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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mid Stack

Last month, mid stacking, I won back all the money the two previous months in my downswing. This month I am doing well with mid stacking also. A long time ago I had a mid stacking experiment that I did for 3 months that I also did very well (5bb/100 average?). Maybe I should just stick to what works for me instead of trying what I'm not good at.

I've always fueled myself to be the best complete poker player that I can be by fixing my leaks and playing in ways that sometimes made me feel uncomfortable in order to learn how to be better. But maybe I should use what I'm good at and work with that. I'm good at preflop. Actually I'm usually very good at preflop.

I'm good at the flop.

I'm pretty good on the turn.

I'm not so good by the river.

I think this suits midstack very well because by the river my decisions are very minimal and I make all the important decisions by the turn, if not the flop. You could argue that if I'm so good preflop, why do I not just play short stacked. Because no matter how good you are preflop, 20BB converts you to merely a mathematical game and there's not much edge to it. Short stacking is also VERY common and people online know how to counter/play against it.

I enjoy midstacking very much because it's not as common and not as mathematical. I feel that the mistakes people make on the flop (which I'm good at) are severely punished because by the turn they think to themselves, he's hardly got anything left, i'll just go with it and it's very wrong to do so because I still have nearly 40bb.

A few tricks I have:

If I raise on the button and one of the blinds is 3betting me at 10 percent or greater and I'm sure of this. I can repush with 88+,AJs, AQs, AQ, AK,AKs and not feel bad at all no matter what he turns over. The close call might be the AJs. But for all the other ones he could be doing it with as low as 9percent.

Another thing I've learned is, say I have KQ, KJ, AT in the BB and someone on the button is stealing from me. It's very difficult to play OOP and even if this guy is stealing often from the button (so your call would often dominate him and theoritically you could make a lot of money from this) if he hardly ever cbets then I usually fold. I want to make money check raising when I hit it because when I miss I will often fold, since OOP is hard to play. Usually deep stack its a dangerous play to check raise with only top pair medium kicker but at my stack and in that situation, I'd get it in every time if repushed.

I'm going to continue to mid stack the remainder of my two months in Vietnam. If I continue to do well I will stick with it and maybe move up stakes mid stacking.

posted by joe | permalink | 24 comments

24 Comments:

At 2:37 AM, Blogger allwind said...

How are you doing with poker these days? Still doing the midstacking?

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger joe said...

i decided to retire from trying to play it full time and just play for fun.

i've always continued to do well with the midstacking and it's great extra money on the side for fun. but to grind out poker everyday got me down. i probably should do a post about my thoughts on poker as a career.

 
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Response to my Aha moment

I'm going to post Azn_cutie's comment because it was very detailed and interesting (btw I showed my friend your blog and he wished you posted more). I am going to try to respond to the points. Azn will be in blue and I will be in black.

Azn_Cutie has left a new comment on your post "Aha moment":

Hey Joe,
It's nice to see you thinking so much about the game. Just a few points:

-9 out draws like flush draws are going to get there 1 in 5 times, not 1 in 6 (~20% to hit on the river), 8 out draws like OESD draws are going to hit about 18% of the time, or 1 in 5.5 times.

Then this makes drawing even more profitable than I had calculated. It's getting me even more excited.

-This point you make:

Cost of Misses: 5 x 4.7 = 23.5

His "cost" of missing is actually significantly higher than 4.7BB. He is probably going to incur cost calling a sizeable bet on the turn if he opts to call 4.7BB on the flop. Thus, the call of 4.7BB is actually implicity higher because it prices him into larger bets later when he is a bigger dog.

Going to be hard for me to try to explain my point I think.

Two things:

It is exactly 4.7 if he folds when he misses. If he always folds when misses and bets only when he hits it then itcosts him 4.7x5 (or 4.7x4 with the FD as you pointed out) and if he hits he has 2 streets of value that doesn't cost very much to make that back at all!

Then it can be seen exactly as calculated.

But even if he doesn't fold, I think the calculation still stands. This is not a hand like Top Pair that has reverse implied odds and getting priced in now and then facing ballooning turn and river bets (trying again to price you in) will hurt you terribly.

The cost of the expanding pot size street by street does not affect strong drawing hands as it would small pot hands like TP. That's why I believe you can look at the costs without mitigating in the expanding pot size factor (it's fine with this type of hand).

One factor I did not include was when you hit your draw but lose out to a higher flush draw, or FH etc... this would lower your implied odds. I would of course be more careful drawing on paired boards.

