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Old 02-22-2013, 12:52 PM   #1
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A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

A Clueless NL Noob Reaches 1000 Hours of Live 1/3 NL

Hi, Iím gobbledygeek! Iíve just reached 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL!

Who This Post Is For:

This post is for fellow clueless NL noobs! Maybe youíve never played poker before and are wondering whatís possible at this live low stakes NL game and how to go about winning at it. Or perhaps youíve played the Limit version of the game (which I did initially) and are looking to turn to the dark side. This post will be fairly results oriented and more-or-less (a) state my statistics over my first 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL and then (b) do itís best to describe my general approach to this game.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:53 PM   #2
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL


- I’m gobbledygeek!
- male, white, early 40s, married with teen / young adult stepkids
- Bachelor of Computer Science; computer programmer / phone support / etc. day job for small Mom & Pop niche software company since mid 1990s
- recreational poker player who almost always plays exactly one session a week and is home by 10:00pm
- I balance the poker playing with family life, puttering around the house, and my other hobbies which include playing hockey, camping and home music recording (search for gobbledygeek on SoundCloud, SoundClick or YouTube for some of my lol cringe-worthy home recorded music!)
- my guess is having a balanced lifestyle is quite important when it comes to playing winning poker (and is probably underrated)

My Poker History:

- played various “just for fun” poker games (as well as other card games) as a kid growing up
- on various personal/business trips to Las Vegas I played the occasional game of 7 Card Stud
- played some super small stakes Saturday night home games with friends
- a casino was eventually built a few blocks from my condo, but it only offered Texas Hold’Em, I game that I thought was fairly stupid (“Huh? What? Everyone gets the same 5 cards plus just 2 others for themselves? Wouldn’t everyone more-or-less just have the same hand? What a stupid game.”), so I thought I’d read up on the game before attempting to play for any real money
- I got myself the bible of live small stakes Limit poker (Small Stakes Hold’em by Miller/Sklansky/Malmuth) and was amazed at how ignorant and clueless I was to the fundamentals of poker
- soon after I joined 2+2 and hung out on the Small Stakes Limit forum; this process of reading the bible, discussing hands on 2+2, playing, and then repeating over and over again, was invaluable
- played over 1000 hours of live 2/4 Limit (search for my “[\LC] A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 2/4” post in the Small Stakes Limit forum)
- I then won a 31.5K Bad Beat Jackpot and decided to move up to the big stakes of 4/8 Limit (with kill!)
- the 4/8 Limit (with kill) was as easy as everyone had been saying it was (especially since it had the same rake as the 2/4 Limit game) and I wished I had moved up earlier
- the 4/8 Limit game eventually began to die though, as did the 3/6 Limit game that replaced it, and soon the local casino only ran the 2/4 stakes of the Limit game; even though I very much enjoyed the Limit version of the game, I couldn’t justify putting in that many hours at a game that I was barely beating (the rake has since then been increased by $1, making the game totally unbeatable); I decided to make the switch to the dark side: NL
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:53 PM   #3
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

My Limit Statistics:

- Iím including my Limit statistics simply for comparison purposes of the small stakes Limit game versus the small stakes NL game; I think those of you who are considering making the switch from Limit to NL will find the results very interesting
- the 2/4 Limit game is basically unbeatable (especially keeping in mind that the majority of my hours were put in with a maximum rake of $3 which has since been increased to $4); the 4/8 Limit game (especially with kill, and again with a small rake) is slightly beatable (half minimum wage?) although still a fairly small sample size; I have no idea why my 3/6 Limit numbers are so poor (small sample size again), and obviously a ridiculously small sample size at 6/12 Limit
- note that Iím using a notation where bb = big blind and BB = big bet thru out (which kinda makes things confusing when comparing Limit vs NL results, but just keep this in mind)

2/4 Limit (mostly $3 maximum rake, $1 BBJ, $1 tip): $2,660.50 over 1333.63 hours ($1.99/hr = 0.50 BB/hr)
3/6 Limit (with kill, same rake/BBJ/tip): $257 over 236.25 hours ($1.09/hr = 0.18 BB/hr)
4/8 Limit (with kill, same rake/BBJ/tip): $3,302 over 465.92 hours ($7.09/hr = 0.89 BB/hr)
6/12 Limit (same rake/BBJ/tip): -$234 over 14.08 hours (-$16.62/hr = -1.38 BB/hr)
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:54 PM   #4
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

My 1/3 NL Statistics At 1000 Hours:

- so, first I’ll start off with full disclosure and state my 1/2 NL stats:

1/2 NL ($5 maximum rake, $1 BBJ, $1 tip): $327 over 131.08 hours ($2.49/hr = 1.25 bb/hr)

- yeah, not so impressive at 1/2 NL; however, the majority of those hours (the first 100 for sure) were during the period I was transitioning from the Limit game to the NL game (which is quite a learning curve)
- the 1/3 NL game then replaced the 1/2 NL game at my casino, and my statistics at that game (where I was now finally beyond the very noobish learning curve) are a lot more impressive

1/3 NL ($5 maximum rake, $1 BBJ, $1 tip): $28,979 over 1001.50 hours ($28.94/hr = 9.65 bb/hr)

Session Record: 100 wins vs 39 losses vs 1 tie (71.94% session winning percentage)

Average Session Length: 7.15 hours

Five Biggest Session Wins:

$1,598 (533bb)
$1,433 (478bb)
$1,299 (433bb)
$1,223 (408bb)
$1,213 (404bb, twice)

Five Biggest Session Losses:

-$1,200 (-400bb)
-$884 (-295bb)
-$861 (-287bb)
-$730 (-243bb)
-$691 (-230bb)

Longest Session Winning Streak: 10
Longest Session Losing Streak: 4 (twice)

Biggest Upswing: 17-1 streak for $12,075 (4025bb) over 194.25 hours ($62.16/hr = 20.72 bb/hr)
Biggest Downswing: 1-2 streak for -$1,372 (-457bb) over 20.58 hours and 0-4 streak for -$1,367 (-456bb) over 25.83 hours
Biggest Flat Line: 13-7-1 streak for $300 over 138.83 hours ($2.16/hr = 0.72 bb/hr)

First Fifth: $3,361 over 202.83 hours ($16.57/hr = 5.52 bb/hr)
Second Fifth: $4,310 over 202.08 hours ($21.33/hr = 7.11 bb/hr)
Third Fifth: $6,264 over 200.67 hours ($31.22/hr = 10.41 bb/hr)
Fourth Fifth: $6,354 over 205.25 hours ($30.96/hr = 10.32 bb/hr)
Fifth Fifth: $8,690 over 190.67 hours ($45.58/hr = 15.19 bb/hr)

- so, yeah, for those wondering if there’s more money to be made at a small stakes Limit game (say 2/4 thru 4/8) versus a small stakes NL game (say upwards of 1/3 NL), my results suggest that this isn’t even close
- the obvious conclusion is that if you are playing small stakes Limit for mostly money earning potential, then stop immediately (like right now!) and start playing small stakes NL instead

Last edited by gobbledygeek; 02-22-2013 at 01:01 PM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:54 PM   #5
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

How To Start Out At Learning 1/3 NL:

- the first NL poker book I bought was Little Green Book (Gordon); meh, whatever, it’s a starting point, but you can skip it
- the second NL poker book I bought was Harrington on Cash Games (HOC) Vol I and II (Harrington/Robertie); I haven’t read any other NL poker book, and while it would be a good idea to do so, you could get away with being a winning player at small stakes live NL by only having read this single book; all the main concepts are there (big hand big pot, small hand small pot; pot control; why bluffing a calling station is bad; etc.), and while it does have some flaws (really not much need to balance at this level; some of the hand examples don’t follow the pot control nor the extracting maximum value versus fish ideas very well; I wish it would have been focused more to the exact small stakes live game; etc.), this book is still the nuts and a terrific resource
- so, after reading and re-reading HOC, I would recommend jumping into small stakes live NL games and then using 2+2’s Live Low-stakes NL forum to post hands / respond to posts / grunch posts, take it all in, and then repeat this process over and over again
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:55 PM   #6
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

gobbledygeek NL Poker 101:

- so the following sections basically just outline how I play live 1/3 NL; this method is a combination of HOC, 2+2 and results oriented trial & error at the table
- itís admittedly difficult to outline every single case (we all know every situation is ďit dependsĒ), but overall, the following is my general approach to how I have successfully played this 1/3 NL game for my first 1000 hours
- note that Iím well aware that better players could easily exploit me if I simply followed this method all the time; does that mean I switch gears against these better players and mix things up? No, it means I switch tables; Iím not ashamed at all to state that my winrate is simply a product of playing at tables with poor players and thatís why I win money; trying to outrun the rake and win money off a table full of good players who are capable of exploiting me is a fools errand
- note that Iím also guessing there is more than one way to play this game profitably; this is simply my method which Iíve used and it seems to have worked so far (i.e. Iím being very results oriented)

NOTE: After working on this strategy section for a while, it has unfortunately become a rather intimidating wall-of-text. However, Iíve broken it down into as useful categories as possible, plus Iíve done my best to state ideas in simple point form, so hopefully the information can be digested a piece at a time as is desired.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:55 PM   #7
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

gg101: Pre Game:

- get a full time job and have lots of outside related interests
- my guess is poker is immensely easier to play and far more enjoyable if it is simply a hobby (one of many) in your life, and if it happens to earn you an extra bit of money to perhaps take yourself and your significant other on a vacation once a year, great!
- I couldn’t imagine actually attempting to grind this game day in, day out, to attempt to pay the mortgage, keep the cars running, buy the groceries, send the kids thru school, replace the roof on the house, save some retirement funds, etc.; get a full time job to do all that and leave poker as a hobby (or perhaps a part-time side job at most)
- and obviously make sure you have a necessary bankroll for the game and aren’t affected financially if you happen to lose your poker bankroll

gg101: Manners:

- I’m very pleasant at the table, mainly because I think I’m a pleasant person overall plus I’m playing a game that I enjoy
- I’m usually in a good mood and taking part in any of the interesting table conversations that are taking place; I’m joking and having fun when that is the general mood of the table, although obviously I’m sitting quietly for long stretches as well when nothing much is happening at the table
- I never wear earphones, read a tablet/book, bury myself in a hoodie, wear sunglasses, etc.
- other than my constantly topped up chipstack, I feel I have a very friendly non-intimidating presence at the table
- I’m always ready when the action is on me (I look at my cards as soon as I am dealt them) and try to act fairly quickly (with the exception of obvious tough decisions that I’ll have occasionally thru out the session)
- I take my losses exactly the same as a take my wins; graciously, with a friendly smile, a tap on the table, and a “nice hand” vs “unlucky”
- I never berate a player for his poor play, and will always come to the defense of anyone whom I think is being berated regardless of how poor his play is (“he had to call there, I would have made the exact same play he did”, “there’s no way I’d fold a gutshot there either, he can win a lot of chips”, “maybe he thought you were bluffing”, etc.)
- I try my best to not talk actual poker strategy (if caught up in it, I’ll just try to dispense nonsense, which some may argue I do anyways)
- as tempted as I might be to slowroll / berate / call out / etc. douchebags, I usually just bite my tongue (unless coming to the defense of someone the douchebag is berating)
- I don’t softplay anyone (with the sole exception of chopping the blinds); I’m here for the fun and thrill and enjoyment of playing this strategic game, so softplaying is contradictory to the goal (and some might even go as far as saying implicit collusion)
- I’m genuinely nice at the table, which is beneficial both because (a) it makes poker a lot more pleasant activity plus (b) doesn’t scare away any of the easy money at the table

Last edited by gobbledygeek; 02-22-2013 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:56 PM   #8
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

gg101: Table Selection:

- one of the most important factors which decides our overall lifetime winrate is table selection; we simply have to make sure we do our best to play at tables where there are lots of players who are a lot worse at poker than we are; these poor players will simply dump their money to the better players at their tables so we have to make sure we are around to get our fair share of that money; mediocre players (like myself) have no chance at outrunning the rake and winning otherwise
- hopefully you play in a poker room where there are lots of tables to select from; I realize this won’t always be the case (during slow times my room usually only has one to three 1/3 NL tables going, although during busy times this can balloon to five tables)
- tables can change quite quickly; the loss of a terrible player or two replaced by a good player or two can quickly turn a table from good to bad, and vice-versa
- so, while playing at your table, always be constantly evaluating the talent pool at your table compared to other tables; if your table looks like that it has become quite more difficult to play at compared to another table, you should be doing your best to move to that other table
- obviously we can’t be table changing every other hand, plus table conditions can change quickly thru out the night (so sometimes we just have to ride out rough times and wait for the table to get better); but if looks like the players at your table are in it for the long haul, and ditto for players at another table, and that other table is way easier than yours, then make the switch
- one other important thing is to realize your strengths and weaknesses and also honestly evaluate your competition (check your ego at the door when you do this); for example, I am not very comfortable playing deepstacked (say 300+ bbs) against players who I think are fairly loose/aggro/fearless/decent and could put me in lots of very difficult spots postflop, so I find absolutely no shame in changing to a table that more suits my style / comfort level

gg101: Seat Selection:

- I actually prefer to seat myself with position on the best player at the table if he is deepstacked (which I also hope to be sometime during the session) and fairly loose / aggro / tricky / etc.; this guy is going to make our night too difficult if we’re OOP to him, so having position on him trumps having position on anyone else at the table; even being across the table from him will be far better than being a seat or two to his right
- otherwise, obviously try to sit to the left of fish (makes getting paid off postflop much easier, plus gives us the option of isolating if conditions are correct) and to the right of tightish ABC players (whom we can run over all night without too much fear of being played back at, plus we’ll find we’ll have the relative button quite a lot whenever playing in LP)
- like table conditions, seat conditions can also change very quickly; always be evaluating your seat and considering a seat change (especially in the case where a tough opponent has moved to your left)
- another thing I like to do is quickly try to evaluate a new player just as they are about to be seated at the table in an open seat to the left/right of mine (where it won’t cost us anything to move in way of posting a blind); if you see a tough player / fish walking to the table ready to get seated beside you, make sure you shift into the left seat (and vice versa for a straightforward tightish ABC player)
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:56 PM   #9
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

gg101: Preflop:

- my basic strategy preflop is to decide whether this is going to be a very multi-way hand (which it often will at very loose tables after a few limpers up front) or a HU/3way hand (which it will be at tighter tables after a few folds up front)
- if the table is loose / likely to be multi-way to the flop, my strategy is to also play fairly loose (although my loose will still be tighter than the average loose player at the table, plus more position dependent), try to flop a hand / nice draw, and then get paid off by opponents who can’t fold mediocre hands postflop when I hit; in many ways, I’m playing quite similar to the fish preflop (i.e. bingo!) but my plan is to play a lot better than them postflop (i.e. lose less money postflop on mediocre hands than they do, and make more money postflop on solid hands than they do)
- if the table is tighter / likely to go HU/3way to the flop, I have a decent image, opponents are fit/foldy, etc. then I’m simply looking to win the pot outright preflop or on the flop, so I’m looking to get things HU in position with initiative where I’m usually cbetting most flops hoping to take it down (and perhaps two barrelling good turns); these won’t be the goldmine tables that the loose tables are, but hopefully I can ride it out and make a small profit with well timed aggression until the table loosens up a bit
- so, at most tables, here’s my starting hand chart (more-or-less); these obviously aren’t written in stone, and they are on a sliding scale depending on looseness / tightness / toughness of table and current limpers, opponents behind me, my image at the moment, etc.; some hands from the bottom of my raising range could fall into my limping range versus some hands from the top of my limping range could fall into my raising range depending on conditions, plus the suitedness vs unsuitedness could have an effect of how I play a hand; plus, if I feel the need, I’ll throw in the occasional raise with a weaker speculative hand; but overall it’s my default, more-or-less
- ha, I never realized how difficult it is to list all of these possible combinations (i.e. EP/MP/LP raise/limping range, what to do to a raise, a re-raise, etc.); it’s possible I haven’t caught everything and have let some things fall thru the cracks here…
- EP: raise TT+/AK/AQ; limp 99-/Axs/other suited broadway; I’ll also consider limp/reraising AA/KK/AK if table is extremely loose / preflop raisey / stacks are on the small side; and, yes, I’m folding offsuit AJ/KQ type hands here
- MP (after limpers): raise TT+/AK/AQ/AJ/KQ; limp 99-/Axs/other suited broadway/suited connectors
- MP (no limpers): raise TT+/AK/AQ/AJ/AT/KQ/other suited broadway; limp 99-/Axs
- LP (after multiple limpers and/or loose blinds): raise TT+/AK/AQ/AJ/AT/KQ; limp 99-/Axs/Kxs/other broadway/connectors/one gappers/two gappers
- LP (after 0/1 limpers, or perhaps 2 tight limp/fold limpers, and tight blinds): raising any hand I would consider playing (including ATC if I feel my image and table conditions are correct)
- SB: raise TT+/AK; complete 99-/Axs/other broadway
- BB: raise TT+/AK
- note that my raise vs limp borderline for pocket pairs is TT vs 99; while that line is rather arbitrary, I will say that TT can make the nut straight while 99 can’t, so as far as arbitrary lines go, I think that’s as good a reason as any; this is also my reason for the playability of ATo+ vs A9o- (where the former can make nut 3 card straights, where the latter can’t); this is also similar to my reason why I find two gappers acceptable while three gappers not acceptable (flopping a 3-to-a-straight with a three gapper has high RIO against bigger straights)
- note that I hate playing OOP, especially in a bloated multi-way pots, especially against limp/cally tricky villains, which is why I’m fairly tight raising out of the blinds; in very multi-way loose limped pots, I might even be fairly happy almost setmining and limping in with JJ/TT and perhaps even AK and playing cautiously postflop; at tighter tables with only an ABC limper or two, I’m expanding my raising range
- when I raise, my goal is simple: I want to narrow the field to 3way to the flop at absolute worse (with the best situation being HU); if we go 4+ways to the flop, I feel I’ve failed, which means I should have either raised more or perhaps just not raised at all (or perhaps limp/reraised with the stronger hands); raise size is obviously table dependent, but I just try to get a gauge for what raise size everyone else is doing (which is usually creating 4+ way pots) and then I simply tune my raise size to way more than that (I typically have the largest raise size at my table); at my 1/3 NL table, with no limpers I typically open between $15 and $20 (I’ve never opened for less than $15); as soon as a limper is involved, I usually bump it up to $20, and with more limpers $25+ (again, obviously table dependent, but a good default starting point)
- I don’t believe pot juicing raises with speculative hands are necessary if most stacks are <= 100 bbs; it will usually just take one postflop raise in position to be able to play for stacks, so with speculative hands I’d rather keep my SPR as high as possible plus allow as many opponents into the pot as possible (the more opponents seeing a flop, the more chance I have at stacking a single one of them, plus more chance of multiple players putting in dead money postflop)
- facing a re-raise of my raise: unless the 3bettor is shortstacked and has shoved and I’ve got the odds to call with a lot of junky hands that perhaps I’ve been getting out of line with in LP, I’m folding to most re-raises (if we’re super deep, then perhaps we can think of continuing with some weaker hands, but otherwise a typical 3bet is going to set up too small an SPR to have any wiggle room postflop); I’m typically only continuing with AA/KK/AK with QQ/JJ really being soul read / stack size territory
- 3betting a raise: my 3betting range is usually fairly small (the normal expected live default of AA/KK); as the looseness of the raiser increase, obviously my 3betting range increases; I’m fairly happy 3betting AK against a loose raiser especially after some callers have put in dead money, and ditto for QQ/JJ; I’m also 3betting AQ after a loose raise
- light 3betting: I very rarely light 3bet as my typical game conditions usually don’t see too many opportunities arise; however, every once and a while it will get folded (or 1 fishy limped) to a positionally aware player in MP/LP who opens, in which case I’m often 3betting light here (and usually with hands that I can easily fold to a 4bet and not feel I’ve perhaps given up the chance at smashing a flop, so for example I’d much rather light 3bet with Axs than 55)
- flatting a raise: I’ll typically always flat a raise with any pocket pair I’m not 3betting so long as stacks are decent and/or it is likely going to be a multi-way pot; I’m more or less setmining, although in position things could change on the flop if it is checked to me; against some raisers (such as tight and/or EP) and without a lot of other callers, I’m usually just flatting AK; I can dump AQ fairly easily to a tight/EP raiser; if there are already some callers to the raise and the price is fairly decent, then I’m flatting in LP with a fairly wide range of hands (non-3betting pocket pairs/non-3betting AK/AQ/Axs/suited broadway/suited connectors/ suited one gappers and perhaps even some offsuit connected stuff if price is decent and opponents are droolerish)
- limp/calling: I’m typically limp/calling pocket pairs that I’ve limped in with (apart from AA/KK which I was limping in with the plan to re-raise); the exception would be if stacks aren’t great and/or it doesn’t look like it is going to go very multi-way; if it’s going to go very multi-way, I could perhaps see my limp/calling with Axs/suited broadway hands but I see this as probably being on the leaky side (especially OOP where these hands will be hard to play and get paid off on postflop)
- I basically rarely squeeze lightly (i.e. a wide opener raises and gets a weak fish call or two or whatever and we start salivating over the dead money); the problem with squeezing lightly after multiple callers is that a lot of players rarely 3bet with hands as strong as AK/QQ, and obviously those hands (and many more that are crushing our light squeezing range) are never folding
- I never straddle; in all my hours of recorded poker, I’ve straddled exactly 0 (zero) times and yet I still get all the action I desire, still get paid off when I hit, etc.; don’t be the guy trying to generate table action by putting in 2 big blinds an orbit blind at one of the worst positions of the table, and instead be the guy taking advantage of those who do
- for you players coming from Limit, you might be surprised at how passive my preflop play is; in Limit, in general, we have to maximize even our smallest of equity advantages on each street, including preflop, because we simply can’t make up for missed bets on later streets; in NL, this is not the case; we can pass on our smallish preflop equity advantages (which will be measured in percentages of a bb or two) and simply wait until we have a hugenormous equity advantage postflop (where our advantage will be measured in percentages of stacks)
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:57 PM   #10
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

