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Poker Goals & Challenges Post your threads logging your travels up the poker ladder as you achieve your poker goals and dreams. "Challenges" does NOT mean prop bets, wagers, etc.

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Old 02-23-2012, 02:20 PM   #51
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Bet for a Reason

In No Limit Holdíem, there are two ways that betting changes your EV as opposed to checking Ė it can either give you a return at showdown if you have potential to have the best hand at showdown or it can cause an opponent to fold out their share of the equity (showdown and steal). We can also categorize this into three categories, value, bluff and protection, where bluffing is when your opponent likely has over 50% equity and protection when he likely has less than 50% equity. A common mistake that novice players make is betting when it isnít likely to accomplish one of these goals. A common justification could be ďbetting with a strong handĒ or ďbetting when itís the only way to win.Ē

Hereís an example. I was playing 50 NL on Merge the other day and I open from the LJ with AKs, got 3-bet by an aggressive regular from the BB and I called. The flop is K79r. He bets 60% pot, I call. The turn is a 5 that brings a 2 flush, he bets 60% pot and I call. Then the river is an offsuit 8, and he checks. I check because I felt like he might check a hand as good as AA at this point, and I didnít see many worse hands calling me. He flips over KQo and I take down the pot.

When he 3-bets my LJ open, he should put me on a tight range. AK, QQ, and JJ would usually be the most likely hands for me to flat, and AQ, TT, and AA could be in my range for flatting. Betting the flop is certainly reasonable because I could call with weaker showdown hands like QQ, JJ, and TT. I could float but the only hand that I could float with would be AQ. Thus on the turn, he is either crushed when I have a hand like AK or AA, or crushing me when I have TT-QQ. The optimal play for him is definitely check folding. If he checks, Iím going to bet all the hands that beat him and a rare float, and check down all the hands that he beats. Betting the turn only gets called the strong part of my range; it would be very optimistic of him for me to call with a hand like QQ here.

These types of plays are what you want to avoid when you are putting more aggression into your game. You canít just blindly apply aggression Ė it needs to be coupled with hand reading. Otherwise you are just firing big bets in the dark. You need to be able to discern spots when you have an edge vs. spots where you donít if you want to add additional aggression to your game. There should always be a goal for the actions you take at the poker table, not just a reasoning for the actions.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:37 PM   #52
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

^^^^ Simple yet most useful article in this thread.

May I ask you something? You open your screen name and by posting articles you tell your opponent your thinking process. Basically you give everything your opponents need to know about you. Don't you think it --EV?

Last edited by sangalla; 02-23-2012 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:39 PM   #53
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Really great thread Awesomo. I'm appreciative of the time and thought you put into your posts.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:09 AM   #54
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

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^^^^ Simple yet most useful article in this thread.

May I ask you something? You open your screen name and by posting articles you tell your opponent your thinking process. Basically you give everything your opponents need to know about you. Don't you think it --EV?
It's probably a little bit -EV but I believe it's important for players who are coaching and giving advice about strategy to be open about their SNs and results.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:52 PM   #55
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Challenges of Playing Professionally

I started playing poker when I was in high school in 2004. I was actually 17 at the time but I cleared up my real birthday with Party Poker a couple years later. For the four years between 2004-2008 I played poker to earn some spending money for when I was at school, and during the summers I would use poker to fund my partying. In 2008 after I graduated I decided to give playing professionally a shot. The problem was that I stopped making money, so I wasn't really that successful. I'm sure that a lot of you guys have had similar experiences.

Playing professionally requires several skills that playing part time does not. When you're playing part time, you play whenever you want and playing is never an obligation. When you're playing full time you have to play more often and much more frequently when you play, you're not in a great mood or you're not fully into it. To play at the same level as you were when you were part timing you need a stronger understanding of the game because playing when your mood isn't great, that causes more mistakes.

Other skills like recovering from downswings also become more important. When you experience a downswing and you're playing part time, it's easy to recover; you just take time off. When you are playing full time you have to take the downswing head on and keep playing despite the emotional challenge. Maybe you study more and play less, but I don't think if you take too many breaks from playing poker you will have a ton of success in the long run. Putting a lot of hours into poker is crucial for success, and downswings are going to happen at least once or twice a year.

