Sunday, November 01, 2015

Fixing My Leaks

Every poker player has leaks. Leaks are plays you make that are not major errors, but are small mistakes that leak the profits out of your metaphorical money bucket. The more leaks you can fix the better your results will be.

Here are a few leaks I have:

- I don't pay close enough attention when I am not in a hand
- I don't closely examine my opponents for physical tells
- I don't focus hard enough on not giving off any physical tells
- I act too quickly sometimes
- I sometimes make calls with draws when the pot odds are not there
- I play too many suited connectors and suited gappers in early position (the combo of this one and they previous one is a actually a pretty big problem).
- After I've called $5 pre-flop I'm too willing to call a substantial raise with a hand that doesn't justify it

- I chicken out on some bluffs
- I don't three bet enough pre-flop
- I slow play the turn too often with huge hands hoping to induce bluff or otherwise encourage bets
- I give my opponents too much credit

The main ways I work on fixing my leaks are:

- Doing analysis away from the table (this is one of my major strengths)
- Talking over key hands with other skilled players
- Reading poker books and articles

Recently I've added a new tool - I've joined a subscription poker training website It's $30 a month which feels like a lot for a bunch of web videos and articles (i.e. the kind of stuff we're all used to being free with ads), but I'd read a few dozen articles by the owner/main guy (Bart Hanson) and they're all filled with solid advice.

Equally important is that just about the entire content catalog is geared towards in person no limit cash games and Bart's main experience comes from games in the $3/$5, $5/$10 or $10/$20 games in Southern California which are very similar to the games I'm playing. Many of the training sites are focused on how to beat online 6-max no limit games where the players are much, much tougher across the board or tournaments which doesn't really appeal to me at this point.

I had one pot that I won Friday that I would not have if not for watching the few videos I have thus far. I had AT suited and called a raise to $20 in the cutoff that came from a player just to my right. The big blind called as did the one limper. The flop came down K 8 3 with three different suits and the preflop raiser bet $30. With two players left to act and having missed the flop completely this could easily be a simple muck.

But one of the videos I'd watched touched on how K X X dry boards hit late position preflop raisers range way less often than A X X board because most players are folding anything worst than KT or K9s, but will play any Ax in late or middle late position. This is actually a pretty simple thing. You can explain it in one sentence to anyone who is not a novice. But I don't think it's something that I've explicitly thought through before. I have not been on the lookout for K high dry boards. But in this instance I did have it top of mind. I raised to $75, both other players folded and when it got back to the raiser he thought for a moment and mucked. From his perspective my raise looks really strong - I called raise preflop and then raised the preflop raiser with two other players in the pot. It's hard for him to put me on worse than a strong K.

In the end I picked up $90 I would not have so I figure Bart Hanson is going to get at least three months out of me before I cancel.

I had another big hand where I corrected an error I've made previously. There was one $5 caller from a very loose player and then a raise to $20 from a tight passive player. Mr. Tight had $95 in front of him and Mr. Loose had about $600. Mr. Loose had just called an all in of $140 with Q3 suited after calling $5 preflop and won. I looked down at QQ and raised to $50. Normally I'd probably go to $60 here, but I intentionally made a smaller raise so that if Mr. Tight went all in, which I fully expected him to do given his stack size, I'd be able to hit it again against Mr. Loose who I figured very well might call my raise to $50. In the past I've made the mistake of raising just a little too much vs a short stack, leaving myself in a spot where I couldn't put the heat on a third player because the short stack all in was not a full raise.

Like clockwork, Mr. Loose called, Mr Tight went all in for $95, and I pumped it up to $225. Mr. Loose called and I hoped for a favorable flop. When the board came out I was looked at T 7 4 rainbow and to my surprise Mr. Loose shoved for $375! I really had no idea what kind of hand would limp for $5, call $45 more and then call another $175, but I figured that any hand that could beat me would probably check the flop so  I quickly called. The turn was a K and the river was a 9. When the cards got turned over Mr. Loose showed JJ and Mr. Tight had AK. So I lost the $300 in the main pot, but won the $750 side pot.

In the end I won about $700 on the night over 6 hours and had a lot of fun playing.

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