Practicing Live Skills

The MuleThe Mule Red Chipper Posts: 776 ✭✭✭
I've recently been playing some home games (rebuy STTs) and have found the learning curve to transition from online cash is frustratingly steep. There is so much to think about at the table that it is currently overwhelming.

To expedite my journey up the learning curve, I am trying to formulate a study strategy. Interested in the RCP community's thoughts on my current approach, and what you have all found works for you.

I am breaking it down into a set of skills, with a proposal on how best to practice this skill.

Skills:
Keeping track of the action
Plan: Focus at the table. I do like the idea of running a hand commentary in my head.

Keeping track of the pot
Plan: Practice this off-table by watching hands on You Tube, Twitch etc. and mentally tracking the exact pot size. At the table, try to verify my calculation by estimating the pot size.

Keeping track of opponent's stacks
Plan: I don't think I am capable of accurately tracking all my opponent's stacks at the table by keeping a running total, not at this time at least. Therefore I need to improve my ability to be able to estimate a stack size by looking at it. At the table, I plan to regularly scan around the table and estimate all stack sizes, and verify this on breaks.

Hand reading
Plan: This is not specifically a live skill, but was my planned focus for 2017 until the $%#&s at the Australian Government decided to ban online gambling.

I plan to practice this off-table by watching hands on You-tube and RCP videos, pausing at each decision point to try to put each player on a range. Appreciate any advice on where to source good videos for this. The best I have found so far are Andrew Brokos and Carlos Welch reviewing a tournament, because at the end of each hand all player's hold cards are shown.

This will be a high priority item for my mental resources at the table, for hands I am in and those I am not. Playing the same players on a regular basis, it would be criminal not to be focussing on this.

Live reads
Plan: This is a low priority item for me. When there are big decision points in hands that I am not involved in I will watch the players for the most reliable tells I am aware of.

Note taking
Plan: I have been taking notes in the breaks on my phone, and very occasionally when the game is in progress (although this takes my attention away from the action). I have not taken notes on any hands, just the implications the hands have on my opponent's ranges.

I have a short summary of each player that at this point is mainly just qualitative. My plan is to write down each hand I have seen each player show down for each pre-flop action, so I can estimate pre-flop ranges.

Speech Play
Plan: Leave this one to the Will Kassouf's of this world.


Are there any other skills I should be focussing on ?
Tagged:

Comments

  • Dean MDean M Red Chipper Posts: 177 ✭✭✭
    colldav wrote: »
    I've recently been playing some home games (rebuy STTs) and have found the learning curve to transition from online cash is frustratingly steep.

    Are there any home games or live casino you can play Live cash? rebuy STT's seem like they could just be a shove fest and strategy may come in second to luck :)
    colldav wrote: »

    Skills:
    Keeping track of the action

    Keeping track of the pot

    These will go hand in hand - ex. We're heading into the turn and now heads up. Because you've been keeping track of the action, you know that your opponent just bet 50, everyone folded except you and there were 4 people in for 15 on the flop. 50*2+15*4 - approx. 160 A couple of limpers preflop or blinds are irrelevant.
    colldav wrote: »
    Hand reading

    This skill crosses all games, online or off. Absorb as much as you can on the subject and then try to simplify your own strategy to make it easier at the table.
    colldav wrote: »
    Live reads
    Plan: This is a low priority item for me.

    This one's not as hard as you think. Watch for bet sizing tells first and then physical responses. Had a player yesterday check to me on the river with an exaggerated look of disgust. I had planned to bluff at the pot and instead refrained as I thought he was trying to get me to bet. He turned over a flopped FH that he had checked all streets trying to get someone to bluff at the pot.
    colldav wrote: »
    Are there any other skills I should be focussing on ?

    You have plenty to work on here

  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,231 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2017
    it's not a complicated as you seem to make it...
    first skill you should focus on is: relaxing and enjoying the game

    live poker is like riding a bike - after a while, you won't need to focus on all the little details... they'll be easy to figure out

    figuring out stacks should be somewhat simple:
    most players put their stacks in 20-chip piles - making a red ($5) stack 100, a white ($1) chip pile $20 and a green ($25) chip pile $500
    since most buy-ins are capped - you can just use that number to estimate someone that's got a couple of stacks and loose chips
    estimating is typically good enough ... and if you don't know, ask
    it's not uncommon when some dude raises (and you want to call) or he 3-bets and you're thinking of calling - to just say, "how much are you playing behind?"

