Micro-Stakes Limit Texas Hold 'Em Forum FAQ & Posting Guidelines v 2.1
Welcome to 2+2's Micro-Limit Texas Hold 'Em Forum. This guide is intended to help you get started as a contributor to this forum by providing posting guidelines, answering Frequently Asked Questions, and suggesting where to look if your can't find the answers you need here.
This document is divided into five sections:
I. POSTING GUIDELINES
II. BASIC STATISTICS
III. A FEW FAQs
IV. TERMINOLOGY AND ABBREVIATIONS
V. WHERE TO GO FOR MORE HELP
I. POSTING GUIDELINES
This forum prides itself on maintaining the highest signal-to-noise ratio of any of the 2+2 forums; in order to keep it that way, we ask that you adhere to the following guidelines. Note, these are not hard-and-fast "rules", but rather what long experience has taught us is necessary to make a quality hand post.
DO: try using the search function of the forums
Most questions you might want to ask have probably been covered in a thread started by somebody else in the past. The search function is unwieldy and can be difficult to get to work properly, but you should at least take a stab at it before posting your first few hands.
DO: convert the hand into a readable format
The online editor in the forums includes a utility (see the FAQ section for instructions) that converts raw hand history formats, such as those taken directly from PokerStars or from Hold 'Em Manager or PokerTracker3, into an easily-readable format. The converter also hides the actual screennames of the players (see below).
"I can't get the converter to work" is an unacceptable excuse for not converting the raw hand history. Check the FAQ section for common solutions to converter problems. If you still can't get it to work, PT3 has a built-in converter or you can try Googling "poker hand converter"
and use one of those (make sure to select 2+2 format for the output). If all else fails, you can convert it by hand; scan a few other posted hands to see what the basic format looks like.
DON'T: use real screennames in discussions of hands
The converter automatically identifies you as "Hero" and identifies the other players in the hand based on their position (SB, BB, UTG, UTG+1, MP1-3, HJ, CO, BTN for a 10-handed table), and you should do the same if you have to convert your hand manually. Some players would prefer to not have their screenname broadcast on the forum, and we ask that you respect that. Also avoid starting threads to cover, "I think thispokerplayer is a giant donkey"-type subjects, or even posting it in the designated no-content (NC) thread.
DO: cut off the action at the point where you have a question
Posting a hand where you limp 73o UTG preflop, flop 777 and all 3 postflop streets are capped and asking, "Should I have raised this preflop?" is going to get you nothing but flames. The cards that fall on later streets, and the action on later streets has no bearing on the decision you're facing, but seeing that can influence other posters' answers to your question.
Be careful to take out the color tags the converter puts in to code bets and raises; when the action looks like this:
(12.4 SB) 4
6 (3 players)
, Hero ?
it's pretty much a dead giveaway that you raised.
DO: include any and all information you might have that is relevant
This might be a read you have on a player, statistics you've compiled, etc. It is not things that you don't know at the time you're making the decision you are asking about (e.g. "This was my first hand with Villan, but he turned out to be an uber-LAG after 200 hands;" also see "DON'T: include results" below).
DON'T: post more than one hand to start a thread
If there's more than one hand in an originating post, or even in a thread as a whole (although this sometimes happens and the world doesn't end), the thread quickly becomes unreadable with the majority of posts being, "In hand 1 I c/r the turn," "Wate, wat, I folded the flop in hand 1," "No, I mean the QJs hand," "Isn't that hand 3?"
Exception 1: including a previous hand by way of providing a read. This can be a good change of pace, but you will almost always get somebody trying to discuss the "read" hand. It's usually better to just describe your read.
Exception 2: you have more than one hand that are examples of the same situation. This is more than, "This villan c/r'd me on the turn in both these hands," or, "I had overpairs in these three hands;" most experienced posters have difficulty identifying two hands that meet this standard, so be careful when employing this exception. If you try to do this and fail, your post comes off as a whine or a bad-beat.
Exception 3: posting in the no-content (NC) thread. You have 5 hands out of 10 against the same opponent where he turns up at the river with a fishy better hand than yours and you want to whine. Knock yourself out. It's the no-content (NC) thread. Just don't ask any questions about how you played the hands.
