I won 2 LLMTT's on Stars this week and get 2nd in a LLSNG. Not big wins, but it still felt good to do well. The e-mails are below:
PokerStars Tournament #75283099, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $3.00/$0.25
45 playersTotal Prize Pool: $135.00 Tournament started - 2008/01/27 - 00:17:01 (ET)Dear GCPGeneD,You finished the tournament in 1st place.A $42.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.You earned 101.42 tournament leader points in this tournament.For information about our tournament leader board, see our web site at
PokerStars Tournament #75632737, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $3.00/$0.40
18 playersTotal Prize Pool: $54.00 Tournament started - 2008/01/29 - 22:06:31 (ET)Dear GCPGeneD,You finished the tournament in 1st place.A $21.60 award has been credited to your Real Money account
PokerStars Tournament #75038190, No Limit Hold'emBuy-In: $3.00/$0.40
10 playersTotal Prize Pool: $30.00 Tournament started - 2008/01/24 - 23:50:55 (ET)Dear GCPGeneD,You finished the tournament in 2nd place.A $9.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
I want to give a shout out to "Captain Stacks" and Johnny "Bubble Boy" Gomez...Where are you guys? Did you guys forget how to log on to your PC's ;-) .
This is a great article that was posted on 2+2 by "MasterLJ"...and re-posted on Full Tilt Forum by our own "Virge". I felt it was strong enough to re-re-post on my personal blog. Kudos to Master LJ:
As promised here are a few excerpts from the article I was going to submit, but decided not to.
Some of you might find this article a little basic, some might find it very useful. I think there's at least a blurb or two for everyone of any/all skill levels.
It's not as polished as I'd like it to be but I'm kind of itching to get some hands in today.Hope you enjoy my Carpal/Tunnel post!
Use this article as a guide to learning HU NL poker. Do not use this article as a 1-2-3 formulaic approach to beating HU NL. Although certain concepts are presented in a 1-2-3 formulaic approach it is important to try to understand and emulate the thought processes beneath the strategy. My biggest breakthrough in poker came when I started asking “why?” Why is this play profitable? Why is this bluff profitable? Why is this a leak? Why did my opponent call me there? Some of this material may seem basic, some might be slightly more advanced.
Hand ranges in HUNL are the widest of any format. Voluntary Put in Pot (VPIP), or the percentage a player sees the flop, are on average much higher than standard play in other formats such as 6max or Full Ring. This means that aggression and hand reading are going to be the two primary skills for besting opponents. The reason these skills are crucial is because the main profit in HUNL comes from forcing your opponent to leave equity on the table. This is easier (and hence, theoretical max win rates are so much higher than 6max or Full Ring) because the hand ranges are so wide, suggesting that the average winning hand is going to be fairly low. Many players come into HUNL with a 6max mentality for hand values (they need at least top pair to showdown in most cases) which creates a pocket of profit since the average winning hand in a HUNL situation is going to be much less than top pair.
Hand Reading: In order to learn to peer into your opponent’s soul, there is simply no substitute for playing countless hours of poker and reviewing your sessions. Hand reading inherently requires empathy. Some people have a natural gift for empathy, some don’t. Almost everyone can fine tune their sense of empathy and practice is the key to doing so. The first rule of hand reading is to ask yourself “if I were to have hand XY, how would I play it in a straightforward manner?” This applies to low and micro stakes where typically players are not that tricky because they do not assume (or care) that you are thinking critically about each hand. The second requisite skill for hand reading is recall. Recall is defined as one’s ability to remember past hands and to remember your opponents “line” or pattern of betting they undertook. Since almost all major Poker sites provide space for note taking, coupled with programs like Poker Tracker and PokerAce HUD, there is no excuse to not have excellent recall. To learn how to read hands better I strongly suggest playing heads up limit. Yes, low limit HU limit is a losing proposition due to rake but it will help you develop a sense of relative hand strength since you will be showing down much more often.
