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Old May 18, 2006, 10:09pm   #1
madscout
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Default Big Picture thoughts from my first 90k hands

Big Picture Thoughts From My First 90k Hands.


I. Table / Seat Selection
a) Finding the fish
b) Taking a seat
c) Leaving the table

II. Taking Shots
a) The importance of table selection
b) How big of a shot to take
c) Risk vs. reward
d) Coaching



I. Table / Seat selection

I am very picky when it comes to table and seat selection. I do not sit at tables if they do not look good, and I leave tables when they become bad. In addition, I do not sit if my position relative to my ‘buddy’ is bad. The following is my general methodology for table and seat selection.

a) Finding the fish

My definition of ‘fish’ is very simple: any player who plays > 60% of their starting hands. To generate a list of fish I do the following:

1) Go to the preferences tab in Poker Tracker
2) Check the ‘Use Player Filter’ Box
3) Enter At least: ‘100’ hands played
4) Enter VPIP ‘greater than or equal to’ and ’60’
5) Click on the ‘general tab’

You should now see a list of all the players in your database who have played at least 100 hands and play over 60% of their hands. Since this stat converges quickly, 100 hands is usually a good indication of their starting hand standards. There are many different styles of fish who have VPIP > 60%, but all should be very profitable for you and me.*

*Keep in mind that if you play 4 handed or less, you will run into some good players with VPIP stats greater than 60%.

Once I have this fish list, I type it into my buddy list on Party Poker. I think there is some software to automate this, but I have done it all by hand. During peak hours (weekday nights and weekends) I can have upwards of 40 buddies playing online at once! I quickly open up my buddy tables and get on the waiting lists.

b) Taking a seat

When I get called to a table I first check to see which seat opened up. Often times it was my buddy who (unfortunately) busted out and decided to leave. If this is the case I simply close that table. If the buddy is still at the table, I take the seat if it is 3 seats or less to his left. If the seat that opened is one or two to the buddy’s right, I will take myself off the waiting list and hop back on once the open seat is filled. I will wait for the seat I want!

This point is important because the buddy (fish) is going to be playing in a lot of pots, so when you are in a pot you will constantly have position if you are sitting to the buddy’s left. The main advantage of having position is that you can make more bets when you are ahead (e.g. value betting the river) and save bets when you might be behind (e.g. checking behind on the river with A-high). Having position on your buddy is well worth the extra wait time!!

Ideally you will find an open seat with a fish to your right and a tight player to your left. This gives you the positional benefit described above, and most of the time the tight player to your left will be folding preflop, giving you the button position upwards of 1.75 times per round.

c) Leaving the table

It seems that most the people that play in my games understand this point well. As soon as a buddy leaves the table the game will consistently break up within 2-5 hands. It is kind of humorous to watch really. Even if the game continues and I had been doing well against the other players at the table, the huge edge I had in the game just left the table. In my opinion it is always worth it to move on and find another buddy to play with.


II. Taking Shots

On a bit of a whim, I decided to take a shot at 10/20 6max after playing 30k hands of 3/6 and about 5k hands of 5/10. I had just ran well at 5/10 and thought, ‘what the heck’. I plopped down the $500 I had just won at 5/10 and gave it a go.

Wow. The pot sizes scared me. Routine blind defense pots were on the order of $100. Holy crap. I played pretty passively (which was probably pretty close to optimal against the lineup) and ended up winning $250 in my first half hour session. This is easy!

I continued to play and ran pretty well, running my 10/20 profits up to $4,000 at about 5BB/100. I then hit my first downswing. I could not hit a flop, none of my draws completed, and all of my opponents draws completed. I lost back about $3,700. Ouch! This was by far my biggest monetary downswing ever. I was on the verge of moving back down, but decided to play out my last $300 profit + initial $500 investment. Luckily for me it turned around and I haven’t looked back since.

a) The importance of table selection

One of the things that surprised/delighted me the most when making the jump to 10/20 was that fish exist at mid/high stakes in abundance! The main difference between the mid/high fish and the 1/2 fish is that the mid/high fish have more money to lose. If you table select well and continue to play solid poker like you know how, the money will come pouring in. There will be some adjustments to the higher aggression level, but it is still poker. It is still the exact same game as 1/2 6max. People that play over 60% of there hands in a 6 handed game are still giving away all their money.

On the other side of the coin, the better players are going to be better than the players you have played against before. This makes table selection all the more important.

b) How big of a shot to take

When I took my 25BB shot, I actually had around a 500BB bankroll for 10/20. I only earmarked the 25BB for my ‘shot’. I think having a nice cushion to land on is VERY important for if/when your shot fails. I would say, for 6max, you should have a minimum of 500BB for the limit you are moving up from. If your shot succeeds, you will quickly build your bankroll and hopefully hit the 500BB mark for the stakes you are moving to.

