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Old 10-05-2009, 02:22 AM   #1
nerdking
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Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Tribal Chieftan-"...Conan! What is best in life!"
Conan-"To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, to hear the lamentation of their women!"

- Conan in "Conan the Barbarian"

Back in June I ended up half through luck and half through my own machinations (IE hunting the sumbitch down in an effort to take mobnies on camera) in two of BigBadBabar's "Peanut Collector" coaching videos on Deucescracked. Prior to that I had been experimenting with NL games, playing some PLO, and learning 2-7 Triple Draw for about a year. I really didn't have a home game and I was spreading my mental energy pretty thin. I was still playing 6max LHE and applying my lessons learned in aggression and blindstealing--not to mention my handreading abilities--to the occasional FR game on Pokerstars and Fulltilt. In that 2 hour session Babar and I tangled a few times and I began to realize that I'm just as good as a coach on a major poker coaching site. It wasn't an ego thing so much as it was finally understanding that, yes, I'm good at poker, specifically limit holdem. In a conversation on AIM afterward Babar prodded me to really buckle down in LHE and take that one game seriously. I gave it some thought, hemmed and hawed, and finally embarked on a vision quest in early July. I would play FR LHE on Pokerstars against some of the toughest, grindiest competition for 50,000 hands and see where I stood at the end of it. I would put in limited sessions every day, play at my absolute peak abilities, ignore variance both good and bad, and whatever happened at the end happened at the end.

Here is what happened at the end:



Holy crap! I just made $2000 in about a month's worth of play! Well, it worked at 1/2, how will it work at 2/4?

As of today, October 4th, 2009, here is my progress:



First graph is about 2.4BB/100 over 50k hands. Second is approximately 1.7BB/100 over 45k hands. There are many factors that contribute to how I pulled this off. Many of them are advanced topics, marginal spots that many of you aren't taking advantage of to squeeze that extra 0.5-1BB into your winrate. I hope to post a few threads and get into them but to begin with, I want to bring up some meta-issues that formed the foundation of my accomplishment.

I'm not a fan of massive multitabling. As a fellow 2p2er pointed out to me, MMTers are like furniture, you find ways to move around them. I do multitable, however. I believe in a concept I like to call "The Friction Point". It's the spot where you can balance the ability to pay attention to the action, take good notes, and multitable enough so you don't get bored. My friction point is 6 tables. I can follow along with what's going on while taking notes on my opponents. What do I take notes on? Easy. Who open limps, where do they open limp and what do they open limp with? How about coldcalling? Again, where and what with? Postflop how does your opponent play? Is he fit or fold on the flop? How does he play the turn and river? I take especially detailed notes on how my opponents play on the bigbet streets as they are some of the most telltale signs of their ability as a player. An added bonus of note taking is that you'll be so busy writing down what your opponent played and how they played it that you won't have time to get tilted at bad beats nor will you be bored from lack of action. Information gathering: it's the anti-tilt. One quick note to add, though, The first 10k hands are the worst. You're going to be building an information base as you figure out who the weirdos are at your game. Fair warning.

This leads me into proper mindset. 300BB for whatever stakes you play, right? Wrong. With the increased toughness at 1/2+ I like to keep a minimum of 500BB in my bankroll for whatever stakes I'm playing. To some I am overbankrolled for the stakes I play, but for grinding purposes I know that several bad days in a row won't leave me feeling like I need to move down in stakes. As you can see in the 2/4 graph, I took a 315BB downswing over 10k hands. That's over $1200 dollars and I was still able to fight through it. If you're going to grind, you need to be able to take some beating. It's the natural progression of the game.

