Dealing with break even stretches?

    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      I've had a seriously long break-even stretch for a fair while now.
      I'm looking to move up to NL2 but I just can't do it. Every time my bankroll gets some extra beef to it I lose it the next day.

      Here's a graph to show what I'm putting up with:



      So, how do you guys deal with these break even stretches?

      How can I stop myself from grinding as a break-even player? I play pretty loose aggressive, which isn't necessarily a bad thing at NL2, but there's so many leaks in my game that I need to work on fixing that it's not funny.
      At times I'll correctly read my opponent as having a hand that beats me, and will call anyway.

      An example of this is the hand below, where a nit cold 4bet me:

      PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.02 BB (6 handed) - PokerStars Converter Tool from http://www.flopturnriver.com/

      BB ($2.94)
      UTG ($5.35)
      MP ($1.75)
      CO ($0.90)
      Button ($4.07)
      Hero (SB) ($2.27)

      Preflop: Hero is SB with K:club: , K:heart:
      1 fold, MP raises to $0.06, 2 folds, Hero raises to $0.28, BB raises to $0.64, 1 fold, Hero raises to $2.27 (All-In), BB calls $1.63

      Flop: ($4.60) 6:club: , 10:spade: , 10:heart: (2 players, 1 all-in)

      Turn: ($4.60) 3:diamond: (2 players, 1 all-in)

      River: ($4.60) 7:diamond: (2 players, 1 all-in)

      Total pot: $4.60 | Rake: $0.16


      Hero had K:club: , K:heart: (two pair, Kings and tens).
      BB had A:diamond: , A:club: (two pair, Aces and tens).
      Outcome: BB won $4.44



      Another example was against an aggrodonk:

      PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.02 BB (5 handed) - PokerStars Converter Tool from http://flopturnriver.com/

      SB ($2.34)
      BB ($0.97)
      UTG ($4.08)
      Hero (MP) ($2.50)
      Button ($2)

      Preflop: Hero is MP with Q:heart: , Q:spade:
      UTG raises to $0.06, Hero raises to $0.16, 2 folds, BB calls $0.14, UTG calls $0.10

      Flop: ($0.49) 4:spade: , 2:club: , 3:club: (3 players)
      BB checks, UTG bets $0.22, Hero calls $0.22, 1 fold

      Turn: ($0.93) 5:heart: (2 players)
      UTG bets $0.36, Hero calls $0.36

      River: ($1.65) Q:diamond: (2 players)
      UTG bets $3.34 (All-In), Hero calls $1.76 (All-In)

      Total pot: $5.17 | Rake: $0.18


      UTG had 6:heart: , 6:club: (straight, six high).
      Hero had Q:heart: , Q:spade: (three of a kind, Queens).
      Outcome: UTG won $4.99



      Both hands weren't snap-calls. I spent time thinking about them, pondering on ranges. Despite telling myself "I'm most likely beat here", I still made the calls.

      I don't think my Loose-aggressive play is solely to blame as it can be a +EV style. I just can't seem to stop myself from breaking even though. I make too many poor decisions, whether that's folding KK to a raise on a T64r flop to have someone reveal ATo, or whether it's attempting to bluff people off of hands. I just can't seem to put my finger on it since there's a lot of issues.

      What do you guys recommend I do? I'm too poor to hire a coach, and there's not many videos out there that cater for Lag play (let alone lag play at the micros). Any tips on how to deal with these break even stretches?

      Thanks guys.
  • 18 replies
    • booomm
      booomm
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.03.2011 Posts: 677
      bleh, volume volume volume and work on your mindset if you have tilt issues, it will just turn around eventually, other then that, volume!! :)

      good luck
    • metza
      metza
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.01.2012 Posts: 2,220
      Originally posted by SheepMoose
      I'm looking to move up to NL2
      From where? :coolface:

      But anyway, 20k hand losing stretches do happen even when you are a winning player in the long run, the bigger your edge the less often it will happen. What you need to do is make sure you are playing as well as possible and since you say "but there's so many leaks in my game that I need to work on fixing that it's not funny." then its pretty obvious you know you need to work on this, not sure why you made this thread asking questions that you clearly already know the answer to.