DON'T: include results
Not even in spoilers. Be careful to not hint at the results in your text or subject (e.g. "Should I have known that Villan had trip 8s when he c/r'd the turn?"). Much like not cutting off the action where you have a question, knowing how the hand turned out might influence the opinions of other respondents.
This rule does not apply in the designated no-content (NC) thread.
DO: preview you post
Down next to the "Submit" button there's a "Preview" button. Use it the first few times you post a hand history to make sure that everything looks the way you expect it to. After a while you'll get conditioned enough to posting that you'll stop doing this. You'll also stop grunching (see below) someday, and maybe even posting bad beats.
DON'T: post bad-beats, suckout wins, lolbad plays by other players, etc.
There's no strategy to these hands. When somebody gets lucky, that's outside anything you are able to analyze or strategize for, so there's no interesting discussion to be had. You can put them in the designated no-content (NC) thread.
DON'T: post open-ended, hypothetical or theory-related questions
Ok, some theory questions will pass, but most of the time there's an ulterior motive for posting these types of questions (e.g. when somebody posts, "Is 93o a good hand to raise from CO?" it usually turns out that they just got sucked out by somebody that raised 93o from CO and they were holding a good hand in the blinds) and these turn out to be bad-beat posts (see above).
DO: respond more in threads started by others than starting your own threads
This forum is for you to improve your game. The hands you played you're emotionally invested in; nobody can divorce themselves completely from the fact that they lost 8BB in thus-and-such a situation, but can if it's somebody else's hand. (See "Grunching" in the terminology section.)
Generally all posters should be participating in at least 5 threads for every 1 they start. When you're first starting out, you should probably shoot for 10:1. Most veterans run at closer to 20-30:1.
A secondary effect of this guideline is that you should try to avoid flooding the forum with your own hands; if you have more than 3 active threads you are posting too many of your own hands. Give everybody else a chance, too.
II. BASIC STATISTICS
The ubiquity of tracking software like Hold 'Em Manager (HEM) and PokerTracker3 (PT3) has made it possible to analyze players' statistics like never before. There is an entire *Official* thread dedicated to stats that is usually on one of the first two pages of the thread list; look for it if you want somebody to look over your stats, don't start a separate thread for it.
For purposes of providing reads on villans when posting hands, the basic statistics that get posted as reads are:
: the percentage of hands that a player voluntarily puts money in the pot (i.e. outside the blinds)
: the percentage of hands that a player raises preflop
: an indicator of how aggressive a player is postflop
Usually these are expressed in the form VPIP/PFR/AF or VPIP/PFR/AFq or VPIP/PRF/AFqf/AFqt/AFqr (where the poster is separating out the Aggression Frequency Quotient by postflop street). Sometimes but not always posters include the number of hands the stats are taken from; this is very important, because not all these stats converge quickly, so you'll often see posters being criticized for relying on small sample-size stats in their analysis.
Posters will sometimes also include WTS
(how often the player takes a hand to showdown) and W$SD
(how often the player wins at showdown). Be aware that any statistics that have anything to do with money won or number of hands won are highly suspect because of the luck factor (e.g. posting "Villan must be solid, his winrate has been 5BB/100 hands for the last 300 hands" is going to be greeted with general derision).
III. SOME FAQs
"Aiiiieeeee! There's too much here! Where should I start?"
Read the Micro Limit Library
. All of it. Come back when you're done.
Ok, no, seriously, just browse through it and read some stuff that seems interesting. Then go to the Monthly Digest and read some stuff in there. Then read the first 5 threads in the forum.
"I've lost 30BBs in the past 500 hands. Am I terrible?"
Not necessarily, but you haven't given us enough information to answer your question.
"Should I raise XX preflop?"
Again, not enough information. Preflop questions are usually pretty basic and can be covered by the application of a starting-hand chart. Anything beyond that is going to require a description of the table and the other players.
"What's the best book for a beginner to read to get started?"
