Okay so, my first post on these forums was probably about the worst stuff I’ve written since the inception of my blog. I haven’t really even written that much, only four actual articles. I haven’t been writing much over the last two months basically because of how rough of a run I’ve had, I’ve gone through emotional hoola hoops after becoming embarrassingly arrogant during my heater between September through the end of December—then being extremely humbled after running terribly and basically losing every dollar I had made from poker. It’s an important lesson I think to realize what this game does to people. The ups and the downs of it. Obviously the more emotionally indifferent you are, the easier it will be for you, but some of us just aren’t wired like that I guess. I only hope to work to be at that point eventually sometime in the future.
I really want to emphasize exactly what this 2 month bad run -20k$ swing did to my internal state and mindset regarding the game. It’s actually portrayed in living color in the previous post. I can’t even believe that I thought what I was writing at the time was actually good, but running bad for such a long period of time made me think that that was the way to play winning poker. I’ve only just come to the realization in the last few days, and regained SOME of my winning mindset, but at least I’m making progress right? What I ended up doing was attempting to categorize the average player at 25nl, then went about explaining how each type of hand should be played against them. THIS HAS TO BE LIKE THE WORST WAY TO PLAY MICRO STAKES, DO NOT FOLLOW THAT ADVICE!!!
Since I had that epiphany about how I was screwing up, I’ve been beating 25nl for 12bb/100 over the last 6800 hands playing 30/22/3. For the two months prior to this, I played 10,400 hands and was losing at a rate of -6.8bb/100. So what was it that made the difference? It was a number of things, but I’m going to get to that in a minute.
First I want to apologize again to Rondavu who actually gave me the best advice I could have received. I was in such a terrible place mentally that I completely berated him and purposefully tried to make him look bad. I’m embarrassed for what I did, and that’s how I screwed up again, hopefully stating this here will rectify it.
Anyways, basically what he was saying was right. I was making false assumptions based on the way I was running. The reason that we play bad when we run bad has to do with a number of factors. (1) When we are losing, our opponents realize it, and perceive us to be the loser at the table, the guy that can get run over and pushed around. Basically, it kills our image. (2) A lot of 6max poker has to do with our ability to gauge the frequency with which people are dealt hands, and the frequency with which people make strong hands on the flop. When these frequencies of our opponents playing back at us increase to an extent much higher than we perceive them to be likely, we start to make mistakes. (How can they have a hand EVERY TIME?) –This type of thinking. We sometimes even start to believe that they do have a hand every time. (3) We begin to believe that we can’t make hands, and if we do make them, they are going to get sucked out on. This problem extremely limits our options because we are now confined to being forced to make a hand AND for the hand to hold up in order to make money. For example, we won’t be thinking about situations where we might be able to make a profitable play, we are too focused on trying to make a hand and get it to hold up–It kind of makes us play in a very formulaic and extremely straightforward/easily-readable way.
When you have all these factors working against you, it’s near impossible to play good poker. Your opponents are going to have you leveled, or you are going to end up leveling yourself. This is what happened to me, I leveled myself. Some poster here has it in his quote that says “ISF – You can only own yourself at 25nl” or something like that. This is dead on, and it’s what I did. So anyways, I was going to get to exactly what I changed that allowed me to start winning again confidently at a good winrate….
I stopped running completely awful for one. (I wasn’t running as bad as I was tilting, but once I stopped the tilting, the bad run lessened it’s effects on me. Obviously this isn’t of any use to you if you are struggling at this limit, but I am getting there. Once I stopped running so badly and tilting, I regained my confidence, it actually happened while I was doing a coaching session, and explaining exactly how I go about analyzing a hand street by street. Beginning with preflop, and putting all of the pieces together in order to determine the range of villains most likely holdings, and then explaining the action I take depending on the strength I perceive of that range in relation to my perceived range. This probably isn’t helping either if you are inexperienced. To put it as simply as I can, all I have been doing is being patient, waiting for decent cards, and playing them in good position. I stopped generalizing my opponents trying to adjust my play to how I think the average 25nl player might play. I was too worried about them when the biggest problem was I wasn’t worried about myself.
It’s just solid poker is all it is. Say I raise 9Tcc in the CO, the BB cold calls, flop comes 5c7d8h. He checks, I bet, he calls. Turn is Kc. He checks, I bet, he folds pretty often. I focused on trying to get max value on each hand rather than trying to induce my opponent to bluff me. If I have TT open LP, am called in the blinds, flop is Jh5s4s. He checks I c-bet, he calls. Okay now let’s think about his range. He is probably not the type of player to raise on a draw, so a flush draw and 67 are parts of his range, maybe 50%. A jack is definitely a portion of his range, maybe 20%. The other 30% of his range will be comprised of A high hands, and pairs 99-66 (as well as 5x and 4x). So what I want to do is get as much value as I can from the % of hands I’m beating, while not losing too much to those that I’m behind. So this hand is going to play out like this very very often …. I bet flop, he flat calls, pretend the turn is innocuous, like a duece of clubs. I’d now estimate how likely it is he is on a draw and how likely he will call a turn bet w/ hands like 66-99. In most cases I’m going to opt to check behind since if I bet the turn it’s going to appear to villain that I am aiming for 3 streets of value, and if I get called his range is going to be weighted much heavier towards a J than those other holdings (of course unless we know villain to be a HUGE station, which a lot of players at 25nl are — in which case we’d probably want to try for 3 streets of value). But most of the time I’m probably going to c/b (CHECK BEHIND) the turn and call a bet on the river if he makes one, or bet myself maybe half pot if he checks to me.
I know this advice is far from a magic pill, but that’s the point, there is no magic pill, it’s just learning and using basic fundamentals. Of course these things change the higher in stakes you move, so I had lost this part of my game for quite a while, I had my head in the clouds in theory, over-thinking things, trying to outplay my opponents. HUGE MISTAKES. Your opponents are bad enough that they will outplay themselves, you aren’t required to do force them to do this, that’s why it’s supposed to be so easy. Just bet when your hands have good equity, and don’t try to make hero plays like big bluffs or big calls, those are what will cost you the most in the long run. And don’t slowplay. Slowplaying is basically a huge mistake here… When you have a bunch of opponents who call too much, why would you ever want to pass up on free money? I was idiotic to say you should slowplay your big hands in the last post. It was a result of never getting any action when I did make a big hand, and not focusing on getting max value. Everytime I had a big hand I wanted to win a stack, this is a terrible mentality to have at these stakes.
I know this is a bit pre-emptive here but I really don’t know what else to say about it. If you have any questions don’t be afraid to PM me or post comments. My goal now is to make 20 buy ins a level and slowly move back up in stakes. I’m only 6 or so buy ins from getting out of 25nl and moving up to 50. When my rakeback kicks in in the middle of the month things should become much easier. I expect to be at 100nl by the end of the month, possibly even 200 if I run well.
Anyways, thanks for reading and GL