluffing me? They all are? I mean if I 3 bet here - he'll lay it down? No he won't. I was making reads, moves and plays based on my HUD. Instead of playing my hand in relation to my position, stack size, opponents stack size and pot odds, I made plays based on their HUD stats. This cost me more or less 9 BI's at 5NL. So today after losing another 4 Bi's (I won a bit back on Saturday night) today with my HUD, I finally turned it off. And started to play my poker that had got me to this place. To 5NL. And it worked massively. 

Playing your game

However you play, whatever style you play, play it at the next limit you move up to. Don't change your game. I played my 2NL game at 5NL today and after being 4BI's DOWN I ended the day 2BI's UP! That is $30 winning run at 5NL. I think that is good - I am very impressed. Don't think that everyone is bluffing you cos your playing a higher limit. They are not. Don't stop making lay downs that were good at your previous limit, they still are. Do be afraid to value bet just cos the amount is bigger - it is just BB. Your have to look at what you have done to make you a winning player at your previous limit and go back to that, rely on it and use it at this limit. It will work. Believe in yourself and your game when moving up. It's simple. The best advice you can get. And the most effective way of keeping on winning. 

Adjusting to your new limit

I played 6000 hands of 5NL this weekend and I think it is too early to say what I need to adjust over all. But one thing different from 2NL is my re-raising size of limpers and 3bet sizing according to stack sizes. You can iso raise fish easier and more accurately by the greater degree a bigger limit has regarding the bet sizing involved. (The variables in the amount). This has allowed me to get into pots with fish cheaper, c bet for less and take it down. It is important to look at the others behind and workout what you need to raise to make them fold so the fish can be all yours. :)

So I ended up 2BI's ($10) for today, down 1 BI for the weekend and 1.5 BI's for the week from my high point. In total I am 1.BI's up for the week at 5NL.

 I am really happy with my performance today. And to be really honest I was afraid of what happened yesterday and little today - but I knew that learning to beat 2NL would help me over come the stumbling blocks of moving up, which is did tremendously. Plus I will not be afraid to move back down if I have too! Stick to your game. Play poker the way you know you can and you'll be OK. 

The journey now continues at 5NL. 

We are @26.5 BI's for 5NL. 

This weekends graph:

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This weeks graph:


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Posted By CaptainScope at 10:15 PM


Tags: tilt hud moving up 3 betting adjusting 5NL Folding 2NL

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