The biggest factor that affected me at the time was the peak hours of poker. In 2008 I don't think online poker had really caught on in poker, so the games were pretty tough in the afternoons. When I was trying to play professionally, I would get my day off to a rough start often by starting my day when the games were toughest. I was used to playing from 7 pm to midnight after I was done with school for the day, so the games were quite a bit softer on average. In addition my table selection skills were virtually nonexistant, so I couldn't really tell the difference. This factor seems to not be as important nowadays, because the games seem to be more consistent throughout the day.

Everyone agrees that being a professional poker player is not easy. Just because you have a good win-rate now over a decent sample doesn't mean that you will be able to transition into professional player without a lot of bumps along the way. I recommend if you're going professional to have at least 50 buyins for the stake you intend to play in addition to a few months expenses banked away, and to be committed to seeing it through past the transitional period.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:16 PM   #56
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Backdoor Draws

When I used to have a backdoor draw on the flop, 3 to a straight or 3 to a flush, I used to think that was pretty much air. I also had a turn c-bet percentage of about 35%. That's because I hadn't figured out that backdoor draws are an essential part of constructing your ranges in NLHE. Backdoor draws rarely make a strong hand by the river, but they often improve on the turn. When you do improve on the turn, not only do you give yourself a good chance to win the pot with a bluff, you also give yourself a chance to win a huge pot on the river by hitting a strong concealed hand. The combination of these two factors makes it important to continue with your backdoor draws on the flop in a lot of circumstances.

Backdoor draws often make a breakeven play +EV when you are considering c-betting, raising a c-bet, or floating. If your opponent is like most regulars who are fairly loose c-betting the flop, but fairly tight c-betting the turn, then backdoor draws make a great addition to your c-bet calling range in position. When you improve you can either bet the turn when checked to and win a high percentage of the time or you can call the turn again and potentially bet the river if checked to. This works best on dry boards, because by calling twice you are telling your opponents you have a strong hand, and they would continue firing their strong value hands, but check their hands that they expect to be doing poorly against your range.

When you c-bet a backdoor draw, you have even more cards that can come to help you than if you float a bet. In addition to any card that can improve your hand, which would be 10 per BFD and 8 per BSD, you can catch any overcard to the board and any card that gives you top pair. That will give you a fairly decent opportunity to c-bet the turn profitably.

It's important to pay attention to your backdoor draws on the flop. Learning how to effectively play your backdoor draws is crucial to avoid playing too fit or fold postflop. Recognize when backdoor draws give you significantly more steal equity than if you had air.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:38 PM   #57
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Obscenely good thread. Thanks for doing this.
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Old 02-26-2012, 03:12 PM   #58
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

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That's something I should consider way more often... Thanks a lot for this (again)!
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:45 PM   #59
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Live Play Videos

One of the most popular formats for poker strategy videos is the live play video. There are advantages to this format over others, but in my opinion live play videos are pretty tough to learn from. The advantage to watching a live play video is that you see a good poker player at work and get to hear their thought processes. This can be especally important for a beginner or for someone going through a rough stretch. The format has two main problems though: Coaches feel more license to make plays they normally wouldn't in a sessions, and it's difficult to tell the good advice from poor advice.

The first step in learning from live play videos is to find a video producer who is a good match for you. Ideally you want to be watching videos from people who play your game as their main game. A large part of being successful at the tables is having accurate assumptions about the typical players in the game, and the only way to develop those reads is to play the games a lot. If you watch a video from someone who is playing a different site or stake than normal, it makes their advice less accurate than from someone who plays those games. Personally I also like seeing the producers playing against villians that they frequently play against and not just unknowns. And of course, the producers should be beating the games for a fair amount.

Anyone who watches a decent amount of live play videos knows that the producers often play a style that they wouldn't normally play when they are grinding. This can be a result of playing fewer tables than normal causing a mild fancy play syndrome. It's difficult for any poker player to know exactly what contributes to their winrate, and the importance of each individual skill. For video producers I would recommend recording sessions fairly often and picking one of them for a video, instead of setting out to produce a video and then recording the session. This makes it more indicative of your play and it allows you to be able to leakfind yourself. It's important for students to understand that just like them you have your strengths and weaknesses as a poker player. As a viewer of live play videos, it is important to not try to emulate the style that you see in the video, but to understand the thought processes behind each decision.