Another aspect of proper mindset is always being properly rested. My job has me on graveyard shift, so I'm getting home at 8am pacific time. Do I sit down and grind? Hell no. I get some sleep so that my mind is sharp and ready to operate optimally. Furthermore I restrict my sessions to 1-2 hours each. I'll sit down, get seated, play for my alotted time, then go do something else. I've found that I can get at least 2 2-hour sessions in per day on good days. Restricting the time played not only keeps my mind on the game, but allows for natural variance to occur. It keeps me at good tables when I'm running well and gives me an excuse to quit when I'm stuck. This prevents the two biggest leaks in a poker player's psychological game, that is quitting too often when we're ahead (booking a win)and chasing losses too often when we're behind (playing stuck).

Lastly, and this is going to be the basis for future posts on what I've learned in the last 100k hands, the essence of good postflop play boils down to the essence of valuebetting: "what worse hand calls this bet and is that hand in my opponent's range based on how this hand has progressed?" Understand and execute that concept and you will profit greatly. I hope to expand on this in future posts on blindstealing and thin valuebetting.

In the meantime...

Good hunting and good luck
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:34 AM   #2
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Congrats on your accomplishments. Are you considering playing full time?
If you were to play say 12 tables you'd get more FPP/milestones, how would this affect your game? Do you think that the loss in BB/100hds would be compensated by fpps? Great post and I shudder at the notes you have on me. GL in the future.
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:58 AM   #3
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Wow, nice work and great post! Looking forward to hearing more!
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:22 AM   #4
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Congrats! Great writing style too. How long have you been playing 1/2 on Stars before this? Just wondering if the regs know you.
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:52 AM   #5
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

yeah we know him and are glad he sticks to only 6 tables...
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:25 AM   #6
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Nice work sir. Nice

i'd be interested to know 3 things
1. How was 2/4 compared to 1/2?
2. are you interested in doing 100k mmting the same limits? I ask because I think you can do it and I'd like to see how u go
3. Are you Gunna post your stats that you have whilst crushing these limits?
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:22 AM   #7
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Nice post man.

Question: how do you find the 6-max games vs. FR for the same limits? Which do you prefer (assuming you can beat both)?
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:18 AM   #8
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Nice

This is full ring, right?
Whats your future plans?

"FR games run dry up there" is what I`m getting at...

...

rhetorical question

6-max?
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:27 AM   #9
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Quote:
Originally Posted by OziBattler View Post
Nice work sir. Nice

i'd be interested to know 3 things
1. How was 2/4 compared to 1/2?
3. Are you Gunna post your stats that you have whilst crushing these limits?
THIS!

Nice job! Keep up the good work and thanks 4 sharing!
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:32 AM   #10
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

NH Nerd
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Old 10-05-2009, 08:30 AM   #11
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

I ended up to your left a few times during the 1/2 period, and I'm glad you've moved up. Playing BvB against you was more entertaining than anything else has been, but I prefer the money.

It makes total sense that you're a triple draw player. It's like positional boot camp.
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:52 AM   #12
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

I can't imagine how loose/passive the player on Nerdking's right would be enough for me to sit any number of hands on his left. He's going to raise so many pots that you'll end up being a nit, especially in late position. Nerdking is a perfect example of a player you don't want on your right; a LAG who plays well post flop is about as -EV as it gets for you.

nerdking, very nice post. I don't enjoy playing with you.
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:59 AM   #13
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

pretty damn sick

keep it up
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:15 AM   #14
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Nice post, thanks for leaving 1/2.
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:20 AM   #15
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougL View Post
I can't imagine how loose/passive the player on Nerdking's right would be enough for me to sit any number of hands on his left. He's going to raise so many pots that you'll end up being a nit, especially in late position. Nerdking is a perfect example of a player you don't want on your right; a LAG who plays well post flop is about as -EV as it gets for you.
It's not as bad as having a LAG who plays well postflop on your left, which was his situation.
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:30 AM   #16
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Thanks for all the kind words guys. I hope that the followup posts on some of the topics I've been kicking around in my head can do justice to the introduction.

Now on to some answers.

Sect7G: Are you considering playing full time?
A: yes, but it is wholly dependant on what happens with the UIGEA in December

If you were to play say 12 tables you'd get more FPP/milestones, how would this affect your game? Do you think that the loss in BB/100hds would be compensated by fpps?

