How I Beat 2NL
This is a long thread. Some here frown upon such threads (short attention span?) but I aim to keep everything aesthetically pleasing and organized for an enjoyable read. I know this isn't an astonishing accomplishment but it is where many people here at CardsChat start out. I'd like to share some very basic ideas that helped me succeed. I am not going to give specific strategic advice because everyone is different and there are many ways to be a winning player. Any decent book on NL hold'em will provide you with more than enough information to beat this level. These tips concern more of your mental game. Having said that, I can say it pays to play on the tighter side at this level and not get too tricky. It doesn't work for the same reason that value betting with a pot sized bet does work. Let's get started...
There are countless people who want to succeed at poker and make money but are not willing to put in the effort required to do so. Speaking for myself, laziness is something that comes natural and is a tide I have to constantly work against. When I decided I'd like to really start to buckle down and increase my small bankroll, the first thing I did was read. I bought a lot of poker books
and read a lot of internet literature. Now reading won't help unless you digest what you read. I started a text file to organize all of the information I deemed valuable. It is easy to get overwhelmed and in this way I helped keep all the information in perspective. After the studying, I decided it was time to play. Experience is more valuable than any book you will read. Now, I only play five tables at a time (4 tiled and 1 on top). I could technically achieve up to nine tables if I tiled them, with some overlap, but I can't stand staring intensely just to make out the stack sizes and action. Anyway, I told myself I would start playing 2 hours, 5 days a week. I increased it to 3 hours. Then 4. And then 5, etc. Now I've steered toward achieving a certain number of hands per day, rather than hours. Once you have an idea of your BB/100 hands you can decide how many hands you need to play per day to meet your goals.
There are some days I absolutely do not feel up to playing. And it's ok to take a day or two off and enjoy yourself. But overall, the days you are just feeling lazy and would rather watch TV or go and hang out with friends, you need to stop and think about your goals. If you one day hope to make a partial income from poker, then you should treat it like your job. You can't just skip work because you don't feel like going. There are so many benefits to playing poker vs. having a job that the least you can do is be consistent in your playing time. That's not a lot to ask. A lot of times I've found myself apathetic to playing and was glad I decided to play after starting.
First of all, stop complaining about "bad beats". Period. Have faith in the math. Anytime you were a favorite to win a pot and got sucked out on you WILL WIN long term. That's all there is to it. When your AA is against his JJ and he catches a jack on the flop, you should be celebrating. Now there are two types of situations where you may be pushed to tilt. One is the scenario above where have a bad beat. As I explained, you should be happy you got your money in as a favorite. There is no need to get frustrated or angry about it. When you're ahead in a hand and your opponent had only a few outs and got one, so what? He wasn't drawing dead. It was possible for him to get his card he needed. That's just the nature of the game. There are 52 cards and sometimes your opponent will get just the one he needed at the worst possible time. Poker is a game of probabilities. And over the long-term these bad beats will more than even out.
The second situation that will put you on tilt involves making a bad play. This is harder to deal with. If we lose a big pot because WE made a bad play that could've been avoided, it is easy to get angry at ourselves and start spewing chips. But like the first situation above, we should see why it is a good thing. If you make a mistake, you learn from it. This of course requires you to analyze the mistake later and adjust your strategy accordingly. But that's just one more leak that you can plug and that means more profit from that point on. If you find yourself on tilt (it's easy to realize), some would say to stop playing immediately. I don't agree. I think it is a perfect time to work on your mental game and learn how to get yourself off tilt by recognizing the points above. You have to attack it head-on. If you choose to stop playing everytime you go on tilt, you're costing yourself valuable playing time and it becomes an inconvienence and sort of gives it a power over you. People often make a big deal about tilt to the point where it's percieved as some sort of mysterious, invincible force. It's not. It's all in your head. You control your head!
After reading "how to treat your poker like a business", the most valuable information I got was to stop constantly looking at the cashier and checking your account balance. I used to do this after each session. Now I can easily go two weeks without even caring what it says. This is for one simple reason. The only thing that matters is each and every decision you make in each and every hand you play. The rest will follow. If you are making winning decisions, you will show profit long-term. If you are constantly checking your cashier during a session, you are molding your decisions to what you are seeing in the cashier. Your decisions and thought processes at the poker table should be independent of the amount of money you have in your account. Knowing how much money you've won/lost changes nothing. The game is still the same game. And the winning strategy is still the winning strategy. I know for some it's not easy to instantly break this bad habit but it should be when you take the above into consideration. I was surprised to see my bankroll progress the way it did after I checked it only twice during my 40k hands. It is actually a relief to not have to worry about such an emotional aspect of the game and just focus on playing good poker.
In conclusion, some stats & my graph: VPIP=24... PRF=16... BB/100=7 Hands=42k