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Crushing Souls - A HuSnG Blog

    • shAdOwArt
      Joined: 14.07.2009 Posts: 363
      Welcome to my new blog, in which we learn to crush souls in HuSnGs.

      :diamond: Who Am I? :diamond:
      I used to be one of Sweden's best StarCraft players, if you played you might know me as SieGe on the realms or ZerG~LegenD on Team Liquid. This spring I got bored and jumped games, I've been playing poker since April and heads up since May and I think I'm making really great progress, although I'm still stuck at the $3.50 buy-ins. Currently I study the game more than I play it.

      :heart: Goals :heart:
      I want to know everything there is to know about heads up. I want to climb the stakes and I want to battle it out with the best. I love competition, I love winning and I hate losing. I've got a huge task, but also tons of time and motivation to match it. I want to crush souls, and I'm going to fucking do it.

      :spade: This Blog :spade:
      I blogged for a while in the Swedish community, but I'm giving the English community a shot, hoping to get more readers. Expect weekly results rapports and theory rapports whenever I make post-worthy progress.

      :club: Sweats & Reviews :club:
      If you want to exchange sweats, I'm up for it during most mornings and early afternoons, CET times. My Skype is TheLastCandle. Want a hand history review? I'll do it for free. I'm not a great player, perhaps not even good but I still think both of us could learn from it, especially if we follow up with some discussion where opinions differ.

      Edit: I'm back to blogging in the Swedish community, but feel free to contact me anyway!
  • 11 replies
    • shAdOwArt
      Joined: 14.07.2009 Posts: 363
      The Journey So Far

      I spent most of May watching every single video I could find, trying different game speeds and being generally confused about villains. I learnt a lot about the basics, but still played a limpy style, after Brokerstar, who've made the most free HuSnG videos, and I also played pretty fit or fold against the spewy micro maniacs. As June came around I switched styles to a more standard raising game and started working on upping my general aggression.

      I tend to focus my studies around one theme at a time. I began with heavier agression: check/raises, double and triple barrels - as bluffs. Which boards textures are good? How important is my equity against a made hand? What opponent tendencies should I look for? Next up was dealing with aggression while in position. How do I adjust to lots of 3-bets? To check/raises? To Donks?

      Next theme was the end game. I started sticking to minraises and limps with most hands until way, way shallow before switching to NASH. I also made some huge calculations on bet/calling and 3-bet jamming ranges. These took several hours. However, the very next day I discovered this nifty tool which makes calculating 3-bet jamming ranges child's play.

      Here are some graphs I produced. The first one is bet/calling ranges against what I perceived as a general micro limit player's 3-bet jamming range. These guys are pretty tight, except the really spewy ones who differ so much that I don't think I can make any one-size-fit-all ranges that are even remotely useful. The red marked hands I generally openjam at the relevant stack depths.

      I'm not that sure about the typical villain's bet/call ranges, I'd love some input here. For now, I gave them these ranges:

      Which resulted in these 3-bet jamming ranges:

      The percentage in the graphs refer the percentage of hands villain must min-raise in order for the jam to be better than a fold. However, calling can still be the better option with hands that play well post-flop or against really easy villains.

      The Results

      Here's my graph for June, so far:

      And here's some more statistics:

      The Future

      I draw two conclusions from these statistics. First of all, my volume is poor. I've been sick, I've done a ton of maths and I somehow got stuck rewatching an old anime series. Excuses, excuses... I'll do better from now on. My first goal will be this:

      • Play 100 games next week.

      The second conclusion I draw is that my out of position play is weak. Here are some things I'm going to play around with:

      • Leading in limped pots.
      • Check/raising boards that miss villain's raising range against villain's who C-bet.
      • Calling wider against for-or-fold villains.
      • Calling tighter against aggressive villains.
      • 3-bet bluffing the top of my folding range against more villains.
      • Semi-bluffing out of position.
      • Double and triple barrel under the same circumstances that I would in position.

      That's it for now. Thanks for reading, may you run hotter than hell.
    • Salivanth
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Whoa, very impressive, you seem more dedicated to study than most people on this forum already! Looks like we'll have another StarCraft guy turned poker player doing pretty well. I mean, damn, that sentence on studying the game more than you play the micros, you're supposed to do that, but almost nobody does.

      Keep it up, you'll be crushing in no time.
      Joined: 06.08.2010 Posts: 301
      Will be following this blog! GL to you sir.
    • Wriggers
      Joined: 21.07.2009 Posts: 3,250
      You look like you're really going for it with the study :) Nice one. It's very important to study a lot at first, and maintain it through your career :D GL!
    • shAdOwArt
      Joined: 14.07.2009 Posts: 363
      Most opponents appear to be silly bad super spewing cannot fold pot donking maniacs on weekend evenings. Now this is something I've noticed earlier as well and there is some logical reasoning behind why this would be the case. Thus I suspect that there is some truth behind my observations and not just variance. The limpy style is better vs these opponents and next weekend I'll be sure to use it until I've got reads telling me not to.
    • acceleration123
      Joined: 11.12.2010 Posts: 5,312
      Hi, added you on skype, my name is peter.cz3, feel free to check the message ;)
    • Salivanth
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Yeah, it's a pretty established fact that most casual players play evenings/weekends, so that's when the fish are out in the greatest numbers. Good catch!
    • shAdOwArt
      Joined: 14.07.2009 Posts: 363
      Originally posted by acceleration123
      Hi, added you on skype, my name is peter.cz3, feel free to check the message ;)
      Added. I won't be available today but I'll try to catch you later in the week.

