Improving at poker

Discussion in 'Betting and Gambling' started by fatpiranha, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. sparx100

    sparx100 Well-Known Member

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    @fatpiranha
    No problem with the rebuy at all, i just dont tend to get to a stage where i need to unless i lose my discipline and want to play some looser hands. Perhaps there is an element of seeing the money go physically rather than virtually but i have always been financially fine.

    In terms of the structure depending on numbers either 2 or 3 get paid and i really have not been at the races. Usually an 80/20 split or 70/30/10 split and it varies from 6 to 9.

    Pot usually ends up at around £80-£100 with someone usually sponsoring the night.

    Even when i write this i am thinking that if i cant get in the top 2 of a home game regularly (we play every 3 weeks), i must be doing something really wrong and i must really suck!

    Winners does seem to move around between peopel so there is not a massively dominant person in my view..
     
  2. fatpiranha

    fatpiranha dismember

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    Good. I've got a better picture of your game structure now. The fact that there is nobody dominating your game strongly suggests that you really should be capable of beating it quite easily because it doesn't sound like the standard is very high. As you rightly point out if you can't beat these players you must be doing something really wrong. All we have to do is find the big leaks in your game and fix them.

    Some are obvious. You've mentioned a couple of times now that you occasionally lose your discipline and start playing bad cards. That's tilt. You know that's bad right? Everybody goes on tilt occasionally for different reasons. The result is almost always the same though - you lose. I don't tilt often but when I do it is because i'm either bored or tired. It's a reaction to not enjoying the game. Some people tilt because they are frustrated by a run of bad cards or bad beats. We all do stupid things but when we do stupid things we know are stupid, that's tilt. You need to understand what causes you to tilt and when those circumstances occur be aware that you might be about to do a stupid thing. Take a few extra seconds to think because it's the primal part of your brain that is losing patience. It makes loads of decisions quickly and automatically. It's great at catching a ball or spitting out food that tastes bad but it's shit at poker. Give the slow, logical, non-instinctive part of your brain time to make a decision. It's much better at that sort of thing.

    Another problem that's obvious is you are playing too cautiously. You state that you can afford to rebuy but rarely need to. Yet you also state that you rarely build up a big stack. In order to do this you should be going broke and rebuying occasionally. The aim is to win right? It's a lot easier to win if you have a big stack when you reach the freeze out rounds. If your stack is less than twice what you can get by rebuying you need to be very aggressive. Double up or go bust and rebuy. You'll have a lot better chance of winning.

    In order to find the leaks in your game i'll need to ask you some questions. It's late so i'll save that for another post. In the meantime tell me what the playing styles of the other regulars in the game are.

    To be continued ...
     
  3. sparx100

    sparx100 Well-Known Member

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    @fatpiranha
    Thanks.
    I think I tilt through actual boredom. Not playing a hand for a long time does that to me when i see others splashing chips in pots. I used to be more patient, bjt a few newbies have come in who just play hands that they shouldnt and i just want to get in and play some cards!

    I am cautious though wanting to wait until i get amazing cards, pairs or decent connectors before i go all in. The result....as Leona puts it so well, i 'keep bleeding' to the point where going all in is not a hard decision to make. Saying that i have been called with a good all in by people with trash and been beaten so i get frustrated too easily.

    So the profiles of the people. The first 4 are the people who always play.

    R = The poker knowledge man. Capable of playing tightly but plays decent cards generally. Invariably gets a good chip stack and once he does he is not afraid to bully people re-raising a good 75% of hands. Doesn't win as often as i think he should.

    M = solid generally and seems to get a lot of good hands but does get caught with some bad hands. Always seems to play me and my blind and definitely over the laat couple of years seems to win pots due to me checking and getting the fear. Has beaten me more times in heads up when down to the final 2 over the last couple of years. Has won our season for the last 2 years.

    T = Loose. Can't put him on a hand as sometime he has it and sometimes he doesn't. You can generally tell what he has post flop as he will raise extremely heavily (say 6 or 7 times the big blind and sometimes more) heavily pre-flop and then a continuation bet generally comes if he has something or if his bet gets called by a number of people he checks and moves out. Last couple of years he has been near the top and won some nights.