This is kind of a weird concept and Barry Greenstein describes it well. The point is you cannot look at bets at individual streets in relation to pot odds strictly unless all the money is going in because there is always a higher implicit cost associated with calling. By getting a good price on earlier streets, you are just forcing yourself into being priced in for bigger bets in later streets.

but i think this is fine as long as you still have deep enough stacks to get the implied odds you need.

when short, it's all about pot odds, but when deep, its a lot more about implied odds. thats why you can have such great successful lags, they understand that preflop and actually even the flop they can fool around a bit in position with deep stacks.


This is the thread that BG talks about it in:

http://www.pokerroad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=621&page=3

Will read right after this post.

If you are having trouble with paying off draws that get there, one thing to consider might be checking the turn more often, which sounds counterintuitive at first.


If you're really deep, that doesn't sound so crazy.

I don't know about the players you're up against, but full ring plays generally tighter than 6max and the hand ranges are a lot more polarized. It's tough to get value on all 3 streets when you flop a big hand. Checking turn controls pot size for your 1pair type hands and gets you an extra street of value on the river from mediocre hands and busted draws. The added benefit too is when the draws do get there, you can pay off smaller bets that don't hurt you quite as much. Once again, this may not quite be applicable to your 6max games since the bluff frequency is probably a lot higher and you can get value more easily from strong hands.

You're probably refering to in and out of position, but, yes, when out of position it's so tough, so I like the idea of checking for pot control. when would you advise checking flop vs turn for pot control. check dry flops?

Interesting post though, I like the way you're thinking. I feel like I explained this in a really convoluted way, sorry.

i think i did understand your points and i hope my points make sense too and i'd like to hear your thoughts on if i'm wrong.

it still seems to me that flop drawing is very cheap because of the implied odds and ballooning pots (and not really even ballooning, just calling his flop bet), is not a factor when deep and you have a strong draw. you need to be paid so little for it to be profitable. He just needs to honestly have something.

there are times when he gives up too and you can take it, or maybe you win with high card.

it just seems that when in position with draws i've been folding way too much and it looks very profitable (perhaps not as much in FR games where people don't pay off as much).

posted by joe | permalink | 2 comments

2 Comments:

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Aha moment

Lying in bed tonight, thinking about poker and how I keep paying off calling stations who hit their draw. I asked myself a simple question: What would I need to charge someone on the street before to be neutral EV if I paid off their made flush/straight river bet.

After fooling with numbers, I came to a startling conclusion that I was way underestimating implied odds and the so-called fish/calling stations that I often was angry with (calling my almost pot size flop bets!) had very good implied odds to do so.

Let’s play out a hand with bet sizes. Let’s, for now, say that the bet sizes are 2/3 pot always. And see how that bet size deals with implied odds.

Preflop: Hero bets 3.5bb. Villain calls 3.5bb

Flop: (pot 7bb) Hero bets 4.7bb. Villain calls 4.7bb.

Turn: (pot 16.4bb) Hero bets 11bb. Villain calls 11bb.

River: (pot 38.4bb)

So on the flop our Hero bets a standard 2/3 pot size bet. Villian has a flush draw and will hit his flush 1 in 6 times. He will MISS 5 times and he will HIT 1 time. How much does he need to win that 1 time to make up for the 5 times he missed? The answer surprised me.

Cost of Misses: 5 x 4.7 = 23.5

So when he hits, he needs to win this much back to be neutral in EV. But wait, the one time he does call and hit it, there was already 7bb in the pot, plus the Hero’s 4.7bb. So we must subtract that from what he needs to bet and win in the future streets.

23.5 – 7 – 4.7 = 11.8

He needs to bet and win 11.8bb more. Go back and look at the turn pot size. It’s already at 16.4bb. And he has two streets to try to win 11.8bb.

Let’s say Villian called the flop bet and missed on the turn and now faces the Hero’s 11bb bet. Using the same math let’s find out what he would need to earn on the river to justify the call.

Miss: 5 x 11 = 55

55 – 11 – 16.4 = 27.6

With the river pot size at 38.4, this is very reasonable, but Villian will only have 1 street to get his full value. If the villain hits his flush and you pay off more than this number, Villian has made extra money off you from his implied odds motivated call on the turn.

In the examples above I did the calculations assuming there was a 2/3rds pot size bet. But what happens if you charge them more?

Lets say it’s the turn again, and this time, you decide to bet 13 into 16.4, instead of 11.

