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Old Feb 28, 2008, 4:46am   #1
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Default Some Advice for Those Sloshing through Low-Mid Stakes

I'd like to preface this all with the fact that there are better players on this board than I. I do know a lot about struggling through low-mid stakes however and hope to share it with some folks. I usually don't write these kind of posts, but I feel adventurous tonight.

Always Play your A Game

It's quite important to always play at the top of your game. Quite often, one can find themselves simply playing just to get through X,000 hands because they should win xxBB at their expected rate and then they can move up!

Do NOT do this kind of stuff. I've done it plenty times before and it only leads to break even or losing sessions that frustrate you even more.

Everyone knows when they're playing their A-Game. Even when one's losing, there's that voice in the back of their head that's either very confident or very cautious. When that voice is very confident, you're 100% sure you made the right decision. When that voice is very cautious, you're really uncertain about your play, and you know you were making sub-optimal decisions.

In order to make sure you're not just "coasting" along, keep in mind these things:
  • Why am I checking/raising/betting/folding? - Make sure to be conscientious of your actions. Always know why you are performing a certain action and think of the ramifications of your actions. Eg. If I bet here, what is his most likely action.
  • Plan ahead! - Make sure to know what lines you are going to take. Say there's a flush draw on the flop. Think to yourself: I will bet this flop because I'm most likely ahead of his range. If a diamond falls on the turn, I will bet again and fold to a raise. The more you think like that, the less likely you are to be confused on later streets.
  • Follow through with your plans! - Too often, we don't follow through with our plans because of that one chance your opponent is holding a hand you can beat. More often than not, they have you beat in that spot. If you plan on Bet/Folding the river to a raise, then FOLD to that raise! Don't call in a marginal spot because you're hoping that he might JUST be bluffing.
  • Take your time! - Think! Think! Think! Too often we are automatically acting without thinking WHY we're doing what we are doing. There's a reason Stars gives you that time bank. Use it. There's no need to rush things.
Deceptive Tilt

This is a kind of tilt that doesn't get addressed often.

Imagine this scenario. You're floating along playing 50NL. It's a pretty boring session; pocket pairs aren't catching their sets, everyone's folding to your Aces, you miss the flop a couple of times. Then a particularly unlucky hand comes along. It doesn't even have to be enormous. Maybe a 50BB pot when you were a 3:1 favorite.

Then we start the course of deceptive tilt. Everyone knows what it is.

It's the tilt that makes you start calling out of the blinds more often because you need to "defend your blinds."

It's the tilt that makes you start calling raises with 57s just to be speculative. It's the tilt that starts getting you to call 3-bets light. It's the tilt that gets you floating or check/calling with K high, only to fold to a turn bet.

The deception comes in that you're not losing big chunks of money. You're slowly leaking it. A failed c-bet here, a pocket pair not hitting the set AGAIN here. You start leaking the money. Often, you also become more passive pre-flop. You start calling a lot more hoping to hit that magic hand and suck their money dry.

Avoid this kind of tilt at all costs.

Here are some things that are evident when you are on this deceptive tilt.
  • Being passive pre-flop and calling a lot - The beginning of the end. People usually end up calling and hoping to hit a miracle flop with very, very speculative hands. The problem is that the miracle flop doesn't come very often and even if it does, one is not guaranteed to stack someone. Furthermore, this type of tilt usually ends up with the player losing bits and pieces of their stack but not really knowing it because they reload after every 4 BB or 8 BB (failed c-bet)
  • Playing too loosely from the blinds - Deceptive tilt also transforms people into big bluff catchers. They believe everyone is bluffing them since everyone saw that they got really unlucky in that one pot. Thus, people start calling raises more lightly out of the blind. It also ends up with people being knee deep in horse shit with a marginal hand, OOP. Try to avoid it.
  • Making marginal calls and "hoping for the best" - This is usually the most evident when one is faced with a big river bet or a turn bet when they have a draw. Usually the line of thinking is, "they could be bluffing" or "if I just hit this flush card." Don't be optimistic. Chances are, they're most likely not bluffing and you're not getting the right price for the flush card. Avoid being the passive one and try being the aggressive one.
These are just some things that I think prohibit a lot of low-mid stake folks from moving up to the next level. Hopefully, some of these tips can help.

Feel free to bash away.
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 9:12am   #2
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Really good post KHS. I recognise this a lot in my own play and have been battling it hard. The thing about maintaining discipline is crucial at low stakes where you can wipe out an entire session of gains with just 15 minutes of lost concentration.
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 11:37am   #3
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Good post Kwan, speshally the deceptive tilt bit
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 4:01pm   #4
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Concentration is important ?!?! Woooow .......how did u Figure that one out ? U godda be a gini
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 4:17pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imtb View Post
Concentration is important ?!?! Woooow .......how did u Figure that one out ? U godda be a gini
@ imtb- not sure what your motivation is, but being a sarcastic jerk to one of the community's respected members is not a way to earn warm kudos from everyone else.

@ KHS- Great post! I recognize many of your points in my game, and its helpful to know other struggle at overcoming these issues just as much as I do.
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 6:36pm   #6
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Great advice KHS. This advice really comes in handy once I realize a couple of bad beats are starting to have an effect on my play.



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Old Feb 28, 2008, 7:30pm   #7
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Very nice post sir, more like this please.
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Old Feb 28, 2008, 8:12pm   #8
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Good stuff indeed. The marginal calls and speculative hands in particular. GAMBOOL the sadness away!
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Old Feb 29, 2008, 12:32am   #9
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Great post, thanks!
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Old Feb 29, 2008, 3:20pm   #10
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Good overall, but could you explain how you always play your A game?

I've only played my A game for maybe 1 hour since January. Of course my standard for A game is very high. It involves always knowing where Im at and where my opponents are. Pushing them off marginal hands or decent hands, getting value even from really medicore holdings. If I make a couple poor reads during a session Im not really playing my A game now am I? I might be playing pretty damn good, but still could have done better.
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