      Originally posted by Salivanth
      Yeah, it's a pretty established fact that most casual players play evenings/weekends, so that's when the fish are out in the greatest numbers. Good catch!
      It will be nice to be prepared, these guys are so different compared to the normal micro population.
    • shAdOwArt
      Joined: 14.07.2009 Posts: 363
      I started the day by running 6 buy-ins below EV in 9 matches, so I decided to sweep the web for any and all information on tilt that I could find. There's a lot to read. Most seem to agree that learning to recognize it early and being honest with yourself is the best method. Take a break and come back later. Something I didn't come across though, but which I think would be very effective and which I'm going to try as soon as possible is self-exposition. Either though conversation, or more likely onto a paper. Speaking/writing about your worries and your frustration is a great way to remove negative emotion, and it's scientifically proven too.

      I also came up with a few simple tricks which help keeping the tilt away in the first place. First of all, don't watch all-in situations. Close your eyes and don't open them until you're sure you can deal with the results, whatever they may be. Second, don't rematch guys that 2-0 you unless they're really, really freaking bad. Third, I'm a little too results oriented, I think I'm going to be more explicit about acknowledging that I got it in good against what I perceived to be his ranges.

      Regarding out of position play, I haven't really found any obvious changes to make. Call a little looser in early game for the implied odds and call a little tighter against people who actually c-bet. Leading is only really good against people who would otherwise have bet but who will fold a lot to the lead, but these people are also great targets for check/raises.

      Anyways, I'm going to move on to the next topic: folding and bluff catching. Bluffs are pretty common and I really hate folding without being sure that I'm doing the right thing. Furthermore, I've got a lot of source material to study.
    • shAdOwArt
      Joined: 14.07.2009 Posts: 363
      Here's a rapport from my bluffcatching study session.

      Bluffcatching is done by checking when the following criteria are satisfied:
      • Villain is aggressive.
      • We beat most of his current range - check/fold or a pure bluff are the best lines if we don't.
      • We don't beat enough of his calling range to warrant a value bet - if we did, we would value bet.

      We don't want to value bet since we don't beat enough of his calling range. However, since our villain is aggressive we expect him to bluff with many of the hands that we beat, thus we play check/call instead of betting.

      When the villain bets we don't care that much about his sizing as we normally would. We are representing a weaker hand and we thus expect him to bet small when going for value. Thus a big bet is likely to be a bluff. Of course he might be trying to level us - many great players will bet big trying to represent a bluff in these situations - and some villains don't understand value betting either. So we can't be totally ignorant of his sizing.

      Here are two example of bluffcatching, assume that we're playing against an aggressive villain in both.

      Blinds: 15/30

      Pre-Flop: (75, 2 players) Hero is BB with K:spade: T:club:
      Villain raises to 75, Hero calls 60

      Flop: K:diamond: 6:heart: 5:heart: (150, 2 players)
      Hero bets 110, Villain calls 110

      Turn: J:spade: (370, 2 players)
      Hero raises to 190, Villain calls 190

      River: 9:spade: (750, 2 players)
      Hero checks, Villain bets 500, Hero calls 500

      After villain has called two streets he's unlikely to be sitting on either of the lower pairs and if he do, he's probably not calling a third barrel with overcards on both the turn and river. However, a large part of his calling range are draws which have now missed. We go ahead and check, thus representing a missed draw ourselves and giving him the opportunity to bluff his missed draws.

      Here's another one:

      Blinds: 15/30

      Pre-Flop: (75, 2 players) Hero is SB with Q:spade: 7:diamond:
      Hero raises to 75, Villain calls 60

      Flop: Q:diamond: 8:heart: 4:club: (150, 2 players)
      Villain checks, Hero bets 90, Villain calls 90

      Turn: 8:spade: (330, 2 players)
      Villain checks, Hero checks

      River: 2:spade: (330, 2 players)
      Villain bets 240, Hero calls 240

      Against most opponents our mediocre top pair isn't good enough for three streets of value when the middle card pairs so by check behind on the turn we still extract maximum value (by betting the river if he checks) but we also give him the opportunity to bluff his floats.

      The hero call is a very marginal bluffcatch, often relying on even more specific villain tendencies like timing or bet sizing tells. Calling with a 4 or A high in the second example would have been a hero call.

      Another kind of bluffcatching move is the float. My favourite spot to do it is against 3 bets when the flop comes low and dry. Like this one:

      Blinds: 15/30

      Pre-Flop: (75, 2 players) Hero is SB with K:heart: J:heart:
      Hero raises to 75, Villain raises to 225, Hero calls 150

      Flop: Q:diamond: 7:heart: 2:club: (450, 2 players)
      Villain bets 300, Hero calls 300

      Turn: 8:spade: (1050, 2 players)
      Villain checks, Hero bets 650, Villain folds

      We obviously need our villain to continuation bet a lot. This can be hard to get reads on so I'd just assume that if he continuation bets in position he'll do it out of position too. Furthermore, we don't want him to be one of those aggressive calling station that are so common on the weekends. Finally, we want the board to miss most of his 3 bet range - dry with two low cards should suffice. If he bets the turn folding here.

      My next topic will be playing draws.
    • VBZg
      Joined: 06.12.2009 Posts: 572

      Nice blog you running here, like your attitude toward studying. Skype me: vbzgskype. I am sng stt player, but would like to sweat with you regarding mental attitude if you are interested.