"Mikes007, A_Schupick, Breich, Hippy80, Bona, BumbleBee99"
Welcome to "The Digest" we appreciate our readers and hope you are getting something useful from "The Digest."
Our line-up and our content are changing. In this months issue you will find Hippy80 beginning a series of columns designed especially for newer posters While Breich brings his unique background and perspective to poker. Poker strategy is well covered by Mike and Schu as usual. No-one was nominated for POTM for December. That's ok. We have many very solid posters in the forums we cover but we are comfortable when no one of them stands out in a given month. We haven't discontinued honoring a POTM, it will be back.
We have yet to find the right person to bring us MTT strategy but we continue to search. In the meantime we are also looking into whether the micro limit NLHE forum would like to be included in "The Digest" content, coverage, and circulation.
Please enjoy the digest, it is published with you in mind so let us know what you like and what you don't. You can help us improve.
At the digest we consider well posted hands with legitimate questions, that induce strategy discussion, to be the heart of the value of the forum. That is why we attempt to collect quality posts throughout the month for digest links.
We were contemplating writing a long involved explanation of what to post and why when doh... we remembered that has been done and done well. Below are posting guidelines as published in the BQ FAQ. Where is the FAQ you ask? A frequently ask questions thread that is stickied at the top of the first page. To become a good poster or even to improve from an already good poster, the first order of business is reading the FAQ.
The Digest also serves the LHE micros forum. They have a terrific, forum specific instructional stickied on the top of their first page. http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/35...g instructions
Posting guidelines from BQ FAQ
1) Posting guidelines
Because we get a ton of new players everyday looking and using the Beginners forum for the first time and to promote a better forum experience we have come up with some basic guidelines for posting a hand. So before you click that shiny button that says "New Thread" here's some things you should consider.
1.01) Is this hand a bad beat?
In other words, did you get your money in ahead and still lose? The it's a bad beat. Nothing you can do about it. It happens. Move on to the next hand.
1.02) Have you read the FAQ?
There is so much information in that one resource that you can spend months browsing through it. Many of the questions you have, are already answered in the concepts and topics covered in the FAQ. Most of your hand posts boil down to concept application. So you should really try to get at the root of your question. Not should I fold or should I shove. You're really looking for the 'why' not the 'what'. In other words, if you don't know 'why' it really doesn't matter 'what' anyone tells you. The FAQ is full of the "why". At least make a reasonable effort to see if your question(s) can be found in the FAQ.
1.03) Have you tried the search function?
Chances are your question has been answered before, especially if you do not have much poker experience. You really don't need to start a 'when to move up bankroll thread' just type in 'bankroll management' into the search function and you should be able to find something that will help you out. Don't be discouraged if you don't find something with your first search, sometimes you have to give it the right words before it finds something. There is also bankroll information in the master sticky already. So you might want to try there first.
1.04) Title your post correctly.
This is fairly important because it can effect the advice you get. Things to include in the title are Level of play, 10NL, 25NL etc. Usually your hole cards. Some sort of idea of the decision you are looking at, but try not to give away the outcome of your hand. Good Example would be, "25NL KK in LP, turn decision vs a nit" a bad title would be something like "25NL, KK am I always behind here?" It's subtle but you can tell what the outcome is before you open the thread up. Knowing the outcome of a hand really can influence the advice you get.
1.05) Be sure to convert the hand if possible.
Raw hand history is harder to read, and might get ignored by those who choose not to read it. Also, raw histories include screen names and its somewhat bad form to show these. Not all hand histories from all sites can be converted, but most of the larger sites HHs can be run through the forum's own hand history converter. If that does not work there are other converters listed below. Details can be found in this thread: Official TwoPlusTwo Hand Converter Thread.
1.06) Alternate hand history convertors.
2+2 now includes a built in hand history convertor. Details can be found in this thread: Official TwoPlusTwo Hand Converter Thread.
Here are some other hand history converters:
Lego Poker/FTP converter
How to convert Ultimate Bet hands?
1.07) Only show the hand up to the point of the decision you want to discuss.
For instance if you have AA and are check raised all in on the flop you don't need to show the cards that come on the turn or the river they are meaningless to the decision you are making and can influence how others see the hand.
