In our "Thoughts off the felt" series, we discuss a range of poker topics geared toward the serious amateur or professional in great depth. New installments come weekly.
How should changes in rake affect our strategy? Also, a look at some more crazy underground rakes and an analysis of timed rake.
Don't let small sample sizes cloud your judgement!
How much do we pay in rake? How does the high rake in underground games affect their profitability. What about when there is a free bonus?
Don't take strategy advice on faith. Learn how to take the scientific approach to poker.
When you aren't feeling locked into the game, reengage using this tried and true study method.
Be aware of the image you cultivate, don’t actively put out an image
In an effort to defend myself, I gave a very thorough explanation of my decision making. While the actual outcome of this specific explanation may have been a net positive (more on that in a second), this was a terrible strategic decision.
After learning more about the game and realizing how much money is being left on the table, within two months I was playing a majority of my hours at the PLO table.
The danger in this dogma is that it can have a tendency to justify passing up too many edges during a session. Sure, we can always wait for the best spots and eek out a small winrate. However, if you really want to crush the game, you are going to have to take some higher variance edges. Therefore, patience is not always a virtue in the game of poker.
The day after the event Jack, Greg, and I spent the whole day analyzing everyone's game who played in the event. A lot of this analysis went into the leakfinders we did for the players but we did some more in depth analyses of certain hands, and we decided to make a series of premium podcasts out of these discussions. This took place in a lovely thai restaurant that luckily was empty enough for us to record some high quality podcasts!
By definition, playing one’s A game is unsustainable throughout a session and is difficult to achieve at any point in a session. Improving one’s A game and the ability to play one’s A game for longer periods of time is essential to becoming a better poker player. However, very few players will always be able to play their A game, mostly for practical reasons.
Through experience and speaking with other professionals that had warmups, I eventually was able to find a 15 minute process that I knew I could make the time for whenever I played poker. This has stayed relatively constant for about two and a half years now and I credit to a lot of my success in poker.
In fact, some of what I have seen in tournament play contradicts what I hold as correct in a cash setting. Therefore, I wanted to take a hand that seemed perfectly standard to tournament players and try to understand it, or potentially debunk it.
Don't be the guy that makes the hero triple barrel - on each street the extra 30 BB becomes much less of a factor. If it's a 3bet pot heads up pot with 200 BB stacks to start the hand, and you get to the river with 100 BB in the pot and 150 BB behind.
The key to conserving a resource is efficiency. Mental energy at the poker table is no different. The more usable poker info we can garner from the same amount of mental energy will lead to longer more profitable sessions.
This might sound kind of funny but this was probably my favorite part of the entire experience. I drink a lot of water so when I’m normally playing, I always end up ordering at least 10 of the little water bottles that are unfortunately standard in U.S. casinos over the course an average sessions.
Playing a perfectly balanced strategy is very difficult. However, playing a reasonably balanced strategy is a very achievable goal with a manageable amount of work involved.
A single showdown read can answer questions such as “Does this player c-bet bluff?”, “Would this player ever slowplay on a draw-heavy board?”, and “Does this player bluff missed draws on the river?”
While I wasn’t making this mistake the entire session, I think I made a fairly common mistake a few times: my desire to just get paid and win as much as I could in this individual session clouded my judgment for making the correct play.
The downside of not playing for a few months is that I was pretty rusty - a lot more so than expected. While I felt that I was able to focus very well, that doesn’t mean I didn’t make a fair amount of technical mistakes in the process.
But here is the secret. While choosing great sources of information is crucial, the most important thing to do while studying is to attack your weaknesses as a player. This is what will lead to long-term success. Now that may sound obvious, but while it is a simple concept to understand, it is a difficult one to implement. Why is that?
This is a hand where given the extreme passivity of his line, one can now assume a lot of things about his play. This player is likely to play his whole range, not just draws but strong hands too, passively, even on draw heavy boards: a type of strategy that’s fairly uncommon amongst the $2/5 player pool.
Luckily for those that play live, low stakes poker, the vast majority of your opponents will be making massive and predictable mistakes. In this article, we will examine 10 of the most common mistakes made by many of our opponents and figure out how to avoid making a mistake of our own and instead exploit our opponent to the max.
So, what goes into f(x). The following factors would all likely need to be components of a function to estimate y from x. In truth, these are inseparable as they all occur together in the act of straddling. However, considering their individual effects and their relative magnitudes can help determine whether straddling is right in a certain situation.
I started to get a little sad knowing that I would have to take such a long break from playing cards. Since beginning to take the game seriously and poker becoming my primary source of income a few years ago, the longest I’ve gone without playing some form of poker – be it online or live – has probably been three weeks, and that has rarely happened.
I observed most people, even those that acted like 'pros', frequently making massive mistakes, something that doesn't occur in NLHE nearly as much in 2016.
The nice thing about this home game is that in almost every hand you get to the flop with, there seems to be a tough decision. Unlike the games that most of us usually play in, bluffing frequencies are often at roughly what they should be, if not higher than what is game theoretically optimal.
Hwang is again taking a more play-based approach, outlining a more learn by rote strategy, rather than teach a comprehensive range-based approach. Rather than read more of the same author and approach, I wanted a change of pace. I decided to head into my Bluefire Poker archive and check out some Phil Galfond online PLO videos.
The Hwang book also does a nice job of presenting relative equities of the types of PLO hands people are likely to put all the money in with. For example, who is the favorite on the flop: the nut straight with no redraw, or a set with the nut flush draw? If you read into my wording or calculated the outs, you would see the set with the nut flush draw is ahead, but having Hwang list these things out in many permutations is very helpful. After reading the book, I feel much more prepared in terms of playing a big draw and choosing quality starting hands.
My current plan to learn the game begins with reading books that give a comprehensive overview of the game. I am hoping that these readings will give me a broad understanding that will allow me to more effectively study on my own. I’ll then practice the concepts I have learned through my reading by playing online micro-stakes.