My Two Biggest Leaks

Hello friends, I’m sad to say that the heater I’ve been on may have come to an end as I’ve now booked my first losing week. Fortunately, the loss was a small one, totaling $-195 over just 14 hours of play. My lack of volume this week was the result of a couple things. First, I came down with a nasty cold/flu type thing that kept me away from the tables for 3 or 4 days during the week, and then I spent the weekend at my alma mater for homecoming. Needless to say, I was not able to accomplish any of my goals this week besides the meditation goal. While I couldn’t control the loss of volume resulting from sickness, I am pretty upset with myself for not being able to meet my studying goals. I mean I was literally sitting around my house doing nothing other than sleeping and watching TV for 3 days, so I should have been able to easily reach my goal of 10 hours. Instead, I kind of used being sick as a justification for just relaxing/resting and ended up only doing about 2 hours of work away from the table. Since I was not playing much this week, I think it’s unacceptable that I didn’t study much as I’ll be even more rusty than I would have been from just not playing. However, it’s in the past now and all I can do is move forward to next week and try to maximize my studying in the future. My lack of study-motivation is definitely one of my leaks so I’ll have to figure out a way to plug it. I know Jack and Zack have made study-volume prop-bets in the past so maybe I’ll try to get some action from one of them as a way to give myself an extra incentive ;).

Since I don’t have any interesting hands, experiences, or new concepts to talk about, I thought it might be a good idea to discuss some of at-the-table leaks. One of these, as I mentioned last week, is making too many optimistic hero calls. I won’t talk too much about that one and how it can be plugged since I already have, but I do want mention one cool idea which I’ve been using to combat it. Zach actually relayed this tool to me through the podcast, and I believe he picked it up from podcast guest Brent Jenkins. Basically, the idea is that we keep a record of hands we’ve won vs. hands we’ve lost after making a hero call. This record can be used to gauge the player pool’s bluffing frequencies as a whole. So far, and I’ve been doing this for almost 2 weeks, my record is 1-4 (1 correct call and 4 incorrect calls). Although this is a small sample, I think this habit is useful in reinforcing the fact that players just don’t bluff nearly frequently enough to justify making hero calls, and will hopefully result in me being able to cut it out of my game.

A second leak of mine is my unwillingness to give up when trying to bluff a player out of a hand. Sometimes, I find myself in situations where I had a good flop bluffing candidate, but then the turn and river are either blanks or just don’t help my range that much (or do help my opponents’ range) yet I’m unable restrain myself from firing 2nd and 3rd bullets. An example would be something like this:

Game: 1/3 NL, 9 handed

$300 effective stacks

Preflop: folds to MP (Weak TAG) who opens for 12, button (station) calls, SB folds, hero calls in BB with 6s7s.

Flop (33) Jd5s2h

Checks to MP who bets 18, button folds, hero raises to 70. I like this raise because we have a lot of

backdoor equity and this board is somewhat static. I also don’t think it hits MP’s opening range particularly hard. I think it’s going to be hard to call the flop (and turn/river) with less than top pair or better (which makes up a very small portion of MP’s flop betting range). If called, I think my plan should be to bluff any card that significantly improves our equity (any spade, 4, or 8, and sometimes 9’s and 3’s) as well as over-cards which can be used as scare-cards.

MP calls.

Turn (170) Th

At this point, I think MP’s range is exclusively TP+. He’s certainly never floating with the intention of bluffing us, and is very rarely trying to make some kind of hero-call with 66-TT. The Th on the turn gives us 0 additional equity and essentially changes nothing in the eyes of the villain, and for these reasons I think this is a pretty clear check/give-up. However, in-game I incorrectly decided that

would try and represent a set and get him to fold some of his Jx hands or possibly an over pair.

Hero bets 110, MP calls.

Fortunately, I was able to correctly decide that MP would basically never fold the river in this hand (maybe with the exception of an A/K/Q) and was able to show some restraint and check/give up on a blank river. MP showed AJ and scooped a nice pot.

I obviously have more leaks than these, but I believe these two are the ones that are costing me the most EV. Luckily though, there is still plenty of studying to be done and experience to be gained which should help me to plug or at least reduce the EV that is being lost as a result of them. I’ll talk to you all next week. Until then, happy grinding.