1.08) Don't post results!
It really does change the advice you get and whether you win the hand or not has no bearing on the quality of your decision. In the body of your post try not to give hints as to the outcome either.
1.09) Include stats.
You see a lot of post that start with "villian was 35/14/2" These are stats given from most poker database software. (for example Poker Tracker) and are VPIP, PFR, Total AG. These stats are not the only ones the software can give you and I would suggest you include any stats that you might think pertain to the hand. If you don't know what these stats mean, then once again you can find that info in the Master Sticky.
1.10) Include reads.
These would be actually what you have observed a player doing. Such as 'villain checkraises sets on the flop'. Because of the built in variance that poker players experience, stats are not true reads until you get a bunch of hands on a villain. No, 50 hands is not a bunch. Reads are really important to a lot of decisions we make. The better your reads, the better the advice people can generally give.
1.11) Include your image.
At some levels this is important, at others not so much. How important really kinda depends on if you think villain is actually paying attention to what your doing. I think though if you have been fairly active it effects villains more than if you have been fairly quiet at these levels.
1.12) What can you expect from others?
People respond to hands in different ways and for different reasons. Some will give you fairly lengthy and complete answers, others may just say a few things that may not help you at all. Some people like to teach, others are merely working on their own game. The main thing you have to remember is that poker is a lonely game. You and you alone are responsible for your poker education if you want to improve. So if someone makes a comment on your hand that you don't understand ask them about it. Most are more than willing to explain their thinking when asked.
1.13) How do I post an image in a thread?
To post an image or photo, first you must HOST it on the web. Even if you are just posting an image that is already on the web, unless it is on your website you MUST rehost it. Hot-linking an image (linking directly to an image on somebody else's site) is very bad and may get you banned. Always rehost!
The most popular hosting sites are ImageShack and Photobucket.
Once you have your image hosted, write your post. To add an image in your post, click this tool, which is just above the box where you enter your post: and enter the URL where the image is hosted.
1.14) What not to post.
Do not post requests for staking or offers to stake.
Do not post requests for coaching or offers to coach.
Do not post requests for rakeback or offers of rakeback.
Do not post spam.
Do not post bad beats except in threads designated for that purpose.
Do not post one word replies. Include some thought and explanation in your replies.
Do not post personal information regarding or identifying any other posters including but not limited to: phone numbers, addresses, URLs, AIM screen names, poker site accounts, etc. No trainwrecking!
wcg rider start series
wcgrider help post
PPA recap of elction results and plans for lobbying
2+2 Poker Legislation forum
How to play suited connectors
Freteloo is building an autologous PF chart (LHE) Follow the progress here
A thread to follow the goings on at the Poker Stars Amsterdam Meet up (these guys are all nuts of course)
Links to previous Digests
"The Digest November 2012
"The Digest" October, 2012
BQ Digest September 2012
BQ Digest August 2012
BQ Digest July, 2012
BQ Digest May and June 2012
Evaluating flop textures
An important skill in NL hold'em is evaluating the texture of the flop and how well it hits your range and your opponent's range. The flop is the street which will determine what made hand you are playing, or what hand you are most likely drawing to. While there can be surprises on the turn and river which will change everything about the hand, the flop cards are the ones which will mostly determine how you will play your hand. Therefore, an ability to read the flop and see how well it hits ranges will enable you to make good decisions and increase your EV. In this article, I will look at a few example flops and see how well they hit some reasonable ranges.
I will assume that we opened with a PFR and get a cold-caller. Our range will be a 15% PFR range: 22+,A9s+,KTs+,QTs+,JTs,T9s,98s,ATo+,KJo+
I will consider two different types of cold-caller – A tight 8% CC range, and a looser, fishier 31% CC range.
8% CC range: TT-22,AJs-ATs,KJs+,QTs+,JTs,T9s,AQo-AJo
31% CC range: TT-22,AQs-A2s,K7s+,Q8s+,J8s+,T8s+, 97s+,86s+,75s+,64s+,53s+,43s,AQo-A2o,KTo+,QTo+,JTo
I will be running the 15% PFR range against each of the cold-calling ranges. This will give us a rough idea of how a standard opening range fares on different flops against both a tight and loose CC range.
