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How I got here, help me get there.

LOLGIRAFFELOLGIRAFFE Posts: 108BloggerSubscriber
edited October 2014 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
Warning, more than likely a tl;dr coming your way.

So my background: I was a short handed internet grinder that originally started like many others grinding low limit hold em until NLHE took off. Quickly I graduated into NLHE and ended up playing short handed and heads up online. I stuck to that for a while until ultimately black Friday hit. During this time period, I spent plenty of hours playing live but I never had to take it serious. Internet aggression slaughtered the small stakes NLHE games and I was mostly there to interact with folks and have fun. Black Friday hits, I walk away from poker after the FTP bust and my roll went bye bye.

So, now we're here. I decided a couple of months ago I really wanted to get back into the game. Right now I'm strictly playing $1/$3 NLHE with a $200 max buy. Once I started playing again and decided I wanted to take the live games seriously, I remembered Bart's podcast from back in the day. Bart - congrats on getting your site rolling and the continued podcast success! I started listening to the old free podcast again from 2010 time frame, a lot of the old stuff I had already listened to in the past. Once I got through the most interesting pieces I decided to finally get a CLP account and here I am.

Right now I'm on a 9 session down swing and I'm questioning myself across the board. Let me tell me try to elaborate on some situations and how I am approaching the game etc.

My image: I've known all the dealers in my room for years. Some as long as 10 years. So, immediately most players notice I know everyone. I know a ton of the regulars as well. I'm early 30s white male. I generally am very talkative and pride myself on etiquette and being a gent. Folks notice I always carry quarter chips in my pockets because I hate playing with less than max buy. The moment I'm $25 under I end up capping up.

Preflop: Similar to my style back in the day, I focus on positional play. I'm fairly nitty in EP and laggy in LP. When I'm raising it's usually to $15 unless there are more than 2 limpers in which case I'll raise more. I find my raise size doesn't seem to impact whether or not I get calls, so I treat it from a perspective of make it easy to build big pots assuming folks max buy. I found actively 3 betting often gets called with my image so I generally wont do it unless its for value.

Post flop: I play quick. It seems the games are fairly passive, folks would rather check\call then bet often. When folks bet or raise, I'm not sure if I'm making mistakes the way I'm playing big single pair hands or not. I think I'm playing too light in many spots, but in my past world folding an over pair in a 5x raised pot when effective stack sizes started at 66BB is just crazy. I would never fold AK for 66BB AIPF in the past, these live games I can't think of many situations I'd ever get it in preflop because it seems it's only KK+.

Here are a few example hands recently.
$1/$3 NLHE - Flop Pair+FD, How Is My Line?
$1/$3 NHLE - Bottom Set, Coordinated Board.
$1/3 New Table First Hand. My Line Ugh.

A few more examples of my play recently where I've lost:
1/3 $200 max buy
UTG ($600) limps
MP ($200) limps
Hero ($200) KQss raises to $15
SB calls, UTG calls, MP calls

Pot $60

UTG leads for $40. MP folds. I call, SB folds. History so far with UTG is that he is LAG and recently I've seen him limp\call lead OOP twice. The most recent hand before this he had 88 from EP where he limp\called then lead and bet turn on a 9 high. He checked down river and showed 88. His main gear is definitely fire fire fire.

Pot $140
Turn card is a Qd.

UTG bets $100. At this point, I have $145 left into a pot of $240. I shove for the remainder, he calls, tables 94ss and I don't get there.

Last hand example.

UTG+1 ($200) limps
CO ($200) limps
Hero ($170) raises to $15 w\KK on Button
BB ($120) calls (tight senior woman)
UTG calls, CO folds.

Pot $45
9d 6h 3d

x/x to hero, hero bets $30 into $45. Call/call

Pot: $135. Hero has $125 left.
Turn Qc.
9d 6h 3d Qc

x\x to hero. I have less than a pot size bet left. Short handed, online, back in the day, this is a shove. In these current live games, I wonder if that looks too strong. But, I could not and still do not find any reason to do anything outside of shove since I believe the range of hands to limp\call or cold call out of the blinds are still yet to be made but could of picked up secondary draws. I shove. BB folds, UTG tables 99 and takes the pot.

So these are some of the stand outs in my head. I'm eager to go through all of the content Bart and co has put together and participate in this forum more. I'm posting this as more of a opportunity to see if you folks spot any trends or if you can recall any specific videos or podcasts that you think addresses a leak that I'm exhibiting.

Oh last piece to throw out there - I'm not playing for a living, I have no interest in playing for a living. I'm playing 1/3 because I want to get confident with my game before I go back to 3/5 and 5/10. Financially, this current level has no impact on me but it's enough dough where I care but I'm not worried to make moves.

Alright, rambling after quitting my session short tonight as I was frustrated and tilty.

I appreciate any feedback or recommendations you have.



