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Old Nov 08, 2010, 5:19pm   #1
Fredrik
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Default Breakeven results, horrible red line.

I'd like to discuss my absurdly close to breakeven results, and my really ugly red line (pots without showdown).

No matter what I do, I seem to always break even. It doesn't matter if I play on auto-pilot or really try to read hands. It doesn't matter if I bluff a lot or almost never bluff. It doesn't matter if I prefer reraises or cold-calls. All the strategy changes I've done over the past year except one seem to have had no effect. My graph stays very close to zero at all times. It doesn't even seem to matter if I run above or below EV in all-ins. My results are zero either way. The one strategy change I've made that did have a noticeable effect was to open a lot more hands from the button against players who fold a lot in the blinds. Before that, I was winning less money on the button than I did UTG. Now I win a lot more on the button. But did it have any effect on my win rate? Fuck no. My win rate in other positions dropped by the right amount to compensate for this one significant improvement of my strategy, so the total win rate stayed at zero.

This really is extremely frustrating. It seems that nothing I do has any effect on the bottom line. I can affect it temporarily by getting tilted enough to raise/4-bet/call with 66-99 in spots where I really shouldn't. Then I get totally ****ed. Of course, I always win it back later. It's like my graph is magnetically drawn to zero.

OK, enough of that rant. I also have a question, which will sound like a very similar rant. I've been trying like crazy to do something about my red line for many months. I've read all the tips about specific changes you can make to push the red line up, and I've tried them all, but none of them had any noticeable effect. Several times my red line went horizontal for 8K hands or so, making me think I had found the solution, but then it started falling even faster than before. The only thing I've tried that really seemed to push the red line up was to cold-call a lot from the blinds and bluff like crazy postflop. Of course, that pushed the blue line down by a larger amouht, and therefore had a negative effect on my win rate. So everything I've tried have had no effect on the red line, or a disastrous effect on the blue line. This month my red line is at roughly -10 bb/100. (10K hands so far). Last month, it was at -8.5 bb/100. (45K hands).

After I learned that nanonoko's red line has a negative slope, I was a bit less concerned about mine. I've been thinking about how some of the things I do that have a negative effect on the red line are actually good. I think I'm better than most people at correctly folding strong hands on the river. I'm good at recognizing spots where it's pointless to value bet the river because even though my opponent likely has a worse hand, he's not calling with that part of his range. I recognize spots where I can check-fold a strong hand on the river because my opponent won't be value betting the part of his range that I can beat. And so on. For a while I thought that maybe a falling red line isn't so bad.

However, I think the rate at which mine is falling is much too high. My EV-adjusted results graph (the thin green line in HM) follows the red line closely because so many of my hands don't go to showdown. I checked my stats, and it turns out I only see a showdown about once every 38 or 39 hands. When 37 hands of 38 don't go to showdown, I can't imagine that it's OK to have a red line at -9 bb/100.

Here's my actual question: Is there a strategy I can use to find out what I'm doing wrong? (I'm talking about a data analysis strategy, not a poker strategy). I just want my red line to go up to something like -4 bb/100, and I'm sure I already have the answer in my database. Maybe I just need to configure the right filter in HM to see it. Maybe one of you has had a similar problem and has been able to solve it? (Make sure you've verified it over at least 20K hands, because apparently 10K hands means nothing).

By the way, when I set the filter to exactly 6 players and plot the results for one position at a time, the red line is going up in all positions except the blinds, and it's a lot worse in the big blind than in the small blind.

I've been playing "professionally" for 4 years. I dropped down to 1/2 NL 6-max a few months ago, since my bankroll was getting to small for 2/4. (I've made withdrawals, and I can redeposit some of it if things continue to suck, but I really don't want to do that). I was a winning regular at 3/6 during 2007 and most of 2008.

Last edited by Fredrik; Nov 09, 2010 at 2:46am.
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Old Nov 12, 2010, 6:35pm   #2
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thats hard to tell .. how big is that samplesize?

a coach is def. a good thing to have.. take ~1k from your roll and invest that into your game.
Of course you will do most of the work.. playing around with stove and analysing hands. But a coach will help you how to think.

check your postflop game.. maybe you just cbet/giveup too much or call Flop/turn to give up river and so on.
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Old Nov 12, 2010, 7:19pm   #3
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Unfortunately, my roll is so depleted right now that I don't really have enough to play at the stakes I have moved down to (1/2), so a coach isn't an option right now. I started this month with only 10 buy-ins. If I go busto, the plan is to withdraw about 15K of my savings, redeposit half of it at a (different) poker site, and use the other half for expenses. If I can't make things work with that money, it will be the end my poker career.