A lot of people say not to watch videos from high or midstakes if you play the small or microstakes. I'm not sure I buy into that idea. Many of the different player types are consistent across all stakes, especially fish. It is also interesting to see how the assumptions that higher stakes players make are different from the ones that you make at the low stakes. Often, the producers of the high stakes videos are some of the finer coaches as well.

Overall I think live play videos are a useful tool for improving your poker game. It is important to understand how different players understand the game and to see good players in action. As a viewer of live play videos, I would recommend not necessarily agreeing with each idea that the producer presents; making your own decision whether or not their strategy is effective. An interesting way to watch the videos is to mute the audio and see if you make the same decisions they do, then if there is a difference to go back and listen to their reasoning. There is a lot of good advice in live play videos, but it's mixed in with average or poor advice. It's important to pay close attention so that you can tell the difference.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:10 PM   #60
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Bluff Catching the River

Bluff catching is one of the more difficult skills to apply correctly in NL cash games. You only have a certain amount of information and it's easy to fill in the gaps incorrectly if you are being overly positive or pessimistic. In particular, it is difficult to fold a hand that has good absolute strength especially if you haven't been winning many pots. Here are some guidelines to bluff catching the river correctly.

1) We need to believe that our opponent is turning part of their range for reaching the river into a bluff. If their range is mostly made hands, then it is usually correct to fold because they would check behind the hands that you beat and only bet hands that beat you. This is frequently the case if your opponent has called multiple bets on a dry board.

2) It needs to be reasonable for your opponent to believe that given the action so far in the hand, you are going to fold part of your range. If the board texture remains the same on the flop, turn and river, then it is less likely that your opponent believes that you will fold your hand.

3) The bigger your opponent bets, the more polarized their range is. If they are betting for thin value, it is more likely that they will bet a small amount to ensure that you don't fold the hands that they beat. If they are betting big they are trying to get you to fold or call with a good hand that they beat. If it is unlikely that given the action they have the hand they are representing, then bluff catching is more appealing.

4) Is our range capped? If our range includes several nutted hands in it, it is less likely that our opponent is going to be bluffing. Sometimes our opponents will take advantage of us when we have a capped range by value betting us more thinly, so watch out.

Remember that bluff catching is not one of the ways we are going to make a lot of money in NLHE versus competent opponents, but it can be one of the ways we leak money. Often you will be faced with situations where your opponent definitely has value hands in their range and an unknown amount of bluffs. In these situations it is important to be realistic about the actual bluffing frequency our opponent is going to have. Have the courage to fold.
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:50 PM   #61
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Building your Bankroll off the Tables

We all know as poker players that it is important to have enough money available at any given time to withstand the variance of poker and life. The more money we have, the higher stakes we are able to play, the more money we make ideally. There is a certain point where moving higher is going to lead to a decrease in hourly earnings for a winning player, but a lot of poker players are playing at levels below what their skill level would allow them to play. Especially as a professional player, you have to take out a significant chunk of your winnings each month to pay for the bills and provide for yourself, provided you're not living in your parents' basement. It can seem like your bankroll and status in the poker community are increasing very slowly if your income and expenses are close.

Gaining wealth isn't just about making a lot of money; it is about making more than you spend. If it's difficult to increase your income, figure out ways that you can cut your costs. For an example, I'll go over my typical monthly budget.

Rent - $665/month. When I was looking for apartments I decided to go for a nice one because I had been running hot on Pokerstars and I was anticipating my income to go up sharply. Unfortunately that was in April last year, so life happened. I'd like to cut this down to around $500/month for next year. Saving $165 per month equals $2000 over a year, so assuming I play around 120 hours at the poker tables this year, that would be like earning an extra $1.50 an hour.

Food - $450/month. For a while I was buying way too much food from restaurants and it was eating at my budget. It's easy in theory to save money in this category; just cook more meals for yourself. For example, I recently learned how to make pizza from scratch. This week I made an extra large pizza for around $5 in ingredients and it lasted me three meals. Buying frozen pizza costs between $4 and $8 depending on the quality of the product, and it is far less satisfying than making your own, but it does save time. My goal is to only buy one meal every other day at a restaurant, which usually is Subway. Before I was spending around $15 on food, now I am shooting for $10 a day, which over a year ends up being a $1500 savings.