Let's start off by looking at a pretty dry flop:
PFR vs tight CC: 52.3%/47.7%
PFR vs loose CC: 54.8%/45.2%
This flop is pretty good for the PFR. Furthermore, there are not many draws available for our opponent to chase. Thus, we can cbet this board quite liberally, although our ability to 2-barrel is somewhat constrained by the fact that there are no scare cards. Another option, since we will be way ahead or way behind the majority of our opponent's range on a board like this is to check behind when we have position and a weak ace or a pair between the A and the 7. We are looking to induce some action rather than have our opponent only call our cbet with stuff that has us beaten. Of course reads are very important when we are trying to do this; if our opponent is savvy, he will realize that our check-back means a showdown value hand and can play appropriately on future streets. Note that against the loose CC range, we are not doing quite as well as might be expected. This is because our opponent's range contains every Ax combo. Against such an opponent who is capable of playing any ace, you must exercise caution when you have worse than top pair. Despite the fact that his range is generally very wide and weak, on this specific board he will actually make top pair more often than you will.
Now, what happens if we change the board to contain a possible flush draw:
PFR vs tight CC: 52.1%/47.9%
PFR vs loose CC: 54.4%/45.6%
Well, not much happens at all. The cold-calling ranges fare just a tad bit better against the PFR in this spot. The threat of facing a flush draw is highly overrated; it makes hardly any difference to the equities range vs range. For every time the cold-caller has a flush draw here, he will surely have the other suits an equal amount of the time, so he will have a non-flush draw ¾ of the time that he has suited cards. And then he has all the other non-suited stuff in his range. So, after no opponent action has happened postflop, you are being way too MUBSY if you automatically worry about charging a flush draw or giving a free card. Now, if you cbet and he calls, then you see a turn card which brings 3 to the flush and villain suddenly wants to get all the money in the middle, well then that is a different scenario altogether and you would then be right to be concerned about a possible flush.
Let's look and see how our ranges do if we change the A on board to a K:
PFR vs tight CC: 57.4%/42.6%
PFR vs loose CC: 64.4%/35.6%
Whoa, now we are a really solid favorite against both types of cold-callers, much more so than on the A-high flop. I really didn't expect this result, and I've run the numbers twice to confirm it. It seems that even though the A-high flops should hit our range hard, they actually hit our opponent's range somewhat as well – even the tighter cold-calling range has some combos of Ax in it. There are many fewer combos of Kx in either of our opponents' ranges, and thus a K-hi flop is even better to cbet with air than an A-hi flop. Furthermore, there is the possibility of an A coming on the turn which would allow us to barrel as a bluff sometimes, and actually improve our hand a lot of the time as well.
Now we're gonna make the board slightly wetter; let's change the 2 to an 8 and see what happens:
PFR vs tight CC: 57.5%/42.5%
PFR vs loose CC: 61.9%/38.1%
Well, against the tighter range, the presence of possible low straight draws doesn't really affect the equities very much at all. In a range of mostly pocket pairs, straight draws are basically not really a part of his range on this board. The looser range consisting of a lot of suited connectors and 1-gappers does pick up some equity; however his range is still so loose that we are a comfortable favorite over it.
Well, lets change the K on board to something more connected with the rest of the board....
PFR vs tight CC: 50.6%/49.4%
PFR vs loose CC: 55.4%/44.6%
Well, now the medium-high suited combos in even the tighter CC range hit this board enough to be basically flipping with us. I think it is reasonable on a board like this to just check-fold or check-back a fair proportion of our hands which have totally missed. With our hands which have missed utterly, like 22 or KQ without any FD or BDFD, we have between 24% and 31% equity against the tight CC range. We are setting ourselves up for losing quite a few chips if we get too aggressive on a board like this, unless we have some good reads that our opponent is too foldy on the flop or the turn. Notice that the looser CC range has quite good equity as well, however our range is still a favorite against his range, due to how loose his range is.
OK, let's make the board as wet as it can be:
PFR vs tight CC: 49.0%/51.0%
PFR vs loose CC: 53.8%/46.2%
Now we are actually a slight dog to the tighter player's range, and only barely ahead of the loose player's range. We must proceed with even more caution on this board than on the previous one.
