Thursday, 9 September 2010

Planned Poker

I decided late last month that I need to do something different to get myself out of this 3 month funk. The eventual plan was to actually plan my next chunk of hands instead of running around stakes and games like a chicken with my head cut off.

So I set up a simple Excel file to implement a plan for my next x amount of hands and I would stick to it until that chunk of hands was completed and keeping a comment section updated with a running dialogue of my mindset and how sessions were turning out.

My first entry: 20k hands while 8 tabling @ 25nl FR. I needed to drop down to regain some confidence and start rebuilding.

Result: I'm at 19k+ hands right now. The first 10k hands went amazingly well and I was running at about 23 bb/100 (big blinds). I went on a sick 10 buyin downswing over the next 4k hands getting coolered left and right and spewed about 2 or 3 stacks. At that point I had color coded nearly 1/3 of the 25nl 40-100 game player pool and it was an overwhelming sea of yellow nits with few green loose-passives to be seen. And the ones I was seeing were of the 30/5 variety.

So I finally resigned myself to the idea of taking a serious look at the 20-50 bb games and sure enough, there's a really decent distribution of yellows and greens and the greens are all shapes and sizes ranging from 30/5 20bb stacks to 80/20 50bb stacks with even some pink 80/60 maniacs showing up once in a while. I ended the last 6k hands on a large upswing winning back the 10 fullstack buyins and finishing at 11 bb/100 over the sample. I did switch back to mass tabling these since there's so few late street decisions and I found myself sitting around a lot playing 8 tables.

This is kind of sad since I thought this structure change was the solution to the shortstack issue which made 20-100 games seem unbearable to me. It sure seemed that it was going to work for the first couple of months. And then the 80/20s voted for the 20-50 games. And I guess I learned my lesson that it's about what the fish want to play, not what I want to play.

I marked about 300 hands over the course of my 20k hand chunk in the last 2 weeks so I'm going to go over those spots and decide what my next 20k hands will entail. Some of them are seemingly mundane 3bet spots that I take down pre or flop raises that end the hand but I think that it's good that I'm actually marking these hands that don't go to showdown for analysis. I certainly felt like I was on top of my game during sessions where I put in a flop bluff raise with AJ on T63 achieving a fold and then had the mental capacity to think about wanting to analyze that spot later.

Right now I'm thinking about either jumping into 20-50 50nl games or potentially doing 10k more at 25nl and then using those profits to move up while becoming more comfortable in this shallow game. Will depend on my analysis of my play in those hands and what I want to work on.


  1. Good job on getting back into the black - you deserved it after running bad for so long.

    How do you deal with the shortstackers? Do you buy in for 50BBs or just play 20BBs yourself?

  2. Thanks! My basic strategy for dealing with shortstackers is to first separate the tight fpp pros from the fish that buyin short. This is pretty apparent within 10 hands for the fish and 20 hands for the tight ones. The fish have limped a bunch already, and the tight ones are sitting somewhere between 0/0 and 14/14.

    At that point I just isolate the fish like I normally would although you can isolate smaller because it's so easy to get stacks in when you hit. When they limp I typically make it 3 or 4 bb when they're between 15 and 30 bb.

    Against the tight ones, they typically have a fold to steal in the 80%+ range so I just steal blinds mercilessly. Most are playing 24 tables and are in pure shove or fold mode so you can get away with just minraising their blinds and lose 1bb less every time you fold to a shove.

    There's only a handful of smart ones out there with 3bet % in the 10%+ range and they really stand out so I don't know if it's correct or not but I snap those guys off a little lighter - usually ending up in a coinflip or 60/40 situation but so far it's stopped them from messing with me a little more.

    And I do always buyin for 50bb. My general philosophy is that you always want to cover the worst players at the table. I have heard of people buying in for 20bb and then staying and playing deeper, but I don't really see the point in that.