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Old 04-15-06, 09:11 PM
spresso81 spresso81 is offline
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Default My Theory on Poker

So I've been registered here for nearly three years, and in that time, I'm still at the micros. I've put in maybe 150k hands so far, which isn't much. Playing for a few months then not at all for a few months -- that's probably why I never learned enough to get out of the poker kiddie pool.

In this post, I thought I'd put down some of the specific changes that I made to my game that helped me move on. I'm hoping that others will contribute with stuff they do now, that they had to force themselves to do. I'll confine myself here to preflop play.

My point is really that I needed to understand why I was making a certain play. Yes, I can hear you guys saying "raise TT and 3bet it", but I need to believe it. What I've tried to do below is give my reasons for making these plays. I think someone learning the game needs to see the evidence for a play before they can commit to it. Hopefully I've led the way to that understanding for someone out there, and hopefully, again, someone else will correct me and help me improve my game.

--

I've been raising KQo in EP for a while. I'd say "it depends on the table", but one of the things about raising hands like this is it disguises my other hands more. Among other things, PFR is about establishing a table image where your opponents don't play back at you as much. Passive players never know where they stand, and two things happen: the pots they do win are smaller, and they don't drive anyone out of the pot - meaning that they win fewer pots. Raising KQo disguises my AQ and 99 and KK better, and when it hits, I can continue with aggression that will push others out of the pot as well as pull down bigger pots when they call.

It took me a while to learn to raise JJ in the BB, but I've been doing it for six months or so. When I hit (a J, or an overpair to the flop), I make more money. When I miss, it's easier to get away.

I've also been raising first-in from MP almost all the time. I kick myself when I don't open-raise in MP. The benefits are the same as any other PFR: there's fewer people contesting the flop (which means I win a greater %), a few better hands fold, and sometimes I'll win right there. 75c in blinds is greater than the average win for almost every hand, so even just stealing the blinds puts me ahead.

I don't play AJo in EP. It's too easily dominated. I win small pots and lose big ones. The falloff from A to K to Q to J gets bigger and bigger.

NPAEM has said that one could limp Axs and small PP in EP in passive games, but I'm not often in passive games. In non-passive games, I find those weak, fundamentally speculative hands just lose too much being out of position. Position is awesome, and heavily weighting VPIP to the later positions makes a huge difference in returns. I feel position now; I understand that having position (especially with speculative hands) gives me a big benefit. I win more often, I win bigger pots.

For example: I'll raise A9s+ in LP behind limpers. I force the loose limpers in front of me to put even more money in with their weak hands out-of-position and I get rid of the blinds. When an A does hit, I might get a better ace to fold, and maybe they'll check it to me on a K9x flop and I'll take that down, too. Another thing about not playing weak speculative hands up front is I'm seeing my sets and big draws getting cracked less often.

I isolate more. With the MP calling hands (KTs, ATo), I'll raise instead of call if there's an especially bad player that's limped in front of me. This is probably the thinnest of the preflop actions that I make, especially given the holes in my post-flop game, but I need to learn to isolate. Raising in LP is now cake for me, and I've started to see where that does good, so I'm extending it into MP.

I'll 3bet more, too. My pre-2+2 persona hated putting in money before the flop, and especially showing strength when someone else has already acted tough. AKo and JJ are now in my 3bet repertoire, tho I prolly could add TT. It's like isolating in MP vs LP: by 3betting JJ and questioning when and why I should do so, it's made the argument for 3betting QQ so much easier to understand.

--

There are three main lessons that I take to my preflop game.

The first lesson is that speculative hands need limpers and no raises. Like the other two lessons here I'm sure you're thinking "duh." But my point isn't knowing the principle; it's applying it. That means they get played in late position (maybe late MP), and behind limpers. The more people that might raise the hand and that will be behind me post-flop, the weaker the holding. Speculative hands up front are very iffy not just because of flop play, but because playing on the turn with a not-yet-made draw is hard, especially in an unraised pot, and worst in one that's also HU or 3-way. I think a big part of this is backdoor draws and weak made hands, like when A7s hits a pair of 7s or a mid pocket pair hits an inside straight draw -- the big, obvious hands (flush draw, open straight draw, two pair or better) are easy to play, but profit also comes when these hands hit something different and you have the position to take advantage of it. When you're up front, you don't know if anyone else has hit that ragged board; from LP you might be able to bet your paired rag. Getting a cheap turn and maybe a free river card do make a big difference in profitability. (Plus other people have a harder time making the free-card play on you when you are the one with position.)

