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08-10-2010, 06:47 AM   #1
DonkDonkDonkDonk
Goose

Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 38,870
COTW: Using SPR at uNL

Stack-to-Pot Ratios

Introduction

I could make this COTW real short and say 'if you want to know about SPR, read Professional No Limit Hold 'Em by Matt Flynn, Sunny Mehta and Ed Miller.' Since I won't do that, you'll have to bare with me. I've heard that SPR is a controversial topic in NLHE but I'm not sure why, PNLHE maybe overrated it's status a little, but SPR is an enormously helpful tool that you can use to improve your game no end.

What is SPR?

Stack-to-pot-ratios are simple. You divide the amount of the smallest stack by the final preflop pot.

For example:

We have a stack of \$100, our opponent has \$200 and the pot is \$10 on the flop, we divide the smallest stack, our \$100 stack by the final preflop pot, \$10, 100/10 = 10, so the SPR is 10

We have a stack of \$10 ,our opponent has a stack size of \$15, and the pot size is \$0.50, 10/0.5 = 20, SPR is 20

When there are more than one opponent in the hand we can calculate the SPR with all the opponents. For example we have a \$300,000 stack and durrrr has a \$200,000 stack but Ivey has a \$500,000 stack and the final preflop pot is \$10,000. That means that we have a SPR of 20 with durrrr (200,000/10,000) and a SPR of 30 with Ivey (300,000/10,000).

I hope this makes sense, it's really simple mathematics, I hope I am not making it complicated.

Why use SPR?

SPR simply puts a numerical value on the relationship between the smallest stack in the hand and the pot size. Instead of saying 'the pot was big', say 'the SPR was small'

We use SPR to help make better commitment plans, manipulate the pot preflop and to make better decisions post-flop. It isn't the be-all-and-end-all of poker as PNLHE said it was, but taking it into account is vital in my opinion.

Using SPR at uNL

Here is an example of a hand in which we don't use SPR

Hand A:

Full Tilt Poker \$50.00 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players

MP1: \$44.00
MP2: \$14.40
Hero (CO): \$50.00
BTN: \$33.90
SB: \$44.55
BB: \$54.15
UTG: \$32.00 65/19 fish
UTG+1: \$40.20
UTG+2: \$50.25

Pre Flop: (\$0.75) Hero is CO with K K
UTG calls \$0.50 4 folds, Hero raises to \$1.50, 3 folds, UTG calls \$1

make a standard raise to 3x for value, fish comes along, good.

Flop: (\$2.25) 2 J 7 (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets \$2, UTG calls \$2

Make a reasonably sized cbet on a good flop and he calls, that's also pretty sweet for me.

Turn: (\$5.25) 6 (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets \$4.00, UTG raises to \$10,

omgwtfbbq what do i do is he bluffing head asplode??

Hero made several mistakes in this hand, most of them can be avoided if he considered and used SPR effectively.

Hand B:

Full Tilt Poker \$50.00 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players

MP1: \$44.00
MP2: \$14.40
Hero (CO): \$50.00
BTN: \$33.90
SB: \$44.55
BB: \$54.15
UTG: \$32.00 65/19 fish
UTG+1: \$40.20
UTG+2: \$50.25

Pre Flop: (\$0.75) Hero is CO with K K
UTG calls \$0.50 4 folds, Hero raises to \$2.50, 3 folds, UTG calls \$2

I usually make it 3x the blinds, but if I did that that would give me an SPR of around 16 which isn't great for my hand, I'll go for a 5x raise that will give me a more favorable SPR of around 8

Flop: (\$4.25) 2 J 7 (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets \$3.50, UTG calls \$3.50

Make a reasonably sized cbet on a good flop and he calls, I think I am ahead here and given he is a big fish I think I am committed to my hand given the SPR is 8.