gg101: Flop:

- if I’ve limped preflop and seen a very multi-way pot, I’m playing very tight and it won’t take much for me to fold; I saw the flop for cheap and tried to hit a monster hand / draw, so if that didn’t happen and I only flopped a mediocre hand like TP, I’m pretty cool with dumping it and moving on even versus fairly little action; I’ll often check TP in limped pots in EP just to see what everyone else does behind me, where it might only take a bet from a tight player and a single call from another tight player for me to muck and move on (or perhaps a bet and a couple of calls, and obviously most cases where someone raises); don’t be fooled by calling flop bets with extremely weak hands just because we’re getting good immediate odds (for example, if someone bets and there are three callers, I’m mucking my middle pair + no draw pretty easy here as RIO can suck in these spots); our goal is to see lots of flops for cheap and then continue with cheap investments that flopped big versus dumping hands that are unlikely to go anywhere
- if I’ve limped preflop (or even called a raise in a very multi-way pot) and flopped a monster (such as a set), my usual method is to just bet/bet/bet it and not get tricky with a check/raise; my check/raises on the flop are usually reserved for monster draw hands (i.e. flush draw + OESD, flush draw + gutshot, pair + draw) against smaller stacks, where I’ll wait for people to put in a bunch of dead money before putting in a big check/raise (where I’ll have decent FE, plus decent hand equity if someone decides to look me up); with bigger stacks, I’m more likely to donk monster draw hands just to build a pot while I have decent equity
- if I’ve raised preflop and whiffed, I’m usually cbetting a high percentage of flops HU (usually a cheap 1/2 PSB so that we only have to take it down a mere third of the time in order to breakeven); 3way, I’m usually evaluating the board texture and only cbetting on nice boards (such as K high dry boards); 4+ways, I’m usually done with the hand and check/folding (cbetting air into 3+ opponents is typically just burning money)
- if I’ve raised preflop and hit something like TP, then I evaluate whether or not I’d be cool with stacking off by the turn; in a HU or even 3way pot, if I could get stacks in comfortably by potting the flop and leaving a < PSB left for the turn (i.e. SPR <= 4), then I’m usually cool with stacking off here because the villains have simply paid too much preflop to see a flop profitably with their speculative hands (so on wet boards I’ll usually bet the pot to set up a PSB shove on a safe turn, whereas on dryer boards I might bet smaller over 3 streets and could perhaps fold if raised on the turn); if a PSB on the flop would leave a lot more than a PSB left on the turn, I’m not nearly as comfortable stacking off here, so I’ll usually pot control (betting less on the flop, checking either the flop or turn, etc.)
- if I’ve raised preflop and hit (either something like TP or perhaps overs with a nice draw), I’m typically cbetting and then evaluating my options on the turn; in HU cases where I’d be uncomfortable stacking off over 3 streets, then I’m typically pot controlling either the flop or the turn, so with TP type hands I’d be fine with checking the flop once and a while
- if I’ve raised preflop and cbet the flop and gotten raised, I seriously have to consider folding TP type hands; calling a flop raise in this case is usually very quickly setting up pot commitment issues and things aren’t going to get any easier on the turn if our opponent is likely to keep betting; obviously this is dependent on opponent type, board, number of opponents, etc.
- if I’ve raised preflop and hit a TP type hand and someone donks into me, I’m typically just calling (again, small hand small pot, which a raise does not adhere to); I’d actually be more for raising air here if donker is well known to bet to “see where I’m at” and can fold to a raise; even on drawy boards, where donker could be attempting to give themselves good odds to draw, I would still usually lean towards the more passive play here and re-evaluate things on the turn (where hopefully we are also in position)
- for me to slowplay monsters on the flop (such as set where someone has donked into me or I’m crushing the board), I usually need two things to be in place; one, the stacks (which is my goal to play for with a big hand) need to be such that a call on the flop (or a street checking thru) will still allow stacks to be played for comfortably by the river; two, the board has to be fairly dry (the wetter the board, the more likely a scary turn/river card could shut down action)
- for the most part, I play mediocre draws (like simple flush draws or OESDs) fairly passively, especially in multi-way pots; if I don’t have the preflop initiative with raising, I usually just check/call the flop if I feel my implied odds are present (although I’m willing to take a stab at these pots if the flop has been checked to me in position, which builds the pot for me with decent equity plus gives me turn options)
- for you players coming from Limit, our play on the flop in NL is typically going to be a lot more passive than in Limit; in Limit, we have to maximize our small equity advantages on each individual street, so we’re often raising TP type hands plus bloating mediocre draws (like flush draws / OESDs) on the flop when it is very likely the pot will go very multi-way to the turn (where we’ll have more than our fair share of equity); NL is different, in that we can wait until later streets to get appropriate value with weaker hands like TP if we see fit, and these aren’t hands where we can afford to make a big mistake and make a big pot with the worst hand; we also won’t be very successful in bloating the pot on the flop with mediocre draws because if anyone else is keen on building the pot with us, the two of us will likely blow all of the other players out of the pot, and now all we’ve done is put in a bunch of money HU where we’re a 2:1 dog (plus we won’t even be able to see the river in a lot of cases if the opponent bets large on the turn, unlike Limit)

