Please critique my approach to try and beat $2/3 NL in LA

romelakoromelako Red Chipper Posts: 7 ✭✭
edited January 20 in General Concepts
I have been having trouble turning a profit playing 2/3 $300 cap in LA. I generally play at Player's Casino (Ventura) or the Bike and try to utilize a TAG strategy. I just started playing earlier this year in March and have 323 hours of play logged. This certainly is quite a small sample size, but is obviously always going to be "small" in comparison to the volume I could achieve playing live. The reason for this post is to see if there are any leaks in my approach to beating these stakes. I've put a lot of time into studying the game, using strategies in Ed Miller's books such as The Course and Poker's 1%, as well as the general strategies in the Grinder's Manual by Carroters. Here is a picture of my graph thus far (I started recording my results in July):

BZaSD2p.png

As you can see I was breakeven for a while, went on a nice heater, and since then have not made anymore money. It's hard to know whether it was just variance or actual good play, but it certainly feels like you have to run good to make money in this game format. The drop is $5 + $1, and it's really tough to know whether or not this is a deciding factor in my inability to build my bankroll up. I don't play perfectly, as some of the downswings have been due to poor play, however I feel like I have a decent edge over my competition and I just cannot seem to get the results to prove it.

One of the things that I've come to realize over my 9 months of playing is check/raises are usually really nutted/value-oriented at these stakes. Folding to check/raises at these stakes (w/ single-pair type of hands) should be the default strategy unless the opponent has proven he's able to check/raise as a bluff. I've been stacked so many times by calling check/raises because "I need to defend some hands" and end up being pot-committed and call off turn shoves. Here is an example of a hand I played at the bike:

Hero is dealt :Ac :Kd in the CO w/ $300 behind. UTG limps, folds to hero who raises to $20. Asian villain with huge stack cold calls from the SB. Limper folds.

FLOP: :As :Ts :3h ($40)
Villain checks. Hero c-bets for $30. Villain raises to $110.

Applying a frequency-based approach to this hand would have us defending :Ac :Kd because we have blockers to some of his nutted hands (e.g. AA, AT, A3) and we do not block any of the flush draw bluffs with the :Ks. We do however block some gutshots. Villain is also check/raising into an uncapped range where he is at a range disadvantage, as we have all of the hands he could have for value + AA. If we're only continuing with [AA, AT, 33] in this spot, we're obviously folding too much and if villain's strategy is to bluff on this flop, we're being exploited unknowingly by his strategy. We call. He shoves blind on the turn, which is a blank, which we call off. Villain tables TT.

Obviously this is just one example, but if I recall all the times I've been stacked at this level, it's from check/raises when I have a strong pair. Players at LLSNL are check/raising as a bluff so infrequently, it makes sense to fold exploitably in these spots.

Another facet of my strategy is my c-betting frequency, which is mainly for value. I find that a ton of the time I'm going multiway to the flop, which reduces my fold equity. Also, because the general population is calling too much post flop, which means that if I'm c-betting light, it is going to work even less often.

I have tried to apply Soto's "pain threshold" concept as well preflop, but because people call so much, I end up bloating the pot with a marginal hand (albeit in position). Example:

We're dealt :Kc :Js in the CO w/ $300 behind. Two loose-passive station fish limp $3. We raise to $25. Folds back over to the stations, who both call. Now we go to the flop with an SPR of 4, coupled with the fact that these guys are stations, which means I'm playing bingo poker and need to hit the board in order to make a profitable c-bet.

So to make money, my strategy requires me to play tight preflop, make strong hands, and bet them for value. I'm probably playing 1 hand (if that) per orbit, trying to connect with the board in a strong way, and betting for value. If I miss, I'm check/folding. It feels super ABC and nitty and it doesn't feel like the winning poker that strong players play with tons of aggression.

EDIT: I also want to mention that I'm only 3-betting for value. Going along with my thoughts that players at LLSNL are calling too much, 3-betting light isn't profitable because I end up bloating a pot even more by 3-betting with a marginal hand and my mistakes are amplified post flop.

What do you guys think of my strategy? Do you guys have any suggestions on things I can study or areas where I can improve on to start seeing some results? Thanks.
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Comments

  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 1,792 ✭✭✭✭
    your chart looks normal. But there's nothing wrong with data-mining it to see if you can find days/times at what casinos when the games are the loosest or more profitable. Or to see if Player X seems to always be at your table when you're making good scores. (If your data base doesn't have such info... consider adding it to your notes for future reference.)

    one thing about it is: if you're playing in the same room with the same regs... that can account for the "breakeven" portions of your graphs... where opponents get a read on you and and make more exploitative folds.
    speaking of exploitative folds - I think there are a couple of videos here about that... one from Miller's The Course video series and another from Doug or SplitSuit.

    something I'd highly encourage you to do is move up to 2/5. The rake should be about the same but the pots will be larger and so should the cap. (This should help build your bankroll.) The more you learn about playing poker well, the more you're going to want to be deep so that semi-bluffs, bluffs and all ins produce more pressure (in a good Soto-esque way).

