Victim of Variance or a terrible poker player???

Joshua KJoshua K Red Chipper Posts: 82 ✭✭
edited May 13 in New To Poker Questions
Hey RedChippers:

I have been attempting a real run at Poker for about a month now with approximately 2 weeks of play (60 hours). And, I am not quite sure if I am just bad or a victim of variance. I play pretty tight with a TAG style. I will raise with a range of hands AA-QQ and AK-AKo if in early position. I have also started to increase my range on the BU and CO, 3 betting in positions when I am pretty familiar with the player and table (approximately 10-20% of the time, depending on table).

If I get top pair on the flop and it is checked to me, I will bet about 60-75% on dry boards and vary my bets on wet boards. However, regardless of my read or being ahead I cannot seem to get players off their hands. I have been getting called with 8-5s, 9-8s, J high, a variety of hands where I am good until the turn or mostly the river in my most recent session (seven times in a row).

I have been playing $1-2-3 NL recently and it just seems like I cannot get anything going. Am I just really that bad?!

If it's variance, then what do I need to do to get out of it. I don't want to expand my range too much, but is that what I need to do? Do I have to over bet pots? Or, do I do what baseball players do and keep swinging to hope for one day to break the "hitless" streak?

Please HELP!!!

Currently (down $1300).

Comments

  • TiltboxTiltbox Red Chipper Posts: 75 ✭✭
    It's natural to experience doubt while you are losing. "What if I just keep losing like this from here on out? Maybe I should just quit now." "What if it was just luck before, and I am really much worse than I thought?" "What if, what if, what if".

    Don't let variance drive your confidence and doubt. Ask yourself why your doubting yourself. If you know your opponents are playing a specific way then half the battle is won, now what are you going to do to capitalize on it.

    It sound like you need a break and a more holistic approach to profitability. Take a break and if you have not already, read the course and watch the videos. It is an excellent guide to beating 1/2/3.

    Going through a downswing, studying your ass off, going back to the table with confidence due to the work you put in off the table, then coming back out of the downswing. That is in your future, and it feels fantastic.
  • EazzyEazzy Red Chipper Posts: 635 ✭✭✭
    edited May 13
    persuadeo wrote: »
    I am going to prognosticate your poker life for the next three - six months:


    6. You will realize you need a deeper understanding of poker.

    Ok everyone... go!

    I'm going to jump right to this one. You seem to have a very superficial understanding on no limit poker. Kind of like an ABC simple formula. I kind of reminded me when I first switched to no limit around 2008. I had been beating 3-6 limit for a good clip on line...and 5-10 in casino's. But the games were drying up.

    So off I went to the library and got some dated poker books....I remember one was Phil Gordon's Little Blue Book. These were simple books...here's a table of starting hands...heres how to play top pair a set ect. And off I went to 100 nl and got crushed....

    I then joined Stox poker (no longer exists but Ed Miller, and Split were both there)...The first video I watched the coach had AK in two hands hitting top pair. In one he said I'm going broke here, in the other he said if I'm raised, I'm folding.....I could not figure out the difference I had to ask....guess what it was.
    The stack sizes....I had not even realized they matter

    The point is you seem to need some solid fundamentals. Have your Read Professional No limit poker Volume 1. Ed Miller et al. I got my copy free with my Stox poker year membership....and it was an eye oppener. Still valid (though the numbers are a bit off for todays games). but I think its a good starting point.










  • Wiki_LeaksWiki_Leaks Red Chipper Posts: 440 ✭✭✭
    edited May 13
    Are you a victim of variance? Yeah, but so is everyone else. Fortunately you will get disgustinly lucky as well.

    Dont think of down sessions as losses. This mindset will drive you insane. Youre playing for lessons like you would in a more formal education setting; its called the school of hard knocks.

    Are you terrible at poker? According to ed miller, EVERYONE is terrible at poker, i know i am. This game is tough. Welcome to the trenches my friend!

  • DabbyDabby Red Chipper Posts: 84 ✭✭
    @Joshua K I've asked myself the same question, kind of. I think we're at the same spot in the road here. Except I've been winning a lot, almost every session. But I'm still pretty certain that's just me being on the good side of variance, while still being a not so great player. I'm understanding that I need to have a deeper understanding of the game, but trying to figure out how to get to that point. I've been reading Professional No Limit hold'em vol. 1. It's been pretty good so far, I highly recommend it. But we're both on the same journey, lets see if we can help each other out. If you have any of these so-called "Aha! Moments", post it. How you got to that moment/what lead you to it. I'll do the same.
    kagey wrote: »
    and when you reach the other side, you'll look back at this post and remember that you went through the very same things that some unknown dude complained about early in his career on 2+2.... Guess Who's This Poker Pro

    That post is gold! It's a really weird, but inspiring, to see that kind of post from someone like Doug. He's come a long way.

