I think this is one of the most important posts to write because the changes I am making/made in regards to the thoughts expressed below are dramatically improving my game.. and its only Day 1 of the changes!

 

 

 

Since instituting these changes, I have played 15 games today with the following results

4 x $1.10 250-Cap Games (cashed 2/4, 1 min cash and 1 #2 spot)

8 x 50c 500-Cap Games (cashed 3/8, all min cash)

PSO Event 27 ($1.10) (cashed in it for a min cash)

1 x $3.30 MTT (didn't cash, went out first hand with KK vs AA)

1 x $1.10 MTT (came 22/2381)

 

So out of 15 games, I cashed in over half of them

Now, I wrote the below yesterday whilst I was on my rest-day with no poker games playing. I hadn't put any of these thoughts into action until today, I just hadn't got around to posting it and it was sitting in a draft document. I think the thoughts below are FAR more relevant because of the mindset it has put me in and to continue playing well, I need to post about it and drill that mindset home so it sticks!!

--- in addition to the strategy (if you can call it that) change to my game, I have begun playing hands for better value. When the effective stack is so deep, I am not willing to goto war with a pair, ill happily collect a few streets of value but i dont want to play for stacks. When the effective stack is much shorter, a big pair is like gold-dust and I will be willing to fight it out on that basis.

I have folded spots where I don't need to risk my stack by calling or getting involved, I am calculating risk a lot more effectivly and protecting my stack.

 

Overall I am VERY happy with my play right now and just need to keep my focus, keep the play on the same tracks and big wins will come!

 

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I currently have noticed an important leak in my game.
 

I am not folding when needed

 

I have some fishy qualities in my play, I am ironing them out but one that doesn’t go away is not folding when I need to.

Example #1 - I have AA and bet the flop, opponent raises and I re-raise, it goes in and two pair or a set shows, I am sick and I am soon enough out.

Unlucky right? --- Wrong! - It was unlucky he hit his hand but everything that followed was skill based and a fold here was the maximum value for my hand in that spot.

Example #2 - Another one is you have two pair and opponent is calling station then flush fills in and he isn’t checking anymore, he bets big and you call, he shows the flush and you wish you had folded.

Same situation, same problem.

 

How do you fold a big hand in these spots?

I thought about this and came to some strong and game changing conclusions.

- Opponents rarely bluff in that spot. The check-raise bluff is something that just doesn’t exist that much in an opponents range and for the players it does, their play style is loose typically so getting chips from them in another spot is very possible.
- I reckon that the bluff / monster ratio is about 1/10 chance

So using that assumption of probability, lets say we play 10 hands where this spot comes up, each time its for our entire stack if we call and if we fold, we still have chips left (otherwise it isnt a decision since pot commited means we have to get it in)

1 times we doubleup
9 times we bust

WOW… thats a big number.
So is 1 doubleup worth 9 buyins?

What happens if we fold and are left with a short stack (say like 10BB)
In that case we are in shove fold territory and flipping, that means 10 of these spots, about 5 we will doubleup and recover to where we were before the hand started, 5 we bust

So the worst case scenario if we fold is we burn 5 buyins and left with 5x 20BB stacks
So the worst case scenario if we call is we burn 9 buyins and left with 1x 40BB stack

That is pretty amazing numbers. Just on a pure chip count, it is 100BB vs 40BB.

What would you rather have?

Obviously the more you factor a bluffing range into those maths the less valuable folding is but call it ICM, call it smart poker, folding those spots decreases your overall variance.


Ideally we want to be in 80/20, 70/30 spots
We will take 60/40 if we have to
50/50 are for when we are short and really need to chip up
20/80 (your flush draws) are spots where we are behind and need to catch up and we should never be banking on these, these are our suckout hands
10/90 are so rare to win, like 72o vs AA preflop, runner runner hands and generally weak outers like a gutshot

So why would we want to take 10/90 if we can avoid it?
Because there is money in the pot? - pffffft by that justification, our opponent flips his cards face up and shoves with Aces, we have 72o and we call… you wouldn’t… but thats the same kind of chances.

I know now that my thinking on the subject before was based on incorrect assessment of the likelihood my opponent had a hand. I was placing the chances more at a 60/40 (in my favor) that it was a bluff vs a decent hand. This was wrong and now I am changing that.


This is a nitty approach but in the micros, flair and WSOP moves just don’t work on these guys. They bet when they have it, they call or fold when they don’t. Then it all comes down to who is ahead and unless you are supremely confident you are, why fight for stacks?


I think back to the bad hands I have played recently, the two that come up so visual were

AA vs 33, opponent hits a set and raises my c-bet, i re-raise, he shoves, I call
AK vs A5, opponent hits two pair, again raises my c-bet, i re-raise, he shoves, I call

My thinking went back to what action would I want if I had these cooler hands… the answer is an aggresive player who is in love with his pair and wants to pay me off, i flag him as a fish and take my big doubleup stack.

So why am I playing in exactly the same fashion as the opponents I am hoping give me action?

Its about BEating the fish not to BE the fish


As a very conclusive summary - Folding is winning.
In a spot where your hand is weak and you can’t proceed from the flop, you lose money by betting so ipso-facto, you gain money by folding.
The more +EV this is depends on just how much you could lose by playing. If you have A2 in the BB and get involved for free, flop comes A-5-2, your opponent holds 55 and shoves. This is a classic example of how Folding is winning because if you can fold here, you lost 0BB during the hand and could have lost 100BB

Since this is effectively the same as winning 100BB in the grand scheme of things, how can you ever be unhappy about winning 100BB? You should be shouting it from the rooftops!!

 

This change has been a long-time coming and I really feel like I have turned a corner going from a mediocre average player who can bink a big prize once in a while to someone who has the stones to play patiently and get the max value from every hand, even if the max value is to fold.


-baud2death