The second lesson is that raising preflop builds pot equity. Obviously it builds the pot, getting more of their money in. Giant pots are fun, but what's important is dollar equity in the pot. With fewer people in behind me and the blinds out of the picture, there's a lot fewer people against which to contest the hand. I get sucked out on less, my opponents fold to my bets more, and I can drag pots with weaker made hands. Limping means I lose less when I lose; raising means that I win more often. Raising is the better play.

Third lesson: I need to think, "Is this a good bet?" My mindset used to be "I am not likely to win this, I don't want to raise/bet/call", which is the wrong way to look at it. In addition to being negative, I was focused on the chance of winning -- not on EV. If I ask myself, instead, "is raising here a good bet?" I can answer 'yes' consistently with theory, and make the right play.

Playing good poker isn't about learning the right moves, it's about making the right moves. I see myself getting better by learning to make the moves that I already know.
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Old 04-16-06, 04:22 PM
godlikev godlikev is offline
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fascinating..so are u going to write a book?to share your knowladge with all?or are u thinking that only the member of ths forum deserve to read?
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Old 04-19-06, 06:18 AM
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sensei24 sensei24 is offline
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Wow!!!
You really need to publish that. If it isn't already.
You know what i mean.
It's very interesting and also very true.
It could be useful to many players from here.

Last edited by Texas72 : 04-19-06 at 08:39 AM. Reason: please limit quotes to just a few lines
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Old 04-19-06, 07:51 AM
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BSgutshot BSgutshot is offline
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Sensei, there is no reason to quote a long post like that because it makes the forum more difficult to read. You can get your points without doing that.
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Old 04-19-06, 08:46 AM
godlikev godlikev is offline
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i didn't know you make points if you quote others
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Old 04-19-06, 09:01 AM
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sensei24 sensei24 is offline
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You do now!!!
Sorry for that BSgutshot.
I think i was tacking by the wave.
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Old 04-19-06, 02:40 PM
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Acorn89 Acorn89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spresso81
My point is really that I needed to understand why I was making a certain play. Yes, I can hear you guys saying "raise TT and 3bet it", but I need to believe it. What I've tried to do below is give my reasons for making these plays. I think someone learning the game needs to see the evidence for a play before they can commit to it. Hopefully I've led the way to that understanding for someone out there, and hopefully, again, someone else will correct me and help me improve my game.

It looks like you have a pretty good strategy there, spresso81 and you know what you are talking about. Some of the things you said though I think are a little too loose for online play. Like raising alot from Middle Postion. I find that if I stick in a good size raise then I will be getting call alot more than not, especially from the button, and then you have to go to the flop with a marignal hand. If Im playing in a ring game then I usually like to play hands that I can take to the showdown for a profit, because of all the looser players who will usually pay you off when you have top pair and they have second pair.

The most important thing that you said, I though was what I quoted above. There are a lot of beggining players who make a move with out really thinking about it. Its really important to have a reason behind every decision you make . That also helps you because if you get draw out you wont feels as bad because you know you made the right decision.

I also think that it might be a good time for you to move up in the levels. I really seems like you could do well in some of the medium stake games.
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Old 04-19-06, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by godlikev
i didn't know you make points if you quote others

And excessive quotes will be deleted from your posts and then you'll lose those points earned from it. So just save the time and effort and don't quote a full post just to get points.
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Whether he likes it or not, a mans character is stripped at the poker table; if the other players read him better than he does, he has only himself to blame. Unless he is both able and prepared to see himself as others do, flaws and all, he will be a loser in cards, as in life. ~Anthony Holden
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Old 07-16-06, 05:12 PM
spoonieluv spoonieluv is offline
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wow thats alot of insite....i agree with you on alot of your point and like it
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Old 07-17-06, 04:20 AM
Graves69 Graves69 is offline
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One day, I hope I have the brain capacity 2 comprehend all this. As of now I have 2 stick 2 the basics.
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