    calculating pots is obviously important - but if you can do math in your head - it's somewhat easy on the fly - say you raised $12 and got 4 callers... 5X12= 60
    (ignore the rake) - but if you're iffy on the math - just round it to "easy numbers" like 5 X 10 = 50 and go from there...

    if I'm c-betting this flop I'm typically betting ⅔ to ¾ - so 40 to 50
    if you overbet - don't sweat it. better to bet too much than ⅓ pot.... really!

    when I'm watching action at the table - I like to estimate what the next bet should be
    and then see if my opponents bet or raise as much as I would

    the thing that used to hang me up when I started was the feeling that I needed to act quickly. (I hated having the whole table and dealer look at me... made me nervous) so I made stupid mistakes with my sizing. something you'll need to learn to do is ignore them. take your time. (take a deep breath) and plan you calculations.
    another tip I recommend is using your chips to help you count... for example: you raised 15 and got 3 callers... make each white chip represent $5 and each red chip represent $10 - put four of each in front of you... 4 X 10 = 40, 4 X 5 = 20... pot is 60ish
    I also sometimes do this for my outs: 9 outs for a flush draw, 8 outs for an open ended straight draw.... 9 + 8 = 17 ... using the rule of 2 - you've got 34% to hit your hand on the next card... but you're more than 50% to win if you shove and go to the river (using the rule of 4 for 2 streets) (14 outs is under 50% - 15 outs is 50%+)

    it sounds complicated - but you'll find you're often doing the same math problems after a while - cuz the raises are often the same - and your outs calculations don't need to go beyond 15 outs....

    watching Live at the Bike or Poker Night in America or Poker on Air - will probably help you more than watching tourney hands because tourney chip denominations become cumbersome. (BTW - if you want to guess at hands to hand-read, just use post-it notes to cover the cards)

    btw - estimating hand ranges in low limit games is somewhat a waste of time - because they're all over the place. in an unraised pot - you can find some dude playing :2S: :3D: from the SB.
    in a raised pot, :QD: :7D: is not uncommon.
    if you're in a MW pot and there's a flush draw or straight draw... simply figure that at least one player is on each and act accordingly.
    In a 3-bet pot - NOW you can range them to hold all suited Aces, broadways and pocket pairs (usually mid pps)

    as far as live reads/tells... you don't really need to focus on twitches or shaky hands... the basic ones that Zach Elwood talks about on You Tube are pretty accurate... guys who look at the chips immediately after seeing the flop are thinking of betting, guys who check a street with their palms up are typically ready to surrender the pot, guys who are very calm and relaxed after going all in are usually nutted (or have the most equity), guys who stare at the flop when it's their turn are usually thinking, "how did that miss my hand?"... oh, also... guys who act disappointed on the flop or on any street and check... are usually "Hollywooding" it to get you to bet

    don't worry about getting everything "perfect" before hitting the tables, if you play a strong range... your decisions will be easy at the table - and you'll be folding a lot. so you'll have plenty of time to get accustomed to the live thangs!

    BTW... talking at the table can often help. I've had players show me one of their cards after they went all in (we're allowed to do that in my poker room if your heads up) which helped with my decision. talking to the player in the hand with you can be useful. also - talking to the players next to you is helpful too - when something crazy or unexpected happens - ask players next to you what they think... they often will tell you they're thought process to show you how smart they are.

    Overall, be friendly... and if you need some time to make a decision, I often announce to the table, "I'm sorry. I'm gonna need a minute for this." so they know that I know the action is on me but I have to count my outs and odds on my fingers and toes!

    hope this helps. GL
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,231 ✭✭✭✭✭
    one last thing: get a live poker tracker for your phone. it'll keep track of buyin, time spent, profit/losses, all that good stuff that you can later analyze to look for trends.
  • NYCRyNYCRy Red Chipper Posts: 318 ✭✭✭
    Good stuff Kagey. Very helpful
  • moishetreatsmoishetreats Red Chipper Posts: 1,819 ✭✭✭✭
    Two additions to @kagey's great advice. For keeping track of opponents' stack sizes, simplify: they either have more than you or a lot less than you. If they have more, it usually doesn't matter their stack size. If they have a little less than you, then consider it even. Only if they have a lot less than you do you need to know how much they have.

    Second, pick a couple of these to focus on at first. It's not all or nothing. Once you get a handle on those, then add other ones.

    All the best!
  • The MuleThe Mule Red Chipper Posts: 776 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for all the great advice @Dean M , @kagey and @moishetreats.

