You hear and read all the time about exploiting your opponents’ weaknesses, and you should be looking to do that at all times. However, something I have come to realize is that I am naturally better at certain things in poker and naturally worse at others. In a perfect world, I could exploit my opponents’ weaknesses in all situations. But let’s face it:
Most people are not great at every aspect of poker.
I don’t know, maybe you actually are. But for me, I had to admit to myself that most of my profit comes from very specific situations. So in conjunction with one of my October goals, I made a list of all my strengths and weaknesses and am really trying hard to make a conscious effort to get myself into situations that exploit my strengths. Just for an example, I am not very good at playing in 3-bet pots out of position. Regardless if it is “+EV” or not, why would I put myself in a situation where I set myself up to fail? Sure, I might be trading a +EV action for a 0EV action, but consider that there are many +EV situations in poker; you aren’t obligated to take every single one of them.
Just to give you an idea of what I came up with as some of my strengths and how I intend to exploit them:
I’m not an expert poker player. But I have had a lot of experience with moving up – and down – in stakes. I started out like most clueless poker hopefuls and played extremely high for the size of my bankroll. After winning a few freerolls and floating around in the micro SnGs, I moved over to cash games. And there I sat with my $20 at a couple of 10NL full ring tables. After nearly busting my roll more than a few times I decided that there must be a more sensible way of managing my poker money. This article is from the perspective of a part-time full ring NL player that has managed to never make a single deposit out of pocket in the first 2 years of his poker “career.”
Before we get started, keep in mind that Bankroll Management is for winning players. If you are not a winning player, I encourage you to stop reading now, bookmark this article for future reference and read up on some good strategy to get you started in the right direction. Until then, following the advice in this article will not help you, and the stakes you choose to play at will only determine how fast you lose money.
The ideas contained in this article are not sourced as I could not possibly compile a list. Many of these ideas have become common knowledge in the 2p2 community and have been repeated in countless threads. Several people that come to mind from which I have drawn ideas regarding this topic are: Fimbulwinter, Phzon, WCG|rider, Alan Schoonmaker and of course Mason Malmuth
I am going to talk about two things that I feel go hand in hand with each other but are very different when you talk about poker strategy individually.
First off I’m going to talk about Ranges, and more importantly learning to Range. As a live player turned internet player, I’ve had to learn what everyone was talking about when they assign villain a certain “Range”. It was a term that I had never used before in my poker playing because in live play (I was a very feel based player, and relied on body language of opponents to help me make decisions) you see and have a feel for what players are doing, but in internet poker you don’t have that luxury. I quickly realized putting opponents on ranges was extremely important and crucial in maintaining a solid win rate. So you must make a decision, based on how the hand is played by your opponent, on which likely hands your opponents have: PP, SC, Broadways, etc…, and then you simply make a plan depending on how your hand stacks up against your opponents range.
The second thing I’m going to talk about is a subject that I’ve had some problems with as a poker player: Learning to get comfortable when playing Out Of Position (OOP). When I started playing poker I never thought about position and it’s relevance in a hand or the outcome. I was more along the “I have a good hand I’ll bet/raise” or “I don’t have a hand I’ll just check/fold”. Position and understanding position can make your Win Rate (WR) soar. We all know that being in position and acting after everyone is a huge advantage, but what about those hands where you have a hand, but don’t have the initiative, or the luxury of knowing what your opponent(s) are going to do since you have to act first. I used to be truly uncomfortable being OOP, but now no longer feel like I am costing myself money when I call a raise from the blinds or get called by someone in Late Position (LP)
So let’s begin:
“Good Play Makes Good Stats; Good Stats Do Not Make Good Play”
The title of this article seems to be ridiculously obvious, but a lot of people don’t get it. In the stats thread on 2+2, the most common question I get is: “What should X stat be?” Even if you assume that the player asking this question assumes we are talking about the standard 2+2 tight/aggressive style of play, the question is evidence that the questioner believes there is a style of play, a set of perfect stats, that will make them a winner. If you think this, you are thinking backwards; good stats do not result in good play; good play results in good stats. Your focus always should be on making the right play at the right time; good stats follow from a series of good decisions.