Turn: (\$11.25) 6 (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets \$9.00, UTG raises to \$26 and is all in,

Well I said I was committed on the flop and the 6 is unlikely to have improved his hand, I'm going to go ahead and stick to my plan and commit my chips against this aggrodonk

Hero calls \$17

The biggest mistake that hero in hand A made was not that he raised to 3x after the limper but it was not making a commitment plan on any street. If he had made a plan like the hero in hand B, he would not have been put in such an awkward spot on the turn, even though the only action Hero B did differently is raise more preflop. SPR didn't tell hero in hand B how to play the hand, but it helped him create a plan and then manipulate the pot size in order to carry out the plan.

Maximum SPRs

Maximum SPRs are estimates on the largest SPR you could expect to profit when you get the money all in. We estimate maximum SPRs based on the particular hand and the particular opponent.

Pre Flop: (\$0.75) Hero is CO with A A
5 folds, Hero raises to \$1.50, 2 folds, BB calls \$1.00

Here is a good spot to estimate a maximum SPR. if BB was really tight that he will rarely stack off without 2 pair+, then you can say that you'll only get it all in profitably if the SPR was less than 4. That means that if the SPR was 4 or less you can commit versus this particular opponent and expect to profit. However, you estimate that if the SPR was over 4 then committing all your chips versus this opponent would have a negative expectation.

If BB was a loose spewy aggrodonk, you could say that you'll commit if the SPR was 10 or under.

Target SPRs

We can estimate the maximum SPR as the highest SPR that you can get the money all in and expect to have a positive expectation. However that doesn't mean that the maximum SPR is the optimal SPR.
PNLHE defines target SPRs as;

Quote:
 your ideal stack-to-pot ratio with a particular hand versus a particular opponent. It is the SPR that is going to win you the most money when you get all in.
So how do you estimate your target SPR? Well, it depends on two major factors:

This is the most important, obviously. If you've played any significant amount of poker you should know what starting hands make what type of hands by the river. AK, AQ and other big aces, broadways, and JJ+ make top pair hands and overpairs. Small pocket pairs make underpairs and sets and suited connectors make flushes, straights and big draws.

Top pair hands and overpairs are triskaidekaphobic. That means that they fear the number 13. While low SPRs like 4 or 6 are easy because you can bet/bet/commit and large SPRS like 21 aren't bad because you aren't usually stacking off anyway, 13 is a uncertain middle ground where people have just enough implied odds to set mine and draw out on you as well as having enough to bluff you off your hand. Good target SPRs with TP/OP hands are either much lower than 13 or much higher. Drawing hands like small pocket pairs and suited connectors love the number 13 for the same reason as TP/OPs hate it.

A good estimation of your target SPR has to take into account the stack off ranges and tendencies of your opponent.

A set mining nit won't commit his chips without a set or a very low SPR and will fold otherwise. You want to make as much money preflop versus this guy because he is going to play reasonably perfectly versus you postflop and with lower SPRs he is more likely to spaz out or feel committed with his pocket pair. So a good target SPR versus him might be 4.

Against a solid, aggressive TAG, you might raise that a bit. His calling range is going to be wider than just pocket pairs and will seek to bluff you every once in a while. He can also be encouraged to stack off if he hits TPTK or something of the sort, however he is still solid and isn't going to commit a lot of chips without a good hand. Against him, you can set a target SPR of 6-7.

Against a maniac fish you can set your target SPRs as high as 10-11 because he is going to do stupid stuff with stupid hands and the higher the SPR the more money you can win off him.

I have only given a basic guide, these target SPRs change because of specific reads and tendencies that every player has (remember no two players are the same). I could go through all different hands and players but I feel I don't have to, use your brain and come up with your own target SPRs for common situations that you find yourself in.

Manipulating the pot to achieve your target SPR

Once you have set a target SPR it is time to achieve that target (we set targets for a reason). Managing the preflop pot is very important because 1bb difference on the flop can mean 30bb difference by the river, and it all matters.

Raise Sizes

Raising to 3/4bb+1 per limper in all positions is the overwhelming trend in online poker. You raise the same all the time because otherwise people can read into your raise size. While this has it's merits, and it's something I do when I play, my one PSA is, STOP, THINK AND ADJUST! Your standard might be 3bb plus one bb for every limper, however doing this automatically is costing you money. Think about your target SPR and then think 'is raising to 3x going to achieve this?' Maybe you are deep with a whale and raising more isn't going to lose you value, or maybe there is a shortstack in the blinds and minraising from the button is more profitable, who knows but adjusting your preflop raise sizing every so often in order to achieve a more favorable SPR will really improve your game.

