Mission 1: Identify Bread and Butter

Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,615 -
edited August 2014 in General Concepts
Poker missions for continuous improvement:

In my book: Poker Plays You Can Use

I outlined some concrete steps you could take at the table to become a better player. Each week, I will post the next of these missions. Please try it out and let us know how it affects your game.

[Mission intro from book, new mission is at bottom]
If you are already playing a bigger game, you might want to drop to lower stakes. It should make the bigger bluffs, thin value bets and floats easier to stomach. Doing these missions is going to increase your variance.

You are going to have some big winning sessions, but you are also going to bluff your entire stack into a big hand at some point. Sometimes it will happen four times in a session! This will rattle your confidence and make you want to go back to ABC poker. Do not do that. Take stock of what happened, learn from it, and carry on.

These missions are designed to help you avoid making the same flaws that the Villians in this book made, and, at the same time, teach you to exploit those flaws in other players. Each mission is presented as a small, focused exercise so you can work on one new skill at a time.
Remember that there is some element of luck and chance in poker. If a mission does not work out successfully for you the first time you try it, do not assume that it is a poor strategy. These are strategies that are winning moves over time; they are not winning moves every time. Each time you try a new mission, use the strategy for at least one or two entire sessions so that some of the inevitable failures will be hidden by the equally inevitable wins. These missions were designed to do one at a time and in order. Try one mission for a session or two before starting the next mission. Stick with certain mission for a while if you like. This is not a race. Some missions are stepping stones towards better play; once you have learned the lesson, then you no longer need to follow the overly strict rules of the mission. Other missions are designed to get you ready to accomplish the next mission so that the change is not too abrupt. Some missions are rules that will stay in your game indefinitely.

1) Identify Tommy Angelo’s “Bread & Butter” situations.
Skill learned: Stop ignoring opponent’s tendencies

Element #116 of Tommy Angelo’s Elements of Poker states that a Bread & Butter situation is one where you are last to act of two or three people and you put in the last raise pre-flop. This mission is an exercise in observation. For this mission, draw two columns labeled Two and Three


The Two column is for hands with two players to the flop; the Three column is for hands with three players to the flop. You will then create a row for each orbit. Every time you see this B&B situation arise for any player in the game make a vertical line. If the B&B player wins, make the vertical line into a plus sign. If the hand gets to showdown, circle it. Every hand where there is a raise and no callers, write an “R” in the middle of the row for that orbit. Every time the Button hits you, draw a horizontal line across the chart under this series. Some people like to put a dot next to the hands they were the B&B for.

A typical chart might look like this after three orbits: So, first orbit two B&B players won heads-up, the second one with showdown. Second orbit a B&B player lost at showdown while heads-up. Three-handed a B&B won at showdown and another one lost without showdown. There was a hand raised with no flop. Third orbit a B&B won without showdown both two and three-handed. There was an uncalled preflop raise also.

This exercise will sharpen your focus on the game and give you a sense of how aggressive your specific game is. This example chart is more tight aggressive than most $1-$2 games. People do not take advantage of position as much as they should. When B&B do not win, watch to see why. Are they continuation betting and barreling enough? If the hand gets to showdown does it seem reasonable that more aggression would have won the hand because of the weak holdings of the out of position players? Under what situations did the out of position players win? Were those hands based on hand strength rather than aggression? Long term patterns like this are really hard to see unless you are taking notes. After about a hundred of these situations, you can fill out the next chart.
Remember the four numbers in each column should add to 100%.


If it were completely random, the B&B should win 50% of the time in the two player case and 33% in the three player case. If you watch for a decent sample size, it will not be random. The B&B player should win much more.

This should make it apparent that these are good situations to get into and that often your cards do not matter. This will really serve as inspiration for why you want to play in position with the initiative. It should also make it much clearer why calling a raise out of position aimlessly is a losing proposition.

It is harder, but you could also do this exercise noting the dollar amount won or lost by the B&B player. The number of hands won should be a good enough proxy.
Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
Author Poker Plays You Can Use
Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks


  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,501 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ok mission accepted, will report this weekend.
  • luckyaceguyluckyaceguy Red Chipper Posts: 11 ✭✭
    I have done this mission in my past two sessions with very little B&B situations to write down though as the live game at 1/2 is very limp fest and once there is 1 call everybody calls and we go see a flop 4+ way too often. I will keep at though and probably should size my bet a little larger. Once I identify 100 situations I just fill out the chart and post it here?
  • VeteranVeteran Red Chipper Posts: 2 ✭✭
    You’re in an ideal game to be the bread and butter guy more often.
    I don’t know what you’re skill level is but, from your post, I would guess you have a lot to learn.
    It sounds like you you’re waiting for a hand to raise with when you’re the button or cutoff.
    Watch the table and identify players that limp fold and those that fold to a flop cbet.
    Then start raising from the button and cutoff, (good hands to raise with, suited aces, suited kings, broadway cards). As your skill level increases, you can increase this to where you sometimes raise with nothing.
    I would recommend raising 15 to 20 big blinds. If you’re raise is too small, you will get to many callers.
    Identify good cbetting flops and bet at least half the pot or more. The dynamics of the table will give you a good idea of how much to cbet. If you’re not good at doing that, read Doug Hulls’ Poker Plays You Can Use, Ed Millers Playing the player or Reading Hands.
    Sometimes you will have to double barrel players to get a fold but your overall success rate will be good.
    Hope this helps.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,501 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I lost my notes to this, unfortunately, and will probably not try to repeat the experiment, as it kept me from full attention to certain other details.