Utilities - $250 / month. For playing poker it's essential to have two internet connections - your internet only has to go down for one day a month on average to warrant a second internet connection. Heat, gas, and phone are essentials. I'm not planning to cut in this category.

Dates - $250 / month. This category is really easy to spend a lot of money in, especially if you have traditional values or you're like me and have a girlfriend who is in school. It's also really easy to save money in if you're single. It's tough for me to cut down too much in this category without seeming cheap, but I told my girlfriend that I am trying to save money and she seems positive about helping me. Things like Groupon can help in this one, to plan some awesome activities for a discounted price.

Gym - $70 / month. I definitely overspent in this category last year. I went for the gym that was right next to my apartment which happened to be quite a bit more expensive than another gym only 4 blocks away that was $30 / month. Having a gym membership is a good investment in my opinion, but it's important to pick the best one. Paying only $30/month would save me $500 over a year.

Poker training sites - $60/month. I like to be a member of most of the poker training sites at least part of the year so I can keep up to date with the latest thoughts on poker and so that I can improve my game. It's possible to get some of these for free for playing on certain sites.

Poker coaching - ? / month. Over the past year, I probably spent about $2000 on poker coaching total, so that would work out to be about $150/month. You need to be careful here because some coaches are worth the investment, but other coaches that I had didn't work out as well for me. I would recommend getting coaching from someone who is successful at your level or the next level up, and not going all out and getting the best coach. I'm including certain premium videos in this category - I would especially be careful buying those.

IRA investment - $200 / month. This is a category I would put as much money in as possible, especially if you use a Roth IRA. Recently I learned that you can withdraw any money that you contributed into a Roth IRA penalty free. So basically you earn interest on the money and still maintains a good deal of liquidity. You can put up to $5000 a year into it. It's providing me a really nice safety net right now.

Entertainment - $200 / month. I usually go out 1-2 times per week, and each time I go out I spend about $20. This includes stuff like Netflix and video games as well. Not planning to cut too much in this category, although I might go for PBR instead of Guiness on a more regular basis.

Taxes - 15% / month. I'm not exactly sure how much in taxes I usually end up paying, and I don't really put aside money into savings based on my earnings although I should. I guess I'll find out in April!

Overall - $2295 / month. Cuts - $365 / month. If I can pull off the savings that I am proposing, at the end of the year I will have essentially made an extra $4380. This will be equivalent to earning around an extra $4 per hour for each hour I put in at the tables.

It's important as a poker player to have a general plan to increase your wealth every year, because being wealthier is key to making more money in poker. Poker grants us as individuals a huge amount of freedom, but we still have to make good choices to be successful. If you are like me and playing the small stakes, I would recommend looking to being thrifty to increasing your bankroll.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:23 PM   #62
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Dealing with Downswings

Poker is a confusing game emotionally because no matter how well we play we always have many rough stretches and no matter how poorly your opponents play they are going to win a significant portion of the time. The feedback we get from our results at poker is a very inconsistent way to evaluate the strength of our play. And most of the time, we tend to overestimate the amount of skill that goes into a win or a loss and not give enough credit to variance.

Poker is a game of small edges. Oftentimes we fail to acknowledge that even if we are beating the games at a healthy clip, we are going to go through significant periods of breaking even or losing. We tend to overestimate our skill level when we are running normally or good and ignore the mistakes that we inevitably make. When we are running poorly we over exaggerate the mistakes we are making and blame our poor results on playing poorly.

The truth is that those mistakes were always there. Those mistakes are real flaws in our poker strategy that we need to correct, and they donít exist because we suck at poker. We always made those mistakes to some extent, although we make more of them while emotionally strained like during a downswing.

Itís important to take something positive out of any sort of failure and to acknowledge the negative emotion that accompanies them and realize that we do need to improve and make changes. For me, having a downswing gives me the ultimate motivation to work on my game and improve as a player, and I do less training when I am running well; I just want to play.

