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Psychology Discussions of psychology as applied to poker and other gambling games.

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Old 05-05-2017, 09:35 AM   #1
DalTXColtsFan
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Learning multiple forms of poker - pros and cons

I've seen advice that a player should pick one variant of poker and stick with it, i.e. stick with PLO or stick with NLHE or stick with LHE or stick with tournaments etc.

In my personal case, I'm primarily an LHE player, but I've also spent time learning PLO and NLHE and there are elements of the study I've done for those 2 variants that have improved my LHE game.

Studying PLO helped me understand that you have to push equity advantages and be prepared to lose a lot of hands but understand that as long as you're pushing when you have the advantage you'll profit in the long run. Of course I learned that studying LHE, but the variance in PLO makes the variance in LHE look like a straight line.

I recently started learning how to shortstack NLHE. Doing so illuminated holes in my LHE game. In shortstack NLHE you have to play super tight and super patient - one could sit there for 4 hours and literally play 2 hands. Playing too many hands because you're bored is suicide. I used to complain that even LHE is boring because sometimes the correct play is to fold 15 to 20 hands in a row - that QTo on the button can look awfully tempting when you're bored. Having played a few sessions of shortstack NLHE taught me that I had no idea what patience was and now I've (hopefully!) eliminated a couple holes from my LHE game.

Of course tournament poker teaches you all kinds of lessons - paying attention to villains, stack sizes, SPRs, shorthanded play et al.

Other thoughts on learning multiple variants of poker?
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Old 05-05-2017, 11:26 AM   #2
walkby
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Re: Learning multiple forms of poker - pros and cons

I think you're right. Different games can help illuminate each other. I've noticed this when switching from HUSNGs to cash games and vise versa. When you switch variants you're put in spots that sometimes help you understand spots in another variant.
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Old 05-06-2017, 02:37 AM   #3
Elrazor
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Re: Learning multiple forms of poker - pros and cons

The sports psychology literature suggests that in order to achieve expert performance, rather than specialise in one discipline (e.g. football), during your formative years of learning, it is more useful to play various different sports.

To continue the sporting analogy, if you sample different forms of poker, what you are effectively doing is sampling different positions on a football field - Junior player do this so they can both find their best/favorite position, to have a better appreciation of the game, and to analyse it from different angles. I think it can also be argued that playing other card games, or board games requiring strategic/critical thinking (chess, backgammon, etc) will also improve your (long term) poker performance.

However, once you reach a certain stage of development, it is better to specialise in one sport, and one position - to become expert at that discipline. So, find your best/favorite game, and stick to it.

Learning different forms of poker and learning different strategic games should give you a better critical understanding of poker - at least that's my view.

Last edited by Elrazor; 05-06-2017 at 03:02 AM.
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Old 05-07-2017, 10:17 AM   #4
Bob148
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Re: Learning multiple forms of poker - pros and cons

A little over a year ago, the site that I play on added a bunch of different freeroll, cashgame, and tourney formats. Playing a bunch of different games has definitely helped me more than it hurt me. Last week I actually ran pretty hot in a mixed game tourney and won it. My worst game is definitely plo, so I gotta play very tight in that level, focusing on survival.

Playing lots of different games forces you to estimate equity in so many new situations, which has to be a good thing for your overall game.

A hidden benefit of playing many different games is that you increase your ability to game select from a wider variety of formats. This has to be good for your overall winrate.
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:13 AM   #5
jeffmray
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Re: Learning multiple forms of poker - pros and cons

Quote:
Originally Posted by DalTXColtsFan View Post
I recently started learning how to shortstack NLHE. Doing so illuminated holes in my LHE game. In shortstack NLHE you have to play super tight and super patient - one could sit there for 4 hours and literally play 2 hands. Playing too many hands because you're bored is suicide.
is 50BB stacks short stack poker?
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:45 PM   #6
DalTXColtsFan
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Re: Learning multiple forms of poker - pros and cons

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffmray View Post
is 50BB stacks short stack poker?
In my limited understanding so far, I would say that what "short stack poker" really means is that it's a 2-street game - meaning you raise enough before the flop that on the flop you really have only two options - shove or fold.

50bb is typically too high for that. If you raise to, for example, 6bb and get 2 callers, there are only 18bb in the pot on the flop and you have 44bb behind. 44bb would be a MASSIVE overbet there. If you have only 30bb in your stack, then your overbet flop shove is only 24bb, which is still a little high but not ridiculously so.

Having said THAT, there are a lot of tables where your preflop raises will FREQUENTLY get 4 or 5 callers. In those cases, there will be 30 to 36bb in the pot, so your 44bb overbet shove (starting with a 50bb stack) is not quite so ridiculous.

Of course, if your 6bb raise will get 4 or 5 callers you might as well raise to, say, 8bb or 10bb, and then even 2 or 3 callers sets you up so that your flop overbet shove is not so ridiculous.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you sit down with 50bb and wait for AA-JJ/AK-type hands, you'll probably do nothing but fold for 4 or 5 entire orbits, so your 50bb will dwindle down a bit for you.

Essentially, it's about decisions. The worse a player you are the fewer decisions you want to make and the easier you want those decisions to be. If you're the best player at the table you want the deepest stack at the table because you want everybody to make 4 or 5 decisions per hand, knowing you will make better decisions than they do.

Was that a little more information than what you were looking for?
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Old 05-11-2017, 02:35 AM   #7
6MaxLHE
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Re: Learning multiple forms of poker - pros and cons

I think playing NLHE and LHE is probably only a good idea if you are able to discern the static and dynamic value of hands before and after the flop. In LHE you will often be going to showdown with TPGK. In NLHE frequently going to showdown with top pair and overpair hands is a recipe for going broke quickly. As for possible holes in your game I would start with preflop checkups in both LHE and NLHE. You should be raising QTo on the button in both games regardless of stakes.
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