      KK hand is totally fine its just a cooler, even vs nits, they sometimes have AK/QQ. QQ hand I would raise the flop when UTG donks into you.

      I wouldn't try to define yourself as a "LAG" to be honest I think these terms are too generic, just play whichever hands you think are +EV from each position. Try to be honest with yourself about whether you are playing a hand because you think it will win you money or because you think its cool to play loose.

      Also, while coolers and bad beats are often mostly the cause of downswings, you gotta remember that poker takes a lot from the blinds, so if we are not winning 1.5bb every orbit from EP-BTN, we will be losing. So, sometimes downswings can occur when you are not getting enough value from your good hands. Sometimes this is not your fault, people can just have nothing when you flop hard for many sessions, but keep an eye out for spots especially vs fish that you are not getting max value.
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      @booomm: I think volume is my problem though. I've moved up from playing 2 tables (during the big upswing) to playing 4, then playing 6. I've just found myself playing worse when playing that many tables.

      I mainly started doing it for the sake of reaching Silverstar on Pokerstars, which I've done. I'd rather be Chromestar and winning than Silverstar and break even though.

      Is it bad of me to be unable to play 4 tables optimally?

      @metza: I'd say I have an edge at these games, so I'm not worried about that. It's NL2 after all. I am worried about making decisions that lack discipline though, as this seems to be my biggest loser.

      KK hand I'd actually fold, and I nearly did. Nits don't call shoves with QQ/AK. These are hands they'd flat a 3bet with more often than not.
    • metza
      metza
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.01.2012 Posts: 2,220
      Originally posted by SheepMoose

      @metza: I'd say I have an edge at these games, so I'm not worried about that. It's NL2 after all. I am worried about making decisions that lack discipline though, as this seems to be my biggest loser.

      You're not worried about fixing your leaks? Having an edge is not enough, especially at NL2, you need to be constantly improving so that when you move up limits you don't get hammered back down to where you were.

      The likelihood of a long downswing gets smaller and smaller the bigger your edge.

      If you don't play zoom you could also try to table select better when you're running bad.
    • Schnitzelfisch
      Schnitzelfisch
      Bronze
      Joined: 08.11.2008 Posts: 4,952
      Hey!

      How about working on improving your game and minimizing the losses from your mistakes? That should make BE stretches less likely.

      You can take a look at my Learning to Learn video series to see how you can form good study habits.

      Regards,

      -SF
    • football123
      football123
      Basic
      Joined: 13.03.2013 Posts: 31
      I wouldn't spend a second thinking about the first hand. NEVER fold kings pre-flop your opponent could shove with AK, QQ, AA, or even AQs, so if he does have aces so be it, and even if he does you can still draw out on him once in a while so folding kings has a negative expectation.

      Breaking even over a long period of time sucks personally I'd rather be stuck over a couple weeks than break even. If I were you I'd address the leaks in your game rather than just trying to play more.

      Pinpoint what your leaks are and do some studying on how to fix them. If you haven't read Harrington on Cash Games you should give it a look. It is pretty much the bible for cash games right now and I'm sure your game will improve greatly from it. It reads fairly easily and also has a section dedicated to beating weak games that would be useful at 2NL, and the rest of the book will help you a lot as you move up in stakes.
    • satishvasoya
      satishvasoya
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.10.2010 Posts: 1,178
      if you need help just posting a graph n some hands isnt gonn ahelp.
      lets see some stats n then everyone can help much better...