    Some further questions / answers to your questions / general comments:
    Dean M wrote: »
    Are there any home games or live casino you can play Live cash? rebuy STT's seem like they could just be a shove fest and strategy may come in second to luck :)

    Not a lot of accessible poker where I live. The rebuy period is pretty loose, but once it ends everyone tightens up considerably. I'm confident if I can get through the rebuy period with an average stack there is plenty of room for skill to prevail.
    Dean M wrote: »
    colldav wrote: »
    Live reads
    Plan: This is a low priority item for me.

    This one's not as hard as you think. Watch for bet sizing tells first and then physical responses.

    I come from playing online, so my player identification is based mainly on betting tells. I am just watching for physical reads at this stage, to try to get a baseline on what different things mean for different players.
    kagey wrote: »
    it's not a complicated as you seem to make it...
    first skill you should focus on is: relaxing and enjoying the game

    live poker is like riding a bike - after a while, you won't need to focus on all the little details... they'll be easy to figure out

    I am honestly loving every minute (after not being able to play for six months). Fortunately I'm pretty comfortable with the rest of my game, so I can use my mental effort on the exclusively live aspects. I have no doubt it will become second nature soon enough.
    kagey wrote: »
    figuring out stacks should be somewhat simple:
    most players put their stacks in 20-chip piles - making a red ($5) stack 100, a white ($1) chip pile $20 and a green ($25) chip pile $500
    since most buy-ins are capped - you can just use that number to estimate someone that's got a couple of stacks and loose chips
    estimating is typically good enough ... and if you don't know, ask
    it's not uncommon when some dude raises (and you want to call) or he 3-bets and you're thinking of calling - to just say, "how much are you playing behind?"

    calculating pots is obviously important - but if you can do math in your head - it's somewhat easy on the fly - say you raised $12 and got 4 callers... 5X12= 60
    (ignore the rake) - but if you're iffy on the math - just round it to "easy numbers" like 5 X 10 = 50 and go from there...

    Unfortunately in this game I am the only one who seems to believe in putting chips in piles with the same number of chips in each. Everyone seems to have a white pile, a red pile, a green pile, a black pile... I am regularly asking for chip counts. No-one seems too upset.

    I am working on tracking the pot in game. No problem with the math, just remembering to focus on it with everything else going on.
    Two additions to @kagey's great advice. For keeping track of opponents' stack sizes, simplify: they either have more than you or a lot less than you. If they have more, it usually doesn't matter their stack size. If they have a little less than you, then consider it even. Only if they have a lot less than you do you need to know how much they have.

    This is what I have been doing. I count my own stack (easy, because it's neatly stacked in piles of 5 or 10 chips) then estimate who covers me, who I have a similar stack to and who has a short stack. It's been working well enough so far.
    kagey wrote: »
    watching Live at the Bike or Poker Night in America or Poker on Air - will probably help you more than watching tourney hands because tourney chip denominations become cumbersome. (BTW - if you want to guess at hands to hand-read, just use post-it notes to cover the cards)

    btw - estimating hand ranges in low limit games is somewhat a waste of time - because they're all over the place.

    I'll try the LATB or PNIA videos, and the post-it trick.

    I used to work on the assumption estimating hand ranges in low limit games is a waste of time, but it just seems if I'm playing the same players regularly that I should be able to construct some pretty reasonable ranges for them. It's more just about practicing the art of hand reading to be honest.
    kagey wrote: »
    don't worry about getting everything "perfect" before hitting the tables, if you play a strong range... your decisions will be easy at the table - and you'll be folding a lot. so you'll have plenty of time to get accustomed to the live thangs!

    BTW... talking at the table can often help. I've had players show me one of their cards after they went all in (we're allowed to do that in my poker room if your heads up) which helped with my decision. talking to the player in the hand with you can be useful. also - talking to the players next to you is helpful too - when something crazy or unexpected happens - ask players next to you what they think... they often will tell you they're thought process to show you how smart they are.

    Overall, be friendly... and if you need some time to make a decision, I often announce to the table, "I'm sorry. I'm gonna need a minute for this." so they know that I know the action is on me but I have to count my outs and odds on my fingers and toes!

    It's a friendly game, there's lots of showing of cards (not often by me but enough that I don't get a bad rep) but not much strategy discussion. You're right, Playing tight has given me plenty of down time to just absorb the game. And the stakes are low enough that I don't mind making mistakes in the interest of learning.

    Thanks again for all the great advice guys.

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