What about boards with 2 high cards and 1 low card? They are supposed to be good for cbetting:
PFR vs tight CC: 57.1%/42.9%
PFR vs loose CC: 65.8%/34.2%
PFR vs tight CC: 53.5%/46.5%
PFR vs loose CC: 54.3%/45.7%
Conventional wisdom confirmed, we hit these types of boards better than our cold-calling opponents. Again, the presence of an A on board doesn't help us as much as we would hope; both our opponents have some aces in their range.
There's another type of board which generates some very interesting dynamics between good players. I am referring to a low, paired board:
PFR vs tight CC: 50.3%/49.7%
PFR vs loose CC: 58.6%/41.4%
As you can see, we're basically flipping against the tight player's range. And he probably knows it. And we know that he knows. These kind of flops often turn into a huge game of chicken, with bluffs, rebluffs, and light calldowns. The various means of exploitation and re-exploitation which are possible here are beyond the scope of this article, but you should be aware that such things occur between regs and you should plan carefully what you are going to do in case you come across an opponent who likes making moves when the flop basically misses everyone's range. Note that against the loose player, your preflop range is much stronger than his and this carries over postflop when the flop basically doesn't help either player. As such, you should not be afraid to valuebet or bluff against him; you often won't have much but neither will he, and your nothing is a healthy favorite over his nothing.
Well, I hope you have learned something today; I certainly did by writing this article. I think some of the key things to remember are:
- In HU situations between a PFR and a player who cold-calls, K-high dry flops typically favor the PFR moreso than A-high dry flops do.
- The availability of a flush draw by itself does not significantly detract from the value of a PFRs range, more critical are the availability of straight draws.
- As the board becomes wetter, cold-callers' ranges generally fare better at the expense of the PFR, yet a sufficiently wide cold-calling range is so weak that the PFR's range is a solid favorite except on the worst of boards.
- On boards which look like they missed everyone's range, you may have some tricky decisions against a tight, competent player. But against a loose player, your range should still be sufficiently ahead of his that you should not be afraid to continue being aggressive most of the time.
Remember to always consider opponent tendencies when determining what to do. An understanding of flop textures is very helpful, but becomes especially powerful when combined with solid reads.
By Bona and A_Schupick
We are posting a hand here with commentary. This is largely because we want to encourage the posting of strat hands in the forum. The guys in the LHE micros do a very good job with quality strat posts and responses. We would like BQ posters to do the same. In BQ we have the advantage of having players who specialize in several varieties of poker and are more than willing to participate in well posted hand threads.
This particular hand was chosen from a random group of not well played hands. I won't out the hero because this feature is not intended to embarass anyone. Both A_Schupick and I have commented on all streets. It may or may not be true that A_Schupick was completely befuddled by this hand and so exhausted from making his analysis that he was unable to provide a LHE column this month.
It is true that his commentary is more likely to be useful than mine.
Merge - $0.25/$0.50 - Holdem - 7 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4
Hero (BB): $12.68
SB posts SB $0.10, Hero
posts BB $0.25
Pre Flop: (pot: $0.35) Hero
, BTN raises to $0.50
, SB calls $0.40, Hero
A-Schupick: Pre Flop: standard play. Not much value in raising, because we have a bad kicker so even if we pair our 3, then we don't really feel great about our hand. Also, don't put a lot of value in the suitedness, while it's a really nice perk, it means way more for post flop, rather than now.
Bona: With a open raise from the button and a call from sb we are getting enough here to play this hand imo. Somebody more aggro than me might raise it hoping to fold better aces on a missed flop but I am fine with calling.
Flop: ($1.50, 3 players)
SB checks, Hero
checks, BTN bets $0.25
, SB calls $0.25, Hero
A_Schupick: Flop: Have to raise here, because we have SB caught in the middle here and we can get way more value. Also, we can't depend on BTN to bet turn all the time, and so we have to get our value and take initiative in this hand.
Bona: My default play here is a raise, I assume hero thought his hand so powerful he might get more money on the later streets. I think he was fooling himself. I'm not sure what the cost of this play is, lets see what hero does on big streets.