To 3bet or not to 3bet

Deciding whether to 3bet can be a difficult thing to do. Remember people have a tendency to call 3bets especially in position. So before you 3bet you should think 'if I am called I will be in a pot with a low SPR' and then think do I want to be in this pot with my hand/position against the opponent and his calling range? I see this a lot people 3bet KJo or something in the SB and then they get called and then they're like 'oh **** what do I do, I am not doing well against his range but the SPR is 5 surely I have to commit with my pair of jacks'. Well it's too late for thinking about that buddy, you should have planned it out before hand, considered all the possibilities and then made your decision. Low SPRs usually make decisions easier but they can make decisions harder when you've got a marginal hand against the opponents range and you are OOP.

Sometimes, flat-calling when you would normally 3bet can be the correct decision if you are deep.

MP1: \$44.00
MP2: \$14.40
CO: \$61.65
BTN: \$33.90
SB: \$44.55
Hero (BB): \$130.00
UTG: \$54.15
UTG+1: \$120.20 11/9 with 81% f3b
UTG+2: \$50.25

Pre Flop: (\$0.75) Hero is BB with A A
1 fold, UTG+1 raises to \$1.50, 6 folds, Hero calls \$1.00

Here although we have AA and we want to get the most value out of the hand, I think flat calling here is a good play. If we 3bet to \$5.50 and he calls we are setting up a pot with an SPR of 11 which is really close to 13 and 13 is bad for our hand especially against a tight player. If we just call the SPR is huge at 36 which is better for our hand as it removes the fear of getting stacked by a better hand as we are not going to stack off without a set anyway. Here by 3betting we allow him decent odds to call with smaller pocket pairs and we are going to be OOP with a bad SPR against a player who is going to play reasonably perfectly against an overpair, not a great situation in my opinion. He isn't going to stack off preflop either unless he has the other two aces.

Remember in poker there are three advantages you can have over your opponents

In general, if you have skill and/or positional advantage over your opponent you can afford to have high SPRs because you allow yourself more room to maneuver and exploit these edges. If you don't have either but you have card advantage, try and aim for smaller SPRs as positional and skill advantages are less important the smaller the SPR. If you don't have any, fold.

Conclusion

if you really want to know about SPR, read Professional No Limit Hold 'Em by Matt Flynn, Sunny Mehta and Ed Miller.