    L = The call station. Again noticed that he seems to play against me more often. More on the loose side but lacks the knowledge to bet properly. Not unusual for him to actually get a big chip stack at chip up but throws it away as he shows no aggression in his play post chip up. Plays his low chip stacks extremely weirdly where he will fold having put in most of his chips leaving him with little behind. You can usually play him off pots but if you get called or re-raised he generally has it so fold is the best option.

    The others in the game come in and out. 2 of them though are becoming more regular but both are similar.

    S & A = Both play a lot of hands but S has more restrain. A is wreckless and plays hands that he shouldnt which win him big stacks i.e. he will raise all in should he bust with any cards. He will call a raise with nothing and runner/runner wins. Doesnt have much understanding of the game and subsequently sponsors the evening generally but does frustrate me with his play.
    S has more restrain but will tilt a lot if he loses his stack and happy to lose money.
     
  4. fatpiranha

    fatpiranha dismember

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    That's great (y). I'll cover the others later but it's obvious from what you write that M is your major problem. He's basically made you his bitch. Every time you're in the BB his eyes light up. He bets, you either fold or call. If you call you are out of position and most of the time you miss the flop. He puts in a continuation bet and you fold. When you hit the flop you still don't know what to do and sometimes when you flop a monster he always seems to get away cheap.

    Sound familiar? If it does and you ever want to win another tournament you are going to have to fight back. He's been raping you in the prison showers for years but he won't be so keen if he finds out you stash razor blades up your ass.

    The solution (at your level at least) is quite simple. Never call his raise when you are in the blinds. Your only choices are to fold or raise. If you have trash by all means throw it away. You can't make money playing trash out of position. But if you have anything playable that might flop well such as a pair or suited connectors or anything you'd quite like to see a flop with then reraise to about 3x his bet. If he calls you need to make a half pot continuation bet no matter what the flop is. You do the same thing whether you hit the flop or not.

    Now the tables are turned. Instead of you having the fear it's his turn to look nervously at the soap. The vast majority of the time this is going to win you the pot either when you reraise or continuation bet. The reason why you don't do this with any 2 cards is that you want a chance of flopping a big hand or a big draw when you get called. If he re-reraises pre-flop he probably does have a big hand so just fold unless you have a great hand yourself (A,K or Q,Q+) in which case just push all-in.

    You can also re-raise from the BB if he raises and somebody else just calls. This is the classic squeeze play. The caller probably doesn't have a big hand but M will be stuck facing a possible slowplay from the caller and after years of abusing your blind should give you credit for a big hand yourself. Again you should follow up with a continuation bet if you get just one caller but if both call and you haven't hit the flop hard just give up. Also you should obviously fold if someone reraises unless you have a great hand in which case just push.

    Don't get discouraged if you run into a big hand the first couple of times you try this. The aim is not to win money from the blinds. You can't. The aim is to lose less and stop M from abusing you. The bigger the blinds are in relation to your stack the more you should be protecting your blinds from M's raises. He simply isn't getting big hands every time you are in the BB. In fact he's not getting big hands any more often than you are but he's mainly showing down good hands because he's folding the bad ones when somebody plays back at him. Cut off his free money supply (You!) and he'll be winning the tournament a lot less frequently.
     
  5. fatpiranha

    fatpiranha dismember

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    Quick rundown of a couple of recent tournaments (both regular Friday night games £50 entry as in opening post).

    The first my brain is in a bad place. The bag for life is having a blobstrop and i'm hiding anything sharp :cautious:. Just glad it's poker night and i've got an excuse to get out of the house. I get drawn on what looks like a decent table. Pretty weak but the 2 guys to the left of me are notorious calling stations. Great if you get good cards but a nightmare if you don't. I choose to cash in my white chip straight away as if I do get a good hand against one of the calling stations I want to get full value. If there had been maniacs to my left I wouldn't have cashed it as i'd want a couple of chances at catching them bluffing.

    Early on I get A,K off on the button. One guy open limps and another limps behind. I make a standard raise to 3x the BB + a BB for each limper (5BBs in total). An old white guy in the small blind calls but both limpers fold. The flop comes 7,8,9 with 2 hearts. This is obviously a bad flop for me but I have the A of hearts which gives me 2 overcards and a backdoor to the nut flush. It's a close call between just giving up or putting in a continuation bet. A bet will chase out small pairs and a few broadway hands like Q,J that have a lot of equity against my hand. Also hands like suited aces that have hit 2nd or 3rd pair should fold. After he checks to me I decide to go with a small continuation bet of a third of the pot. This only has to work 26% of the time to show a profit. There's no need to go bigger as if he has a draw he likely has a pair as well and won't be folding.