A: As I stated in the post, I begin to lose track of what's going on and start making misclicks at 8-9 tables. This is my Friction Point, so the thought of me playing 12 tables is a bit fanciful. It also speaks to my philosophy and approach to my LHE game. Some people say that you can either get better at your game or play to make money. I want to do both. That's the thesis behind the Friction Point concept, where can I both play optimally AND multitable?

dostofan: How long have you been playing 1/2 on Stars before this? Just wondering if the regs know you.

A: I first set foot in the 1/2 FR games on Stars in April or May of 2007. I know guys like AkuAku and Timewalker well. I still have nightmares about playing against CmnderMcBragg and shake my fist angrily at SpicyShe. It was at those games where I first developed my handreading abilities because when you're dealing with such a limited range and style of play, you can easily pick out what a person has. Once you get that basis to work from you can expand it to larger ranges using your notes on a player.

Ozi: 1. How was 2/4 compared to 1/2?
A: I'll tell you what I told Dhani when he asked me the same question-- 1/2 is ******edly nitty and a great place to start work on LAGTAG play. Players will take weird lines and lose value or just spew uncontrollably, many don't make it beyond 1/2. At 2/4 play loosens up again. You see more multiway pots and you need to readjust to your tables. My suggestion is just buckle down for the first 10k hands at a new level and play ABC poker over and over again. A lot of these players can't make it to A in ABC. Seat select if you feel it gives you an edge but I personally don't worry about it below 3/6. Simple as that.

2. are you interested in doing 100k mmting the same limits? I ask because I think you can do it and I'd like to see how u go

A: I'd much prefer if you dropped one of the m's from mmt. I multitable but I hardly massive multitable. In response to your second point I'm working my way up through the limits. I chose 50k hands because it's long enough that I can start to get a true idea of my winrate while it's a short enough time period that I can play through it in a couple months and be on to my next goal. When it comes to online poker I'm very goal oriented. My big goal is to be playing 5/T regularly. It's sort of been the mountaintop as far as "this is where the online pros play" since the beginning.

3. Are you Gunna post your stats that you have whilst crushing these limits?

A: I need to get the pictures together, but soon.

Lanyi: how do you find the 6-max games vs. FR for the same limits? Which do you prefer (assuming you can beat both)?

A: TBH I've been focusing most of my time and attention on FR for the last couple months and haven't dedicated myself to my 6max abilities like I have to the FR games. However I will sit in 6max games when the games are dead and I'm bored. I find that regardless of the site you're playing at, 6max players are always more aggressive and showdown bound than FR players. This can be a positive or negative. Another philosophy that I've adopted in my approach to FR, 6max, or ever HUHU play is that it's always the same game, LHE, so the only thing you're adapting is your style and approach to the game. It's like a mixing board for recording equipment. Depending on who you're up against you tweak your preflop raising range here, adjust your showdown rate there, crank your postflop aggression in another place and you adapt your game to fit your opponents. This is true no matter how many players are at the table.

Jossix: Whats your future plans? "FR games run dry up there"

A: Yes, FR games do run dry at 10/20+ but so do 6max games. This is why I began learning NL, TD, and PLO almost two years ago, now. No matter what's going on, I can dedicate myself to playing a certain game if my main game isn't running. In terms of will I go 6max? I already do.

@DougL/Tapirboy: a quick tip in regards to playing with a LAG on your left step 1: call down more. step 2: be ready to lose sometimes.

as for the kind words about GingTFO of the 1/2 game I would like to reference an article from wikipedia on Nicolo Machiavelli's "Il Principe":

In answering the question of whether it is better to be loved than feared, Machiavelli writes, “The answer is of course, that it would be best to be both loved and feared. But since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved."
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:43 AM   #17
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Great post! Very interesting to me, because I was on the same track. I was running 2-3BB/100 on the micro limits, multi-tabling 6 to 9 tables.