Itís important to realize that youíre not having downswings because you are playing poorly or because you forgot how to play poker; although those things can be symptoms of a downswing. Downswings are consequences of the inherent variance in the game. The mistakes that we make contribute to our lack of a slightly better win-rate, but they always existed. Donít let your confidence be crushed because you arenít having good results. Keep playing and use the negative feelings you have motivate you to improve.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:09 PM   #63
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Thin Value Betting

In any situation postflop, your opponents are going to be either likely to call with the weaker and middle hands in their range or likely to fold those hands to a bet. When an opponent is likely to fold the weaker part of their range, it is a good spot to bluff with your weak hands. When your opponent is likely to call with the weaker part of their range, it is a good spot to value bet thinly with your medium strength hands.

Against a reg opponent, a common good thin value betting spot is when your opponent thinks that the board is a good board to bluff on. Say we are in MP vs a BB opponent, we have QQ and c-bet a T64 monotone board. We expect him to call with any ten, some combos of AK and AQ, any pocket pair, any straight draw, and to sometimes slowplay a set. Since most regulars are pretty tight versus a middle position raise, his range is going to be very pocket pair heavy. The turn is an A. Versus a lot of opponents, this is a good spot to bet the turn and river for thin value. From their perspective you are going to fire the ace with your air close to 100% of the time, and they are not necessarily going to think you are going to be value betting anything other than top pair or better. Since they perceive your range to be polarized, a hand like KTs or 88 now becomes reasonable to call down with in their eyes. Sometimes you are going to value town yourself when they float an ace or slowplay a set till the river, but I would expect to get value from a worse hand more often.

Against a weaker opponent a great board to bluff is one where the board on the flop had a flush draw possible and it didnít fill up by the river. Now a lot of the time they are going to call with any pair on the river because they are hoping that you have the missed draw. In this situation you can value bet pretty thinly and when you do it you want to make it a pretty big bet. Their calling range is very inelastic here Ė they are either believe you have a good hand or not.

When you make a thin value bet you should typically avoid making your bet sizing too big. The larger you make your bet sizing usually the tighter you make your opponentís calling range. When you want to get looked up really light sometimes it is good to make a really small bet on the river. Say we have AT and the final board looks like T53JQ. Itís pretty hard for your opponent to have a stronger hand when they call flop and call turn unless they have QT. Unfortunately, they can put more Jís and Qís in our range because we havenít been given a chance to fold those hands. This is a good spot to go for a crying call with a small bet. In my experience you rarely get raised here Ė your opponent usually has some showdown value so they either think you are bluffing and call or donít and fold. If you do get raised then fold unless you have a really good read.

Becoming better at making thin value bets is going to require improving your hand reading skills and understanding the tendencies and thought processes that are common among regulars. When you make a thin value bet you want to make sure that your line looks somewhat bluffy and your opponentís range isnít very strong. Make sure that your opponent is going to be somewhat suspicious and think you have some air in your range Ė otherwise you are just overplaying your hand.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:22 AM   #64
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

awesome thread. can't believe the trollz. keep up the good work!
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:52 PM   #65
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Commitment Threshold

Commitment threshold is the point at which you have put enough money into the pot that you canít fold. I believe I first read about this concept in Professional No Limit Holdíem Volume 1 and I see people talk about commitment in the forums quite a bit. In the book, they say that once you put in a third of your stack, you are pot committed usually. This would make the size of the pot equal to the size of the remaining stacks. Iím not one to advocate rules of thumb very often, and I think this one is particularly bad. In my opinion, youíre only committed to put in the rest of your chips if you have enough outs to the nuts that you are getting correct odds to put in your stack. Once we have a good enough read on an opponent that they have us beat, we need to fold no matter how good the pot odds are. Let me provide a couple examples.

Yesterday I was playing NL50 and I raised KQo from the button in an unopened pot, and the weaker player in the big blind called. The effective stacks are 70 bbs. He donks on a K26 rainbow flop, and I call. He bets half pot on a 5 that brings two to spades, and I min-raise. Iím min raising for value and also to polarize his range. I feel that if he simply calls the min-raise I am ahead almost all the time, and when he 3-bets the min-raise I am rarely ahead and can fold. So I continue with my plan and fire $12 into a $23 pot with $25 left effective when the river is the 4 of spades. I felt like betting this smallish amount would allow him to look me up with a weaker king or make a mistake by calling with a pocket pair under kings. He raises to $25, so the pot is $60 and I have to call $13 to reach showdown. Iím getting 5:1 odds but I folded here. I believed that there was close to a 0% chance that I had the best hand because the river completed some reasonable flush or straight possibilities and my opponent would rarely bluff so small and expect me to fold. If I was correct that there was close to a 0% chance of being good, I saved myself 26 big blinds, which is huge. If I was a little bit off and I had more like a 15% chance I was good, my fold still was good. Fortunately, I got peace of mind when he showed QT of spades.