    @kagey The rest of your post is great as well. Attempting to use this for motivation to continue studying. I'm still struggling to put what I'm reading into my actual play. That's the tough part.

  • Faustovaldez123Faustovaldez123 Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 597 ✭✭✭
    everything what @persuadeo and @kagey just mentioned here, gold
    COACHING NOW AVAILABLE HERE
  • moishetreatsmoishetreats Red Chipper Posts: 773 ✭✭✭
    edited May 13
    I applaud all the comments above, and I have one additional tiny detail:

    It seems like you are relatively mechanical in your play based on your post. If that's the case, then of course people are going to call your AK with an A84 board with they have 98. Why? Because they know that you'll keep putting money in the pot the rest of the way, for instance. The times that they miss doesn't matter -- they'll lose a smaller pot. But, the times that they hit will more than make up for it.

    And then if they check-raise you, what are you going to do...?

    If your play is that mechanical (read: predictable), then it is easy for other people to exploit your play.
  • Jimmy3150Jimmy3150 Red Chipper Posts: 362 ✭✭
    did you flop 4 sets in a session and lose with all 4 at showdown? Getting it in as a 90%+ favourite on two occasions? Thankfully this wasn't me, but a buddy of mine. And this can endure (apparently) for multiple sessions. Im guessing not, so you better follow the advice above.
  • zampana1970zampana1970 Red Chipper Posts: 465 ✭✭✭
    Yeah, all great advice. Obviously great games take a lifetime to master and poker is the greatest of all the games (sorry chess).

    But one thing to do, which goes under mental game but really, is THE essence of mental game, is to really learn and meditate on what variance is, how bad it can be, and for how long you can find yourself on either side of it. Like a LONG TIME. Weirdly unnervingly long. And to play poker well, you will want to be good with your relationship to variance. Find your joy in the experience, or in the process of controlling what is controllable.

    But if it's just too much, switch to chess. There have been times when I've take long breaks from poker, because of the madness of variance.

    The Black Swan by Nick Taleb is a great book to help come to terms with wild, incredible outlying variance.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory

    Everyone has their ridiculous bad-side-of-variance stories. On the good side, I've seen someone dealt two royal flushes in the same session (live game too, not 20-tabling online).

    Variance is a wild bizarre force. That's why the Greeks and the Roman's had a good for it.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 3,307 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 16
    Eazzy wrote: »
    persuadeo wrote: »
    I am going to prognosticate your poker life for the next three - six months:

    6. You will realize you need a deeper understanding of poker.

    Ok everyone... go!

    You seem to have a very superficial understanding on no limit poker. Kind of like an ABC simple formula. I kind of reminded me when I first switched to no limit...
    So off I went to the library and got some dated poker books.... These were simple books....heres how to play top pair a set ect.
    The point is you seem to need some solid fundamentals. Have your Read Professional No limit poker Volume 1....I think its a good starting point.

    Yes, @persuadeo I think if you got some poker books, you'd do better in these kinds of situations. I would also like to recommend Play Poker Like The Pros by Phil Hellmuth, that is a fine one, I think that will maybe help you get over the ABC hump. Plus also stay tuned to this thread for further advice.

    Take heart my friend! Poker is hard!

  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 3,307 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 16
  • shaneshane Red Chipper Posts: 34 ✭✭
    As a pro member working through some of this sites awesome content, I realized that I was a NIT. Once I opened up my game and aggressiveness I had some early success at the local 1/3 NL game, stacking chips and leaving with big wins. I thought I had it all figured out. Ha! Now I find myself running bad and everything I do just exacerbates that. However I find myself enlightened more now and have a heightened level of awareness at the table which I never used to have which I directly attribute to study.
    Posts like this let me know that it's something I'll work through. Josh it's been a few months since you started this thread but I'm interested to know if you got out of your slump? And if so how and when?
  • Joshua KJoshua K Red Chipper Posts: 82 ✭✭
    edited July 24
    @shane It's nice of you to ask. I went on a nice streak of wins for about a month and half and am now back in a huge slump. I feel kind of down and out about it right now because I feel like I have been running into coolers and bad beats, which have forced me to become passive and play too nitty. And, in the sessions where I am attempting to become aggressive in certain situations, I end up running into monsters.