Miss: 5 x 13 = 65

65 – 13 – 16.4 = 35.6

It turns out there is a good short cut to estimate:

Villain needs to bet the same percentage of the pot on the current street as Hero did on the previous street. So that means if you bet half pot on the turn. Villain would need to bet and win half pot on the river to make his call neutral.


Implications


If you are protecting:

1. There is so much implied odds during the flop (because they have 2 streets of implied odds) that protecting it is more difficult than it’s worth since by betting pot or over betting will get folds from hands dominated or weaker one pair hands. Just bet a moderate amount.
2. The turn is actually the most crucial street in planning because it sets up all the justification for folding or calling on the river. Preflop and flop is the time for speculation and mixing up of play and the mistakes are minimal. But once you get to the turn, it’s business time.

If you are drawing

1. On the flop, if you have a good draw you can call really large bets, even pot size. If the player is really bad, you probably can call overbets. You really just need to hit it that one time and then you have two streets of value to win it back.

This is the MAIN point of my realization is a formula similar to calling with pocket pairs preflop if you think you can win 10x your call:

2. Call with your draw (this goes for flush and OESD) when you believe you can make back the same percentage of the following street. For example, call a pot size flop bet if you think you can win the turn’s pot size (from the turn AND river). Or call a 3/4th pot size flop bet if you can win 3/4ths of the turn’s pot size eventually.

If flop pot is 10 and they bet 8 (4/5ths). Call if you think you can win 21 additional bb (pot = 28) after the turn AND river are done. Not too difficult in position.

2a) You can make adjustments if you have more or less outs. This is an example with 8 outs. This is why with even only overcards, a flop call can still be very profitable still if you are sure that they are all clean outs. This is why “fishes” who call with bottom pair vs me when I have tptk can still make a healthy profit from me when they hit.

2b) This is why pairs and suited connectors have so much value in position.

Tomorrow when I wake up I'm going to see if 6 outs (just over cards) and what the rule is for them, if there is a nice neat shortcut to see for them.

EDIT 1: azn cutie alerted me that for FD it's 1/5 times, which is even better for the drawer.
EDIT 2: if you have just overcards its not a 1:1, but instead approximately a 1 : 1.5. You can call with your overcards (when you're sure they are clean outs) if you can win 1.5 times the percentage of the following street's pot size, after both the turn and river are done.

posted by joe | permalink | 1 comments

1 Comments:

At 5:53 AM, Blogger Azn_Cutie said...

Hey Joe,
It's nice to see you thinking so much about the game. Just a few points:

-9 out draws like flush draws are going to get there 1 in 5 times, not 1 in 6 (~20% to hit on the river), 8 out draws like OESD draws are going to hit about 18% of the time, or 1 in 5.5 times.

-This point you make:

Cost of Misses: 5 x 4.7 = 23.5

His "cost" of missing is actually significantly higher than 4.7BB. He is probably going to incur cost calling a sizeable bet on the turn if he opts to call 4.7BB on the flop. Thus, the call of 4.7BB is actually implicity higher because it prices him into larger bets later when he is a bigger dog.

This is kind of a weird concept and Barry Greenstein describes it well. The point is you cannot look at bets at individual streets in relation to pot odds strictly unless all the money is going in because there is always a higher implicit cost associated with calling. By getting a good price on earlier streets, you are just forcing yourself into being priced in for bigger bets in later streets.

This is the thread that BG talks about it in:

http://www.pokerroad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=621&page=3

If you are having trouble with paying off draws that get there, one thing to consider might be checking the turn more often, which sounds counterintuitive at first.

I don't know about the players you're up against, but full ring plays generally tighter than 6max and the hand ranges are a lot more polarized. It's tough to get value on all 3 streets when you flop a big hand. Checking turn controls pot size for your 1pair type hands and gets you an extra street of value on the river from mediocre hands and busted draws. The added benefit too is when the draws do get there, you can pay off smaller bets that don't hurt you quite as much. Once again, this may not quite be applicable to your 6max games since the bluff frequency is probably a lot higher and you can get value more easily from strong hands.

Interesting post though, I like the way you're thinking. I feel like I explained this in a really convoluted way, sorry.

 

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Results

Well, I went and had my worst month of my life. Prior to this, I felt pretty proud saying that I had only 1 losing month of poker and that was probably only a hundred or so dollars.

This month I'm down in the hole negative 443 dollars (rb included). Obv there is some bad EV in there too as I'm down in a lot of lost equity I deserve, but I think there is a lot of bad play also, especially when big pots are concerned.