Turn: ($2.25, 3 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $0.50
calls $0.50, fold
A_Schupick: Turn: Donking turn here is terrible as played. Once we decide to let BTN take control of this hand, then we need to let him bet so we can c/r the turn and get more chips. Donking here is really strong and it's just going to kill our action.
Bona: OMG, donking here is very wrong imo. Hero's flop play set up a c/r for the turn and hero blew it.
River: ($3.25, 2 players)
Hero bets $0.50
, BTN raises to $1.00
, Hero raises to $1.50
, BTN raises to $2.00
A_Schupick: River: I hate this entire hand right now. Since we are here though we have to bet and raise, because we have seriously under-repped our hand. When we get 4-bet here I have no idea where we stand in the hand. I think calling here is fine, because we are never losing that much value on what he would call with, and his hand range is hard to decipher here because we took the line we did. My gut is we are ahead, actually, but there is a chance we aren't and I am not really wanting to take the chance. Just call and be happy that you won.
Bona: hmmn...villian likes his hand. There aren't many hands that beat us though. No straights or flushes possible so I'm not sure what villain might have. Villain holding KK or AA would be very strange. 77 would beat us but there are so few combinations of that I want to put some money in. Especially given the fact that hero's play should have confused him if he is paying attention. I think I can 5 bet and call 6 here (merge takes off betting cap when it gets hu). Maybe more but I am a bit nitty.
As a lazy ass recro player who hasn’t played for a good couple of months, I have somehow got the poker bug back recently and hit the tables.
After not playing and not really having a regularl game I decided for some reason to play a few 180 man SNG’s, having never played them before. Within a handful of games I had a 6th place finish, and decided there and then I’m not stopping until I win one!
It gave me an idea of something I could write about for this month, particularly being that time of year where a lot of players no doubt start turning to their goals for 2013. So with that said, how about I suggest one of your goals is to do something poker related that you’ve never done before.
My goal, albeit short-term, is to win a damn 180. What about you? What are you going to do next year?
Want to play live for the first time? Take your ass off the chair, away from the cyber felt and go and find your nearest cardroom.
Want to win a MTT? Stop grinding a gazillion cash tables once a week and enter a donkament.
Always wishing you could go to Vegas? Don’t put it off – go and do it!
Want someone to talk poker with but all your friends & family just don’t get it? Get involved in the forums and find some Skype buddies. Go meet them.
How about learning a new variant? Razz, sure; PLO, zomg4cards; Badugi, ….no, wait, no one wants to do that
Anyway, that’s it. Short and sweet - Go do something you’ve never done.
My name is Brett (Breich) Reichert. I am twenty-two years old and am currently a senior-year cadet at the United States Military Academy studying computer science. In one-hundred eighty days from the time of writing, I will graduate and commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. (The location under my name notes my days until graduation... but who's counting?)
I began my poker playing excursion years ago in high school. I would gather friends together to play five-dollar No Limit Holdem tournaments. None of us knew what we were doing, but nostalgically, poker nights were always fun.
Flash forward to the onset of my sophomore year at the Academy. That summer, a rejuvinated desire to play poker materialized. I played No Limit Holdem for fun on pogo.com for a couple weeks before returning to school. Upon settling into my barracks room, a friend and I drove to the Palisades Mall and stopped at a bookstore. There, I remembered my regained interest in poker, and sought out a book on the subject. Browsing through the available titles, I purchased my first book--The Psychology of Poker
by Alan Schoonmaker. (Little did I know that would be the first of at least twenty poker books over the next two years.)
A couple weeks after reading through Alan's book, I made a ten-dollar deposit on Pokerstars. Nervously, I bought in for my first ever online game, a ten-cent multi-table tournament. While Psychology
is not really a strategy book, it created a base-line for my poker journey. Very quickly, I purchased The Theory of Poker
, No Limit Holdem - Theory and Practice
, and Small Stakes Holdem - Winning Big With Expert Play
. I followed that up with the Harrington series on tournaments.
I would continue to play MTTs on Stars through 2010 and the beginning of 2011, when I dabbled in No Limit Holdem cash games. Then, after playing a single-table tourney literally minutes prior, my access to Stars was cutoff on what would quickly be dubbed Black Friday.
