An in-depth strategy post thatís highly complicated and impossible to comprehend
Ok, that’s a lie.
There is a place for calculations and complicated theories, this thread isn’t it.
This really isn’t intended to help anyone so much as it’s intended to provide me with reason to put all of this on paper and think it through a bit more, then to let you guys tell me why it’s wrong. It is going to be a long read and may seem very vague, it will however add to most of your winrates. Read it or don’t, your choice.
You’re a fish and you don’t know anything about poker
So am I, but it sounds more dramatic if I only bold the insulting part.
Occasionally you’ll hit a wall in your poker learning and think there can’t possibly be any more to learn, or at least nothing that will add significantly to your winrate. There’s just nothing more to learn, all of the books you can find only say stuff you already know and you’re damn sure you know more than everyone you’ve played against, there’s just nothing new.
Guess what? You’re still a fish, and you don’t know a fraction of what you need to.
Pretty much everything you’re doing now you’ll change in 6 months, not just because the game has changed but because you know better. Empty your head of any thought that you know anything worth knowing, all you know now and all you are ever likely to know about poker is just degrees of wrong, what you’re doing now is braindead stupid, it’s idiotic, but it’s the best you can do with what you know so that’s fine but do NOT, ever, ever, let assumptions of right and wrong hinder your ability to open mindedly accept new lessons.
So what should you learn?
Honestly, most of you guys should be learning strategy. Most people should be learning about SPR (particularly it’s relation to stacking ranges and bet sizing), good cbetting, floating and 3bet ranges and basic adjustments to various types of players (value betting anything vs fish, valuing top pair type hands more vs people who call too much, etc).
But I don’t really care about that because you can only say that stuff a few hundred times having it fall on deaf ears, before you stop caring. So I’ll just assume everyone has figured this stuff out already, once you have:
You can get pretty caught up in technical adjustments. Making this range smaller in this situation so that villain can’t exploit it, or so that you can exploit this type of player a little better. I find this side of poker really depressing though because poker is a very forgiving game, the equity difference between good and bad decisions is frequently not that much, and the difference between a decent decision and better decision is tiny and it essentially comes down to swapping chips a whole bunch of times with slightly improved equity, add to this that a lot of the situations you’ll work on don’t come up that much and adjustments that take lots of time may not even noticeably show up on your winrate. Add the fact that we’re still working with imperfect information and assumption and your perceived improvements are only a % chance to improve your winrate rather than make it worse, there are always factors unconsidered. So yeah, this sucks. I lost interest in poker for a while after about the 30th time I thought I’d come up with the best approach to blind stealing, and what’s worse is that my blind stealing has actually ended up pretty close to what everyone else does anyway even without their approach going through as many evolutions as mine. See what I mean about this game breaking your soul by being too forgiving?
So what do you do?
Forget strategy. Those thirty different charts you’ve made up, those pages of calculations that you’ve got lying around, the pokerstove you’ve got running right now (because it’s almost always open), close it, burn it, put it behind lock and key behind bars with spikes and hire some guard dogs to keep everyone and you from getting at it.
Poker isn’t complicated, don’t make it complicated.
Stop thinking about the rubbish you’ve read about poker and start actually using your brain. How can you improve your winrate? What are the biggest factors in determining your winrate?
I actually want you to think of those. But for the lazy, here are some suggestions:
1)Be the guy/girl who over values position. For a whole week dedicate all of your time to thinking “how can I exploit position better than I already do?”
2)Be the guy/girl who table selects better than EVERYONE else. What can you do better, and stop thinking about stuff that you read somewhere, spend a week thinking about the dynamics of the poker table and how relative positions, stack sizes and strategies interact.
And no, you haven’t figured those things out adequately. You can do better.
Use your head
Not your emotions.
Tilt is the bane of a lot of poker players existence. And for anyone who still thinks tilt is just an angry fit where people call off stacks with draws or bluff shove in bad spots, think harder. After your first week of playing, tilt pretty much only exists as the subtle influence on your play that you often wont detect at the time.
We are basing our decisions on assumptions and adjusting ranges in real time with calculations we can’t do that fast and instead rely on estimations. If you can read that last sentence without seeing a freaking huge door for emotional influence, there’s something wrong.
Look, I don’t know how to solve tilt. I play grossly under my bankroll requirements most of the time purely because I know tilt creeps into my game and the less edge I have the softer the opposition I need.
I guess the biggest relief from tilt I’ve found is getting the rest of my life sorted out, there hasn’t been anything tragically wrong with my life but I’ve been very dependent on my results in poker to determine how much money I’ve got even in the short term. I really think you need to detach from the feeling of “needing” to win. Equally troublesome is the feeling of deserving to win, you know more than your opponents (because of rake, it should be very rare that you don’t) and so you deserve to win, on an intellectual level I understand this but I know you have to detach from it, at the very least consider poker a war against the rake rather than against your opponents.
Tilt is ultimately the biggest barrier that limits us from what we’re capable of achieving in poker. We all tilt, and the better we handle it, the better off we’ll be.
There is more to poker than you or I can comprehend. Doing better demands a greater dedication of time. In addition to aptitude, poker ability depends heavily on the time you spend. Personally I’ve hit that barrier (for now), which is probably why I’m willing to share posts like this, to progress you need to dedicate more time, effort and thought to poker. Everyone who is better than me has worked harder than I have, and I have put an insane amount of time and effort into this game, in order to get better I need to learn to do things much better than I currently do. If you want to get better than you are now, you need to work harder and it will come. However I think you have to ask yourself what role poker plays in your life and in your future and how much time does that deserve, what competing priorities are there?
If you are incompetent, and you are, all you have to do to get better is to work harder but make sure you consider the time demands (and there are places and times when you shouldn’t be running ranges through your head). Although I will leave you with one of the few Doyle Brunson quotes I still agree with: “We don’t stop playing poker because we get old, we get old because we stop playing”. Keep thinking and growing, whatever you do.