    There is a big problem with Ed's frequency-based approach when we know with 90% certainty that V is never check/raising or shoving with hands worse than we're repping. This is where live reads or the passive opponent becoming aggressive should serve as an "negative event."

    Something you should consider is reducing your c-bet %. On an A-high board with AK, we're probably not worried about needing to protect our top pair. In the example given though, I would c-bet because as you pointed out there are draws (flush & str8) that could easily call... meaning we're betting for value.... so I'm not talking about that hand... although I do know some players that could easily table :KS: :QS: in that hand... so knowing your player is very important.

    Just a few ideas for you to mull over.
    GL and welcome to the forums.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 2,546 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Somewhere out there, there is this great game.

    They write about it.

    Everyone's a fish. You bet great hands and for some ungodly reason people call you.

    You bet for value, right into any old board, and then you fold, clever you, if they raise you, like a self-driven car at the stop sign.

    Even better, people who play for dimes in their underwear love to hear about these games, though they can't arrange the monetary units they are assigned, like toddlers, screaming, who are frustrated that they can't form words.

    You're supposed to laugh at everyone, they are so bad.

    And then suddenly, the carnival stops. You run out of kings.

    AK always misses. Your semibluffs don't come in.

    Then, disaster: they fold every now and then... leaving you confused: I thought they came here to pay me off?!? Isn't that their purpose?

    And so you come to the forums, and then they tell you it's variance.

    Or give you some "tips."

    Nice of them... maybe.

    But I don't know.

    My nephew is a little tyrant who runs the house.

    His parents let him.

    So he comes up to me and pokes me, testing ever-new territories of life he can piss on.

    I immediately lay him flat on his ass.

    It's a tense moment in a perfect suburban home. Nephew starts crying to feign being hurt.

    Drama. His parents have to decide how to respond in a heartbeat. Who is right? Do we care who is right? Who can we poke?

    Meanwhile, the little monster gives me this little Eye of Honesty.

    Anyway, I'm sure it will all turn around.

    And it will be bedtime for someone soon.

    Go back to sleep, keep betting for value. After all, this is likely just another meaningless post in a long and continual series of them, or perhaps another aggravating koan to summon @imperator from his long poker sleep.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 1,792 ✭✭✭✭
    persuadeo wrote: »
    My nephew is a little tyrant who runs the house.

    His parents let him.

    So he comes up to me and pokes me, testing ever-new territories of life he can piss on.

    I immediately lay him flat on his ass.

    well played villain.... well played!
  • romelakoromelako Red Chipper Posts: 7 ✭✭
    @kagey I'm usually playing with different people when I go to play live, and it's safe to say that there are very few "regs" at my stakes. It just feels like the only way to beat the games is to just run super good or be the beneficiary of some whale's mistake. I feel like my study is ultimately irrelevant as I just sit and wait for a hand and get paid off.

    Overall I have been trying to light c-bet with some form of equity-when-called. So far it has been working out. I'm trying to find other spots/leaks where I can make extra money.
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    persuadeo wrote: »
    Somewhere out there, there is this great game.

    They write about it.

    Everyone's a fish. You bet great hands and for some ungodly reason people call you.

    You bet for value, right into any old board, and then you fold, clever you, if they raise you, like a self-driven car at the stop sign.

    Even better, people who play for dimes in their underwear love to hear about these games, though they can't arrange the monetary units they are assigned, like toddlers, screaming, who are frustrated that they can't form words.

    You're supposed to laugh at everyone, they are so bad.

    And then suddenly, the carnival stops. You run out of kings.

    AK always misses. Your semibluffs don't come in.

    Then, disaster: they fold every now and then... leaving you confused: I thought they came here to pay me off?!? Isn't that their purpose?

    And so you come to the forums, and then they tell you it's variance.

    Or give you some "tips."

    Nice of them... maybe.

    But I don't know.

    My nephew is a little tyrant who runs the house.

    His parents let him.

    So he comes up to me and pokes me, testing ever-new territories of life he can piss on.

    I immediately lay him flat on his ass.

    It's a tense moment in a perfect suburban home. Nephew starts crying to feign being hurt.

    Drama. His parents have to decide how to respond in a heartbeat. Who is right? Do we care who is right? Who can we poke?

    Meanwhile, the little monster gives me this little Eye of Honesty.

    Anyway, I'm sure it will all turn around.

    And it will be bedtime for someone soon.

    Go back to sleep, keep betting for value. After all, this is likely just another meaningless post in a long and continual series of them, or perhaps another aggravating koan to summon @imperator from his long poker sleep.

    My God, this is the most fantastic thing I've ever read in a forum. Bravo
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    romelako wrote: »
    So to make money, my strategy requires me to play tight preflop, make strong hands, and bet them for value. I'm probably playing 1 hand (if that) per orbit, trying to connect with the board in a strong way, and betting for value. If I miss, I'm check/folding. It feels super ABC and nitty and it doesn't feel like the winning poker that strong players play with tons of aggression .

