Monday, September 27, 2010

On video watching and other miscellaneous goings ons...

Since my coaching with SplitSuit, I've been reading a bit in my spare time, but rarely watching any training videos or otherwise increasing my pokery knowledge.  Mostly, I've been trying to get enough of a sample size together where I can declare victory on my new / re-invented style of play.  Sorting through the chaff (positive EV, in this case), and distinguishing what is working from what is not, has proven to be somewhat difficult; I'm running at a 5.5PTBB/100 (equating to roughly $50/hr) for the month at $100NL.  I know that as a poker player, I can expect to go through periods where I absolutely smash the games, mixed in with periods where I can't hit water if I fell out of a boat...  Right now, I'm going through a period where I am upswinging AND playing spectacularly well (again, subjective; is it that I'm playing well or getting good cards).  From that, though, it's hard to tell what my "real" win rate is and whether my being smacked by the deck influences what I think is working for me.  FWIW, if you're interested, I've written about my stylistic changes in a prior post... see here.

Well, on the recommendation of a highly-respected (though not in the 2p2 forums, by his claims) "poker authority" Doublefly (3 links for you, my friend!),  I sat down over the weekend to absorb one of CardRunner's newer videos, "A Little R&R Part 1," with Rask & Damn Ringer, 2 well established online pros in the community.  The videos were helpful; I always figure that if I picked up at least one thing I hadn't thought about before, then it was worth my time.  The video consisted of the two of them engaging in a banter about strategy regarding when to semi-bluff boards.  An example of this is as follows: you will be more profitable to bluff an Ac Kd 7s board with 4d 5d than you would with pocket 6's.  Your equity is quite a bit higher (10.4% vs. 8.8%) due to the backdoor draws that you can pick up on the turn (i.e. flush & straight possibilities), whereas with the 6's, the best that you can hope for is to hit a 6.  Deal this out over 1 million hands, and the equity difference of 1.8% becomes a lot more clear.  Their line of logic makes total sense; nothing new here; moving on...

Following the classroom learning, they got into 2 hand histories that each of them had played in prior sessions.  Damn Ringer's hand was examined first, and the setup was that he was blind stealing with 44 in the SB at $100NL.  In the BB was a player that I have particular problems with (lakofpoisonivey) when he has position on me - and Damn Ringer had the same problems.  There's a couple of directions I'd like to note here prior to dissecting the play further.
  • The premise of the HH review was to discuss barrelling boards.  In their opinion, it doesn't make sense to cbet the flop (assuming its a good flop to cbet) without multi-barrelling (i.e. bet turn and/or river).  It got me thinking about the times (and keep in mind that I'm a HUGE stealer; 45%+ *AT LEAST*) where I'll cbet the flop & give up on the turn / river only to see my opponent float the flop on a bad board and get there with his 97 by the river to my 22 on an A T 3 [for example] board.

    Why is that happening?  Because I'm not continuing on the turn.  It becomes very easy for my opponent to float the flop and either fold or get to show down cheaply when he knows I'm going to either continue representing my hand (which he can fold to a cbet on the turn) or going into check mode (where he can turn the tables and represent himself OR get to showdown).  The power of position...  I hate being out of position...
  • Said player above is not a great player, by any stretch, though he is a pretty decent reg.  I don't put him in the Rakeback pro category, but I don't put him in the QQ-Q U A D S-QQ (the nuts at $100NL) category, either.  I respect his play; let's leave it at that - he's a $9700 winner to the tune of 0.84PTBB/100 over 517K hands.  To sum up, he is an aware player, but an exploitable multi-tabler.
  • This strategy of barrelling will work against certain players, but at some point, I think you need to abandon ship.  I don't think you can try to move a mountain who will look you up.  In Damn Ringer's defense, I think he had all of ~400 hands on the guy, so he didn't have a clear representation of lak's stationy tendencies.
  • It felt good to see that other players (who I'd classify as in the GREAT category) have problems with the players that I have problems with.
  • The HH they chose for Ringer is ironic; they earlier talked about bluffing / semi-bluffing boards where you have a bit higher equity, yet they chose pocket 4's as the HH example.
Back to the hand: The flop comes A K Q rainbow - just about the worst flop for 44 that you'd EVER want to see.  Ringer stole for $3, leaving a pot of $6 (and huge remaining stacks, which won't come into play in this recap).  Ringer donks the flop for $4 and lak calls.  The turn is a brick and Ringer decides to lead again - I think $10 into $14 (sorry if I got the exact details wrong - it may have been a little larger bet).  Lak once again calls.  Finally, Ringer decides to bet big on the river (bigger than he probably should have) $30 into $34.  Rask commented [and I agree] that he would have had the same affect if he had bet $22-24 and saved himself $6-8 of bluff money.  Regardless, lak calls and shows K3s for second pair, no kicker.

A few things of note, which got me thinking: there are players out there, like lak, who will hero call you when your lines don't entirely make sense.  Clearly, Ringer was polarized by the river.  A nearly pot sized river bet ALWAYS says nuts / air (and I don't mean literal nuts, JT, but top two, sets, etc.), because rarely is anyone 3 streeting it with less.  If I'm in lak's position, I don't think Ringer is [essentially] potting each street with a weak Ace, second pair, etc.  He *HAS* to slow down because the pot will become unmanageable, especially out of position.  Therefore, he's either got lak crushed or he's trying to bully him.

To sum up, I've been finding myself in spots similar to Ringer's, where I actually do have a showdown worthy hand and I'm not thin value betting 3 streets - or I'm firing at the flop and letting go of the hand on the turn / river.  I'm working on closing that leak... by either not cbetting bad boards, or barrelling to force my opponent off his hand.  Last night, it worked a bunch of times, where my turn cbet bluff on my SB steal forced a lay down.  The culmination of last night is a hand I'll share with you tomorrow in the "What Would You Do?" segment.  I'm curious about your opinions, because I take the exact opposite approach to what is shown in the video, I force a would-be hero call by a river overbet (HUGE OVERBET) shove.  Stay tuned!


  1. Great post! Lots of food for thought, thanks.

  2. Thanks Mojo. I hope some of the random pokery garbage I put out there helps someone. I *KNOW* it helps me collect my thoughts at a bare minimum...


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