 08-10-2010, 07:29 AM #2 shane5495 veteran     Join Date: Apr 2010 Location: turning the corner Posts: 2,907 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL First
 08-10-2010, 07:38 AM #3 Messenjupp veteran     Join Date: Aug 2008 Location: a student of the game Posts: 3,327 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL Wow, 2nd
 08-10-2010, 09:01 AM #4 OpenedHead banned     Join Date: Apr 2010 Location: Doomswitch Posts: 746 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL very good read donk*4 I apreciatte it Do you usually make bigger preflop raises with our big pair when you have a fish acting behind you/in the blinds? If so don't you think regs can adjust and fold hands like AK AQ to that kind of raises? obviously if fish comes along it doesn't matter at all but don't u think regs will counter attack that strategy by calling wider and trying to outplay/hit big or something like that??
 08-10-2010, 09:39 AM #5 xplore111 veteran     Join Date: Jan 2010 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 2,597 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL If anyone is interested in learning more about commitment / SPR's there's a great series on DC that goes into what it really means to be committed. It also talks about manipulating bet sizing to give us SPR's on later streets etc http://www.deucescracked.com/videos?...deo-search-box The entire series isn't completely on commitment, some is table selection, and other basics like that.
 08-10-2010, 09:43 AM #6 lowsyspellar journeyman   Join Date: Aug 2009 Posts: 321 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL Hi DonkDonkDonkDonk, A very nice, concise treatment of SPR. Thank you for taking the time to put it together. If this post intrigues people they should definitely read PNLHEM to get the rest of the story on SPR. A complimentary idea I want to mention here is that of the ‘commitment threshold’ We know that once the pot reaches 30% of the effective stack we are committed against most opponents and their range of SPRs. This is because it only takes 2 additional pot sized bets at this point to get the rest of the effective stack size into the pot. But not everyone realizes just how quickly the 30% mark is reached. A good rule of thumb to use is to make your commitment plan once the pot reaches 10% of the effective stack. Pot size is a process of geometric growth, and once the pot is 10% of the effective stack it only takes 1 pot sized bet and a call for the pot to reach 30% of the effective stack. As we never want to build a large pot without being committed (certain sophisticated bluffing options exempted) we need to make our commitment decisions at or before the 10% mark to avoid painting ourselves into a corner and getting ourselves unnecessarily pot stuck. Using SPR and the commitment threshold makes many post flop decisions much easier and makes it much harder to bluff us off our hand. When we’ve got equity, a commitment plan, and hit our target SPR, we are comfortable getting it all in.
 08-10-2010, 11:23 AM #7 Tony Skaloni veteran     Join Date: Jul 2006 Location: Ann Arbor Posts: 2,492 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL i think spr is terrible for a number of reasons. The main ones being (this is at least how ive seen it being used through me coaching alot of people) People use it as jusitification for stacking off. It doesn't matter what your spr is if your drawing dead. people just misuse it so often i dont teach it. but your post was good though.
 08-10-2010, 12:20 PM #8 DiggertheDog Pan Troglodytes     Join Date: Mar 2008 Location: cras ingens iterabimus aequor Posts: 57,791 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL OP: Have you thought about connecting SPR with - (a) Dead money (b) Leverage
 08-10-2010, 12:36 PM #9 udbrky Formerly known as udbrky     Join Date: Oct 2005 Location: avoiding responsibility Posts: 28,871 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL You might want to look at hand A. Betsizes and stacks are not addingup. \$1.50 raise + caller + blinds and it shows \$2.25 pot on flop \$2 bet + call on flop, and it shows \$5.25 pot on turn. Should be 3.75 flop, bet \$3, and 9.75 on turn imo. Hand B isn't matching up either. I'd like to hear about the SPR and leverage. Wouldn't dead money be included in the pot already?
08-10-2010, 01:05 PM   #10
DDAWD
Carpal \'Tunnel

Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,879
Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Tony Skaloni i think spr is terrible for a number of reasons. The main ones being (this is at least how ive seen it being used through me coaching alot of people) People use it as jusitification for stacking off. It doesn't matter what your spr is if your drawing dead. people just misuse it so often i dont teach it. but your post was good though.
Wouldn't this be more indicative of a preflop mistake? Or is it something along the lines of "villain just put in 10% of his stack in preflop. He can't possibly be setming. He must be being hyperaggressive with something that loses to my pocket Ks."?