    Unfortunately he calls. I'm done with the hand at this point. He's obviously got something and could easily have a monster. The turn is a non heart 2 which changes nothing and we both check. The river is a 7 which pairs the board but if he was on a draw he's missed and he hasn't improved any hand I was already beating.

    I'm expecting it to go check, check or him to put in a value bet and me to fold but he does something very strange and puts in a tiny bet of about one fifth of the pot. Now it's possible that he has flopped a monster and is just trying to make some money with it but usually when people donk out with small blocker bets on the river it means they have a weak made hand that they are just trying to get to showdown with and are trying to set their own price. I've already posted about these bets in this thread. Unless my opponent is particularly trappy I just give them the bad news and raise but I was on autopilot here and called the tiny bet out of curiosity.

    It's actually pretty obvious what he has and if I had bothered to think about it I would have worked it out. He'd called a pre-flop raise and a continuation bet from the small blind. He's unlikely to be a busted flush draw as I have the A of hearts. He is also unlikely to have an overpair to the board or he would have reraised pre-flop. My mistake was thinking that my continuation bet would have chased out all the small pairs forgetting that if he had a pair of 6s he would also have an open ended straight draw to the ignorant end. This is the only hand where his play made any sense. Any reraise would have won me the pot but I made a terrible play because I didn't take the time to think about it.

    I must admit this mistake rattled me and made me start playing a lot more passively than normal. The calling stations to my left exacerbated this as I wasn't getting many decent hands and when I did enter a pot with something marginal I didn't have position as one of the calling stations would tag along with whatever rubbish calling stations play and if they hit anything on the flop there was no getting rid of them.

    I managed to slightly increase my stack to about twice my initial buy in but shortly after the rebuy period ended our table broke and at my new table I quickly went all-in with a pair of queens pre-flop against a short stack holding a pair of 8s. Luck was not on my side and an 8 came on the flop leaving me with a cripple stack of about 8BBs.

    With 12BBs or less you are in push or fold mode. You can't risk calling other peoples raises and are just looking for a good spot to get it all in and gamble. Any hand that is folded around to you is a good spot to shove. I pick up 10,9 suited in the cut off and with the button and blinds all being medium stacks I can hurt this is as good an opportunity as I am likely to get. Unfortunately the small blind wakes up with a pair of 10s and snap calls me. This is the worse possible hand for me to be up against (over 6% worse than facing A,A) and i'm out of the tournament. Ironically it's the same old, white guy I made the earlier mistake against :rolleyes:. I played crap and got what I deserved.

    The next week I get off to a good start and build a nice stack. Unfortunately I later lose 3 big hands where I was a decent favourite when the money went in but lost all 3 on the river. I'm fine with this. I played well and got unlucky. When I get down to a small stack I push with a pair of 10s from the small blind and run into K,K in the big. None of the hands were particularly interesting and while I undoubtedly made mistakes none of them were ones I was good enough to recognise even in retrospect. Sometimes it's just not your night.
     
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  6. pffft

    pffft some kind of member

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    I would recommend adding "Elements of Poker" by Tommy Angelo to your poker library.
     
  7. sparx100

    sparx100 Well-Known Member

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    So came 2nd out of 8 at the local game.

    Sucked out a couple of times when i was ahead which really frustrates me but had a breather and returned with a few decent hands in a row which people took the bait on.

    I flopped quads, and i had 2 people betting into me which was great!! Started with a small stack which was a heqlthy chip stack up until until i sucked out in the river with my 10s against 7s....

    As the blinds went up and last buyin happened i was in last place with around 1400 chips. Chip leader had 7000 chips.

    The 2 opening hands after last buyin, i raised with Jacks and the flop comes down with an ace and a king. A raise in front forces me out and the next hand i raise with a KQ off suit in late position and the flop was poor which was followed up by someone betting into it which i had to fold. So at my lowest ebb i was down to 800 chips which was around 8 big blinds....