It was around the onset of post-BF poker that I transitioned to Limit Holdem. I wanted to take my first stab at playing live, but I did not have the cahones to play in a No Limit 1/2 cash game. In talking with apoker mentor--a co-worker of my mother's who is a successful WSOP tournament player--we determined that a small stakes Limit Holdem game would be much better to start with. I found a 2/4 game at the Turning Stone casino in upstate New York, where I could play a game that required a relatively smaller bankroll than No Limit as a twenty-year old.
So began my journey as a Limit Holdem player. That summer, I played 5c/10c LHE on Bodog, but used the forums sparingly. It was not until September of 2011 when I decided to commit to learning and expanding my game. I began to post hands, comment on others' hands, and participate in poker-related discussion. I also deposited a 200 BB bankroll on Bodog to play 25c/50c full ring LHE and began doing monthly session reviews with players in my home, the Micro Stakes Limit Holdem forum. Since then, I have expanded my play into 6-Max Limit Holdem, dabbling anywhere from 25c/50c to 1/2 on RPM.
I also play live poker whenever I get the chance. I am two hours away from Foxwoods in Connecticut, and have gone there to play in tournaments and cash games; two hours in the opposite direction is Mohegan Sun at Poccono Downs in Pennsylvania, where I frequently play in a fish-filled Limit Omaha/8 game--a flavor of poker I have come to love in the last year.
My game improves on a daily basis. School often prevents me from playing as much as I would like, but poker is something I ponder at most moments of the day. I absolutely love to play. I hope that with this column, I can pass on the lessons I have learned and my my passion for playing to our readers. My sincere thanks to Bona for bringing me on as a columnist; I am honored to do so, and hope that I please those who read.
Why Playing Games Other Than Limit Holdem Helps My Limit Holdem Game - Part One
A quick foreword about this article--I originally intended to write one all-encompassing article on my thoughts regarding playing many different forms of poker. However, after writing the section to follow, I realized that it will take more than one month to do so. Stay tuned for more in the coming months.
No Limit Holdem
In July of this year, I was on a month long Army internship at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I shadowed a second lieutenant that was a platoon leader for a military police company working the detention facilities down there. It was quite the eye-opening experience--set aside any political reservations you have about that place; detainees are treated extremely well there. (I will not say anything more because this is not the political forum.)
In addition to shadowing my platoon leader for four weeks, I had loads
of free time. At one point, I had six days off in a row
. With hours of time on my hand and a weak, intermittent, but useable internet connection, I popped open my RPM Poker client to grind out some Limit Holdem hands. To my utter disappointment, I could not connect to RPM, or any merge client--the government network at Guantanamo blocked the connection to the site. Reminiscent of post-Black Friday back in 2011, I scrambled to find a site that I could play on.
The one site I was able to actually connect to from behind the firewall was America's Cardroom. The only problem was, ACR had zero Limit Holdem tables, but plenty of No Limit Holdem games. Because I had experience in playing No Limit--and because watching Wimbeldon, six seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and going 27-20 in the Career Mode of a UFC game would not get me through four weeks of boredom--I deposited fifty dollars on ACR to play 2c/4c and 5c/10c No Limit Holdem. I also bought Ed Miller's Small-Stakes No Limit Holdem
for my Kindle.
Just as I had learned Limit and No Limit Holdem in my early days of playing, I spent the first three of four weeks in Guantanamo reading through chapters of Miller's book, accompanied by a few hours of playing, reflecting, and repeating the process. I also employed a learning tool I first read in Harrington's No Limit Holdem series. For every all-in situation, you calculate the equity by hand in an excel sheet, keeping a running balance of expected value and results. I used that as a short-term indicator of rungood or runbad. While I use Poker Tracker, which obviously computes this automatically, computing the equities by hand was informative and useful for my play.
In addition to reading Miller's book, I also bought and read through The Mental Game of Poker
by Jared Tendler. This is an excellent book on the psychological causes and effects of tilt, confidence, and motivation, among other topics. The most interesting, intriguing, and useful portion of this book, hower, was the chapter on fear.
Quite often, I am on edge and full of fear in any No Limit Holdem game. Relative to Limit Holdem, I had a relatively small level of playing experience with No Limit. I generally attributed my fear of the game--particularly in all-in situations--to the growing pains of learning something new. However, reading Tendler's book gave me truly eye-opening, thought-provoking thoughts and concepts.