Months ago I was playing Bodog 200 NL and I learned a crucial concept from one hand. I believe I was in the CO, I open raised QQ, a fish called and a reasonably aggressive regular squeezed. I called and the fish folded. The flop came three low cards. My opponent bet around half pot and I called. The turn was a brick. He bet around half pot and I called. The river bricked as well. He bet the rest of his stack which was probably 2/3 of the pot and I called. That means about 40% of our stacks were in by the river. I believe my flop decision was fine, the turn decision was a little bit marginal, and the river decision was a big mistake. The problem with my river call was that there was simply no way my opponent could ever expect me to fold on the river. There wasnít a big bet left, the board texture didnít change, and it looked like my hand was pretty strong, at least strong enough to call. Since my opponent wouldnít have a bluffing range, then he must have a value hand when he bets the river. Considering that value betting JJ would be extremely thin, I would expect him to have QQ-AA. I donít remember whether he had KK or AA, but he won my stack.

There are a lot of situations where you put a lot of money in the pot, only to find out that your hand is toast. You have to be courageous enough to fold in these situations, because the bets usually are quite big; and even though you have good odds to call, you are rarely good. Planning ahead is good, but thinking things like ďIím never going to fold this handĒ are counterproductive. Pay attention to the information you are given and make the best decision possible.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:04 PM   #66
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

this is one of the most important concepts yet in this thread

+1000000000

thanks for a great thread OP, really enjoying this
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:56 PM   #67
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

QQ example isn't too clear. If we see the hand from Villain point of view:

Preflop: His 3bet squeeze range is wide
Flop: cbet his whole range
Turn: cbet range: TT-AA, sometimes all over pair and AQ-AK
River: If Villain hole card is TT or JJ Villain will be in hard spot. If he check and you bet he will ll be feel pot committed. Some (maybe majority of players?) prefer to bet because they don't like to call your (bluff) bet. They feel pot committed.

IMO, the best way for hero in this hand is to raise all in on the turn.
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:22 AM   #68
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

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I also like it!. Thx a lot, keep them coming!
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:49 AM   #69
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Great thread, sub'd. Thanks a lot!
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:31 PM   #70
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

A Missing Piece

Yesterday I was reading Easy Game, by Andrew Seidman and I came across an idea that hasnít been crossing my mind all that much while playing. The idea is that on wet boards in and out of position, opponents are going to be very likely to raise the flop versus a c-bet with a very strong hand, so when they just call they rarely have a monster hand. Because of this we can barrel off lighter and consider check raising the turn with draws in these situations. On dry boards, you have to be more careful barreling light because opponents will be more likely to slowplay their strong hands, especially in position.

Currently my turn c-betting strategy is pretty much betting any time that I have an 8 out draw or better to a hand I can value bet on the river or when I have a value hand. I have a difficult time finding spots besides those to barrel the turn and I feel somewhat uncomfortable barreling with hands like overcards.

Hereís a practical application of the concept. Say we raise from the button with QTo, a tight aggressive villain calls us in the blinds, and the flop is J57ss. This can be a great spot to fire a second barrel pretty much regardless of what the turn card is. When they flat call on the flop their range is going to be hands like JQ, JK, 76s, 56s, 88-TT. Iím assuming they will check raise their straight draws on the flop and call with a small number of small flush draws. Assuming they call JQ and JK to a turn bet and fold the rest, that means they have 24 combos of strong hands they will continue with and 24 they will fold, so a bluff will be profitable in this situation. We only need them to fold 40% of their hands to justify betting the turn 2/3 pot, and less when we have outs to win it.