    Without being able to summarize the data, I still learned a couple things:

    The last raiser won more in deeper games.

    At a very silly cardroom I play at where I have this impression that every hand goes multiway, the exercise showed that this was more of an impression, and the fact was that most hands ended 2 or 3 handed, with more two handed pots on the flop.
  • ChipTraderChipTrader Red Chipper Posts: 178
    Hey Doug

    This is a great thread and I like were your going with it. If your not a winning player right now DO WHAT DOUG is teaching you here its very important fundamentally.
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,615 -
    ChipTrader wrote:
    Hey Doug

    This is a great thread and I like were your going with it. If your not a winning player right now DO WHAT DOUG is teaching you here its very important fundamentally.

    Flattery will get you everywhere.

    I award you three "RCP points". Trade them in anywhere that Sklanski bucks are accepted.
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • Stanley LewkowiczStanley Lewkowicz Red Chipper Posts: 1
    Ready to see what this mission will offer and being part of the group
  • Jon MJon M Red Chipper Posts: 6 ✭✭
    I use this a lot vs limpers. From late position I raise with any gappers. I love to watch the regs flip out when I show 8To to win at showdown. Many regs think I'm a fish now and try to get on my tables. Here fishy fishy!

  • Frank ShayanFrank Shayan Red Chipper Posts: 1 ✭✭
    I love Tommy Angelo. It is great that one of his concepts from The Elements of Poker is being developed here.
  • Tim MannersTim Manners Red Chipper Posts: 1 ✭✭
    edited August 1

    New red chipper here, just subscribed to the Core program yesterday to up my poker game. Loving it so far.

    I'm feeling silly asking this but I'm having a hard time understanding when this Bread and butter situation actually occurs. Is there someone who could elaborate on this and/or explain with a few examples?

    For example:
    If I'm at CO and UTG raises, UTG+1 calls, and the table folds up to me where I reraise. BTN, SB and BB folds. UTG and UTG+1 calls my reraise.

    In this example, am I in a Bread and butter situation?
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,240 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 1
    It is, but technically Angelo applied it only to Limit games. Of course the best answer is to simply buy his book as well and read where he spells it out :) But with regard to this thread and Doug's book, yes that is a bread and butter situation.
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,615 -

    Am I in position?
    Did I put in the last aggressive action?

    If the answer is yes to both, then it is B&B. Both must be true.
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • dnoyeBdnoyeB DetroitRed Chipper Posts: 276 ✭✭
    What the difference with volume 2. Is it an improved version over 1 or is it an extension. Which should I for these missions?
  • boyd148boyd148 Red Chipper Posts: 86 ✭✭
    dnoyeB wrote: »
    What the difference with volume 2. Is it an improved version over 1 or is it an extension. Which should I for these missions?

    I personally thought that volume 2 was the better of the two books. I had several aha moments reading volume 2. That's totally subjective of course. Your experience might not be the same as mine, but volume 2 really"spoke" to me.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,086 -
    dnoyeB wrote: »
    What the difference with volume 2. Is it an improved version over 1 or is it an extension. Which should I for these missions?

    Volume 2 is an extension of 1 with all new content. The missions discussed in this thread I think are all from Vol 1.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • khelmpokerkhelmpoker Red Chipper Posts: 1 ✭✭
    Hi All!

    I just started the CORE program after being pretty much a perpetual beginner for the past year or so and I'm really excited to start taking my game seriously. I did this mission over a few sessions the past couple of days and it really helped me pay more attention to the table and the importance of position. I only have a small sample size (about 100 B&B situations), but I noticed in my data that the two player hands did end up being split fairly evenly between the B&B player and the non B&B player. I think this is because at the micros players aren't playing aggressively enough in position and that's causing more hands to make it to showdown than probably should, but when the in position player plays aggressively they definitely win more hands (31.7% of hands were won w/o showdown by the B&B player). Am I correct in thinking this way or am I way off?
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,615 -
    What I have seen from the many reports that come to me is that the B&B players win about 5-10% more than "fair" given the number of players. If you are in a particularly passive game, then I would expect the results to be more close to "fair" given the number of players.
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks

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