    I am trying to find a balance, but totally feel like I'm making mistakes all around.
  • shaneshane Red Chipper Posts: 34 ✭✭
    Joshua K wrote: »
    @shane It's nice of you to ask. I went on a nice streak of wins for about a month and half and am now back in a huge slump. I feel kind of down and out about it right now because I feel like I have been running into coolers and bad beats, which have forced me to become passive and play too nitty. And, in the sessions where I am attempting to become aggressive in certain situations, I end up running into monsters.

    I am trying to find a balance, but totally feel like I'm making mistakes all around.

    @Joshua K It's funny you say that. I was at the 1/3 nl table the other day and I was committed to play a 30% range. Pretty crazy right? Well I didn't get any starting cards in that range for over an hour, I was literately card dead. Finally in late position I had J 10 suited so I raised a little more than standard $20 and I got a call from the small blind. I put his range pretty wide preflop because he had limped many hands in that hour. I told myself I was going to be aggressive if I hit the flop and the villain checks. Sure enough the flop was 10 9 5 the 9 & 5 were in my suit. The SB checked and I bet out $100 he goes all in. At this point I only had about 60 behind so I called. He shows Aces. Ran into a monster and of course none of my outs hit. I did rebuy and recoup all I lost by the end of the night but it still feels like I'm treading water. Stay mentally strong Josh. Play calm and be decisive in your play. You will push through it. I wish you luck.
  • chimerachimera Red Chipper Posts: 90 ✭✭
    One of the hardest things that I found when I started studying poker was learning to disregard the result if a hand. I instinctively thought that if I was up I played well and if I was down it was variance.

    If you want to improve at poker you really do need to not be so results oriented, sometimes you will play the hand perfectly and lose and sometimes you will make a pig's ear of it an win. That's variance.

    Sit down with your hand history and look at each hand. Consider each street and ask yourself, whether you should beware playing the hand at all? What hands would the villain play the way they are playing and how is your hand doing against it? When you bet is it for value or as a bluff. If for value what worse hands do you expect to call? If as a bluff what better hands do you expect to fold out? Did you offer the right pot odds? Did you bet in a way that forced your opponent to play perfectly against you (folding hand you beat and giving you action when you are crushed)? These are the types of questions you should be acting yourself when reviewing the hand, whether you won or lost is not important. What's important is identifying what you could improve and improving it next time, The more you do this off table the better you will play, you'll start to recognise situations, you'll avoid mistakes and see others making the same mistakes you used to. All in all you play more hands better. If you make less mistakes than those you play against you will make money over time.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 3,307 ✭✭✭✭
    chimera wrote: »
    One of the hardest things that I found when I started studying poker was learning to disregard the result if a hand

    One indicator of the weaker players is that they always want to rabbit hunt. It's rare that a stronger player will waste time, unless he's doing it for show.

  • Justin CJustin C Red Chipper Posts: 7 ✭✭
    kagey wrote: »
    Sorry Josh...
    I'm voting: "Terrible at Poker"

    But that should be joy to your ears!
    Because you can actually fix that... and you can't fix variance.

    You're frustrated... I feel you. We've all been there.
    But as the expression goes:
    If it weren't for rivers, there would be no fishes!

    I agree with @Eazzy - that poker is so much more than playing tight in the right spots and betting top pair/good or great kicker when we flop well....

    It's hand-reading.
    It's playing the player.
    It's bet-sizing.
    It's table image.
    It's board coverage.
    It's variance.
    It's bluffing.
    It's getting a mentor or coach.
    It's leverage.
    It's gambling.
    It's snacking on fruit as you play!
    It's playing poker as a game not a task.
    It's range construction.
    It's combinatorics.
    It's pot odds.
    It's semi-bluffing.
    It's avoiding Diet Coke if you're playing @Adam Wheeler's table
    It's being present in the moment.
    It's pot equity.
    It's having a mental game.
    It's manipulating your opponent to do what you want them to do.
    AND...

    it's sooo much fun when you get there!
    (trust me, it really, really is....)

    you're not alone in this...
    so strap on your seatbelt, @Joshua K
    It's going to be a bumpy ride!

    Wow, couldn't put it any better than this!
  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 671 ✭✭✭
    persuadeo wrote: »
    2. You are about to be told that you should post hand histories so that your decisions can be evaluated (they will be half-right).

    I am not 100% sure what you meant by this but it make me laugh :)