I do not think I have the right ability to play the big pots at this time and until I do I am going to drop back down to mid stacking, which was shown to work for me.

My worst month was my friend's best month. We have a plan to get a place together in Toronto, barring that he continues to do well until April when I am back in Toronto. He has been putting in a lot of hours and has been doing very well. My plan is to mid stack out a small profit until I can learn from him first hand (he lives in a different city). He also has a 60 percent RB deal with a site which I hope to move to once I'm back in Toronto (signing up is hard in Vietnam).

PS comment here if you're looking for 60 percent RB. I'll set you up.

posted by joe | permalink | 2 comments

2 Comments:

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Check Raise Chin said...

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Never stop thinking

The funny thing about poker is after you play for long enough, you sometimes begin to think you have most everything figured out, but the truth is you never stop learning. The worst thing you can do for your game is become complacent and stop thinking about your hands.

Back in Toronto when I had my dual monitor set up I was toiling away on 6 tables, sometimes doing 7 and contemplating 8 on occasion. This pushed me towards automation and I was your typical grinding robot. Raising blind vs blind with any ace, isolating limpers with large raises, etc.... This is all fine and good in general, but once you stop thinking why you do things you begin to develop leaks and lose out on much more value than you get from playing the extra tables.

Early in this month, whenever I saw someone with a high open percentage, I would 3bet about 1/3rd the time. Didn't matter what position I was, he was opening more than he should and he usually can't stand up to a 3bet. I squeezed a lot too, as well as open about 60 percent of my buttons. I also did all these things with a standard size and I did everything quite quickly. I had stopped playing poker and was mimicking videos. This was good enough in the old days when the games were easier, but guess what? Everyone is a mechanical robot these days who watch the same videos (I have the misfortune of playing on a site that lets you spend points very cheaply on Cardrunners tutorial videos). Playing like this will make you a break even player, who profits from rakeback.

I have taken back myself. I have lowered my tables to 4. I have questioned my hands while I'm playing and not just afterwards. I ask myself questions while the hand is progressing. What's his range? What's my fold equity based on recent history and my overall image? Have I won or lost a lot of pots recently? Have I shown down anything?

One of the biggest changes in my preflop game is that I have an opening template and then based on the players at the table I make my adjustments.

The template is as follows:

Open bet sizes,

UTG - 4 bb
UTG +1 - 4bb
CO - 3bb
BTN - 2.5bb
SB - 3bb
BB - 3bb

After this I begin to make my adjustments. My UTG adjustments aren't very often and stay quite static. But let's say I am on the CO and I see that the BTN is very loose, I will probably make it 3.5 because of 2 reasons, 1. he will call with worse, dominated hands at 3 or 3.5 and 2. I want to charge him a bit extra for having the luxury of playing in position on me. If BTN is tight and BB is loose, I would probably stick to 3bbs, but if BTN and BB are both tight, I would lower it to 2.5. In this manner I will still keep in dominated hands if the BB decides to play b/c I have given such a discount, but I am in position.

When you are in position, you are basically trying to bloat the pot as large as humanly possible while at the same time keeping in the hands you dominate. If you have KK why are you not raising to 50bb? It's because this will ensure that you will make everyone fold everything BUT AA. But lets say if you raised to 50bb and people with KT, JJ, TT, AK, etc... still called. Then you should obviously be making this raise size. If this is so, then why do people bet so little when they have position on a fish? If you can bet big, or raise big (in position) and still have the fish call with completely dominated hands, why are you not adjusting your bet sizes bigger? If some fish min raises to 2bb in middle position, why are you auto raising to 6bb when you could to 8 or more and have his exact same range call you?

I think the biggest improvement in my game the past 3 months is bet sizing -- not just preflop but post flop as well. And you can only get better at bet sizing if you are actively thinking about the hand. What are you accomplishing with the bets you make? Does his range still include a lot of hands you beat if you are betting for value? With the majority of his range, what is the biggest size bet that range would call? If you start to think that most of his range you beat would not call, you should consider checking (like the case when you have a hand with good show down value, 2nd pair). Usually when I begin to believe my value bet would have to be less than half pot for him to call with the majority of his range, I consider checking.

When you stop thinking about hands, you stop playing poker.

posted by joe | permalink | 1 comments

1 Comments:

At 6:50 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

first

 

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

October Results

Boo. Played only HU sng and double or nothing sngs and made a paltry 240 (most of it from rakeback the month before).