Then BAM!!! The WSOP hit the television and PS advertized heavily. The maniacs came out of the woodwork and suckout after suckout my bankroll took a drastic nosedive.

Anybody else see the same maniacs? What do I do???
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:00 PM   #18
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Jam when you think you're ahead and call down when you're not sure. Do session reviews to make sure you don't have any leaks in your game and read and respond to hands here in the forum. In the end ride the variance wave.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:38 PM   #19
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

I've been playing 6max limit now since the beginning of august with decent results (1-1.5 BB/100). I started at .10/.20 and finally, at the end of last month, was rolled for .5/1 with 400 big bets. Since I started .5/1 four days ago I have gone on a 200 big bet downswing over about 5000 hands, leaving my confidence pretty much shattered. My big bets graph still look fairly decent and I think I'm just unlucky for having the downswing right as I moved up. I have been running like complete crap too.

I just wanted to thank you for posting this since it pretty much made my decision to just keep playing and studying instead of abandoning ship for no limit that much easier.

God I hope I'll bounce back.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:47 PM   #20
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapirboy View Post
It's not as bad as having a LAG who plays well postflop on your left, which was his situation.
This is a piece of lore out of live play, and is completely incorrect. I'm almost as big a LAG as nerdking. If we sit side by side, the one on the left loses out big time. Once the first one has raised, the second one gets shut out of a ton of profitable spots. Even if the one on the left knows the right one is raising "light" to isolate a fish, there is little he can do; if right guy's range is still reasonable and decently balanced, all the left guy can do is play tighter than normal. Once the pot is raised, your ranges have to change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nerdking View Post
@DougL/Tapirboy: a quick tip in regards to playing with a LAG on your left step 1: call down more. step 2: be ready to lose sometimes.
My advice is to ignore him until he starts 3 betting you very light. Once he does, the LAG on your left has opened his shields and you can exploit him by tightening up a little and showing down light (as you suggest). The LAG on your left has killed his own EV by having to play behind your raises.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:54 PM   #21
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougL View Post
This is a piece of lore out of live play, and is completely incorrect.
If this is true for you, you don't play position very well postflop. (And I certainly didn't get it from live play, which I have done just enough to learn that I despise it.)
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:56 PM   #22
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

lol

---

Play higher stakes, and every table you play has good LAGs on your left. This doesn't take away from your earn that much. Would I prefer a tight passive who gives his whole hand away when he 3's me? Of course. The thing that defines the value of your seat is the quality of donator on your right. The person on your left has his seat devalued by the fact that you, a winning player, is on his right instead of a fish.

Last edited by DougL; 10-05-2009 at 01:16 PM. Reason: My initial response was a little rude, I'll derail a little more
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:24 PM   #23
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougL View Post
The thing that defines the value of your seat is the quality of donator on your right.
Talk about myths from live play....
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:28 PM   #24
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Quote:
3. Are you Gunna post your stats that you have whilst crushing these limits?

A: I need to get the pictures together, but soon.
pics or it didn't happen

WTG KingNerd
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:29 PM   #25
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Re: Breaking Rocks in The Gravel Pit: 50k hands of Hard Labor at Pokerstars 1/2 FR+

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougL View Post
lol

---

Play higher stakes, and every table you play has good LAGs on your left. This doesn't take away from your earn that much. Would I prefer a tight passive who gives his whole hand away when he 3's me? Of course. The thing that defines the value of your seat is the quality of donator on your right. The person on your left has his seat devalued by the fact that you, a winning player, is on his right instead of a fish.


this talk isn't really derailing the thread. it's a definite issue at 2/4+. For the most part if I'm going to have a tight player to my left I want him two seats over from me , that way i have full access to raising when he's in the sb, bb, and raising from the hijack right over the top of him when he has position on me. Having villain two spots away also eliminates pesky bvb spots where he is always in position when it gets folded around to us. As for the dreaded 3bet, the good players and the bad players are defined by whether or not they'll iso3bet and how light they'll do it.
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