Aggression: This is the bread and butter of HUNL. Aggression is the key to success in HUNL. I have seen a problem with many budding HU poker players, they take the term “aggression” the wrong way, meaning they are constantly bombarding their opponent with large bets, firing 3 barrels with no pair and no draw and trying to win every pot. When you hear the term “aggression” in any hold’em context it should always be synonymous with “controlled aggression” or “constant pressure.” Generally speaking you always want to have significant (25%+) equity in any pot in which you are going to pursue aggressively. Imagine a typical $1/$2 HUNL game. Your opponent makes a standard raise on the button (OTB) and you call in the BB with XY. There is $12 in the pot. The flop comes down giving you an open-ended straight draw (OESD) which is generally above 25% equity even against a flopped set. You have a roughly 32% chance (using the 2%/4% rule you have 8 outs x 4% = 32%) of making your straight by the river. Your opponent makes a standard continuation bet of $8, and you raise to $24. What are we trying to accomplish? First off, simply calling out of position (OOP) with a straight draw is not going to be profitable long term unless you have extremely high implied odds. Implied odds take into account the amount of money you will be able to extract off of your opponent when you make your hand. Since we generally do not have the correct implied odds in this situation in standard 100BB situations, we must create another method of extracting profit. Enter Fold Equity (FE). Simply put, Fold Equity is the percentage that your opponent folds to your bet. In other words, how often can you make your opponent leave money on the table? Remember, making your opponent leave both equity and money on the table is exactly how profits are made in HUNL. In our example hand there is $20 in the pot ($12 pre flop + $8 from our opponent’s continuation bet) we raise to $24 making the pot $44. Some basic math tells us that our bluff needs to work 24 times out of 44 (risking $24 to win $20) or roughly 54.5% of the time. This may seem astronomical but there are a few key factors in our favor. First off, your opponent is only going to make a pair on the flop 1 in 3 times. With just that fact alone, our opponent should be folding 66.66% of the time. In practice we must add draws into the equation, but we also gain several advantages in a practical setting. Opponents are rarely going to continue with bottom pair, underpair to the board, gutshots with an over, and even second pair weak to mid kicker. Some opponents may fold mid pair good kicker and top pair weak kicker to flop aggression. But wait! There’s more! Since we decided to utilize “controlled aggression”, meaning we have equity in the pot, our flop check-raise doesn’t have to be nearly as successful as the math suggests since we make the nuts with our OESD roughly 1 in 3 times if we are allowed to see the river. Not to mention we have opportunities to semi-bluff the turn if we are called on the flop. In our example, let’s assume villain calls our raise to $24, there is now $58 in the pot. This gives us an even better chance to semi-bluff, since a bet of $49 into the $58 pot ($107 total) means that our bluff must only work 49 times out of 107 (45.79%) and of course we still have equity going to the river as well as the opportunity to bluff the river, as well as the chance that we made our hand on the turn.
Beating Down the Passive Players:
If you are a serious HUNL player you no doubt practice some form of game selection. While everyone will have their ideal match up, many players like to play loose/passive players. These players are identified by high VPIP and low PFR and a propensity to call OOP. Often these players can limp the button as well.
The best strategy to employ against these players is to go for value in position and pounding on them out of position. In fact, being OOP can be more profitable than being IP against these players assuming they have some key characteristics such as calling 3bets WAY too light and calling flop check raises much too light. On the button you should be raising with the top 60-65% of your hands. There is no need to play raggedy hands even IP against calling stations, their willingness to call makes very bad hands lose value. You can open up your button range against loose/passives if you have a very high success rate of taking down the pot on the flop, and/or getting them to fold with a bet on the turn. On the flop you should be c-betting 70%+ and betting all pairs for value as well as draws. All reasonable draws should be double barreled as to build a large pot for the river where you can get value when you make your hand or you can bluff a scare card, or check behind on a dismal river that doesn’t help you represent a hand.
When playing OOP there are a few things to factor in. First, is your opponent limping the button? If so, are they calling raises? I usually employ a 4-4.5 x BB bet when raising OOP. If they have an unwillingness to call I am going to raise with any two cards until they adjust. More likely than not they will catch on and start to call some bets or possibly limp-re-raise (LRR). When this occurs my range becomes 22+, JT+ and sometimes some suited connectors. I am cbetting 100% of flops and double barreling any scare cards. If I turn a strong draw I might elect for a check raise all in (CRAI) if villain has shown a propensity to bet when checked to. This shouldn’t happen often given that we are playing a loose/passive player, so more often than not I am simply going to fire a second barrel.Against a LRR I have to have a read in order to call lightly OOP and/or shove over. If I have a good sense that my opponent is simply frustrated from being bombed on IP, I will call LRRs with KJ type hands. Obviously you have to go with it on a K or J high flop, or any reasonable draw. With 99+ I’m going to 4bet shove if pot size permits as I find that villain’s will often call with small pocket pair when frustrated.