Wet boards are awesome to raise strong hands on because people so often give you credit for a draw and jam their medium strength hand over the top of your bet. Because of this dynamic, when someone just calls a bet on one of these boards, it makes their range a lot weaker. These boards are going to be the perfect candidates to be double and triple barreling with a wider range.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:45 AM   #71
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Protection

In NLHE, when we form our ranges where the range for one action includes all of the strong hands and the other has very few strong hands, we can take advantage of the consequences of those decisions. Protection is the idea that our range is protected from being bluffed at with a high frequency because our opponent perceives us having many hands that are likely to call more bets. If our range is protected it makes it a lot easier to fold the weaker showdown hands in our range; however, if our range is not protected then we face a lot more difficult decisions.

Often our opponents are going to perceive one part of our range as protected and the other as unprotcted. Say we are the preflop raiser from the HJ and our opponent calls us on the button. The flop comes KJT. If we have a hand like AJ, we are likely to have the best hand but obviously not one that you can win a lot of money with. When we are deciding whether to check call or check raise here, we need to think about how the hand will play on future streets. If we bet the flop worse hands usually fold unless they have a straight draw, and better hands always continue, so the situation isnít very favorable for betting. If we check and call a bet, it is very difficult for us to have a nutted hand like a set, two pair, or a straight. As a result, a skilled opponent will be often able to get us to fold regardless of whether they have the best hand. If we bet, our opponent will have a very difficult time putting pressure on us without a hand, because we can have all sorts of very strong hands in our range. I recommend betting in this spot to collect dead money.

It is not necessarily important whether or not our range is actually protected, just whether our opponent perceives it to be. So, just because we add some nutted hands to our flop check calling range as the preflop raiser, it doesnít mean that we can start check calling medium strength hands without getting into a lot of trouble. A common spot where your range might be perceived to be strong but actually isnít is when you are the preflop raiser in position on an ace high flop. Many players are going to check behind a weak ace in a heads up pot to pot control, so when you check back air, you often have a great chance to bluff on the turn. Against a frequent check raiser, you can bet call with your aces on the flop and check behind air to bluff the turn, taking advantage of the fact that they will perceive your checking range to be strong.

I am going to start recording some videos about these blog posts for CardRunners for guys to check out. What they are going to be are short videos giving some hand examples for articles I have written. This is the first one Iím going to do, so look for it in the near future.

The concept of protection is going to be most important when we have a medium strength hand. When our range is protected we can make correct folds more easily because there is a lower chance of being bluffed. When our range isnít protected we have a dilemma of whether or not we need to avoid folding too much our paying off too much. If you have the opportunity to take a line where you are protected with a medium strength hand, it is often worth taking that line. When you frequently play with loose ranges, always have protection.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:50 PM   #72
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

March Goals

From May to August I am set up to be visiting Canada, and I plan to be one step closer to being a poker star by the time the summer is up. This is going to be a really crucial time for my career because if I don't achieve a certain amount of monetary success it will put my immediate future as a professional poker player in jeopardy. Since this is creating some urgency for me, I am going to spend the next couple months preparing to give myself a maximum chance of success. My plan is to start by playing NL100 until I make $1-2k, then start taking shots at NL 200 and play that for most of the summer.

My goal for March is going to be to figure out what my strengths and weaknesses as a player are. My goal for April is how I can best spend the time improving my game. I decided to break everything up into categories. If there are certain categories you think I should include, please give me feedback. I plan to make several of these analyses into articles for the blog.

Categories
  • Single Raised pots and 3-bet pots as the bettor/caller, limped pots
  • C-betting on the flop,turn and river
  • Facing c-bets on the flop/turn/river
  • Raising c-bets IP and OOP
  • Calling flop c-bet to raise turn c-bet
  • Floating c-bets and turn c-bets
  • Play on turn after raising c-bet
  • Facing c-bet raises IP and OOP
  • 4-betting for value and as a bluff
  • Facing 4-bets
  • Isolating vs. limpers and raisers
  • Stealing from CO/BTN/SB
  • Play from EP and MP
  • Donk betting
  • Facing donk bets
  • Heads up and multiway pots
  • Bluff catching
  • Understanding board textures
  • 3-betting vs each position
  • Facing 3-bets from each position
  • HUD setup
  • Notecaddy
  • Note taking
  • Number of hours put in: play vs study vs coaching
  • Work ethic
  • Playing more tables vs less tables
  • Table selection
  • Site selection
  • Length of sessions
  • Tilt management
  • Tilt recognition
  • Stop loss strategy
  • Types of tilt
  • Studying the game efficiently
  • Session reviewing
  • Flopzilla
  • HEM filters/database analysis
  • Bankroll Management
  • Goal setting
  • Evaluating success