With that said, I think the bare minimum shot is 25 big bets. At this level, if you are unlucky enough to hit 3 or 4 big 2nd best hands your shot will be over. I think a shot of 50 big bets would have a much higher success rate.

c) Risk vs. reward

Hopefully you have a good base bankroll for your current level. If you do, taking a shot at a higher level has very little risk compared to the possible reward. Moving from 5/10 to 10/20, you stand to get a 100% raise in salary! Assuming you are studying the game and continue to improve, I don’t think maintaining your current win-rate as you move up stakes is that far out of the question. I say this from my experience up to and including 20/40 6max.

d) Coaching

I received some coaching from Eric Lindauer after my first 10k hands at 10/20 6max. He identified one major place where my play was suboptimal, a plugged leak that paid for the coaching within about 15 minutes of game play. Mostly, Eric’s review let me know that I was pretty much on the right track and that I wasn’t a complete 10/20 6max donkey. This gave me the confidence to play through the swings.
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Old May 18, 2006, 10:23pm   #2
daniel k
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Very nice thread.
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Old May 19, 2006, 2:18pm   #3
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Wow, you really take table selection seriously. I usually just try to find a table with a high average pot size, maybe with a fish I recognize from before. Maybe I should start selecting my opponents more carefully.

I didn't know that "elindauer" is coaching other players. I've read his 2+2 posts and I remember him because he made some of the best posts in the mid/high limit forum. Hiring him as a coach might be a very good idea for me. I just might do that. It's certainly easier than the plan I outlined here.
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Old May 19, 2006, 2:26pm   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredrik
Hiring him as a coach might be a very good idea for me. I just might do that. It's certainly easier than the plan I outlined here.
Heheh... Do you know who PurplHaze is? Regarding the coaching, what stakes do you play? Eric's coaching was $200 for a continuous block of 200 hands. He reviews the hands in the poker tracker replayer so that he sees your decisions as you make them, without the future action / results influencing his analysis. He then writes up a nice review that comments on your overall play and adjustments you can make.

Ryan
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Old May 19, 2006, 10:11pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madscout
Heheh... Do you know who PurplHaze is?
He posted this in a Swedish poker forum. He said he was 19 years old and that he lives in Stockholm. That's all I know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madscout
Regarding the coaching, what stakes do you play? Eric's coaching was $200 for a continuous block of 200 hands. He reviews the hands in the poker tracker replayer so that he sees your decisions as you make them, without the future action / results influencing his analysis. He then writes up a nice review that comments on your overall play and adjustments you can make.
$10/$20, 5 max. I think I'm at least breaking even, and probably winning some. I'm willing to spend 5-6K (including what I lose on my next major downswing) trying to learn how to beat this game thoroughly, so $200 is not a big deal.
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Old Jun 04, 2006, 1:29am   #6
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I really want to thank you for this post theard scout.
When I read your post a few weeks ago I was slowing beating 2/4 tables gradually making money.

After reading the post I decided to actively seek out and pursue fish, and my win rate has almost doubled.

I now play a lot of 3/6 and have taken some shots at 5/10 when I see one my buddies and a seat opens with position on him.

I had thought that 5/10 would be much harder than 2/4 but it really isnt much different there.
Now I am looking foward to taking a shot at 10/20 once I get my bankroll up a bit more.

Thanks again madscout your post has really made a difference.
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Old Jun 04, 2006, 6:30am   #7
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Joey,

That is awesome! It feels good to know that I inspired someone to take a shot. Remember there is no shame in moving backdown if you run bad for awhile. It's very important to never put your whole roll at risk.

Peace,
Ryan
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Old Jun 15, 2006, 2:04pm   #8
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Default Re: Big Picture thoughts from my first 90k hands

Hey madscout,

Just a quick question, when you say you use Poker Tracker to isolate the players that play more than 60% of their starting hands, I'm guessing that this means that you must've played at least 100 hands with this person (and presumably uploaded the hand history into Poker Tracker), am I right?
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Old Jun 15, 2006, 3:31pm   #9
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Unless you find a way to get hand histories form Party where you only observed (and weren't dealt any cards) into your PT database, yes.
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Old Jun 15, 2006, 8:06pm   #10
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I think you are losiing money with your table selection - get on and play.

Of course I play 5/10 games with 45% flops so table selection is pretty easy LOL

Heck - no game under 15/30 is worth playing if it's not at least 35% flops!
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