    Welcome to the life of risk aversion and conventional thinking. Perhaps there's another way...

    mvsqb2mdyobd.png
  • moishetreatsmoishetreats Red Chipper Posts: 664 ✭✭✭
    romelako wrote: »
    @kagey I'm usually playing with different people when I go to play live, and it's safe to say that there are very few "regs" at my stakes. It just feels like the only way to beat the games is to just run super good or be the beneficiary of some whale's mistake. I feel like my study is ultimately irrelevant as I just sit and wait for a hand and get paid off.

    Overall I have been trying to light c-bet with some form of equity-when-called. So far it has been working out. I'm trying to find other spots/leaks where I can make extra money.

    While your sitting around waiting to run good or benefit from a whale's mistakes (and that's playing very few hands), I'm trying to make money on the other hands, as well.

    As @Matt Berkey noted just above, you're right that yours is a risk-minimized profitable strategy, but what if you can make money even without those conditions being the case?
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 1,792 ✭✭✭✭
    @romelako
    I think part of the frustration you may be feeling of running in place lies in part with your playing field. The lower the buy-in games allow you to use the fewest poker "tools". I found the quality of players at 2/5+ to be better - which also meant that you can bluff them because they're "thinking" players as opposed to folks playing bingo poker.

    the other part is in your play.
    I used your ABC strategy for a while when I first played for a living - and I saw it as a way to reduce variance... only to find out I was 100% wrong.
    Variance is a fixed commodity.
    It comes and it goes as it pleases... what I can't do anything to change that.
    What I was doing - on the other hand - was affecting my win & loss rate.
    So while it limited my losses, but it also capped my wins.
    (in your AK vs TT example - V was always all in. But I would play more coy and not shove for fear of losing my opponent. I was losing in the tommy angelo's "reciprocality" war.)
    And since I had more winning sessions than losing ones, I later calculated that I left money on the table. (I also left money on the table by not making that extra river value-bet... telling myself that V was never calling a river bet anyway... I chalk it up to learning to play better.)

    This is not to say your ABC strategy isn't viable... I know a lot of locals who play that way (as I used to). But it produces the results you're seeing.... you only win when you get cards, otherwise you break even or lose a little.

    Miller has another book that might interest you - "Playing the Player" which focuses more on reading your opponents (and the board) rather than your hand.
    @Eazzy has a great post that touches on this that you might like (if you haven't read it already) called: Why I Still Like Exploitative Poker And You Should Too

    From your post, it sounds like you're starting to take advantage of late position/button which is also crucial to winning more. That's a good start... you're heading in the right direction.

    But I think you stacking off to check/raises may mean that you need to do some more hand-reading analysis off the table. One great way to do that is to post hands that troubled you and engage in the debates here on what you think is the best solution to someone else's challenges. (If you're shy, just type out a response, click "save draft" and wait a week or two to see what the thread ended up agreeing with .. if any.) Poker is an interactive game where you'll only get better through experience or playing vicariously thru someone else. (I think Dr. Cardner has a video on this.)

    I had trouble at first because I knew I was tight - so I thought other players were making moves on me because I was tight... come to find out later, they would only make a move on me with the nuts... D'oh!

    From someone with just 300 hours (BTW - you're right... it's not an accurate sample size... yet) - it may look like poker is a game of catching cards. But it's so much more. On the surface, poker seems like an easy game. But I can tell you, after doing a ton of studying (2+ years), I'm just starting to realize how much more I really don't know! (and my game has changed drastically since)

    I think the best way to improve is to study more. Your playing to study ratio should be at least 3:1 when first starting out. Since you're in Southern California, consider checking out the LATB videos. (They're free to watch in real-time.) Look at the Poker Night in America videos on YouTube. Consider finding a group of friends to exchange ideas... or get a coach like @persuadeo (he does a whole lot more than just laying out nephews on their asses!) Your study is only irrelevent if you don't apply it... and remember, it's not like a trade school where you learn welding and you can go off and weld something tomorrow... there are so many facets to the game that learning one great play/tactic/lesson may only be applicable a few times a year... but when used, it dramatically lessens your loss or increases your bankroll! So to consistently win - and win big - you need a truly solid understanding of what poker is, how to make adjustments and what you're trying to accomplish in your game.

    BTW - if you get a chance - stop by In & Out Burger and order one "animal style" for me. I sure do miss that place!

    Damn... that's a lot of rambling. Hope some of it helped.
    Best of luck,
    k.
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    I promise one of the greatest lies you've ever been told is that a well-constructed strategy will work better against a thinking player than a non-thinker. Just typing it hurts my head from a logic standpoint. Observe, identify, calculate, and attack. Claiming an opponent can't be exploited based on those above metrics because somehow they don't apply when above or below a certain level is an absolute cop out.
  • romelakoromelako Red Chipper Posts: 7 ✭✭
    @kagey I'd like to get a coach however I'm unsure how effective a live coach would be since I can only see 30 hands/hr and I don't have a database for someone to look at. However, if you have any recommendations of anyone in LA that does coaching, I'd love to hear it. I want to expand my game this upcoming year.

