Poker challange starting at NL5, the only way is up!

    • flopraiser
      flopraiser
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.01.2009 Posts: 202
      Hi all,

      A brief introduction regarding myself:

      I first started playing poker about 5 years ago with a $50 No Deposit bonus on party poker (as it was then) courtesy of Poker Strategy after passing the quiz. NL4 or NL5 I started at and increased my balance up to $1300 within a few months moving through the limits and ended up taking shots at NL50. I then decided to switch my bank roll to Absolute Poker to take advantage of the sign up bonus shortly before it collapsed and lost my entire bank roll and confidence in poker in general.

      Where I'm at now:

      Have started playing again through William Hill after finding myself unable to work, certainly for the near future anyway. So with plenty of time on my hands I started again at NL5, with 17.5k hands played I'm currently down by $140 ($110 with bonus credits) and the graph on HM shows a consistent gradual loss, I understand that it takes time to get a sizable database to see where things are going wrong, all the same I believe 17.5k is a reasonable size. I do have leak buster and this grades me as a B- player, I've been analyzing my leaks and these have helped to contribute to the following questions I have regarding the limit, rake and certain plays.

      Questions and issues I currently have regarding my play:

      Calling 3bets is unprofitable, what range should I be looking to call against aggressive 3betters with and any advice on post flop call downs thereafter would be helpful

      I'm currently playing with a VIP of 19 and a PFR of 16. As I believe the rake is higher at the lower limits on WH should I therefore be tightening my range to avoid getting into too many marginal situations where over the long term the rake makes these situations unprofitable?

      If I was to tighten my range, what is the best method of defense for players stealing blinds >30% of the time?

      Probably the most important - What filters to apply to HM that would be most useful in allowing me to better analyze my game at these stakes.

      Where I hope to get to:

      I would like to be able to regain the balance I once had to enable me to start taking shots at NL50 once again or certainly be able to grind NL20/NL25, currently I'm struggling at NL5 so any advice would be greatly appreciated especially regarding the above questions and issues. I understand some of this info is available on the gold strategy articles, unfortunately I don't have money to burn to get there at the current trajectory of my graph!

      Thanks for taking the time to read this and I'll say thanks in advance to anybody that takes the time to reply. I'll also post the graph of my progress so far and continue to update this blog with my progress, I'll aim to do this weekly and will respond to any comments on a daily basis where possible.

      Cheers,

      Jon
  • 18 replies
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,423
      Hi Jon,

      Good start to the blog - jumping right into working on improving your game right away. They seem like great questions. As I know nothing about cash games, I'll leave it to others to help answer them.

      Good luck with your journey!
    • flopraiser
      flopraiser
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.01.2009 Posts: 202
      I'd like to say progress so far, but that would be an exaggeration of the truth!



      Any comments on this are also welcome
    • IuriTPena
      IuriTPena
      Gold
      Joined: 08.04.2012 Posts: 1,367
      Hi flop raiser,
      Best of luck for your journey :f_thumbsup:

      That graph... You should be winning much more on showdown i guess. Non-showdown it's standard.
      I really don't know too much about interpreting stats but if you post those, probably someone, better than me, could help you with some tips.
      My only advice is to don't call 3 barrels and river pot size bets light.

      You are playing regular tables or zoom?
    • flopraiser
      flopraiser
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.01.2009 Posts: 202
      Hi IuriTPena,

      Thanks for the advice, it does look like one of my leaks, calling down too lightly, especially out of position. It seems river bets are rarely bluffs. I'm currently playing speed poker (zoom on the ipoker network)

      I've had a read of your blog and see your currently playing the same limit, I'm guessing on poker stars? Your English is very good, probably better than mine and it's not my second language! :D . I'll certainly have a look at the Polyphasic sleep you refer to as I certainly have an issue right now with not being able to get enough sleep and anything that may improve this will no doubtfully improve my game long term.

      May I wish you the very best of luck with your journey.
    • gadget51
      gadget51
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.06.2008 Posts: 5,622
      HI Jon,

      I came across these and thought they may be useful. Let me know if they weren't what you were looking for and we'll try again, ok?

      Preflop Leak Analysis

      Preflop Filters

      Crush those aggressive 3-bettors

      Regards,

      Mal.
    • HNRoger
      HNRoger
      Bronze
      Joined: 12.06.2007 Posts: 116
      Hey, stop stalking me! Whoever you are and whatever your name is!
      Just joking sorry, i have a similiar history as you, i still have a lot stuck at good old AP, quit at black friday.
      And since january i am also here at PS / ipoker micros , i play the nl4 normal tables.
      And yup this game got a loooot harder.

      Good luck at the tables :)
    • nathanrenard
      nathanrenard
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.02.2009 Posts: 816
      Hi Jon, first of all best of luck in improving that sweet green line, I'm sure if you invest time into strategy it will pay off.