When the pot is unraised and a flop is seen I love to apply pressure. This works especially well against opponents who have a PFR of 10-20%. Those opponents tend to tell you what they have pre-flop so that when they limp OTB you can assume their hand is weak (and it usually is). In that respect, if the flop comes down A33 and villain cbets, I am going to raise with ATC. So long as you get your bet-sizing right you should be able to profitably run this play with fold-success rates of 55%. Imagine the pot is $4 and villain bets $2, the pot is now $6, if you raise to $8 that should be more than enough to raise out air and only needs to succeed 57% of the time. I generally don’t like raising with no equity whatsoever, but the aforementioned case is the exception. I will CR a wide variety of flops with as little as bottom pair. The key though is that ONE BARREL IS NOT ENOUGH! I can’t stress that enough, the “play” is two-fold as loose/passive players will call flop CRs with almost any piece, however the profit comes in on the turn where they are much more hesitant to continue in the pot without a big hand when you fire again. If villain calls flop CR and turn lead you can generally give up unless you get a beauty of a river to bluff at.
This aspect of Hold’em took me the longest to understand. I still certainly do not fully understand bluffing as I’m always amazed at what opponents are willing to call with. First and foremost, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BLUFF PLAYERS OFF TOP PAIR AT LOW STAKES. Just save yourself the trouble. I can’t count how many times I said to myself “This guy has top pair no kicker, Imma bluff him out!!!!” It is just not profitable. The types of hands you want to fold with your bluffs are:
1. Better high cards (you fold JT, flop is 286r, you cbet and fold out A3)
2. Bottom or 2nd pair (you hold 29o OOP, opponent limps the button, you check, flop is 3 7 J, you check to opponent, opponent pots you CR, opponent mucks A3o
3. Underpair (you hold A3 you raise OTB, opponent calls with 33, flop is K97, you cbet to take down the pot)
4. Draws – You can only really take an opponent off a draw with a big check-raise or on the river. A good example is a hand like 86 on a T67 flop, check-raising this flop can make villain fold a large amount of hands that have very strong draws against you and tons of equity (J8 has about 35% equity in this pot but can’t call a raise). You can hopefully remove an opponent off of a flush or straight draw by a CRAI on the turn.
Pay attention to these cases when you are making bets. A bet should always accomplish 1 of 2 things:
1. Fold better hands
2. Extract value out of worse hands
Always, always, always bet for one of the two reasons. Notice “to see where I’m at” is not on that list? Good, because that’s the worst reason to raise or bet. Bluffing is no different, and if you can blur the line between bluffing and value-betting you are going to make your opponents continue to guess. For example, against certain breeds of loose/passives I will value-bet ace-high on the flop since they float with weird hands like Q9o on a 265 flop.
Finally, I will end this segment on beating up loose/passives by giving you the ultimate advice. If you’re not in the driver’s seat during the hand, you are probably behind. When your edge is massive there’s really no need to stack off in marginal spots. A marginal spot against a loose/passive could be as “good” as having an overpair or TPTK facing a push. They are called loose/passives for a reason, and if you aren’t driving the action in the hand there’s a really good chance you are beat.
Bankroll Management and Variance:
I had found, and digested, a very nicely done post on winrate and variance:http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...light=Variance
I had also created an Excel spreadsheet based on the concepts in the article:http://www.savefile.com/files/1292691
What you can take from the article? Answer: Winrate is king. If you aren’t really beating up your stakes you should move down. A player winning at roughly 5.75 PTBB/100 has a 23% chance of breaking even after 10k hands. That’s reasonably significant. It’s my opinion that if you can’t beat the game for 5+ PTBB/100 or higher moving down one level will provide a much higher winrate and significantly lowered variance.
As far as bankroll you really shouldn’t play with anything less than 30 buyins for casual players and 50+ for pros (I prefer 100 personally). Shot taking against really bad opponents is completely acceptable but you should set, and stick to, your stop loss.
"If your going through some shit in your life chances are somebody else has gone through the same thing before ya. And they've written about it. Some poet or philosopher has been through the same type of crap, and they've written about it. And when you find that poem or piece of writing. You think bloody hell this bastard has just summed it all up. It's kinda comforting. Know what I mean?" A quote for a Heath Ledger film "Two Hands"