Last edited by gobbledygeek; 02-22-2013 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:57 PM   #11
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

gg101: Turn:

- I check the turn
- ha, no, seriously, I check the turn most times
- if thereís been a raise preflop and a flop bet, the turn is most likely setting us up for pot commitment with ~100 bb stacks, and this isnít something we want to do with mediocre hands; so, if Iím betting the turn setting up pot commitment Iím usually only doing this with two types of hands: hands that I feel are strong enough to want to play for stacks on the river versus total bluffs where Iím simply two barrelling against someone I feel can fold
- obviously, there are times when I still bet mediocre hands such as TP
- if I checked a TP type hand on the flop (say for a little bit of deception / balance against a single ok/aggro player, etc.) then Iím usually betting it on the turn
- if Iíve sized my betting preflop / flop to set up a turn shove (say, for example, when flop SPR is <= 4 and we feel committed with an overpair), then obviously Iím shoving a safe turn (and sometimes even an unsafe one if I feel Iíve got no other choice with stack sizes)
- if my single opponent is a payoff draw chasing straightforward ABC monkey and board is fairly drawy, then Iíd lean towards a bet (obviously folding to a raise)
- if weíre quite deep and a bet doesnít come anywhere close to getting us pot committed, plus opponent is fairly ABC straightforward, then Iíd lean towards a bet (again folding to a raise)
- otherwise, Iím leaning towards a check in most cases with mediocre hands such as TP; yes, itís easy to bet/fold against some opponents in a lot of cases, but the folding part is actually difficult to do if weíre not raised, and that will set us up for some tough river spots with awkward stack vs pot ratios
- when two or more opponents have called the flop, even on a drawy board, weíll have to seriously consider whether our mediocre hand is one where we want to continue building a big pot on the turn with (and my conclusion is that usually we donít)
- checking the turn with mediocre TP type hands also wins us lots of value on the river in a lot of cases (and this is often underestimated); we can bluffcatch against aggro players who sense weakness and will bluff their terrible hands / busted draws; we can get one more street of value from players who would have folded the majority of their weak hands on the turn but are now convinced their weak hands might be good after our show of weakness on the turn; and getting opponents to pay off one more street of value with weak hands is a lot easier if that bet is non-stack committing (which a river bet after a turn check will be, whereas a turn bet can typically sets up a stack committing bet on the river and is thus less likely to be called)
- also, donít be swayed into betting the turn just because thereís an obvious draw out there; your opponent will only be on a good draw a small percentage of the time, and that draw will only come in an even smaller percentage of the time; this is straight out of HOC, donít worry about the draws, worry more about the dangers of creating a big pot with a small hand
- with monster hands which we are comfortable with playing for stacks for then we want to continue betting in order to play for stacks on the river; no reason to get tricky here, just bet (hopefully an amount that is callable and yet sets up a reasonable river shove); yes, a bet will sometimes scare away mediocre hands and sometimes even scare away TP hands if opponents are capable of folding those; but here we have a big hand, so we want to build a big pot, so keep betting and just hope that opponent is either (a) bad enough to want to play a big pot with a poor hand or (b) unlucky enough to have made a very good (but second best) hand
- with air hands, we can consider bluffing; weíre not worried about pot commitment issues because obviously weíre never committed with air and can easily fold to a raise; with my main strategy of winning money being seeing a flop for cheap, making a hand and then stacking a moron who canít fold, that means bluffing doesnít really make up a large part of my strategy (otherwise my strategy would be fairly inconsistent in that Iím expecting players to call when I have them beat and yet at the same time fold when Iím bluffing); however, this doesnít mean there wonít be times where a bluffing opportunity on the turn arises; HU against a player who realizes I probably just cbet the flop after I raised preflop and is calling the flop fairly widely, I can probably double barrel a lot of good turn high cards if my image is tightish postflop and my opponent is aware of that image and is capable of folding hands; or if my HU opponent is a bet sizing tell monkey and bets very weakly into me after he bet the flop and now a scare card has come on the turn, I could perhaps steal the pot from him (again, if my image and his awareness / folding capability is decent); we could perhaps even attempt to steal pots on the turn in multi-way pots, such as the flop checks thru and now the second card on the flop pairs on the turn and itís checked to us again in LP; however, in general, these good bluffing opportunities on the turn are a lot rarer than we think, so we have to be careful that the story we are telling is making sense and that the opponent(s) we are telling the story to are capable of reading the story (i.e. donít force a turn bluff)
- if an opponent is betting the turn Iím usually folding unless I think my hand fares fairly well against him and will be able to stand up to a river bet as well; chasing a draw at this point will be totally dependent on our immediate odds plus our estimation of our implied odds
- if an opponent raises the turn Iím almost always folding unless I feel Iím pot committed with a decent hand or I feel I have the best hand (and against typical turn raisers, my hand will have to be much better than a mediocre hand such as an obvious overpair)
- for you players coming from Limit, our play on the turn in NL is typically going to be a lot more passive than in Limit; in Limit, again, weíre simply trying to maximize even the slightest of equity edges on each individual street because we canít make up for it on later streets, so we often find ourselves betting/raising TP type hands; in NL, I like taking a much more passive approach on the turn with mediocre hands, both for making sure we arenít making a huge mistake (i.e. building a huge pot with a hand that is not the best) plus enabling us to get one more street of value (i.e. a bet on the turn will often fold a lot of hands that could have paid off / bluffed on the river)
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:57 PM   #12
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