For each of these categories I am going to try to explain my strategy as best I can and evaluate the success of my strategies. I might look to you guys for tips and hopefully we can have some good discussion about the concepts. Thanks for checking out my thread!
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:58 PM   #73
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Subbed. Looking forward to reading.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:31 PM   #74
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Flop Continuation Betting

NLHE is a three street game, but a lot of our success in flop continuation betting comes by ending the hand on the flop. Our flop continuation betting strategy should be to take a lot of hands down on the flop but also to plan for the turn and river. Most of the time our opponents are going to fold a fairly wide part of their range to a continuation bet and you will frequently see your flop c-bet success being somewhere between 40 and 45% on average. With a total bluff that means we are making a little bit of money, but when we have equity we really cash in. Having a high c-bet percentage also makes it so our opponents canít easily fold when we apply pressure postflop. In this article I am going to focus on my flop continuation bet strategy vs. thinking players based on different board textures.

A dry flop with a high card: Your opponent isnít going to be likely to hit these kinds of boards, so you should be able to take the pot down frequently with a bet. These can be good to fire at least once even in a three-way pot. Your opponentís main play against you is going to be to float your flop bet because raising on these flops doesnít often get a lot of credit. Raising isnít a great option for htem because itís difficult to check raise dry boards frequently and represent a strong range. These boards are good to fire with 100% of your range. An alternate play can be to check raise with a bluff Ė players often will fire most of their range when you check to them and you can represent a strong hand and surprise your opponent.

A low dry flop: Your opponent isnít likely to hit these boards but they know you arenít either. With a typical cold calling range, your opponent is going to have a lot of pairs that they can call at least one bet with and they can credibly represent sets by raising and put you in a difficult position. Most players donít raise you a lot on these boards, but if they do then making small 3-bet bluffs would be a good counterstrategy. Your opponents can float but you are often going to have pretty good steal equity on the turn, and you can barrel on most face cards out of position, and get two free cards in position. These are good to bet with any piece of the board Ė overcards, pairs, gutshots, and backdoor draws in a heads up pot. In a 3 way pot these are tough to bluff at without some decent outs or good position.

Paired flop: These flops are very hard to hit, but are favorable to the preflop raiser because of more combinations of overpairs. You can bet these flops with air three ways most of the time. They can be pretty good to double barrel as a bluff because many players will be sticky on the flop but fold on the turn with a float or low pair, especially if the turn brings a high card. In addition, many players will be raising their trips on the flop in a HU pot because it looks more bluffy than calling and raising on the turn, so their flatting range will be weaker. I bet these with close to 100% of my range.

Wet flop: On these flops, position is going to be more important. Now floating and bluff raising in position become more viable for opponents because they can represent a wider range of value hands and draws. You also can get paid off somewhat lighter because when you fire barrels your opponents can put you on a draw and be suspicious. On a wet flop your opponents are a lot more likely to have hit unless their range is very pair heavy. I only bet these boards if I have a pair or better, a gutshot or OESD, or a flush draw. I check fold a lot more frequently on these flops. In position, these can be good to bet with the intention of firing multiple streets. Your opponents are going to be raising their strong hands so when they call they either have weak made hands or weak draws. I would still start off with a reasonable range for c-betting though.

These guidelines are a little general but the less coordinated a board is, the more frequently you can c-bet as the preflop raiser. The preflop raiser has the advantage usually of having the strongest preflop hands in their range, while the preflop callers are less likely to have strong preflop hands. Overall I think that my continuation betting strategy is good, but a specific spot where I want to work on is button vs blinds, because the dynamic seems very different. I would give myself a B+ in this category.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:46 PM   #75
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Re: NLHE Strategy Article Daily for a Year

Great thread Awesemo... really appreciate you putting in the time. Very helpful to a noob such as myself.



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