View Single Post
Old 09-07-2012, 06:09 PM   #66
Color Up
Color Up's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 323
Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

Once upon a time, not too long ago, I would frequently debate whether I ought to go to value town or induce. When thinking about inducing, typically I find myself slipping into FPS and costing myself a lot of money. Occasionally, and for no apparent reason, I'd take a fancy line and be rewarded with it. The problem was that I could tell there were times when taking an unorthodox line was obviously optimal, as the result in that particular hand indicated to me, but yet I also knew that overall it was a poor strategy.

As a winning player, and one that could crush micro-stakes on a whim and play solid at SSNL, I knew that I ought to forgo fancy plays and opt for the most positive EV line I could. "Just stick to the math," I'd tell myself.

But I couldn't escape that nagging feeling deep inside my mind - that somehow a one size fits all action was actually suboptimal even if it was the most positive EV line possible. If only there were a way to tailor my play, I'd be able to maximize my value and enjoy a higher win rate.

But that hope simply wasn't in the cards for me. I went on a massive downswing rapidly trying to alter my strategy. One buy-in quickly turned into fifteen. 15 BI turned into 24 before I knew it.

Was I washed up?
Was it variance?
Was it frustration that an ideal just didn't seem to be panning out for me?
Or was I wrong about the whole thing?

"Perhaps the games are dead," I thought, "there's no money in poker anymore, everyone's solid."

Of course I understood that I was suffering through the poker cliché, but it didn't make it any easier on me.

I stopped playing all together for a while. It was too painful to even think about poker, let alone fire up tables and start grinding. Life sucked hard.

This meant that my skills became rusty and my biggest leak of all came out (my biggest leak is not playing).

In desperation, I took a look at Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk. The name was catchy and even familiar since my downswing saw several items destroyed through venting my frustration. Worse than any proverbial hole in my desk was the hole in my confidence, and what I perceived to be some sort of hole in my game.

After a lengthy discussion with Jonathan, I decided to go ahead and purchase his book. I was really concerned with even bothering to spend time on something like this since I felt as though my prior studies were solid. The truth of the matter is that Jon is perhaps the most vetted coach on 2p2 and he has some very respected buddies vouching for him. Additionally, his win rate at mid-stakes was what my 50NL win rate was after the downswing. If I wanted to enjoy this sort of win rate and reduce the chances of another debilitating downswing (at a time when moving up especially), I thought, I'd have to learn what he knew.

I eagerly downloaded the zip file and began going through the material. My thought was, "I'll sift through the material, find a few nuggets, and start putting them to work!"

Well, my optimism was perhaps a bit too ambitious... or not ambitious enough.

This is not a book that gives you a one size fits all line in various situations. In fact, it's not even a book. It's also not a video. It's both and it's neither at the same time. It's such a unique format that I found it a little challenging to get through at first.

Armed with my three 27" wide screen monitors, I had the video running on one screen, the book open on another, and some of his reference material on the third. Don't think you need all that though, I just found it easier for me to go through.

The time it took me to get through this thing was massive. Jonathan thought it represented about 20 hours of his coaching. I specifically asked him if this is how long he thought it would take for me to get through his material - and he said the two weren't the same. Well, it took me at least that long, and perhaps a bit more (I stopped keeping track), But I'm the sort of person that forces myself to internalize and analyze every aspect that I can... there was no superficial glossing over the material (like I did with some of the published works available out there for a hefty price) - perhaps it's greatest weakness was its strength in that it was training on how to think about the game instead of pure strategy. Thinking is much more challenging than clicking some buttons.

What makes this so much different than everything out there isn't so much the format (though that too), it's that most every hand of several hours worth of sessions is painstakingly analyzed. If you ever wondered how the optimal line might change mid hand should the "ace of spades fall instead of the 7 of clubs" it's in here! With such depth of thought, the amount of time and energy needed to adequately absorb the material was massive. Ten hours of deliberate study into this thing I thought I was on the cusp of something new, something remarkable, and something astounding.... the problem was, I also was seeing that with so much more material to go through, I was only scratching the surface.

I really took the lessons to heart though. I committed his entire stat section to memory. In the discussion, he refers to these stats, what they mean, and most importantly, how to adjust a line.

Now, I'm just talking any stats here. Come on, we all know how to adjust against a 40/10 or a 25/20. The sorts of adjustments and the sorts of stats discussed here are sometimes derivatives and don't even show up on a HUD (what you need to know is on the HUD though). I thought I knew a lot about how to exploit particular stats, but I was clueless as to some of the ways you can vary.

I'm not going to lie - memorizing stat ranges was really tedious and boring as hell. But quickly my game started to shift.

"Time to take this fool to value town... all aboard the VT express..... mmm, wait, maybe I should check something first..... ah, wow, I would have missed that before!" was a thought I had so many times I couldn't count.

Instead of "@#$@#$!!!!!!" being yelled all over the place in frustration, I find myself repeating a new motto as I scoop pots, "Bing Blang Bloaw... ship it"

They didn't even see it coming.

I know the road I've been on the last few years has been a rocky one, but in front of me I see a smooth glassy surface, and I've got my foot mashed down on the pedal. I can't promise myself that it will always be this smooth, but what I can tell you is that I'm far more equipped now than I was.

Now when I take an unorthodox line, I have a reason. I have a mathematical justification, and my win-rate is soaring because of it. Looking in my rear view mirror, I see the dust I've kicked up as I leave behind simple poker and enter a whole new realm of endless possibilities.
Color Up is offline