    @moishetreats Well from my understanding there are 2 ways to make money: getting value or bluffing. Obviously a value-oriented approach is easy because people call too much. But what kind of spots are you looking for to bluff a station-filled population? I'm unsure where to look. I want to expand my game so if there are any resources you can point me to, I'd love to view them.
  • gwjones00gwjones00 Red Chipper Posts: 27
    @romelako - I play this game as well. The thing to keep in mind is that with *very* few exceptions, these people are just playing their hands.

    I was having some of the same trouble as you until I recently did the Miller video series here ("The Course"). There were two things that he mentioned that really hit home for me:
    1. Don't pay them off: Bluffing frequencies in this game are almost non-existent. If our opponent is shoveling money in, we can pretty safely fold because the probability that this is a bluff is also almost non-existent.
    2. Multiway pots: In multiway pots (which as you point out most are) our success is propped up by opening ranges that are stronger than our opponents (this is your point about betting for value). Miller's point is that against random hands in a 4 way pot, we can expect to win 25% of the time. By playing ranges that are stronger, we move that probability up, but we may never get to a point where we are 80/20 in a four way pot. My adjustment is to keep pots smaller/SPRs higher preflop, play stronger ranges, and extracting value post flop.

    Would love to share hands/experiences with you!
  • moishetreatsmoishetreats Red Chipper Posts: 664 ✭✭✭
    I promise one of the greatest lies you've ever been told is that a well-constructed strategy will work better against a thinking player than a non-thinker. Just typing it hurts my head from a logic standpoint. Observe, identify, calculate, and attack. Claiming an opponent can't be exploited based on those above metrics because somehow they don't apply when above or below a certain level is an absolute cop out.

    Yup, I've heard this lie quite a bit. My head tells me what you wrote, Soto, and I feel dense that I'm struggling to unpack why it's so false. I think that it's because most analysis is on how to beat thinking players. Could you help me (and maybe others?) get disabused of this myth? What questions should I/we be asking? Where should my/our thought-process change?

    Thank you!
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 1,792 ✭✭✭✭
    I promise one of the greatest lies you've ever been told is that a well-constructed strategy will work better against a thinking player than a non-thinker. Just typing it hurts my head from a logic standpoint. Observe, identify, calculate, and attack. Claiming an opponent can't be exploited based on those above metrics because somehow they don't apply when above or below a certain level is an absolute cop out.
    sorry coach...
    I resolve to take that out of my vocabulary in 2017!

    Happy New Year, y'all!
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 1,792 ✭✭✭✭
    romelako wrote: »
    @kagey I'd like to get a coach however I'm unsure how effective a live coach would be since I can only see 30 hands/hr and I don't have a database for someone to look at. However, if you have any recommendations of anyone in LA that does coaching, I'd love to hear it. I want to expand my game this upcoming year.
    I got a coach when I first when "pro"... but I did so because as a professional, I needed to make sure I'm making the best decisions on a daily basis.

    Poker is situational.
    Meaning the majority of your decisions are going to depend on a variety of factors.
    Which factors you need to focus on is going to change from hand to hand.
    For me, THIS is where getting a coach is invaluable.

    A good coach will help you focus on what's important and ignore the rest (including the results.)

    But whether or not you need a coach depends on where you're at in your game.
    For guys just starting out and growing - websites like RCP or CLP are great for introducing you to poker concepts that can really improve your game when you just play occassionally or for fun.

    For guys who feel they've mastered the basics and want to take their game to the next level - (funny thing about poker is when you're new-ish, you don't know what you don't know so talking to someone who knows is really the best way to learn) - you don't really need a coach who's in your area.
    Skype, phone & e-mailing hands & thoughts are more than adequate. (In fact, I think by forcing yourself to write out hands and thoughts - although it takes more time - produces better results because you have to dig deeper for the "whys" of your decisions.) Although his response may seem a bit flippant in your thread, I have tremendous respect for persuadeo's game (and he coaches... see his website) - and he could help you better understand the "whys" of your actions in your game which should result in the "how" you can beat it. Another solution would be approaching Limon when you see him at the Bike. He's always said that he's be happy to chat with players if you buy him a beer. (David Chan [BanhMiBandit on twitter] is another live LA-based player/coach who might be appropriate for what you're seeking- although I don't know his rates.) BTW - I think both Doug and James (SplitSuit) from this site also coach.

    If you only get 300+ hours in 6 months - that means you're just putting in about 50+ hours a month... 12-ish hours a week (which really isn't a ton). Unless you have the desire and/or bankroll to move up to 2/5 or 5/5, getting a coach, which can coast up to $100/hr... can really hurt your bottom line/win-rate. Also consider that to really improve dramatically, you need to play a lot. What you've learned from your coach needs to be put into practice so you can experience the improvement.