Here’s an example. I get a lot of posts in the stats thread from people whose VPIP/PFR stats are roughly 14/7 or so, and they usually have a small, but positive win rate. They ask me, “I should raise more PFR, right? My PFR should be about 10 or 11?”
There are many things you should be looking for when choosing a coach. First and foremost, is this a person who is a winning player? Nobody who is losing, especially over a large sample size, should be coaching others. They may have some nice ideas, but the cliché “those who cannot do; teach” doesn’t apply all that well in poker.
Next, you want to make sure that this person works well with you. That they are patient, articulate, and work well with your learning style. You also want to make sure that this person is available for the times that work best for you. If you work during the day, and can only do coaching sessions at night, and they work all night, u might want to find a different coach or different hour set to work with. Lastly, you really want to make sure that goals are lined up. You want a coach who not only understands what your poker needs are (let’s face it, some people need work on the whole package, while others just need certain tweaks), and is able to focus on that. Having a coach who teaches two levels underneath you is as useless as one who teaches advanced topics to a beginner.
Keeps these tips in mind when selecting a poker coach. Coaching should be a pleasant and eye-opening experience. If you need any help in this area, or wish to speak further, please feel free to email me at SplitSuit@gmail.com.
This can be split into 2 parts; what you will be expected to have for coaching, and what to expect from coaching.
1. What you will be expected to have for coaching:
– A headset
– PokerTracker/HEM (or similar tracking software)
– Time to play
– The ability to think and be open minded
2. What to expect from coaching:
– To gain a greater grasp on concepts
– Increased profitability
– Ability to plan through hands, hand read better, and bet-size
*Please do not expect to become a top-tier player overnight*
While every student comes with their own background, strengths, and weaknesses, it’s not plausible to believe that any player can become a top-tier player after one session (no coach can truthfully offer this). Coaching is a way to detect leaks, patch them up, and increase knowledge overtime. Now certain players will need less time than others to get to their “goal-level” (the level they wish to get to with the help of coaching), but 1 session usually is nowhere near enough. Be prepared to learn the intricacies of the game, increase knowledge in all areas, and become a winning full-ring player!
If you have any questions, or wish to set-up a coaching session, please feel free to email me at SplitSuit@gmail.com.
The first coaching session with me is a very busy one. We will go for 1 hour, and it’s basically me trying to get a better picture of you as a poker player. We will review your PokerTracker/HEM, both in terms of stats and how you use your HUD, your general play-style, and talk a little bit about yourself so I understand your goals in poker. This is the only session where I 100% would like to ghost you for a small session. I like to watch you play for about 20-40 minutes, just so I can see some real-time thought process. This alone will generally give me a good idea on types of learning sessions that need to happen in the future.
As with any type of learning, there will be homework. Don’t worry, it’s not hard! I like to begin all sessions with a 3 hand review and general review of the last coaching session. So really, your only homework is to play poker and remember a few hands (see, not that bad, right?). This is a general overview of how I do the standard first session (obviously it can be re-worked if you feel something else would work better for you). If you have any questions, or wish to set-up a coaching session, please feel free to email me at SplitSuit@gmail.com.
If you are interested in poker coaching from me, please copy/paste this info into the message below and fill in the blanks. This process saves us time and helps me know a little more about you and your situation. I look forward to working with you!
2.) Location (I don’t need your house address, just general location)
3.) Poker Background (Years playing, stakes, style, etc)
4.) Poker Goals
5.) Availability (when coaching sessions would be best for you)
6.) Any leaks you know of?
7.) General PokerTracker/HEM stats?
8.) What would you like from coaching?
9.) How do you think you would learn best from coaching? (ghosting, lessons, getting ghosted, etc)
10.) How did you hear of me?
11.) Any other information you’d like me to know?
Terms Of Service/User Agreement Continue reading
I just want to list out terms for coaching. Although it is rare that there is ever an issue, the terms should still be clear for both the student and myself. Continue reading