    Then the turnaround happened and I managed to snag bullets. Bullets are not my friend, but it was an easy all in decision and i got two callers. Someone had J/10 off and the other had A/J. Nothing to help them and i triple up so 2400 chips. Was able to pick my moments and just 'hung around'. And built up a healthy stack.

    Got to heads up and it went on for a good half hour which was great practice and both of us ended up rivering each other to frustrate the other. I can't complain at my play and i had my short stack in as favourite K/Q against his......

    7/2........

    We know how this goes. He spikes a 7 on the turn and i am left to cry in the corner......

    Still not happy with my early play. Sucked out a few times and started to get frustrated which is unusual but i know people tend to play more pots in the early stages. I just need to keep my play solid.
     
  8. bigpalacios

    bigpalacios Well-Known Member

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    I have just read the thread title so don't attack me if you've done all of these.

    Joining a training site will improve your game.

    Study game theory and get some sound fundamentals in place that will help you with your decision making. Study different concepts such as ranges, stack sizes, 3 betting, bluffing, ICM etc etc

    Play online and gradually build the the amount of tables you are playing so that you can get more hands in per hour than you can playing live.

    Get some poker 'friends' to discuss hands with.

    Get coaching.

    Most poker strategy books are useless as by the time they are published the game has moved on. Although there are some good books for the mental side of the game, check out Jared Tendler and Tommy Angelo.

    Play hands and analyse after the fact, Piosolver is a good piece of software for this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
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  9. Shanks

    Shanks Kinda not anymore....

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    I used to play a few friendly games, cousins, dad, uncles and friends, £5 in, and crack on.
    Then started a few local pub tounaments, nothing major but £5 in and if you came out on top you'd win £20 voucher and be entered in round robin tournament against all pubs in different areas, won a few in the local pub, but never in the annual bigger tournament.
    Then went a few times to the local snooker hall and hated the re-buy aspect, maybe because I'm not really someone who gambles, and I found it annoying that I'd be tabled with pillocks who would just go all in constantly and re-buying. Great to get your stack up, but annoying as fuck if they got lucky.

    Although I haven't played Poker in about 5 years since, but recently started trying again, with practise free sites, Zynga on my phone trying to re-learn something. Although not really the best place to learn, it's getting me enjoying playing but wanting to take this a little further, potentially online and then try a few face to face tournaments again.

    I'm a pretty shit player, I'm too tight, can't bluff, but will do some reading from stuff recommended here and see how I get on.
     
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  10. even steven

    even steven Member

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    Like above I haven't read the whole thing but one way in which I feel has improved my game is watching 'pros' playing on twitch. Some of the players on there are more recreational but there are some very good players on there. Ones I like to watch are:

    Jaime staples - pokerstaples. Recently signed by PokerStars as an online pro and is very good at explaining his thought processes throughout different stages of his hands. Helped me slightly alter certain aspects of my game for sure. He also has highlight videos on YouTube of his daily tournaments if you just want to look at a shorter summary of key moments, just type his name in and you'll find it.

    Jccarver is another guy who is at the very top of the game and very interesting to watch.

    Kevin Martin. Similar to Jaime staples and is now a pokerstars online pro. Also good at explaining his thought processes during hands.

    New guy that I've recently started watching is spraggy on twitch. English and a funny guy. Would say he's a lot newer to the game as the ones I mentioned above but I think he'll be up there after a while. Watched him today on twitch and he came 2nd in the big $27 on pokerstars, looked a very sound player and was unlucky not to win.

    I'd say that watching these sorts of things is the easiest way to learn as you can see what these top guys will do in pretty much every situation over time. Easy to watch aswell so I find it a lot easier to take in the info over reading a load of text or whatever.

    Scoop (spring championship of online poker) on ATM so there's loads of them to watch all the time for the next few weeks.
     
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  11. spurslenny

    spurslenny I hate football

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    1. Know what are good/bad starting hands to play and in what position (late, under the gun etc)

    2. Position. This is critical. Good players win the majority of pots not with good cards, but with strong bets in good position.

    3. Strategy. Are you going to play tight or loose, be a calling station or aggressive. A lot will depend on point 2.

    4. Dont be a hero. Making a bad call on a bad hunch will loose you chips fast.

    5. Tells. The hardest thing to learn and something you only work out through playing a lot.
     

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