      EDIT - i am not sure whether you are asking for help from psychological point of view or poker point of view..my answer was in case u need help from poker POV...
    • metza
      metza
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.01.2012 Posts: 2,220
      Originally posted by football123
      Pinpoint what your leaks are and do some studying on how to fix them. If you haven't read Harrington on Cash Games you should give it a look. It is pretty much the bible for cash games right now and I'm sure your game will improve greatly from it. It reads fairly easily and also has a section dedicated to beating weak games that would be useful at 2NL, and the rest of the book will help you a lot as you move up in stakes.
      Really? I had a quick skim of that and saw a hand where he said if there's two limpers you can raise in the bb with T2o, seemed really bad advice.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 8,913
      Originally posted by metza
      Originally posted by football123
      Pinpoint what your leaks are and do some studying on how to fix them. If you haven't read Harrington on Cash Games you should give it a look. It is pretty much the bible for cash games right now and I'm sure your game will improve greatly from it. It reads fairly easily and also has a section dedicated to beating weak games that would be useful at 2NL, and the rest of the book will help you a lot as you move up in stakes.
      Really? I had a quick skim of that and saw a hand where he said if there's two limpers you can raise in the bb with T2o, seemed really bad advice.
      Pot odds? Range balancing?
      Depends on who the limpers are, really.

      Does seem bizarre, though.

      Personally, I'd just check it, and it would have to be one kick-ass flop to get me to continue, too.

      Cheers,
      --VS
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      @Schnitzelfisch: Thanks for the heads up regarding your videos. I've begun watching them and am very pleased with their content.

      @football123: If you think nits are getting it in with AK, AQ, or QQ preflop you're very VERY mistaken. I've actually got a prime example of how some nits play such hands, including this one from todays session found below:

      PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.02 BB (6 handed) - PokerStars Converter Tool from http://flopturnriver.com

      UTG ($1.21)
      Hero (MP) ($3.77)
      CO ($1.84)
      Button ($2.98)
      SB ($4.51)
      BB ($2.08)

      Preflop: Hero is MP with 4:diamond: , 4:heart:
      UTG calls $0.02, Hero raises to $0.10, 1 fold, Button calls $0.10, 3 folds

      Flop: ($0.25) 3:club: , 8:diamond: , 4:club: (2 players)
      Hero bets $0.14, Button raises to $0.50, Hero raises to $1.11, Button raises to $2.88 (All-In), Hero calls $1.77

      Turn: ($6.01) A:club: (2 players, 1 all-in)

      River: ($6.01) 5:club: (2 players, 1 all-in)

      Total pot: $6.01 | Rake: $0.21


      Button had Q:diamond: , Q:heart: (one pair, Queens).
      Hero had 4:diamond: , 4:heart: (three of a kind, fours).
      Outcome: Hero won $5.80



      Hands like AK they're likely to flat a 3bet with. Same with hands such as JJ - QQ. Without reads I doubt they'd ever be shoving with less than KK/AA.

      @satishvasoya: Stats are irrelevant in my opinion. If you must know though...

      VPIP: 27.2 PFR: 22.7 3bet: 7.3 [b]Agg' Factor:[/B] 2.98 WTSD: 28.9 W$SD: 45.6

      As you can see I do play quite loose. In fact in the last few sessions I've been playing more along the lines of 33/30, while my break-even stretch saw me playing a bit tighter.

      As I said though, stats are irrelevant. It doesn't matter how many hands I open raise with as long as I make the correct decisions post-flop, which I have difficulties with. Hand reading is my biggest difficulty at this point in time, as is discipline.

      @metza: Of course I'm worried about leaks. To be honest though, even with the leaks I have NL2 is very VERY easily beaten. I want to improve as much as everyone of course, but I want to improve my mentality before improving my play-style.


      Thanks for the replies everyone.
    • football123
      football123
      Basic
      Joined: 13.03.2013 Posts: 31
      Originally posted by metza
      Originally posted by football123
      Pinpoint what your leaks are and do some studying on how to fix them. If you haven't read Harrington on Cash Games you should give it a look. It is pretty much the bible for cash games right now and I'm sure your game will improve greatly from it. It reads fairly easily and also has a section dedicated to beating weak games that would be useful at 2NL, and the rest of the book will help you a lot as you move up in stakes.
      Really? I had a quick skim of that and saw a hand where he said if there's two limpers you can raise in the bb with T2o, seemed really bad advice.
      I don't remember the specific hand example and I know he is absolutely not saying you should do that all the time. I'm sure there's at least a couple variables in this hand that have been left out because all of the hand examples have many variables and not just your hand and position. Harrington won the Main Event in '95 and reached the final table in '03 and '04, he also wins in high stakes cash games on a consistent basis so he is qualified to give poker advice.
    • SPeedFANat1c
      SPeedFANat1c
      Gold
      Joined: 04.01.2009 Posts: 5,071
      Originally posted by booomm
      bleh, volume volume volume and work on your mindset if you have tilt issues, it will just turn around eventually, other then that, volume!! :)

