Thursday, July 12, 2012

Good Start to July and a Bit of Strategy

Things seemed to have finally stabilized after quite a rough 2-3 month stretch.  I've been running pretty well and feel more comfortable at the tables than I have since the beginning of the year.  Something I noticed in the two to three months I was struggling was that my WTSD jumped about 2% over that period and in the last month where I've had better results it's dropped back down.  I'm not really sure what caused this or why it's changed back but I suspect I was calling too liberally in a lot of spots.  It's also just possible that I was making a lot of second best hands but it seems odd to me that there'd be that big of a differential for that amount of time.  WTSD is something I've looked at for the past five to six years and I can't ever remember it varying more than a percent or so over even a one month period.

I've felt really relaxed and focused at the tables lately and have gotten into the zone several times in the last few weeks.  By getting into the zone, I mean I'm thinking about absolutely nothing except the hand I'm playing and thinking is almost effortless.  There's absolutely no emotion in this state, just deep effortless thought.  It's a great feeling though I'm not really aware of it when it's happening.  I'm encouraged by the fact that it is happening though, I went through 2-3 months of feeling stressed and unfocused at the tables.  I hope I can stay in this mindset for the rest of my Costa Rica trip.

On the VPP front I'm up to about 630K.   I've actually fallen behind the pace I set to make SNE by the end of this trip and at this point it looks near impossible that I'll make it before I leave Costa Rica. Unfortunately, another trip at the end of the year looks inevitable.  It'll likely be three week trip to Canada.

Someone asked the following questions in the comments of my last post, I'll do my best to answer them here.

"hi tony, i have a couple questions if you ever have time to answer :) i appreciate you have a lot of grinding to do and don't want to give away your secret tips but here goes... when 3 or 4 betting from the small blind against one "standard" opponent in the HJ, or 2 standard opponents where HJ raised and button called.

situation 1) i assume you look at PFR %, and if below X% you would 3 bet or call with varying Broadway combos /Pocket pairs/ (suited connectors raise sometimes but mostly flat??). Postflop i assume you would lead the betting and then look at his flop raise % if he raised?

situation 2) i assume you look HJ PFR%, then look at btns flatting range, then raise or call depending on HJ's theoretical range."

In both situations, I am actually looking my opponents RFI (Raise First In) percentage from the hi-jack.  An optimal RFI from that position in high limit games is approximately 26% and my default 3-betting range is based on that.  I'd adjust my 3-betting range if their RFI was more than a couple percent away from 26%.  It's important before doing this though to make sure I have a significant sample on my opponent or a read of what he opens from this position.  I don't know exactly what's considered statistically significant but I'd want at least five thousand hands on the opponent.  Obviously if you only have a thousand hands but his RFI is 40 from that position, I think it's safe to assume you can increase your 3-betting range but if it's 28 and I only have 1000 hands, I'm not making any adjustments other than paying more attention to what hands he's raising from that position - in other words hands that get to showdown.

In situation two, I'd be looking at the cold caller's VPIP in comparison to his PFR.  There's a huge difference between say a 30/5 and a 40/20.  A 30/5 player actually has a pretty strong range there that can include premium hands whereas a 40/20 player often has middling type hands, small pocket pairs, Ax and Kxs type hands.

I am always 3-betting in situation 1 and almost always 3-betting in situation 2 but there are some instances where I'll just call.  I'm not always betting the flop, maybe 90% of the time but there are definitely certain board textures against certain player types that should be checked.  I really don't want to go into too much detail about that but it's something you should consider.  If my opponent raises, I will look at his overall aggression and his flop aggression but I'm much more concerned about his hand range and how it relates to the board texture.

Good luck to everyone at the tables.