Hello all, welcome to my online poker blog.

I've been playing on and off for a decade after being introduced by a friend.

I played regularly for a few years during the poker boom and had a decent record at the micros, particularly Rush and Zoom No Limit Hold'em games (here's one of my graphs).

Around 2012 I began a new career which involved immersing myself completely in study in my spare time, so I had little to no time for poker. However recently this burden has eased and so I have been gradually dipping back in.

I'm an amateur player who still hopes to some day beat the rake.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Big Blind, I Suck. #3

I have been studying some statistics from winning players and I'm really losing tons and tons more money from the bb than I should compared to them. Some players are losing around half of what I am. Considering that I play around 10% of hands the only logical conclusion is that I'm not getting into enough pots versus wide ranges in the CO, BTN and SB - even out of position.

I found a thread on DeucesCracked about 6-max win rates and although the figures cannot be the same for full ring one of the posts by a coach gave the following blind leaks:
1/ Calling too much in sb
2/ Not squeezing enough when sb calls
3/ 3-betting our best hands versus UTG through HJ

4/ Set mining in the blinds
5/ Not stealing enough from the sb
6/ Learning to play a suitable range from the bb versus the co/button
I have highlighted the spots where I need the most improvement.

I'm going to begin to flat my best hands versus UTG ranges and play them post flop unless I have a strong read that villain calls too much when facing 3-bets. In this case I'll 3-bet perhaps a range like {QQ+, AK}. Currently there are many regs who open around 10% of hands, and knowing that I can only realistically 3-bet AA, KK for value versus that kind of range I've been 3-betting those hands and folding everything else except for an occasional bluff. By calling I can get more value post flop when villain double barrels with little to no equity, and I protect the more marginal hands that I call with in this situation like 99-QQ, AK etc. This should make a small difference.

I will look for more spots to squeeze small blind callers, even with any two cards if the initial raiser has a wide enough range and at least some ability to fold when facing a 3-bet. Again, this should make a small positive difference to my win rate.

Finally I need to build a range to defend my big blind facing a raise from the CO or Button. Filtering the last 20k hands for this situation there has been 338 hands and I've lost at almost 100bb/100. That is, if I'd folded every single hand I'd have lost the same amount of money. God, I really am coming to realise how much work is needed on my game to improve from d-grade to even c-grade. In this situation I must strive to win some of this money back.

Forward Planning
A big weapon in blind defence is the flop check raise. I will not donk at all for now and just focus on creating a profitable check raise strategy. Often in the past I've seen a flop and thought it made a good one for a check raise but when suddenly called I've had no idea how to proceed on the turn. We need to fire again (as a bluff) when either our actual equity improves, or our fold equity improves. So that I'm not playing exploitable 'one and done' poker I need at least 20 cards (on average) in the deck that I can barrel that give me one or both of these results. [The reason I pick 20 is that we then guarantee that we're continuing with our bluffs a little more than 43% of the time which seems reasonable from a theoretical view]

I played a hand last night that fit this plan. A reg (who is decent) raised in mid position. I called in the big blind with KJo and the flop came TT9 with two diamonds (giving me back door diamond draw with the king). I decided to check raise planning to barrel when any diamond comes out along with any ace, king or queen. That gives me 20 cards out of 47 that I can barrel on, and each generally increases my equity or my fold equity. He did call and the turn was an ace - one of my planned barrel cards. I bet and got a pretty quick fold.

There will be no more play from me that does not fit this principal of planning. As a result I will become a more difficult opponent. Whether it improves my blind win rate of course remains to be seen.

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