  • beauregard Posts: 1,592Subscriber
    a couple of thoughts...

    first: capped games really hinder your ability to "play poker" - it's hard to bluff a guy off his stack if he's already got 65% of it already in it. Likewise, it's hard to fold on the turn when you may be good and you've got 65% of it already in it.
    suggested adjustment: play more fit or fold. don't float bets or chase draws (esp when it's heads up). consider limping with hands as strong as AJ, KQ and TT when your table is very passive, stationy.

    second: respect the smallness of the game. By that I mean, a $15 pfr followed by $30 c-bet is "big money" to a lot of the 1/2 players. So is a $40 donk bet. You may be making or calling those lightly, but a lot of 1/2 players don't. There hand ranges are typically very, very tight when they're calling 2-3 streets of bets.
    I know a lot of 2/5 & 5/10 guys who have a hard time adjusting/taking seriously bets that in the bigger games are considered "pot builders." But when you're in the game, a $6-8 pfr means something totally different than a $12-20 pfr.

    Since you ultimately want to play in the bigger games - I'd suggest you just move to it now.
    I find the level of play and ability to play in higher stakes (with higher caps) allows you to play more poker. (They're a LOT less trappy... they bet their hands!) Plus, if you're planning to play there, you'll need as much time as possible to figure out how the locals play and how you should adjust your style to maximize your winnings.

    Dunno if this helps or is valuable. If not, just ignore my ramblings - :wink:
  • neverlearn2 Posts: 2,827Subscriber
    Dude the hands you posted just seem like bad luck. Maybe the first hand you can get away from but I think it's pretty std.

    Like Beauregard stated if money isn't that much of an issue just move up to the $5 game.

    If anything sounds like you might be tilting right now. Hopefully you figure thigs out and turn it around soon.

    I'm pretty sure you will thogh. I strongly believe that posters who post hands regularly almost always become better players and going over your hands it doesn't seem like you are way off. If anything being on a downswing might have you playing scared.
  • workinghard Posts: 1,561Subscriber
    It's impossible to look at a couple hands that someone selects to post and from them get a full picture of why they are getting the overall results they are getting. However, if you are questioning the example above with your KK if to bet or not on a draw heavy board, I would say you are a bit "shell shocked". Beyond the hand examples you posted, I would want to know are you winning pots when you're behind? Are you getting max value when you're ahead? Are you charging villains for drawing out on you? Not really questions I except you to reply to with a "yes" or "no" but rather to be thinking about as you play. The trouble with 1/2 stakes is that there really is no room for error. If you are not absolutely dominating over how you play vs your opponents, then the rake is going to prevent you from having any chance of winning. I would rather buy in small to the 3/5 games than play 1/2 or 1/3.
  • LOLGIRAFFELOLGIRAFFE Posts: 108BloggerSubscriber
    So rather than respond right away, I decided to take the weekend off from poker and spend some time tanking your responses and re-evaluating my game. Ultimately, I think you hit the nail on the head about running bad and playing scared. Live variance sucks.

    Appreciate your responses.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,085Subscriber
    On your first hand I dont like the float.. You describe this guy as LAGGY .. laggy players can and have a higher frequency of betting a 9 in that spot. Its the weaker players that make a bet with a T there..

    On a even more important note is the size of the bet in hand 1.. 45 in pot and he bet 40.. thats not a bluff or semibluff for the vast majority of players.. So he either has a T or what???

    I prefer to float in this spot with an actual overpair.. and raise my bluffs BUT only when the bet is alot smaller.. weaker players make these donk bets and smallish bets when they ARE weak..

    first hand is maybe a call on flop but a fold on turn.. yeah.. he bet almost pot again.. he doesnt have a T when he bets so big.. so what does he have that you are ahead of?

    Looks like to me you need to brush up (ALOT) on your hand reading.. you will find it much easier to make more money that way..

  • LOLGIRAFFELOLGIRAFFE Posts: 108BloggerSubscriber
    edited October 2014
    Which hand do you see the overbet? Sorry, I'm lost..

    I think you misread the pre flop action on that hand. He bet $40 into $60. If he has a T, I'm ahead as I turned TP to go with my gutshot. Although, I think we're talking about different hands and I'm blind to which hand you're talking about.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,085Subscriber
    I thought the raise in hand 1 was to 15 and two callers... 15x3 =45.. there were three callers? basically doesnt matter..

    the flop sizing on a donk bet when its large is NOT a bluff nor a weak top pair hand. those bets are way smaller.. like less than half pot.. THOSE are the bets you can bluff raise..

    so given this guy is a laggy.. he can have a 9 and I just think I would just fold...

    thats what I mean by hand reading..
  • LOLGIRAFFELOLGIRAFFE Posts: 108BloggerSubscriber
    edited October 2014
    Hero ($200) KQss raises to $15
    SB calls, UTG calls, MP calls

    So he bet $40 into $60. Do you judge this bet based off total BBs invested then and not relative to the pot size? I don't find $40 into $60 not he flop to be excessive. I look at it no differently than someone leading $20 into $30 which I've never taken as an immediate red flag, more so of a standard flop bet. You're right I need to work on my hand reading, because clearly I'm lost on what you're saying here.

    edit: I've started flagging all videos labeled with 'hand reading', I've got some footage to watch.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,085Subscriber
    edited October 2014
    He is betting into now 4 players... thats usually a sign of strength.. now you have a gutshot to the nuts.. but you need a J .

    I am also not sure your overs are good either.. The board was wet and you can consider calling to steal it with the flush if it comes in..but again generally not going to work as well against a LAGGY player.. this works best against a standard fit or fold player..

    see its because hes a LAGGY player that I think I would just fold.. against a standard player for sure you can call ..and either hit or steal the pot..

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