      good luck

      oh come on, its NL2. 34K hands at nl2 should even out variance long time ago. I dont think the volume is the problem, but strongly believe that its too many leaks.

      I think if you play abc without spewing money, over 10K hands its very unlikely that you will have downswing. Ok, I did not play nl2 much. But just dont believe that its variance. Ok, maybe if hero is having 1bb /100 winrate ,it can be, but that means if he has such winrate at NL2 - he really needs to work on the game.

      I would suggest posting stats and many playiers will quicly spot some leaks from stats alone I think.
    • booomm
      booomm
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.03.2011 Posts: 677
      Originally posted by SPeedFANat1c
      Originally posted by booomm
      bleh, volume volume volume and work on your mindset if you have tilt issues, it will just turn around eventually, other then that, volume!! :)

      good luck

      oh come on, its NL2. 34K hands at nl2 should even out variance long time ago. I dont think the volume is the problem, but strongly believe that its too many leaks.

      I think if you play abc without spewing money, over 10K hands its very unlikely that you will have downswing. Ok, I did not play nl2 much. But just dont believe that its variance. Ok, maybe if hero is having 1bb /100 winrate ,it can be, but that means if he has such winrate at NL2 - he really needs to work on the game.

      I would suggest posting stats and many playiers will quicly spot some leaks from stats alone I think.
      so what if it is just nl2? it is still the same game nl2 or nl1K, plus the rake is enormeous at micros.
    • booomm
      booomm
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.03.2011 Posts: 677
      Originally posted by SheepMoose
      ...
      Is it bad of me to be unable to play 4 tables optimally?
      ....
      not at all, play as many tables as you want, the main thing is that you feel comortable and focused playing your hands while at the same time keeping an eye on the action to get a feel of the table dynamics and tendancies. start with 2 tables and add more when you feel like to, playing 24 tables like a sicko dosen't tell much whether you are good or bad, it just means you have a robotic brain or sthing, nothing to do with your actual poker skill.
    • SheepMoose
      SheepMoose
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.01.2009 Posts: 854
      Thanks for all the replies guys. :)

      Over the last week I've been focusing on my mental game a lot more than my strategy game. My mental game was the biggest issue I felt. I was too distracted, didn't have enough discipline to lay down crap hands, and would often shove just because "meh".

      Thankfully this has now changed. I'm now a lot more focused, I now play 2 - 4 tables while making good solid reads (not all the time, but we're all not perfect), and have crushed that break-even stretch to go on to play NL5.

      I couldn't be happier with the results I've had in the last week or so.

      Here's my updated graph:



      So thank you to all for the advice you all had. I really appreciate it. :s_biggrin:
    • unshpe
      unshpe
      Basic
      Joined: 20.05.2013 Posts: 294
      Have long losing stretches, then you will appreciate the BE stretches.
    • unshpe
      unshpe
      Basic
      Joined: 20.05.2013 Posts: 294
      Originally posted by unshpe
      Have long losing stretches, then you will appreciate the BE stretches.
      Weeeeee

      http://my.jetscreenshot.com/19441/20130906-bh0m-47kb.jpg
    • Madavaster1
      Madavaster1
      Global
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 1,147
      Chrome Star or Silver Star ain't really a huge difference if it comes at a price of sucking at 6 tables instead of playing well on 4. It's good to hear you plugged your leaks anyway, so good luck on your way up. And any poker videos from winning online coaches >> harrington