gg101: River:

- if I had initiative thru out the hand with a TP type hand and checked the turn, I’m usually calling a reasonable river bet; obviously a sliding scale on this one, with aggro opponents / blank river / reasonable bet being 100% calls (or, at the very least, not folding, so perhaps sometimes putting a raise in just to confuse the odd opponent) sliding all the way down to ABC never bluff opponents / large bet / scare card river being on the folding end of the spectrum, with everything else being in between (but again, on the calling end due to us intentionally showing weakness with a turn check with a TP type hand)
- if I had initiative thru out the hand with a TP type hand and checked the turn and the river has been checked to me, I’m typically always value betting (again, another reason for weakly checking the turn is to get one more bet paid off on the river); if we face a raise, we’ll have to deal with it then (again, a sliding scale of perhaps calling aggro opponents / blank river vs folding to ABC non-bluffy opponents)
- when I end up with the nuts, I usually shove; hopefully by this time I’ve built a pot where a shove is not an unreasonable bet, but even if it is a fairly unreasonable bet, I would typically lean towards it against most typical opponents; in the end, most opponents are either calling a big bet or they aren’t, so there really isn’t much difference in the percentage of times they are calling a big bet vs a shove; so shove the nuts
- if pot commitment isn’t an issue (i.e. on the river we have much much more than a PSB left, hopefully like 2x+), then I’d typically bet/fold any hand that I feel has decent value against my opponents calling range
- the most difficult time I have on the river is when I’m left with around a PSB left, a position I really try my best not to get myself into unless I have a hand where I’m totally comfortable shipping a PSB on the river; with mediocre hands (such as TP), I find it very difficult to bet/fold in these situations because we’ll be getting such good odds to call a shove plus even non-bluffy opponents might just be in a wtf-whatever mood at this point with these remaining stack sizes; it’s definitely an area of my game I’m trying to work on, especially against ABC opponents (although I’ve seen enough river shoves with mediocre hands to still question whether bet/folding with a PSB is very wise)
- calling river bets is obviously very opponent specific; I think we can lay down mediocre hands vs ABC straightforward opponents quite easily (have we ever seen them bluff? If the answer is no, then they are very likely not bluffing now, so the only question is whether they are overvalueing a hand that is worse than ours); against aggro tricky bluffy opponents, we’ll probably have to do our fair share of bluffcatching depending on how the hand has played out / odds we’re getting / etc.
- like turn bluffing, I really don’t think a lot of opportunities arise for river bluffing; once and a while the stars will align (our image, our opponent’s folding capability and his awareness of our image, the river card, the play up until the river, his bet sizing, etc.) and an opportunity will arise for a river bluff or bluff raise; but again, I don’t force it if I don’t think it’s there
- for you players coming from Limit, I think river play is perhaps the most similar of streets when compared to NL with regards to getting value from mediocre hands such as TP; if we’ve done things correctly to the river, we should be nowhere near pot committed with mediocre hands and have perhaps even planted a seed of doubt in our opponents mind as to whether we actually have anything, so it’s important to bet for value here instead of just weakly checking behind and hoping we win the pot
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:58 PM   #13
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

gg101: Odds and Ends:

- I donít have a stop/loss limit; I play my session until I have to go home (so usually until 9:30pm)
- I bring 5 BI (= $300 x 5 = $1500) to the casino; Iíve lost 4 BIs once, 2 of those tilt-induced, so I do question my capabilities when down ~3 BIs, but I believe Iím aware enough of this now not to tilt off buy-ins foolishly
- I always keep my stack topped up to within $5 of the maximum $300 (100 bb) buy-in; I believe it is a big mistake not to keep your stack topped off to the maximum if you are comfortable playing at that stack size and the table is good
- I record every single session in a spreadsheet (the exact amount won vs lost, the number of minutes played to about the nearest 5 minutes, and the date played, with all relevant stats being computed from these numbers)
- I didnít include a section on tells, and thatís because I (for the most part) donít believe in them; sure, maybe youíll benefit every once and a while by looking left preflop to get an idea of who is interested in playing a hand, and perhaps the prepare-chips-in-advance-as-if-to-bet-and-then-check is usually weak, etc.; in general though, tells are the most overrated concept in live poker and youíll do perfectly fine at the table never spotting a single one
- you donít have to be a math / poker stove / ranging wizard to do well at this game; even though I aced high school math (25 years ago) and did ok in university (B+ average graduating with a computer science degree, again many years ago), none of that really comes into play for me at the tables; the pot odds stuff is all very simple math that most morons can do; the stoving/range stuff is a lot more difficult and, frankly, I suck at it in real time at the table (and even post mortem I ainít too good at it either); the point is, while being a math / poker stove / ranging genius will undoubtedly add $$$ to your winrate, you donít need to be a genius at this stuff to still do very well at these games; remember, the whole idea is to simply be a better player than the majority of your opponents, and the majority of your opponents should be morons, so even though you will no doubt make some mistakes, you should still be fine so long as you make a lot fewer mistakes (and smaller mistakes rather than big mistakes) than your opponents; I ainít no genius, and you donít need to be one either
- for you players coming from Limit, Iíve found that the biggest adjustment I had to make is toning down my overall aggression; if I could sum up the differences between my strategy in these two games in simple phrases, it would be Limit ďI raise!Ē vs NL ďI call.Ē
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:58 PM   #14
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