    BTW - you don't need a database like online players typically have. Live play is about so much more than what to do with ATos in UTG+1 when you're playing 6-max. Math is important. But live games produce a ton of other information that helps shape your decisions at the table.

    Whatever you decide, make sure you write out clear goals of what you want from your game and your coach. Knowing where you want to go is essential for you to understand whether or not your getting there. Best of luck.
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    romelako wrote: »
    @kagey I'd like to get a coach however I'm unsure how effective a live coach would be since I can only see 30 hands/hr and I don't have a database for someone to look at. However, if you have any recommendations of anyone in LA that does coaching, I'd love to hear it. I want to expand my game this upcoming year.

    A good coach will shift you away from the volume oriented mindset of online into a more holistic approach of capitalization of exploits. It appears you recognize they not only exist, but are quite prevalent; however, your current strat doesn't attack them. Think of a coach as more of a philosophy professor, challenging everything you thought you knew-- rather than a hitting coach trying to find the hitch in your swing.
  • Christian SotoChristian Soto RCP Coach Posts: 1,966 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 1
    Wake up! It's 2017 & all you still want to be nits and make nuts. I love you all but god damn it.

    All you still want to talk about playing a tight range that out performs another range and value betting to death.

    What do you think everyone else is doing? They obviously just all show up to pay off your tight range?

    @gwjones00 writes:
    "Multiway pots: In multiway pots (which as you point out most are) our success is propped up by opening ranges that are stronger than our opponents (this is your point about betting for value). Miller's point is that against random hands in a 4 way pot, we can expect to win 25% of the time. By playing ranges that are stronger, we move that probability up, but we may never get to a point where we are 80/20 in a four way pot. My adjustment is to keep pots smaller/SPRs higher preflop, play stronger ranges, and extracting value post flop."

    In other words, this strategy is looking to gain the SMALLEST of edges by playing a stronger range of hands. It is important to note that EVERYONE is afforded this spot. We're not special. Everyone will get good hands at the same rate and have this same exact edge in multi way pots. And they will also want to keep the pot small until they Flop well just as mentioned here.

    @romelako writes:
    "I'd like to get a coach however I'm unsure how effective a live coach would be since I can only see 30 hands/hr and I don't have a database for someone to look at...."

    Hand histories are much less important than you think. Mechanical leaks are the easiest to fix. What a coach will should teach you is theory. You should learn how to think and adjust on your own. Every hand history is done in a vacuum; and in LIVE poker (unlike online) the variables are forever shifting. You need a coach who teaches you how to think rather than how to play TT on 9 6 5 against Joe Smith.
  • moishetreatsmoishetreats Red Chipper Posts: 664 ✭✭✭
    romelako wrote: »
    @moishetreats Well from my understanding there are 2 ways to make money: getting value or bluffing. Obviously a value-oriented approach is easy because people call too much. But what kind of spots are you looking for to bluff a station-filled population? I'm unsure where to look. I want to expand my game so if there are any resources you can point me to, I'd love to view them.

    My thought-process started like your wrote: how/when can I bluff more? That cost me a lot of money. A lot! And I'm still trying to unlearn some of the bad mindset habits that I got into when I took this approach.

    For me, I no longer consider it a "bluff". Rather, I consider it a story. The first rule is storytelling is "Know your audience." Some audiences quickly accept the premise of a well-told story; others constantly look for plot holes; and some simply don't pay any attention.

    Similarly, at any table, there will be some players who'll believe anything that you tell them (i.e., they see a bet as a big/made hand); there will be some players who look for reasons to [hero-]call -- it's hard to bluff them out!; and there will be some players who only pay attention to their cards.

    The question, then, is what story am I telling by my actions, and what story is V hearing. That's based primarily on my table image and secondarily by my betting line -- not just in the hand at the moment but also from all previous hands.

    Thus, I'm never "bluffing" anymore. Rather, I'm telling/selling a story to a specific audience. If I can create a story (perception trumps reality!) to a receptive audience, then my cards don't matter...

  • romelakoromelako Red Chipper Posts: 7 ✭✭
    edited January 2
    @Matt Berkey My strategy exploits these leaks though. The general population calls too much, does not bluff enough, and folds too little. Which means our exploitative strategy should be to bluff less and fold to aggression more since they aren't bluffing enough. Am I missing another leak here in the general population that I failed to mention and adjust my strategy to exploit?

    @Christian Soto I understand what you are saying. I'm just ignorant of what else I can be doing to exploit the general population at LLSNL. For example, if I were playing against an overly tight population, "adding bluffs" is simple as cards don't really matter. If the board runs out great for my range or they cap their range, I can attack w/o my cards mattering because it isn't a showdown-reliant exploit--we're trying to get them to fold since they fold too much.

    However when playing against the calling station population, our cards do matter. We need to beat them at showdown because they aren't going to fold. Yes we can value bet thinner, but our strategy is still reliant on the fact that our range is stronger than theirs. I'm failing to see where else I can exploit outside of value betting thinner. Please advise.
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    romelako wrote: »
    @Matt Berkey My strategy exploits these leaks though. The general population calls too much, does not bluff enough, and folds too little. Which means our exploitative strategy should be to bluff less and fold to aggression more since they aren't bluffing enough. Am I missing another leak here in the general population that I failed to mention and adjust my strategy to exploit?

