Thursday, March 16, 2017

Turning the corner

Recently, I got back into online poker.  I haven't really blogged about it, save for the entry about purchasing a HUD.  For those who don't know, a HUD basically tracks each players action and betting tendencies, so you're left with a basic profile of each opponent.  In other words, the HUD will tell me how often a player puts money in the pot, raises, 3bets, etc.

I've had the HUD for a few weeks now - and up until very recently, still find myself fishing around.  I haven't gone busto with my meager bankroll, but I've certainly bottomed out... so much so that at times, I was unable to top off my stack to a full 100BB.  Over the weekend, I decided to put some serious time into understanding my actions and play - the lines I'm taking and the cbetting frequency / bluff frequency.  I quickly came to realize that at the micro stakes, I'm losing money because I'm bluffing far too often.  I'm not showing down nut-worthy hands as a result, and I'm not getting any respect from any of my opponents.  I also came to realize that even though the stats are right in front of my face, I'm not paying close attention to them.

As evidenced:

  • If I'm facing a raise on the BTN or CO, I'm usually folding without checking the steal tendencies of the raiser.
  • If I'm facing a raise from a high VPIP (Voluntary Put Into Pot) and PFR (Preflop Raiser), I'm usually just calling or folding instead of exploiting the raiser by 3betting and squeezing.
  • If I'm stealing myself, I'm folding to 3bets instead of watching closely as a player lightly defends his or her blinds.
Let me tell you something: ego has gotten the better of me.  It's embarrassing not being able to crush .01/.02 poker!  After the weekend, no longer does ego get in the way.  I turned the corner.  I put a stop to the losing and the ego.  I'm starting to pick up all the things that made me a successful online player in the past.  I don't feel like a break even player.  I've turned my game around.  I'm starting to outfox the regulars at the 2NL game.  I'm not paying off in disbelief that my opponent yet again out-flopped me.  I'm charging for thin value when the board has a flush draw or straight draw.

I know it sounds weak to talk about beating the 2NL games, but trust me, they're not exactly a cakewalk.  I'm not saying they're not beatable, because they certainly are, but you just can't sit down at a table and expect to bet bet bet your opponents of their hands.  You need to pick and choose your spots, fold small pots as warranted, stay away from bloating big pots with weaker holdings.  Slant your game towards value and away from bluffs (i.e. go to showdown more often with winners rather than bet people off their hands and force folds).  These players simply don't fold - take advantage of that!

Here are some strategies I'm employing at the 2NL stakes:
  • Cut down on ranges: If entering a pot, look to raise the hand first; do not limp.  Fold earlier position (UTG, UTG+1) hands, but raise those hands in later positions (gaining position for the rest of the hand)
  • When looking to steal, verify fold to steal % stats to validate the steal will be profitable
  • When facing resistance against steals, look for favorable flops to cbet.  Against a tight player who has a high fold to steal %, cbet Ace high / King high boards, but check through lower textured boards.
  • Look to optimize bet sizing.  For example, if a steal is called, there's 7BB in the pot.  Cbet ~4BB instead of 6BB to further limit exposure -- particularly when drawing dead to a caller.  I'm finding that players at this level will fit or fold the same for 4BB as 6BB.  They're also not noting bet sizing tells.
  • Stopping double and triple barrelling with air.  If I have air and I'm running into resistance, shut it down after the first cbet.  Yes, it's exploitable, but at this level, these players don't understand how to capitalize.  Again, it's fit or fold with many players.
Anyway, it's good to be an online winner again.  I look forward to posting a few hand histories as they come up.  I also look forward to moving back into my old stomping grounds: 0.50/1!

For those who are interested, I'm focused solely on 6max games.  I'm back to playing around 9 tables, which moves pretty quickly for this old grinder.


  1. I quickly came to realize that at the micro stakes, I'm losing money because I'm bluffing far too often.

    Online players just can't fold, can they?

    1. Finally at home so I can respond. Sorry for the delay. Online low stakes players don't like to fold... like... ever. Value value value!

  2. speaking of chasing down fishy bad players, what site are you playing on and what is your screen name? thanks in advance.

    1. is one of the few sites that accepts and pays out in bitcoin. I'm finding that site to be particularly good for me.


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