Double or nothings are real fun, and if people get eliminated early, I do very well, but if it stays at 9 or 8 for too long, I'm not sure how to play optimally.

For the Heads up games, I really don't know why I started losing so much. I was having trouble with fish almost more than the better players. I tried to do a lot of different styles to beat the fish from keeping pots smaller preflop with min raises on the button, from inflating the pot big but continuing only if I hit a good flop. I tried raising the donk bets large, small, calling them, everything, but nothing seemed to work consistently.

For the month of november i'm going back to playing cash 6-max, but unfortunately without my HUD. Vista really screws up holdem manager. if you have vista i do not suggest you get holdem manager.

posted by joe | permalink | 2 comments

2 Comments:

At 6:15 AM, Blogger Azn_Cutie said...

HU is tons of variance man, but that sucks for sure.

Yeah that guy Patrick is definitely a hippie and has some alternative views on stuff, but I know some guys he knows and he seems to be a nice guy.

 
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heads up is no longer my game

That is all.

posted by joe | permalink | 1 comments

1 Comments:

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

poker is no longer my game (-:

All i'm doing is playing a bit of plo8 on stars for pennys. today I won $0.6. yippee.

Random_99

 

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Heads up is still my game

I'm really enjoying heads up. Unfortunately, for some reason, Vietnam does not like FTP and I've been getting disconnected quite a bit (once per game minimum). Not only does it make me lose hands and sometimes all-in games, but it throws off my timing tell reads. I've had to ditch the rakeback (not very big, probably 150 a month) and switched over to PS.

The good thing about PS is that the rake is a little bit smaller which makes up for my RB lost. Instead of 20+1, its 22+1. I've been doing quite well and I hope to find the courage to move up to the 57 dollar games sometime. I am intentionally skipping the 33 dollar ones b/c I believe that recreational players would join 20 or 50 and not choose some random 30 something sized one.

I have much refined my HU strategy than when I was playing on FTP. The two biggest differences are my early game strategy and my fish playing stategy.

In the early game I have more of a probing style and have toned down my aggression. For example I may fold to 3 bets until I get a better idea of their 3 betting range whereas I would defend in the old days if it was done early. I feel that although the games take a bit longer, by knowing their range better before adjusting aggression helps me win bigger.

The second thing I've changed is my mid and late game strategy vs fish. I will now tend to min raise instead of 2.5 times raise calling station type fish b/c I do not want to inflate the pot too large preflop and thereby rewarding their calling station nature postflop.

Below are my updated graphs as of today. I had a downswing on FTP which then triggered me changing my style to hyper aggressive, which was really bad. I had to play very focused to get myself out of that hump (since I tilted playing 50s, and won it back playing 20s).





Here is the sharkscope data for FTP (with a filter for only 20 dollar games and above non-turbo) and for my new PS account.

posted by joe | permalink | 0 comments

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Friday, October 03, 2008

September results

I'm in Vietnam right now so kind of hard to post something elaborate until I get my computer set up.

I made 2200 ish last month, almost all of it in HU SNGs, mainly doing 20 dollar SNG. I had one large downswing that even itself out by the end of the month.

I played less hours than cash tables, I played less tables than cash tables (1 instead of 6) and I had a lot less stress and variance than cash tables.

I still have a lot to learn, but I hope I can continue doing well in HU sng.

posted by joe | permalink | 8 comments

8 Comments:

At 3:18 AM, Blogger Azn_Cutie said...

you could be like the next stevesbets! You should read the livb interview if you haven't yet, it's an interesting story:

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/29/news-views-gossip/livb112-interview-311779/


Let's play a $2.20 HU SNG sometime when you get your comp set up! I am pretty bad (I think like 15-30 lifetime) but this is also compounded since I usually only play when I'm piss-drunk.

 
At 4:40 AM, Blogger joe said...

thanks. yah i saw that interview. it was a good read.

i'm game anytime you want to play some 2.20.

do you have msn messenger?

 
At 2:28 AM, Blogger Azn_Cutie said...

no i don't have msn messenger us stupid americans all use shitty aim that gets hacked easily, I'll chat u up on gchat on gmail next time i see you on though and maybe we can set something up.

 
At 2:40 AM, Blogger joe said...

i've got aim too tho i wont be on it much until i get faster internet.

email me your aim at

joethepro27 A.T. gmail D.O.T com

 
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At 8:38 AM, Blogger Blooming Tea said...

Keep going man, good luck.

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