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IronLen1972 Nov 28, 2006 4:15pm

Easy Exercises to Stretch Poker Muscle
I have found myself in the habit of doing some simple poker exercises when I feel the need to get off of a losing track, to remove myself from a negative mindset, or to refocus if I am starting to get a bit tilty. I thought I would share, and see if anyone else out there had some they would like to share as well.

One of my favorite poker exercises, and easiest to do, is to open notepad, then rail at a table at either UB or PokerStars. Reason I rail there is because they have the handiest hand history notes. I then review the history and watch the bets flow. In notepad, I put in what I think the bettors have for hole cards. As the session progresses and I see showdowns, I cut and paste the history if I was right, and why I thought they had what they did. Astonishingly, this exercise not only sharpens my poker skill, it serves multiple purposes beyond that. I make notes on players I might see later, I force myself into a mindset where I know this is what I should be doing in between playable hands and I learn alot about myself. Good for the discipline.

Another favorite exercise for me is to sit at multiple tables, say maybe 5, and without the benefit of hand history, notepad, or any other external devices I try and label players using my own classification system, just like Helmuth and his zoo (lions and eagles and mice oh my!). I then try and very quickly pick who is ahead in hands, and guess what in general they are betting and why. I found it helpful to anchor to the bottom player on the screen and pretend his/her cards were mine so that I had a focal point in each point of each hand at each table. I rarely make notes when I am doing this unless something really stands out. I am after the "fast fast fast" thinking here and want to try and track across as many tables as possible and form impressions of as many players as possible.

The most common exercise for me is to come to this website and just randomly start reading the strategy guides and watching videos. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how many times I go through, I never come away empty handed when I come back to read again. The information hasnt changed at all, how I percieve and apply that information has. So as a third exercise - go back and read something you read before, and see how you think about it now!

Axis of Evil Nov 28, 2006 7:23pm

Now that is a serious player, actually observing other games. Some players are so impatient they can't wait for the blind to get to them so they post when they would be the next big blind (and leave the game with free cards still to see).

Note to self: Don't play against IronLen.

jimmytrick Nov 28, 2006 9:04pm

That is a fine post.

mr blonde Nov 29, 2006 12:46am

Wow man, where the hell have you been? This is some good info. nice post. I especially like the watching tables section when your starting to tilt, I'm definitely going to try that next time I'm hurting.

Vision Nov 29, 2006 1:23am

Ty for your post IronLen! I went and observed some cash games at Full Tilt and more than anything tonight I have learned a lot about my own game. I learned that my betting patterns were a little predictable at times and it helped me to mix it up a lot better. Plus you get to take a lot of notes on your opponents. That comes in pretty handy!

icefish Nov 29, 2006 10:49am

I tried the first exercise at different levels. At 0.25/0.5 limit on Stars it works pretty well, but at 0.05/0.1 limit there are too many players who play random cards both pre- and postflop, and raise/call at random. It's frustrating to put opponents on possible hands, only to find out afterwards that they played like idiots and stayed until the river with horrible odds.

I will do this exercise regulary once I move up to 0.5/1, then it should be really helpful to learn how to put opponents on hands.

IronLen1972 Nov 29, 2006 9:48pm

icefish - i followed your advice and tried to guess hands at 2nl and 5nl. OWIE! My brain hurts. I might as well have taken 52 cards and randomly pulled out two. When I got to 10 and 25nl, where I usually go, I had a much better run at it. At 50nl it was MUCH easier still. I had less accuracy (I hit on the hand of the bettor much much less actually) at 6 handed than I did at 9 handed. I wonder why that is? Anyone care to speculate?

so I gotta say, the first exercise might be metaphorically like hitting yourself in the genitals with a big rock if you try it at 2nl and 5nl. Probably the same goes for the second exercise.

DoubleU Nov 30, 2006 8:16am


Originally Posted by IronLen1972 (Post 377816)
I had less accuracy (I hit on the hand of the bettor much much less actually) at 6 handed than I did at 9 handed. I wonder why that is? Anyone care to speculate?

Probably because you have to make moves more often instead of strictly playing your cards at 6-max. The blinds come around 1.5 times as often, so you can't sit around waiting for aces. Plus, maniacs prefer 6-max, I think.

bonkinator Nov 30, 2006 4:54pm

I saw myself in the mirror when I read the 3rd part of your post, it was no real purpose, but I read the strategy Articles here on PT several times and everytime I read it, I had different fealings reading it, strange. ;-)

theonlythree Nov 30, 2006 5:38pm

Hey Iron, that's really smart, what you said.

Do you try and guess the hole cards of every player at the table, or just the aggressor? What about all the multi-way limped pots at $10 NL?

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