One of the core themes of Jared's book involves finding the root causes of emotions like fear. As he notes, emotions are not problems themselves, but merely the symptoms of a problem. Reading through the fear chapter, I seriously pondered the source of my all-in fears. One evening, sitting on the couch in my apartment-hotel room, I realized the source--I am fearful of looking like an idiot. For whatever reason, since my childhood years I have always pre-occupied myself with how others perceive me. I never really want attention drawn to me, but when it is drawn to me, I do not want to look like a moron. It burns me to no end when I do look like one. This is not to say that others do not feel the same way; quite frankly, I have no idea if this is a personal trait I have developed, or something everyone has, to a certain degree.
In any case, I realized that my fear of all-in situations was a sub-concious symptom of my underlying fear of looking stupid. In poker, No Limit Holdem, and all-in situations especially, looking like an idiot can take many forms--notably, folding a winner, hero-calling a loser, or shoving a loser. It was in these three particular situations that my fear rose to a level of near mental-debilitation, where rational thought shuts off and I 'freeze'. Thoughts like 'am I shoving into a winner?', 'is he shoving a bluff?', 'should I call?', 'If I do, and he rolls over a strong hand, I will look stupid; If I fold, and he rolls over a bluff, I would look even dumber!' were often prevalent in my thinking-process.
However, once I realized the source
of my fear, I slowly began to resolve it. To do so, I continued to learn and apply Miller's No Limit concepts. But, in addition, I focused heavily on ranging my oppenents--particularly before
an all-in decision point. Instead of getting into a shove or fold situation without much thought, I had a game-plan before my oppenent even acted. Instead of worrying about how others perceived me, I now focused my thoughts on things like 'if I open-raise and he three-bets, I am shoving', 'if he over-shoves on a blank turn, I am folding', or 'I am going to check behind this turn and call any
river bet.' By pre-planning the hand on contingent scenarios, I was able to make the critical decisions before they happened, mitigating my fear. I still have a sub-concious desire to never look stupid in front of others, but at the poker table, my techniques to combat that fear are eons better than what they ever were.
In tandem with the four thousand hands of No Limit Holdem I would play over three weeks, I started a programming project of my own. I was coding and developing a simple program that could take in a video poker paytable and a held hand. Subsequently, it would output the expected value of holding that hand. In example, on a Jacks or Better 9/6 paytable, the program would output whether holding two pair was better than holding three to a royal flush by computing their expected values.
I connected to West Point's internal network through a VPN connection to ask one of my instructors a question about the program. Sub-conciously, I opened Firefox while in that VPN connection and navigated to the 2p2 forums--a website that was blocked by the Guantanamo firewall because of 'Gambling'. (A month without the forums sucks.) To my shock, the forums loaded with no problem! Dumbfounded, I realized that I was able to connect because I was connecting through the VPN tunnel to New York, where my network traffic was then handled.
Hitting myself in the head, I realized that all along, I could have used the VPN to connect to my RPM Poker client. Angry but simultaneously thrilled at the prospect of grinding Limit Holdem once again, I rushed over to the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation internet cafe and proceeded to play twenty-four hours of four-tabled 6-Max Limit Holdem over three days. With two snapples, a meatball sub, and some cookies from Subway, I was ready for my grinding sessions. (To this day, I nostalgically look back on those three days of grinding; I never get the chance to play un-interrupted poker because of the nature of my school.)
The four-thousand hands I played over those three days were the best days I have ever had playing Limit Holdem. By no means do I mean they yielded great results--I think I was somewhere around -50 BB at the end. More important than results, my performance
at the tables was unsurpassed. I was making lightning quick, informed, and confident decisions at about four-hundred hands an hour.
