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.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Looking For Improvement

This morning I spent some time looking through some hands from Meteoric which was really informative. I'm really grateful, so please go check out his blog!

Afterwards I ran a few filters on my own database on the last 90k hand stretch where I actually broke even after rake back. If you observe the chart I have included the red boxes highlight my biggest fundamental leaks.

1/ I lose too much from the big blind. If I was to fold every single time there was a raise I'd lose -33BB/100. EV adjusted it's better but over that sample I did no better by playing hands than I did by just folding everything. This is very very poor, and every minute of my time should now be taken up by trying to improve my big blind play. If I can fix this I'll become profitable again, it's as simple as that.

2/ I should be looking to get my button profit up over 10BB/100 and somewhere towards 15. I think the big blind leak is more significant but if I can increase my aggression here and try to go to showdown less often I think it will help turn things around.

3/ A further leak that isn't demonstrated in that chart is that I'm going to showdown too often. All of the winning databases I've seen have had that player going to showdown under 25% of the time with a nice healthy Won $ at Showdown (W$SD) number around 53-55%. The last 90k hands I ran at 27%/51%.

The whole basis of that kind of style (the one I'm trying to emulate) is that we bluff often enough to correct our no showdown line somewhat and then deliberately have a biased positive showdown % and the profit is the difference between the two. That probably sounds really obvious, but at the moment I'm clawing back enough redline money (I lose around half a buy-in every 1000 hands) and then spewing it back by going to showdown too often. All I need is to win $25 more per 1000 hands at showdown and I'd be a decent winner again.

So in summary the three focuses for my next period of play are
1/ Improve my play in the big blind
2/ Play more aggressively as the button
3/ Go to showdown less often and with a stronger average range. GL

I have also decided to readjust my ranges. Unfortunately this may make me even tighter, but let me explain. The last 50k hands or so, I've had an early position range that looks like {22+, AJs+, AQo+, KQs, T9s-76s}. I raised the suited connectors as a subset of hands that I intended to use as 4-bet bluff hands as and when I was 3-bet (or reraised) by an aggressive player. However, looking at my database these hands are losing me money because most of the time I'm playing in pots out of position with a hand that flops very little most of the time. In fact these hands have lost me an entire buy-in during that time. Many of the flops that help my hand also help my opponent, so even when I do flop something my fold equity is generally pretty low.

As a side note, suited connectors have pretty poor equity versus a standard calling range. Against {22-JJ, KQs-76s, AQs-ATs, AQo} 76s has only 36.8% equity, and that's a lot of equity we have to make back through villain's post flop mistakes - too much IMO. This is a good reason why I believe they are better hands to semi bluff raise with preflop than to call with, but only when you have positional advantage.

So as a result of this realisation I'm going to play much tighter in the EP 3 positions, going back to raising {22+, AQ+}. I'm actually beginning to believe that the smaller pocket pairs are pretty marginal too, but I'll keep them in. Now, as for four betting, I'm going to need to turn hands into bluffs to avoid exploitation so I'll choose from the ace highs and low pocket pairs.

The downside of this is obviously that my already nitty style is going to converge to an even tighter range. Probably around 13%. So what I'll do is begin to raise a few more hands from the hijack seat to compensate a little. On the flip side, the playing field has become so weak since Black Friday that preflop strategy should probably be mainly value hands anyway.

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