Thursday, July 8, 2010

Things that I've been doing lately...

I'm constantly trying to improve my game.  I'm always looking for ways to eek out 1 or 2 extra BB/100 hands.  I'm also looking for ways to increase value with made hands.  Prior to the past month or so, though, my game has been bet bet bet.  I've always known this to be exploitable; I wind up winning a bunch of small pots with weaker or no hands, and risk losing larger pots where I've put money at risk to be called down each street (i.e. players are allowing me to value bet myself).  However, overall, I've [obviously] come out ahead with my aggression factor usually something like 3+.

I've taken a long look inward, though.  I've also begun watching a few videos and been thinking about their logic and thought processes.  I rarely, if ever, see a bet bet bet pattern - and I'm 100% sure that while the bet bet bet strategy may work in the 50NL world, players at 100NL and up are more than apt to overcome this style.  100NL players can see through bet bet bet lines and start to call more often for value, realizing that raising folds out my [often] bluffs.

So what have I been doing to change my bet bet bet strategy?  Balancing my aggression by checking more often.  For example, is there really a point, when holding 87s on an Ace high flop, to betting the flop?  Am I ever folding out an Ace?  Yes, I am folding out a lot of non-Ace holdings, but really?  With this method, (even though my opponent may be getting tricky with me which will be duly noted) I can take the pot away on the turn or river when confronted with back-to-back checks; a clear indication of disinterest in the pot.  Plus, my opponent has seen ideally seen me check back top pair on the flop, so he's comfortable folding his non-nut pair hands.  In the same vein, if I'm holding AceRag, am I folding a premium Ace in that same spot?  No.  By checking behind, though, even though I'm letting off a free card that could potentially hurt me, I'm controlling the pot size (not forcing myself into making marginal decisions with marginal holdings on later streets) and also giving my opponent a chance to bluff the pot himself.  If I have a pair of Aces on an Ace high flop, it seems that the best way to get value from that type of hand is checking and calling to induce bluffs.  Raising and betting folds out my opponent's bluff capabilities and makes him/her pretty uncomfortable with their second pair or lesser holdings.

I guess I'm growing as a poker player, because I'm beginning to trust the cards and/or probabilities.  Again, in the past, the bet bet bet strategy worked for me because all I wanted to do was end the hand.  [Although I still get sucked out on] I wanted to take down the pot before someone could suck out on me in a later street.  Now, though, I'll adjust my play appropriately by not betting the flop to induce action on the turn and/or river, which would have otherwise been missed because I muscled my opponent out of the hand on the flop.

All of this isn't to say that I'm not barreling all streets ever, with all holdings from flopped monsters to air, but that type of play is happening far less often, with a far greater balance toward my strength hands.  I have probably put in about 25-30K hands with the balanced aggression method, and it seems to be working (I'm at work so I don't have actual figures to share), but I know I'm winning sessions far more often.

I am still working on finding the time to continue my Back to Basics series... though I have yet to write the next segment.   It's hard to convince myself to find the time because it is EV- for me personally, by and large.  However, it's still on my plate of things to do, for those interested.  I'm working through my mid-year bonus with Full Tilt through their Iron Man program.  I am eligible for $500 in bonus money - of which I've completed $100.  10,000 FTPs in 45 days = 222 FTPs/day - far more than I've been averaging for the past 2 months, but I'm ahead of pace currently: 2087 points completed with 7913 points remaining over 38 days = 213 FTPs/day pace.  With the Rush Week bonus coming up next week, it's nice to coincide/overlap the two and pick up a double bonus.  Finally, the month has been up & down in the early going - never hitting negative, but up about 4 buy ins thus far from a peak of 10 :-(.


  1. I have been working on the same thing for the last months. Flatting with premium hands, checking back flops or turns, and a lot of bluff catching. Sometimes it hurts, but overall I am seeing a lot more value than I did with the Bet Bet Bet lines. Variance is down because I am playing a lot more medium sized pots instead of a bunch of small pots and a couple of big ones.

  2. I've often flatted or checked back hands only to have others ask, "Why aren't you betting here for value?" or something along those lines.

    This morning I flatted AQ a 3b IP from an aggro BB. Hit the Axx, floated the flop, checked back the turn, then bet 1/2 pot on the riv when checked to only to see a runner flush with KJo.

    Sometimes the "correct" line was the other one. ;)


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