I'm also a bit skeptical about how much good a coach would do, since videos don't do anything for me anymore. But I would probably try it anyway if I had more money.

I think my horrible red line is almost entirely due to my results in the blinds. I also seem to have a problem in the UTG+1 position. (That doesn't make any sense to me). But at least I have a positive red line there.
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Old Nov 12, 2010, 7:42pm   #4
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you grinded 4years in midstakes and all u have left is ~15k?
I guess then something went wrong the whole time..

and videos are useless for you because u know everything that is explained there or what exactly? No offense but if u think thats the case then something is def. wrong with the way you think about poker. watch some of the HSNL stuff

play in the blinds is soemthing everybody struggles with.. just play tight there and focus on other ares first i'd say.
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Old Nov 12, 2010, 8:36pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtySanchez80 View Post
you grinded 4years in midstakes and all u have left is ~15k?

I guess then something went wrong the whole time..
I have about 50K, a car and some other expensive stuff, plus I've been paying into a retirement thingy. I was up about 290K when things started going bad about 2 years ago (from grinding, no shot-taking at all). Some of it was from tournaments, but I've never had any really huge tournament scores. The biggest one was 14K.

But you are partially right about something being wrong the whole time. It was so easy to win in the early years, that I didn't work on my game enough back than. When it started getting harder to win, I had a lot of leaks that needed to be fixed, and it was pretty hard for me to get used to the fact that I really have to pay attention to the game. I have fixed a lot of those leaks now, but obviously there are some significant ones left.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtySanchez80 View Post
and videos are useless for you because u know everything that is explained there or what exactly?
Well, I do occasionally pick up something useful. Like when irockhoes suggested that a check-behind followed by a turn raise can be a more profitable way to bluff against a 50 bb stack than a cbet. But yes, most videos do nothing for me, because I know the things that are explained, and understand some concepts better than the instructor. (That clearly doesn't include how to play from the blinds). If you don't believe me, that's fine.

Also, another one of my biggest problems is that I make too many bad decisions while playing that I would never make while watching a video. Apparently playing well is something entirely different than understanding the game. My understanding can of course still be improved (a lot), but a typical video doesn't contain the kind of in-depth analysis that could improve my understanding significantly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtySanchez80 View Post
play in the blinds is soemthing everybody struggles with.. just play tight there and focus on other ares first i'd say.
It's definitely not that simple. The people who posted in the thread I linked to are doing worse than I am UTG and on the BTN, but much, much better in the blinds. To me that suggests very strongly that my problem is in the blinds. Also, I already fold 78%, which makes it mathematically correct for the BTN to raise 100% of his range until I adjust against him. (If both blinds fold 82%, a 3x open on the BTN is profitable even if the BTN check-folds all flops, and he clearly doesn't need to do that). So I don't think I can play much tighter preflop. Also, it's very hard to know if I'm too tight or too loose postflop. So to play tighter there is just as likely to be bad as it is to be good.

And finally, as I said in the OP, I have already tried (very hard) to do something about the red line by focusing on other things (other positions), but none of the changes I tried had any noticeable effect. So when I found that my red line is going up in all other positions, and that I'm losing a lot more than other players in the blinds, I had to conclude that the two problems are actually one and the same.
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 1:14am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredrik View Post
Apparently playing well is something entirely different than understanding the game.

..this is the single most important factor for sure. There are a lot of good thinking players that are just marginal winners cause they cant play solid over a long period.


also how many tables do u play?
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 1:18am   #7
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Usually 6. Sometimes 5 and occasionally 7. I think I should probably start making one out of four sessions or something like that a 4-table session, just to see if I can play better, or just notice more stuff that I can analyze later.
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 1:25am   #8
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being creative can be a big edge.. most of these regs out there are playing a pretty "standart" game. Its what u see in all the vids out there.. so there is oc value in being more solid than any other reg. But the real edge is realized when u play with their souls. Sounds a bit mystic but its the most fun part in poker.. do thin stuff and do unexpected stuff.

sure that comes AFTER u find a solid strategy for the blinds and other positions.. but its something to about all the time. The first time i realized that was after playing HU for a while.
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 6:29pm   #9
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Maybe record yourself playing and stick a video on here and hope one of the good players watches it and gives you a few pointers?
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 7:26pm   #10
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Usually if you make a real commitment to 3betting and trying to win a lot of pots, you'll see the blue line do better.

But in the end, its just a stat and in a vaccuum doesn't mean anything. There are plenty of neutral EV decisions where one helps the red line, and the other helps the blue line. Blue line is usually easier and less swongy, so a pro grinder type likely has a disposition towards it.

If you want to look at a stat, check out how you fair in pots where you call a raise preflop both in the blinds and out of them. Same goes for calling 3bets.
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