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Showdown vs Non-showdown winnings

TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
This topic is beaten to death for online play obv and I might make a mistake by bringing it up here but I'm still kinda genuinely interested.
This is from another thread 2/5 Logic fail?:
ThatOtherJeremy said
IMO your hand is too good in a limped pot to turn into a semi bluff vs a huge field when you have potential to stack anyone that flopped big if you catch on the turn or river.
Basically I see it as two different ways of making money in poker:
1. SD: Make a pretty strong hand and win at showdown vs inferior hand(s)
2. Non-SD: It's pretty hard to make a very strong hand at holdem so most often people have just some medium strength hands (one pair) and we can win money by making them fold those not very strong hands.

I think ThatOtherJeremy advocates taking SD route. But what I personally found that it's very hard for me to get paid. I think it's extremely rare for me that somebody put over 200BB in and I win at SD. I might be wrong but I think I'm loosing at SD and I'm making my money only at non-SD. So I always look for opportunities to make people fold first. Should I change my approach to the poker? What do you think?


  • DavidChan Posts: 1,208Pro

    I think you're a good poker player, but your flawed emphasis on aggression above all else is holding you back from becoming a great poker player.

    Remember that this is coming from a LAG who is considered by many regs in LA to be a kamikaze. So, if I (the spewtastic LAGtard David Chan) think you are over-emphasizing aggression in your poker game, then I think you may have a leak.
  • ThatOtherJeremy Posts: 314Member
    Interesting topic. Heres my dos centavos

    1) Personally, I advocate whatever path realizes the most value, the highest percentage of the time, based upon the circumstances unique to that particular hand. Sometimes, this means playing draws aggressively, sometimes this means trying to realize the full value of my medium strength hands against a specific dynamic that I feel I can extract a ton of value from if I hit. I wouldn't ever classify myself as strictly a max showdown value type of player. To be honest, river play is one of the weaker spots in my game. But there are times when I very actively employ a "showdown" type of paradigm against opponent types who I know have a high propensity to make bigger and more mistakes the deeper into a hand they proceed. Occasionally, things don't go my way. Just as things don't always go right when you raise a draw to induce folds and get effectively shipped on.

    2) The players, stack sizes, position, and action leading up to where I am in the hand are always at the forefront of my thought process when I decide whether or not to put chips in the middle. Same with making moves to try to induce folds. If I can credibly do so a high enough percentage of the time, and that is the best route to value in that hand, then I act in accordance with this principle. I think its important to note that hand strength is always relative to board texture. Im just going to say that in my own experience at 5/5 and below I don't see a lot of innate value in trying to get people to fold what would be superficially classified as a "weak hand". In most situations, if I range my opponent to TP or OP, I am not investing too much in trying to make them fold unless the circumstances are ripe for such actions.

    I completely agree that its hard to hit hands and get action to play for stacks all that often. But that doesn't mean you aren't leaving value on the table when you always look to end the hand above all else, even when you are ahead, or have terrific equity to be ahead. I can't say what works best for you, because I know nothing about you. But I think as a general rule, players should incorporate a blend of these philosophies, using critical factors within the hand to decide upon a particular course of action. Best of luck to you, sir!
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    Cliff's notes: Overall, your showdown winning should be higher.
    It's not necessarily the fact that you have the best hand at SD that makes your SD winnings higher. It's that you're maximizing when you do have the best hand and losing as little as possible when you don't. And if you fold when you're supposed to, your non-SD winnings will go down. Conversely, if you continuously make spewy plays and bad calls, those hands get to showdown and you're losing in those hands, so you'll likely have low showdown winnings when you're playing poorly.

    I have some stats from online hands, so I can definitely see how my style has changed over the years

    I think for the most part, winning players tend to have a higher "blue line" or showdown winnings than the "red line" or non-showdown winnings. But I'm not saying that this is absolute or that you can't have it be the other way around and be a good player. I mean, I'm sure Isildur has a higher red line :D

    When I first started playing micros online in late 2010 after reading a few poker books and clueless about everything else, I was spewy aggro. I was a losing player, but my red line was positive and my blue line was hugely negative. It's definitely easier to be spewy aggro online because it's easier to click "bet" and "raise" than it is to jam chips into a pot live. Another problem I had was that I was also a station.

    When you steal a pot that doesn't belong to you, your non-showdown winnings go up
    And when you spew off your stack against someone who's not folding, you'll most likely lose at showdown which makes your blue line take a huge dip.
    And when you make stupid calls, your blue line takes a huge dip

    In late 2012, when I decided to open an account on Lock Poker so I had something arguably productive to do when I was sitting at home, I noticed that my stats were the opposite. And *gasp* I was a winning player?