    @Christian Soto I understand what you are saying. I'm just ignorant of what else I can be doing to exploit the general population at LLSNL. For example, if I were playing against an overly tight population, "adding bluffs" is simple as cards don't really matter. If the board runs out great for my range or they cap their range, I can attack w/o my cards mattering because it isn't a showdown-reliant exploit--we're trying to get them to fold since they fold too much.

    However when playing against the calling station population, our cards do matter. We need to beat them at showdown because they aren't going to fold. Yes we can value bet thinner, but our strategy is still reliant on the fact that our range is stronger than theirs. I'm failing to see where else I can exploit outside of value betting thinner. Please advise.

    Yes, you've only examine preflop and on the flop according to those metrics... In reality our opponents are calling too often just to OVER FOLD later. Which because you ignore that aspect you are now being exploited by playing too tight, too few hands and rarely realizing an edge... You basically described your edge as -- I'm able to win the max when I have it and lose the min when cooled off. Otherwise we just play cold hands. Sounds to me the rake is the only winner in this scenario, you just lose slower to it than your counterparts
  • gwjones00gwjones00 Red Chipper Posts: 27
    Yes, you've only examine preflop and on the flop according to those metrics... In reality our opponents are calling too often just to OVER FOLD later. Which because you ignore that aspect you are now being exploited by playing too tight, too few hands and rarely realizing an edge... You basically described your edge as -- I'm able to win the max when I have it and lose the min when cooled off. Otherwise we just play cold hands. Sounds to me the rake is the only winner in this scenario, you just lose slower to it than your counterparts

    So is your proposal to open wider in position? What % of hands do you typically open with? I'm at around 25%. That is very favorable against the people we play in L.A. with VPIPs around 60.
  • sumoswimsumoswim Red Chipper Posts: 38 ✭✭
    You are not condamned to be value oriented , there are still pots to steal, but you have now to think ahead of the obvious ones, there is no magic formula for this, its the name of the game, like you allready know.

    Just a suggestion though, try to create an artificial dynamic with one of your opponents in order to outplay him in a way or another.

    GL
  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    gwjones00 wrote: »
    So is your proposal to open wider in position? What % of hands do you typically open with? I'm at around 25%. That is very favorable against the people we play in L.A. with VPIPs around 60.
    My proposal is to apply volume through hands played, not hands dealt. I'm about 26-32% from all positions. Figure out the edges that allow for mass hand volume.
  • Riverboat BillRiverboat Bill Red Chipper Posts: 446 ✭✭
    edited January 3
    2/5 game. I haven't finished this thread, but have to tell this story. I am playing some air on a :Js :Jd :7d flop. I bet the flop, and he appeared beat. I bet the turn and value bet the river representing a J. The villain hero folded after my river bet. When he turned it up :Jc , I could barely keep my poker face.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    romelako wrote: »
    Asian villain with huge stack cold calls from the SB.

    (Jack Nicholson voice:) "Is there any other way to call there?" :)
    romelako wrote: »
    It just feels like the only way to beat the games is to just run super good

    C'mon man, let's not get carried away.
    romelako wrote: »
    or be the beneficiary of some whale's mistake.

    You could up your game, and be the beneficiary of some other players' mistakes as well.... there might be fewer of them, but the casino pays you cash for those too....
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 3,304 ✭✭✭✭
    A lot of good advice in this thread.

    However I gotta be honest and give you my impression after reading this. Even though you and me can definitely find room to change and improve our games, that game should still be beatable, if the conditions are actually as you describe. Are they? Nowadays, many games are mixed and not so black and white.

    To me, your description and your graph just make me think there are some leaks there you're just not seeing clearly. The vibe I get is overall you're playing a game that can win there, but you're just giving back some of your profit somehow.

    - have you really identified the "bad" players? Sometimes players make confusing plays. Sometimes these players are not as bad as you think. Or sometimes we project a play in a certain hand to their entire strategy.

    - just because some players call too much doesn't mean you can't find places to bluff

    - no one never bluffs
    romelako wrote: »
    We're dealt :Kc :Js in the CO w/ $300 behind. Two loose-passive station fish limp $3. We raise to $25.

    There are only so many things that can go wrong. Either:
    - the ranges of your opponents are actually stronger than yours in this situation
    - somehow they're magically outflopping you over the course of 325 hours
    - they're not loose/passive fish
    - you're failing to get value somehow or win with bluffs when possible

    The other option, that you've been running really bad for 50 sessions, is also possible, but I think you know enough about poker to figure out that something's not quite adding up here.
  • romelakoromelako Red Chipper Posts: 7 ✭✭
    edited January 6
    jeffnc wrote: »
    Even though you and me can definitely find room to change and improve our games, that game should still be beatable, if the conditions are actually as you describe.