Prior to those three days, I could never handle more than two tables of 6-Max at a time; I too easily became overwhelmed by more than that. In amazed reflection, I realized that my excellent play was derived from the hours of time I spent learning, experiencing, and reflecting upon No Limit Holdem. Notably, the time invested in analyizing my No Limit opponents--gauging their range of possible hands and determining a course of action before a decision point--was utterly invaluable to my bread-and-butter Limit Holdem. I was exponentially more comfortable ranging my opponents, and noticeably more adept at taking stats from my HUD--Attempt to Steal, PFR, AFq, etc.--and converting them into data points that my mind could visualize and utilize. Of course, I have used my HUD well before Guantanamo, but after a month of learning and reflecting, I can honestly say that in July of 2012--a month spent learning about the Army, watching sixty hours of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and pondering the intricacies of poker--I took a critical step in my development as a Limit Holdem player; ironically so, considering I spent twenty-five days of July learning and perfecting an entirely different game.
Stay tuned for next month, when I will discuss my experiences in home games, and how different flavors of poker coupled with a social dimension is uniquely beneficial to a poker player.
2+2 can be a scary place at first glance. Noob Corner is for those of us reading who are newer to these forums, want to make the best your time here, and maybe even make some good friends.
Hi, welcome to Noob Corner.
Don't mind the guys asking about when they should turn pro, or if they should fold KK pre-flop (we'll be dealing with those in the near future). This month we're going to look at introducing yourself to 2+2, and how to get the best out of this great resource.
You might have noticed over the past week or so, that certain threads have been started, attracted a great deal of attention from regulars, mods, and those with greater powers.
These threads were started by a new poster to the forums, and he had some "interesting ideas" about the maths behind the games we all love. In the true spirit of 2+2 (no, I'm not talking about trolling) several posters tried to show this poster the error of his ways. He was less than receptive, and that leads me to the meat of this month's article.
"How do I get the most out of 2+2?"
1. The Search function is your friend.
If you have a question, it's fairly likely that someone else has had the same question. Regular posters see the same threads popping up week on week, month on month. These threads do get answers, but there is only so many times you can answer "What's better, Poker Tracker or HEM?" before you lose your sanity. Not making these threads will only enhance your standing the community.
2. Yes, this is a community, treat it as such.
Would you scream "F*** YOU!" in the face of someone who gave you an answer to a question you didn't like? Didn't think so. So why is it ok to do it online? Treat the posters on these forums with respect, and you will generally get the same in return. The communities in the sub-forums can be great fun, and I recommend joining in the events organised. You can meet some great people here (and Bumblebee99) who will be great fun, and also be able to help you improve your poker game
3. Read the FAQ.
No, really. The Forum FAQs are chock full of really useful information.
Micros posting guidelines
Read them, they will probably stop you looking like a twit.
4. If people disagree with you, it's not the end of the world.
2+2 is full of people who probably have much more experience in poker than a new poster. Hell, it's why we come here. If the consensus opinion is not yours, please have the stones and humility to accept, you might be wrong. Not everything
posted as an answer to questions on 2+2 is correct, but you will soon learn who's opinion to trust, (post count is a good thing to look for) and who has the experience in the areas you need.
Discussion is ok, but you came here to learn from people with more experience than you. If they are all telling you the same thing, it's probably right. Sticking to your point like a religious dogma isn't helpful, for you, or anyone else.
5. Post in other people's threads.
Join in the discussion, add your point of view. If someone posts a hand, say how you'd have played it. It might not be right, but that's how we all learn. There are very few aspects of poker that are "Solved" and have no further discussions to be had. Making lots of new threads isn't going to endear you to anyone.
6. Post Hand Histories
If you think you played a hand wrong, or just aren't sure if the line you took was reasonable, post the HH. Please include reads and numbers of hands on the villain, a readless spot isn't really going to help you learn.
It may take a little while, but people will post suggestions and opinions, and you can improve your game.
I know the above is pretty standard stuff, but you'd be amazed how often people don't consider these things before they hit "New Thread" and start typing "Should I have folded my KK pre-flop?" I hope these little bits of advice help new members to this community integrate and feel welcomed.
Thanks for reading "The Digest." Our mission is to inform and entertain. You can be part of the evolution and improvement of "The Digest" by offering your suggestions and comments in this thread.
Almost everyone has a Holiday to celebrate in December. We wish all of you a very happy Holiday season.
Next Month, I'm going to look at the regular question "When should I turn Pro?" and I'm hoping to have some interesting insight on that one...
Thanks for reading "The Digest".
We solicit your comments, suggestions, and criticisms in "The Digest" thread