    When you fold when you're supposed to, your red line will take a hit because you put money in the pot and are now losing it without a showdown
    When you correctly value bet your hands and get called by worse, your blue line goes up
    Conversely, when you use well-timed aggression, that adds to your red line. The key is that you have to have good timing for your aggression.
  • TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
    David Chan said
    I think you may have a leak.
    Well, it's not the question if I have a leak or not. Of course I do. Question is how to find and fix it!
  • TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
    I guess because we are trying to play the most exploitative style, our opponents are actually defining the way we should play to make the most money from their mistakes. So when I sit at the table and look around I'm trying to make a plan "How do I win money at this table?" and "Where is my edge comes from?". If I see 8 out of 9 opponents are trying to make 2 pair+ and stack an overpair, I can't win money doing the same. It's very rare these days that my opponent thinking "I have a pair and they all bluffing".
  • AesahAesah Posts: 1,048Pro
    TDF said

    I think it's extremely rare for me that somebody put over 200BB in and I win at SD
    this is a really expensive leak. if you're serious about crushing live poker you need to be winning the vast majority showdowns in 200BB+ pots vs. rec players.

    Recreational players don't go to the casino to fold. Folding is not fun. This fact defines live poker, which will always be about showdown winnings. That's just the way it is, get used to it.

    And like what David Chan said, this is also coming from someone who is very often the most aggressive player at the table.
    TDF said
    I guess because we are trying to play the most exploitative style, our opponents are actually defining the way we should play to make the most money from their mistakes.
    This quote is 100% true! However...

    If you sit completely random 2/5 tables there's probably like 1/50 chance you're at a table where the best player would expect to win more from non-showdown than showdown winnings. However if you're ever at one of these I would also table change immediately, so yea.
  • DavidChan Posts: 1,208Pro

    Making money in live poker is all about mistakes. Letting your opponents make mistakes and also exploiting those mistakes.

    in your case, I think you are too concerned with "winning every pot" that you sometimes overplay hands. I keep seeing you iso-raise hands that have value as an over-limp and bluff-raise draws that have lots of implied odds as just a call. You are habitually over-playing hands in your quest to "win every pot."
  • whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    TDF said
    But what I personally found that it's very hard for me to get paid.
    I find that difficult to believe if you are playing aggressively. People call way too much anyways in live poker, and even more so vs. aggressive players who play a lot of hands.
    TDF said
    I think I'm loosing at SD and I'm making my money only at non-SD.
    If you are very sure that you are loosing at SD, it's much more likely that you reach showdown with too many hands that are too weak. In other words, you are either too loose or you don't like folding postflop. Maybe you fire way too much over multiple streets and your opponents adjust (correctly) by simply calling you down?
    TDF said
    I think it's extremely rare for me that somebody put over 200BB in and I win at SD.
    In low stakes live games, it should be exactly the other way round IMO.
    TDF said
    So I always look for opportunities to make people fold first.
    That's not a great game plan for low stakes live games, because people don't like folding. They call too much, so instead of adjusting to this tendency you effectively help them make money.
  • Tyrith Posts: 353Subscriber
    I played in some very...unique games this last Friday and Saturday that made me think about this thread.

    This was a Friday afternoon/early evening and a Saturday morning at Coushatta near Lake Charles, LA. At both tables the pot was being raised by people other than me maybe once or twice an orbit. Post flop bets were goofy $20-$30 bets and never had anything to do with pot size.

    But the crazy part of it all is that people were just all too eager to fold. Folding sets on boards with possible straights when it's $30 to win $150, crazy stuff. Simultaneously, people were actually limp folding more than they were limp calling. A raise of 4-5BB would often get it down to one or two opponents, who you could c-bet pretty much 100% of the time and they would fold if they had less than top pair. And if you two barreled them they'd probably fold that most of the time.

    Bottom line of this dynamic is that you're forced to bluff; they won't pay off with anything unless you cooler them. Conversely, I was raising the button with junk, c-betting constantly, betting into limped pots, and raising turns where it was clear everyone had one pair or less, all with impunity. I absolutely hate having to play this way, because it's so different from what low level live poker is "supposed" to be, but ironically it felt like being super aggro was a lot less risky than trying to win betting for value.

    So I do think there are particular casinos, with particular lineups of nitty old men (and other regs that the nitty old men have trained to play like nitty old men) where your non-showdown winnings will exceed showdown winnings, because they just won't call your value bets. But man, I'm going to avoid that casino for a while.
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