    @jeffnc I've heard from several professional players in LA that due to the rake, any game <$5 blinds is unbeatable or beatable for insanely small amount due to the drop structure of California, which is $5 + $1 regardless of the size of the pot. As a result, it's not uncommon to see the entire pot dropped if it's blind vs. blind and they do not chop. And most casinos at this level will drop $1 preflop if you chop.
    jeffnc wrote: »
    To me, your description and your graph just make me think there are some leaks there you're just not seeing clearly. The vibe I get is overall you're playing a game that can win there, but you're just giving back some of your profit somehow.

    Some of the downswings in my graph have been due to some bad play, yes. I'd have to take a look at my records and see which sessions I played poorly in. I had a couple of bad calls such as check/raises by LLSNL players and mathematically incorrect draws. However, I also have been recently running into bad variance almost every other session.
    jeffnc wrote: »
    The other option, that you've been running really bad for 50 sessions, is also possible, but I think you know enough about poker to figure out that something's not quite adding up here.

    Well I don't think I'm running really bad, per se. The stretch of data after the heater in my graph is only around 20 sessions.

    I'm going to be doing some off table work and try to find spots @Matt Berkey suggested where players are calling too much to have to overfold later.

    For example, here is a hand that I've been studying:

    We're dealt :As :3s in EP, $300 stack. We open to $15 at a loose 1/2 game. We get called by an unkown with $150 behind.

    FLOP: :8s :7d: :7c ($33)

    Hero? I assigned Villain the following range:

    JJ-22, AQs-A2s, AKo-ATo, KQs-KTs, QJs-Q9s, T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, 54s

    After accounting for card removal, this range contains 192 combos of hands.

    I don't assume that players are going to be applying a frequency-based approach to their calling range and also will not be playing fancy and try to float me at this level. If I c-bet $20, I expect his continuing range (whether that's by calling or raising) to be:

    [JJ-66, A7s, 98s, 87s, 76s, 54s]

    This is 44 combos or 23% of his range, which makes a half pot c-bet profitable. This particular villain realistically may be defending a few more combos of overcards and backdoors, but for the most part it appears that continuation betting this board is excellent provided that villain is playing pretty straightforward and unbalanced.

    My overall thought process would then be to barrel on high spades such as :Ks or :Qs to fold out his random overcards and now underpairs. Then if I'm called again, giving up on the river, since a ton of his turn calling range is trips, full houses and overpairs.

    @Matt Berkey and @Christian Soto , I'd love to hear your thoughts on this analysis.



  • Matt BerkeyMatt Berkey Red Chipper, RCP Coach Posts: 267 ✭✭✭
    I like your thought process so long as you are shoving turned equity, Ts+ and block betting equity you need to realize say betting 1/3rd pot on a turned 24569 of spades. This is important as you maximize your ability to capitalize when your fold equity is highest w/o creating reverse implied odds as well as allow yourself to maximize equity realization vs opponents who are too passive vs any aggression no matter how transparent it may appear to us. Ultimately you'll be able to create a scenario they are uncomfortable with (the over shove) and very comfortable with (the blocker bet) that will have them playing poorly in both scenarios.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 1,792 ✭✭✭✭
    @romelako
    I think part of the frustration you may be feeling of running in place lies in part with your playing field. The lower the buy-in games allow you to use the fewest poker "tools". I found the quality of players at 2/5+ to be better - which also meant that you can bluff them because they're "thinking" players as opposed to folks playing bingo poker.

    the other part is in your play.
    I used your ABC strategy for a while when I first played for a living - and I saw it as a way to reduce variance... only to find out I was 100% wrong.
    Variance is a fixed commodity.
    It comes and it goes as it pleases... what I can't do anything to change that.
    What I was doing - on the other hand - was affecting my win & loss rate.
    So while it limited my losses, but it also capped my wins.
    (in your AK vs TT example - V was always all in. But I would play more coy and not shove for fear of losing my opponent. I was losing in the "reciprocality" game.)
    And since I had more winning sessions than losing ones, I later calculated that I left money on the table. (I also left money on the table by not making that extra river value-bet... telling myself that V was never calling a river bet anyway... I chalk it up to learning to play better.)

    This is not to say your ABC strategy isn't viable... I know a lot of locals who play that way (as I used to). But it produces the results you're seeing.... you only win when you get cards, otherwise you break even or lose a little.

    Miller has another book that might interest you - "Playing the Player" which focuses more on reading your opponents (and the board) rather than your hand.
    @Eazzy has a great post that touches on this that you might like (if you haven't read it already) called: Why I Still Like Exploitative Poker And You Should Too

    From your post, it sounds like you're starting to take advantage of late position/button which is also crucial to winning more. That's a good start... you're heading in the right direction.

    But I think you stacking off to check/raises may mean that you need to do some more hand-reading analysis off the table. One great way to do that is to post hands that troubled you and engage in the debates here on what you think is the best solution to someone else's challenges. (If you're shy, just type out a response, click "save draft" and wait a week or two to see what the thread ended up agreeing with .. if any.) Poker is an interactive game where you'll only get better through experience or playing vicariously thru someone else. (I think Dr. Cardner has a video on this.)