Opinion on this differs. Nearly all posters in this forum have read (most several times) "Small Stakes Hold 'Em" (SSH or SSHE) by Ed Miller, et al., and most will say this is the book to start with. Some (myself included) started with "Winning Low-Limit Hold 'Em" (WLLH) by Lee Jones. "Getting Started In Hold 'Em" (GSIH) also by Ed Miller, is another place to start and covers NL as well as limit.
Which is best? That depends. SSHE introduces some more-advanced plays that you will eventually need to use but misunderstanding them will cost you some money. WLLH advocates a very conservative style of play that will keep you safe while you're learning but you'll get some habits that you'll need to break as you advance or it'll cost you some money. GSIH is more of a general primer on the games, and less about specific strategies.
It's generally advised that whatever book you start with should be heavily supplemented by participation/research in the forums, e.g. don't read the second on "Raising for a Free Showdown" in SSHE and then go trying it without doing a search of the forum for posts relating to that subject.
"I see references to 'grunch', 'grunching', '*g*', etc. at the top of posts. What does this mean?"
Short answer, look in the terminology section, below.
Longer answer, taken from btspider's original FAQ:
"Where's the hand converter?"
Originally Posted by btspider, FAQ v1.0
A well respected 2+2er, The Grunch, once made a post encouraging posters, particularly newer posters, to respond to initial hand posts without reading the responses. The point of this is mainly to encourage original responses not influenced by the opinions of other (often well respected as established) posters. It also serves to create a wider variety of responses. New posters are strongly encouraged to Grunch, as it really does help them improve their game.
That being said, there's much more to learning from the forum that just posting blind responses of how you'd play a hand. One, obviously, is to come back to the thread and find out why your answer differs with the answers of others. It might be that you have some sort of important misunderstanding about a poker concept. Ask about it, and make sure you get a thorough explanation. Alternatively, you might have it right and should step up and explain your reasoning to the benefit of all. A good back and forth dialogue is what makes the best threads, not an endless string of people giving the same answer.
Additionally, while this is a great way for new posters to get their feet wet around here and to mark their posts as someone who's trying to learn rather than give answers, it may not be best as you start to get better at being able to answer hands without biasing yourself with the opinions of other posters. As you get more comfortable around here, instead try reading a hand post and think of your answer before reading any replies. Then, once you think you've worked it out, read the thread and see what the forum has to say. If they agree with what you thought was the right answer, you can skip posting your answer and move on to the next thread. If they disagree, try and understand why. Respond to the thread if you have something to add, someone to correct, or if you still need clarification.
Look above the editing area after you hit the "New Thread" button. You'll see a bar that says "The Two Plus Two Hand Converter: Powered by DeucesCracked.com" and off to the right it says "Click to expand" with a little button. Click the button. Copy the raw hand history into the text box, change the Output Options (check "Hide Results, please), and hit the "Convert Hand History" button. The converted hand will be copied into the main editing window.
"I did all that and nothing appeared in the main editing window!"
In the top-right corner of the editing window there's a little button with a plain "A", a slash and a fancy "A" on it; if you hover over that it will say "Switch Editor Mode". Click it.
For some reason the converter doesn't work right if you're in WYSIWYG mode, and clicking the button should change you out of it. It's tricky to kow which mode your editor is in.
"I still can't get the converter to work!"
See the posting guidelines above, but find another converter or convert your hand by hand. Put suits in, use colored text to highlight bets and raises, and hide player names. If you can't be bothered to do that, the question probably isn't that important to you.
"What's a playalong? What's a Ninja Grunch?"
These are change-of-pace posting styles.
Playalongs (or PAs) are hands in which the poster presents the action one decision at a time, allowing time for discussion between decisions. These are the original "rules" of playalongs.
If you think you have a good candidate hand but aren't sure, run it by bozlax via PM.
Ninja Grunch (or NG) hands are posted all at once. When posters respond they immediately delete their response, and may or may not post that they "ninja'd". After a period of time, a mod un-deletes all the responses for everybody to look at. It's sort of forced-grunching. If you have a candidate hand, contact Leroy2DaBeroy via PM.
