Friday, October 16, 2009

Every Hand Tells a Story, Part 2

Mr. Meister posted the following comment to my post entitled Every Hand Tells a Story which prompted me to elaborate on this topic:

"...Great insight. Here's my question: I am on Full Tilt with the same tools available (plus PT3) as you; i.e. I have the hand history tracker. How are you quickly determining the rundown of events from this player? I realize you only had 12 hands, but I've seen you do this before, with a much greater hand history. How are you quickly seeing what player was involved with what hands? Is there a filter? I think this method could be pretty powerful combined with PT3 (I realize PT3 has the same ability, but it can be a slow process to do this history regression on a particular player)..."

Often times I use this method when I haven't had a long history with a player nor player notes on the villain. This method has been very successful for me when determining the current state of mind of my opponents. Have I noticed them playing many pots recently? Did they just stack off or get bad-beated? Ultimately, this process allows me to more accurately assess the likelihood of my opponent to have a made hand vs. a bluff.

Having a full time bank certainly helps during these occasions. So how exactly do I determine 'a lot' of recent activity? Here is the basic framework to my decision-making:

1) If I see my opponent playing fairly straight-forward with profitable hands, raising when it seems standard, opening with hands with +EV, being conscientious of position, then I generally fold in these tough spots.

2) If the player has proven that they will play a lot of trash hands ignoring implied odds, stack sizes and position, I tend to stay in the hand and recognize that my hand has a lot of increased value.

3) If I haven't seen the player go to showdown all that much, I look for how often they are voluntarily contributing $ to a pot. It's easier to tell when an opponent has played in a hand when they win the pot. In the 'Last Hand' view the winner of the pot is highlighted and denoted as 'Winner'.

4) If I see the player having recently won a lot of small pots, or limping a lot and betting the flop a lot, I give them much less credit because this style represents a loose-aggressive style.

5) However, to tell whether they played in a pot and did not go to showdown and/or win the hand, I look at the amount of money in their stack from one hand to the next and am able to tell whether they played that hand or folded before the flop. So if I see that their stack has changed in size in several hands within an orbit or two, I know that they are most likely opening their range and are unlikely to have a big hand. Remember: Big hands [i.e. top 10%] just don't come that frequently that often.

6) If I don't have any information that I can interpret either way, such as, I haven't seen them showdown a hand and I only saw that they voluntarily contributed to a pot in 1 out of the last 5 hands, I generally ignore this method altogether and base my decision solely on hand reading, betting lines and stack sizes.

Sometimes it's that simple.


  1. When I have ghosted you, I have seen you doing this. Basically, you're clicking down the list of most recent hands and looking at his the particular villain's stack sizes & showdowns... The next question that begs to be asked then is this: Why don't you have Poker Tracker installed on your machine?



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