Why You Perhaps Shouldn’t Put Too Much Stock In This Thread:

- I’ve played 1000 hours at live 1/3 NL
- 1000 hours at a live table dealing approximately 25 hands / hour (a fair estimate?) is equal to 25,000 hands
- now, I’ve played exactly 0 (zero) hands of internet poker, but one thing I do know is that 25,000 hands ain’t nuthin, especially when you compare that to the volume of hands internet players put in, and we’ve all heard of horrendous breakeven / losing streaks that even well known and proven internet winners have gone thru
- and 1000 hours of live poker (which took me approximately 3 years to reach) is like only half a year to a live grinder willing to grind out 2000 hours/year (at 38 hours per week)
- so I actually don’t quite have the confidence to say I’m simply not a fish on a heater, because I very well could be; or perhaps I’m just a slightly smarter fish in a local pond full of brain dead fish
- I guess I’ll just have to update you in my fifth lifetime and let you know whether I was just simply running good in this one!
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:59 PM   #15
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

Thanks and My Future Plans:

Sincere thanks to all the members of the Small Stakes Limit and Live Low-stakes NL forums! The forums are a great place to learn about the games and keep our minds actively thinking about the game. And, frankly, they are also a fun place to come and waste away our hours while getting paid at work. I know I can sometimes be stubborn, pig-headed, know-it-allish, etc., so I hope no one has been offended by my attitude and simply took all my opinions for what they were: my sincere views on the game (as misguided as you may think they are).

Iím going to continue playing this great game for fun and profit so long as I find it enjoyable (which I currently do, although my guess is this game is a lot less enjoyable when you are losing). I still feel Iím about to be doomswitched and have perhaps just run insanely well, but weíll see. Perhaps someday Iíll start taking a shot at the 2/5 NL game if I like the table lineup, but that game so rarely runs in my room anyways that I might not even have the option. Someday I might convince my wife to allow me out twice a week for poker, but until then, Iíll be out once a week and home by 10:00pm.

I do spend far too much time on 2+2 (and other websites) while at work, so Iím actually going to try to do my best to reign it in a bit (ha?). Iím not sure how successful Iím going to be at this, and youíll probably see me around just as much as before, but maybe not. I do know posting / grunching / etc. really helps keep my mind sharp regarding the game, so I imagine cutting back on 2+2 will not only be hard to do, but damaging to my game as well.

AnyhooÖ. good luck at the tables!

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Old 02-22-2013, 01:00 PM   #16
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

Subscribed to what looks like is going to be an epic thread.

Congrats on reaching the 1,000 hour mark.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:03 PM   #17
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

Originally Posted by beaverslayer View Post
Manic moment?
What's even more impressive is that I'm typing this in real time, like, off the top of my head.

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Old 02-22-2013, 01:06 PM   #18
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL


Will read later, I'm guessing this is probably the best Live Poker 101 posts in the history of this forum
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:19 PM   #19
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

Yea, this is beyond awesome. I'm just over a third of the way there myself (over 7 months) and can say that everything in this is pretty much gold. I am actually jealous, because I can only play 1/2 ($50 min, $200 max) and I would love to play 1/3 and sit deeper with the same fish.

I am probably a little more aggressive on the turn, especially against fishier players, but am 100% behind your concept of bet/folding.

But regardless, if anyone is starting out and wants basically a flowchart of how to win a LLSNL, this is it. Post of the year, IMO. Great work!
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:24 PM   #20
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

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Old 02-22-2013, 01:25 PM   #21
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

Added to Best Of... Congrats you huge luck box.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:29 PM   #22
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

Congrats on the 1000 hour mark and the impressive results. Keep crushing!
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:33 PM   #23
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

Originally Posted by AcePlayerDeluxe View Post
you huge luck box.
I hope everyone genuinely keeps that in mind cuz it really really really could be the case. 1000 hours. Lol. What is that, "lunch time" for you on-line multi-tabling guys?
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:34 PM   #24
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

In on page one. I look forward to the read, thanks for posting GG.
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:41 PM   #25
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Re: A clueless noob reaches 1000 hours of live 1/3 NL

Longtime lurker...just joined this month to give back to the forum...which I owe a lot.

I will say your posts have always been so spot on, I am always excited to see what you have to say about a topic, even if its a one liner. Definitely one of the top posters / poster I have the most respect for.

Thanks for doing this and congrats on the milestone, I will be sure to read & reread many times.
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