"How big a bankroll do I need to move to the next level?"
There are a lot of different answers to this one but a good rule of thumb is that you should have a minimum of 300BB for the level you want to play (e.g. if you want to play $1/$2 you should have at least $600 in your roll). Again, though, to get beyond the basic answer we need more information. What's your tolerance for ruin (i.e. if you can deposit more funds easily, then you can take a shot with 5BB if you like, although people will harp on you for sitting down at a limit table with less than 12BB)? Are you a winning player at your current limit? Have you ever been a winning player?
Check out the Micro Limit Library for more information on this, including an excellent post by Xhad.
"I'm just a nOOb. Why would anybody want to read my opinion on a hand?"
Well, taken on face value we might not. But when your opinion forces us to think, even if it's just to refute/correct what you've said, then there's value in that. And, from your perspective, you're going to learn a lot more quickly about your errors in thinking if you tell people what your thinking is and they can correct you.
"Where's the bathroom?"
There isn't one.
"Did I play this ok?"
Instead of asking this question, tell us why you played the hand the way you did. Stop the action at any specific place where you have a question. Then let us critique your thinking. Much like if you were interviewing a prospective employee, any question that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" is probably a bad one.
"Arrrrgh, I just lost a hand and threw my mouse at my new t.v. and broke the LCD! What's the best place to take it for repair?"
No idea, check the Yellow Pages or Yahoo! Local. But, a better thing to do is to learn to deal with tilt, and there are lots of resources for that in the forums. Try searching for "tilt" to begin with.
"I'm SO FRUSTRATED, I'm trying and trying and I just don't seem to be getting it. I just feel lost. What should I do?"
Get involved in the monthly Session Reviews. There's a thread started every month for sign ups, and you'll be paired with another poster playing at similar stakes. The two of you will exchange entire sessions (100-150 hands, usually) for the other to review and discuss.
"I'm bored and I've been grinding bonuses all month. What can I do to change things up a little?"
There are a number of weekly tournaments that are played by the members of this forum, including Shenanigans and Shanoobigans. These are a great way to get to know other posters, fling some virtual chips around like a monkey flinging poo, try out some new games, and maybe even pad your bankroll a wee bit.
Also, just try some new games. Omaha-Hi, Omaha-Hi/Lo, No-Limit Hold 'Em, etc, all have similar structures but are enough different to shake you out of a funk. 2+2 offers forums for all these games to help you get started, or just take $4 to a .02/.04 table at any of these games and try it out.
"OMG, <insert pegorative referring to yourself or someone else> just <insert verb of something stupid somebody does at a poker table>! You have to hear about this! Where can I post it?"
Find the latest no-content (NC) thread. Post it in there. Remember, no real names.
IV. TERMINOLOGY AND ABBREVIATIONS
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and doesn't include more-general abbreviations used around the Internet (e.g. NSFW, lol, rofl, etc.), but this list at least covers the basics of 2p2-specific terminology:
- a bad poker player
- a newbie, somebody who's new either to the forum, to poker, or to both
- shorthand notation for actions bet/raise/call (or check)/fold, usually in combination such as "b/f" (bet and fold if raised), "c/c" (check/call a bet), "c/r" (check/raise a bet); for multi-street decisions, use a separator between the streets, e.g. "On the turn I'm planning to b/c, c/c," means "I'm going to be the turn and if I'm raised I will call the raise and then check and call a bet from the raiser on the river."
- Free ShowDown Raise, a turn raise designed to get a check from your opponent on the river; be aware that if you use this technique in micro-limits you will frequently be accused of having FPS (see below)
- a loose-aggressive poker player (not to be confused with "donk", et al.)