    I had trouble at first because I knew I was tight - so I thought other players were making moves on me because I was tight... come to find out later, they would only make a move on me with the nuts... D'oh!

    From someone with just 300 hours (BTW - you're right... it's not an accurate sample size... yet) - it may look like poker is a game of catching cards. But it's so much more. On the surface, poker seems like an easy game. But I can tell you, after doing a ton of studying (2+ years), I'm just starting to realize how much more I really don't know! (and my game has changed drastically since)

    I think the best way to improve is to study more. Your playing to study ratio should be at least 3:1 when first starting out. Since you're in Southern California, consider checking out the LATB videos. (They're free to watch in real-time.) Look at the Poker Night in America videos on YouTube. Consider finding a group of friends to exchange ideas... or get a coach like @persuadeo (he does a whole lot more than just laying out nephews on their asses!) Your study is only irrelevent if you don't apply it... and remember, it's not like a trade school where you learn welding and you can go off and weld something tomorrow... there are so many facets to the game that learning one great play/tactic/lesson may only be applicable a few times a year... but when used, it dramatically lessens your loss or increases your bankroll! So to consistently win - and win big - you need a truly solid understanding of what poker is, how to make adjustments and what you're trying to accomplish in your game.

    Damn... that's a lot of rambling. Hope some of it helped.
    Best of luck,
    k.
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 1,792 ✭✭✭✭
    @romelako
    I think part of the frustration you may be feeling of running in place lies in part with your playing field. The lower the buy-in games allow you to use the fewest poker "tools". I found the quality of players at 2/5+ to be better - which also meant that you can bluff them because they're "thinking" players as opposed to folks playing bingo poker.

    the other part is in your play.
    I used your ABC strategy for a while when I first played for a living - and I saw it as a way to reduce variance... only to find out I was 100% wrong.
    Variance is a fixed commodity.
    It comes and it goes as it pleases... what I can't do anything to change that.
    What I was doing - on the other hand - was affecting my win & loss rate.
    So while it limited my losses, but it also capped my wins.
    (in your AK vs TT example - V was always all in. But I would play more coy and not shove for fear of losing my opponent. I was losing in the "reciprocality" game.)
    And since I had more winning sessions than losing ones, I later calculated that I left money on the table. (I also left money on the table by not making that extra river value-bet... telling myself that V was never calling a river bet anyway... I chalk it up to learning to play better.)

    This is not to say your ABC strategy isn't viable... I know a lot of locals who play that way (as I used to). But it produces the results you're seeing.... you only win when you get cards, otherwise you break even or lose a little.

    Miller has another book that might interest you - "Playing the Player" which focuses more on reading your opponents (and the board) rather than your hand.
    @Eazzy has a great post that touches on this that you might like (if you haven't read it already) called: Why I Still Like Exploitative Poker And You Should Too

    From your post, it sounds like you're starting to take advantage of late position/button which is also crucial to winning more. That's a good start... you're heading in the right direction.

    But I think you stacking off to check/raises may mean that you need to do some more hand-reading analysis off the table. One great way to do that is to post hands that troubled you and engage in the debates here on what you think is the best solution to someone else's challenges. (If you're shy, just type out a response, click "save draft" and wait a week or two to see what the thread ended up agreeing with .. if any.) Poker is an interactive game where you'll only get better through experience or playing vicariously thru someone else. (I think Dr. Cardner has a video on this.)

    I had trouble at first because I knew I was tight - so I thought other players were making moves on me because I was tight... come to find out later, they would only make a move on me with the nuts... D'oh!

    From someone with just 300 hours (BTW - you're right... it's not an accurate sample size... yet) - it may look like poker is a game of catching cards. But it's so much more. On the surface, poker seems like an easy game. But I can tell you, after doing a ton of studying (2+ years), I'm just starting to realize how much more I really don't know! (and my game has changed drastically since)

    I think the best way to improve is to study more. Your playing to study ratio should be at least 3:1 when first starting out. Since you're in Southern California, consider checking out the LATB videos. (They're free to watch in real-time.) Look at the Poker Night in America videos on YouTube. Consider finding a group of friends to exchange ideas... or get a coach like @persuadeo (he does a whole lot more than just laying out nephews on their asses!) Your study is only irrelevent if you don't apply it... and remember, it's not like a trade school where you learn welding and you can go off and weld something tomorrow... there are so many facets to the game that learning one great play/tactic/lesson may only be applicable a few times a year... but when used, it dramatically lessens your loss or increases your bankroll! So to consistently win - and win big - you need a truly solid understanding of what poker is, how to make adjustments and what you're trying to accomplish in your game.

    BTW - if you get a chance - stop by In & Out Burger and order one "animal style" for me. I sure do miss that place!

    Damn... that's a lot of rambling. Hope some of it helped.
    Best of luck,
    k.
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