 08-10-2010, 01:10 PM #11 udbrky Formerly known as udbrky     Join Date: Oct 2005 Location: avoiding responsibility Posts: 28,871 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL Well it doesn't matter what your SPR is, if your opponents' range and the change of board texture says you need to c/f. Blindly using SPR and stacking off isn't a smart idea when you're not making adjustments.
 08-10-2010, 01:17 PM #12 KrazyIgnatz centurion     Join Date: May 2009 Location: Lucky Posts: 191 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL Great post, this and the prev COTW made me really think about planning hands and thinking a few steps ahead.
 08-10-2010, 01:37 PM #13 alexking newbie     Join Date: Aug 2010 Posts: 25 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL very good post, now i want read pnlhe
 08-10-2010, 02:43 PM #14 MyTurn2Raise Drug Free MVP     Join Date: Jun 2005 Location: Descalso, Jay, and the pitcher Posts: 40,622 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL SPR is highly overrated IMO it will lead to just oozing money at the micro level
 08-10-2010, 03:15 PM #15 Cangurino Carpal \'Tunnel     Join Date: Apr 2008 Location: The Circus Posts: 13,478 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL I think that a problem might be that people use SPR in isolation. What we need to consider is What is our hand on the flop? What is our opponent's range? Which part of that range does he stack off with? How does our hand fare against his continuation range? Given the information above, is stacking off the best course of action? SPR influences only Point 3 above. (Edit: And Point 5 due to pot odds.) Or it should. If Villain doesn't care about SPR, neither should we. If we're not ready to stack off then it's probably reasonable to keep the pot small.
08-10-2010, 03:32 PM   #16
Onyx
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: sitting in a tin-can
Posts: 1,525
Quote:
 Originally Posted by udbrky Well it doesn't matter what your SPR is, if your opponents' range and the change of board texture says you need to c/f. Blindly using SPR and stacking off isn't a smart idea when you're not making adjustments.
I'm not sure that's what OP was advocating, I took it to mean if we manipulate the spr we can get our opponents to make mistakes; ie, stack off with a hand they would otherwise fold because the low spr offered odds that were too good to refuse? We, of course, wouldn't make that mistake, particularly if we plan the hand better than our opponent & retain the ability to fold a pretty hand when the board conspires against us???

 08-10-2010, 06:48 PM #17 Bettt newbie   Join Date: Aug 2010 Posts: 19 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL So weird I found this thread by searching for the commitment threshold whilst reading through the section in PNLHE and found that there was a Micro COTW. JACKPOT!!! Will enjoy reading how much importance people give it at these levels. I'll read after finishing the chapter in the book. Thanks!
 08-10-2010, 06:57 PM #18 kmd107 old hand     Join Date: Sep 2009 Posts: 1,250 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL Nice COTW, thanks OP
08-10-2010, 10:41 PM   #19
kb coolman
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Join Date: Aug 2008
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Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL

Quote:
 Originally Posted by udbrky Well it doesn't matter what your SPR is, if your opponents' range and the change of board texture says you need to c/f. Blindly using SPR and stacking off isn't a smart idea when you're not making adjustments.
+1. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be using SPR to your advantage, especially pre-flop, especially when we have position, and especially vs. multiple opponents.

 08-10-2010, 11:15 PM #20 thejuggernaut See my Staking thread     Join Date: Aug 2009 Location: looking for horses Posts: 4,697 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL Very good COTW. Hate the last hand you posted. Based on something I saw posted in HSNL awhile ago that I agree with. That is that you shouldn't flat AA pre between 150 and 250BB deep. <150bb's You've under repped AA a lot, people wont put it in your range, and you can likely s/o most flops/turns knowing you have an under repped hand. 150-250bb's: You will be put in a lot of awkward spot where you really need to know your villain, his tendencies, and how much money he'll commit with certain hands given your weaker range perceived range, which you likely wont have. Lean towards not getting it in, but you'll be put in a lot of tough spots if you're opponent is aggro/ capable of bluffing. 250bb's: this is a good stack size for flatting AA as we shouldn't have much trouble giving it up unimproved when shown aggression.
 08-11-2010, 02:42 AM #21 82rott centurion   Join Date: Jan 2010 Posts: 148 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL hi, let me throw in my 0.02\$ as I took most of my poker knowledge from this series and want to contribute at least something. i didn't read PNLHE and didn't find much stuff on SPR on the internet so i did some homework and find it usefull at my stakes (stuck between 25 and 50nl). i didn't know about all this 13-phobia and target SPR for certain hands, and started from the other side-looking how to get stacks in or when not to cbet (cause we will get commited) using SPR on flop. i did count SPRs for typical pf actions vs various villain stack sizes, using my standard open raise / 3b sizes to know more or less what SPR will i get on the flop. i.e we steal 3bb- SB or BB 3bets 10bb- we call. pot 20,5-21 bb. so we got SPR of 4,5 against 100bb villain, 3,2 against 75bb, 2,5 against 60bb and so on. i guess it's villain and board dependent, but we can assume that when SPR gets close to 1 we can consider ourselves commited. therefore SPR=3 on the flop leaves us only one 2/3pot bet before getting commited. if we got SPR=7 on the flop, we will get commited with the second barrel. other usefull thing - if we get SPR=6 we can get the stack in with 3 streets of 2/3pot bets. if we got SPR around 8-9, we need at least one pot size bet to get it in. *****not sure if all of this figures aren't somewhere on the net. if so, can someone link it ? ****
08-11-2010, 10:06 AM   #22
DonkDonkDonkDonk
Goose

Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 38,870
Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL

I have just come back from a night out drinking so bare with this post.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by udbrky You might want to look at hand A. Betsizes and stacks are not addingup. \$1.50 raise + caller + blinds and it shows \$2.25 pot on flop \$2 bet + call on flop, and it shows \$5.25 pot on turn. Should be 3.75 flop, bet \$3, and 9.75 on turn imo. Hand B isn't matching up either. I'd like to hear about the SPR and leverage. Wouldn't dead money be included in the pot already?
Sorry if they aren't adding up, I haven't actually got a hand to convert as I haven't played poker in 2 months. So I asked someone to post a hand, any hand and I'll change it for my purposes.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Tony Skaloni i think spr is terrible for a number of reasons. The main ones being (this is at least how ive seen it being used through me coaching alot of people) People use it as jusitification for stacking off. It doesn't matter what your spr is if your drawing dead. people just misuse it so often i dont teach it. but your post was good though.
It's not an excuse for stacking off it is a tool used to plan your hands so you aren't lost about what to do when you get to the flop.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by DiggertheDog OP: Have you thought about connecting SPR with - (a) Dead money (b) Leverage
I can probably give a better answer sober, so I'll wait till the morning

Quote:
 Originally Posted by udbrky Well it doesn't matter what your SPR is, if your opponents' range and the change of board texture says you need to c/f. Blindly using SPR and stacking off isn't a smart idea when you're not making adjustments.
Totally agree 100%.

 08-11-2010, 12:55 PM #23 Buckner86 journeyman   Join Date: May 2009 Location: Behind the bag Posts: 397 Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL Good COTW. I think the thing to remember is that SPR isn't the most important consideration when planning your hand. I think the major criticism of PNLHE is that it presents the concept that way. While it still needs to be considered, I feel it's secondary to other factors in your decision-making process (ranges, position, opponent etc).
08-11-2010, 06:17 PM   #24
Tony Skaloni
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Ann Arbor
Posts: 2,492
Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL

Quote:
 Originally Posted by DonkDonkDonkDonk I have just come back from a night out drinking so bare with this post. Sorry if they aren't adding up, I haven't actually got a hand to convert as I haven't played poker in 2 months. So I asked someone to post a hand, any hand and I'll change it for my purposes. It's not an excuse for stacking off it is a tool used to plan your hands so you aren't lost about what to do when you get to the flop. I can probably give a better answer sober, so I'll wait till the morning Totally agree 100%.
you are totally right with what u said in reply to me. However how you use a stat (a good player) and how most people use a stat (bad players) are two completetly different things. Like if u asked kareem abdul jabbar to teach u how to play basketball he prob wouldn't teach you the sky hook. Its not because its not a great basketball tool to help the person who is learning but because they couldn't use it effeciently for a variety of reasons. thats all my point was.

08-11-2010, 11:16 PM   #25
Zeth
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Re: COTW: Using SPR at uNL

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Tony Skaloni you are totally right with what u said in reply to me. However how you use a stat (a good player) and how most people use a stat (bad players) are two completetly different things. Like if u asked kareem abdul jabbar to teach u how to play basketball he prob wouldn't teach you the sky hook. Its not because its not a great basketball tool to help the person who is learning but because they couldn't use it effeciently for a variety of reasons. thats all my point was.
A good point, and applicable everywhere. Like in sports, for instance; often the best players, when their playing days are over, make bad coaches, because their attitude is like "dude this is so easy, why do you keep ****ing this up?" When it's because they had way more athletic skill than the guys they're coaching; that's why they were a superstar. They're at a loss to figure out how to teach less talented guys. Gretzky was one of the worst hockey coaches in recent memory, for instance...

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