- a tight-aggressive poker player
- a player who is loose and aggressive preflop, tight and aggressive post, one of the most difficult styles to identify and play against
- loose-passive and tight-passive, respectively
- playing heads-up at a table with more than 2 seats
- fullring/shorthanded/6max, referring to the number of players at the table
- playing at a 2-seat table
- my hand is good
- my hand is no good
- open-ended straight draw (example: you hold JT and the board is 982)
- flush draw (note: "SD" usually means "showdown" not "straight draw")
- nut flush draw
- backdoor flush/straight draw, when you only have 3 cards to your flush or straight on the flop so you have to hit runner-runner to make your hand
- gutshot straight draw
- small/big bet or small/big blind in reference to the seat at the table; when referring to the AMOUNT of the small and big blind use loser-case, e.g. 2sb = (usually) 1bb = 1SB = (usually) 1/2BB
- PokerTracker Big Bet, this is related to no-limit hands, but you might see it around
- early/middle/late position, referring to a player's seat in the hand (note: "LP" can also mean "loose-passive", so be aware of context)
- out of position
- Button/On The Button, the player with the "Dealer" button that is last to act preflop
- Cutoff, the seat one before the button
- Hijack, the seat two before the Button
- top pair, top kicker (example: you hold AK and the board is A72)
- top pair, second/third/etc kicker (example: you hold AQ/AJ/etc and the board is A72)
- top pair, no/weak/good kicker...you'll also sometimes see "M" for middle, etc.
- refers to responding in a thread without reading any other responses first, a challenge put forth a long time ago by respected poster The Grunch (nee GrunchCan); posters will frequently put "*grunch*" or "*g*" at the top of their post in order to indicate they're grunching
- "like, duh, obviously"
- "your mileage may vary", i.e. this is what I've experienced, but that may not happen to you
- literally "quoted for truth", "I would post the exact same thing", usually after a quoted section of someone else's post, these are all ways of indicating agreement with the quoted statement
- "and it's not even close"
- "Fixed Your Post", when somebody quotes you and then corrects the quote, usually in an attempt to be humorous
- "I Beat The Lock" or "In Before The Lock", expresses an opinion that the thread is of no consequence and will soon be locked by a moderator
- King of the Kidde Pool, an annual tournament for Micros posters
- Heads-Up Limit Association, a team-style competition playing heads-up limit poker; uHULA is the annual Micros version of this
- "I find your post objectionable and I have reported you to the moderators of this forum."
- Fancy Play Syndrome, when a player tries to make a fancy play when a straightforward play would have sufficed
- Monsters Under the Bed Syndrome, when a player only focuses on the possible hands that have him crushed
- Hold 'Em Manager
- a program you can download to analyze hand equity against an opponent's range
- Poker Table Ratings, an online site that harvests hand histories and provides profiles on players
- "Small Stakes Hold 'Em" by Ed Miller, et al., the bible of this forum
- "Winning In Tough Hold 'Em Games" by Nick Grudzien and Geoff Herzog
- "Hold 'Em For Advanced Players", by David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth
- "Theory Of Poker", by David Sklansky
- "Getting Started In Hold 'Em", by Ed Miller
- "Winning Low Limit Hold 'Em", by Lee Jones
- Beats, Brags and Variance, a 2p2 forum
- Other Other Topics, another 2p2 forum
- Computer Technical Help, another 2p2 forum
- Beginner's Questions, another 2p2 forum
V. WHERE TO GO FOR MORE HELP
For very simple questions, you can try out the Beginner's Questions Forum
If you have a question on a different form of poker, or you don't think your question belongs in this forum, browse the list of forums on the left-hand side of the screen. WARNING: if you post in Beats, Brags and Variance
, you will be flamed. You could make the best post ever in the forum and you'll still get flamed. It's their way of saying, "Howdy." OOT (Other Other Topics)
is like a siren; the song seems sweet, but if you go in to listen more carefully you'll be enslaved and never released.
The Micro Limit Library
and the Monthly Digest (both are stickied at the top of the form) are excellent general resources for information that passes around this forum.
As mentioned, the OFFICIAL MICROSTAKES LIMIT stats thread is a good resource if you have questions about your playing statistics. You should have at least 10,000 hands played at your current limit before expecting any less-than-superficial help.
If all else fails, find the OFFICIAL MICROSTAKES AIM/CHAT LIST (use the search function!), get a veteran's AIM, and hit them up. Most of us are willing to chat about poker and your career as a player any time we're on.
Compiled by bozlax