      I've played cash games back in the day, and as thought the games got harder, I do believe the all-in EV does say something, I'd love to see some stats, even that online cash games are no longer my game, but playing the live $1/$2 to $5/$10 locally seems very similar. The fast games are kinda not something I'm very fond of — sweet with fish thought — because I feel a lot of value is being lost, and even the volume is great for clearing bonuses and raking loyalty points, there is a almost uninevitable huge non-showdown winnings almost every time.

      Would be interested to know how many tables at the same time you are playing, and as tip for a personal flaw I used to make a lot when playing smaller stakes, was that it gives you sometimes the wrong impression that you can always outplay these guys. You can't. It's value town or nothing at micros as far as I've learned — the hard way too.

      Will keep following your journey, and I can guarantee you if you keep up with this community, the greens will start filling up your pocket, as I'm sure you are aware.
    • HNRoger
      HNRoger
      Bronze
      Joined: 12.06.2007 Posts: 116
      Hey, checked the ipoker zoom tables and hmm, this is only based on a small sample of 1,5k hands but:
      Yes the rake is a lot there, before you start winning i wouldnt recommend grinding that, my slowpoke nl4s are a lot softer (and slower unfortunately).

      And yes, life is a bit tough on the button and sometimes the cutoff, people 3bet a lot more from the blinds, compared to what i am used to in micros. For some reason i picked that habit up also, if late position raises me with obv loose range, i just 3bet what normally would be my calling range there.

      To be able to steal more i see some ppl implemented some weird 2,2-2,5x from the button and sometimes cutoff. But apparently they forgot to balance that cos they are like autofolding to 3bets, so i 3bet those a lot.

      Regarding the player pool: The shortstacks are very spewy as i saw, i caught a lot of them 3 barreling air. And the regs calling range is quite balanced, so careful vs them when you arent in position.
    • flopraiser
      flopraiser
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.01.2009 Posts: 202
      Hey guys, thanks for the advice, pleased with the response I've had to the questions I've asked. I would agree that poker seems a lot tougher than it did 5 years ago, not to be deterred all the same, just a bigger challenge to conquer in the long run.

      I'm currently playing 2 tables at a time zoom poker that I feel like I can keep up with although my concentration does seem to go after a period of time, I find myself entering what feels like auto pilot and not giving enough thought to the hands involved. I've also spent far to much time playing poker and not spending enough time studying, much to the detriment of my balance! Although I did manage to cash €12.50 on the players club freeroll which has helped. Monday cash back came just in time to save me having to deposit, still running with the no deposit bonus for now.

      Rules I'm going to employ to try to improve my game:

      1) One of my biggest floors is bonus chasing, I keep playing whilst I know I'm no longer on my A game, I end up in a situation where I lose more money through bad play than the bonus was worth.

      2) Play no more than 500 hands on the cash tables in one sitting, about an hour playing 2 zoom tables. This must be followed by at least half an hour's study or watching a poker video and a review of the previous sessions marked hands before I'm allowed back at the tables.

      3) Have a day each week away from poker, I may use this day to thoroughly analyse my game using HM2 to identify leaks and situations where I'm repeatedly losing money, this will be done weekly if not on a Monday.

      4) After studying some of the more basic articles I'll use my leak analysis results to target my studying to make the best use of this time.

      5) The comment regarding value town at these limits seems to hold true in my experience so far, each time I catch myself over playing a hand then I'm to finish the session and get back to studying for half an hour before being allowed back to the tables. I'm going to have to learn the hard way as it's a mistake I keep making!

      Once again thanks for the input and I'll certainly be making use of the links posted above. I'll also post a weekly graph, hopefully soon to show a more upwards trend than at current.
    • nathanrenard
      nathanrenard
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.02.2009 Posts: 816
      Originally posted by flopraiser2) Play no more than 500 hands on the cash tables in one sitting, about an hour playing 2 zoom tables. This must be followed by at least half an hour's study or watching a poker video and a review of the previous sessions marked hands before I'm allowed back at the tables.
      May I suggest a time counter instead of number of hands? The reason behind it, is that some hands might take more time than others, and it is well proven that people can't keep one hundred percent focus on something after a brief period of time.

      I'd reccomend what I use playing poker; working; studying or anything that obliges me to keep focus that is the Pomodoro Technique. I find that is very good during my grinding hours and it does show a positive result in a short amount of time.

      But then again, this is just a minor suggestion, you need to do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,423
      Originally posted by nathanrenard
      I'd reccomend what I use playing poker; working; studying or anything that obliges me to keep focus that is the Pomodoro Technique. I find that is very good during my grinding hours and it does show a positive result in a short amount of time.
      Interesting - so how long are your pomodoro's when at the tables?
    • nathanrenard
      nathanrenard
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.02.2009 Posts: 816
      Originally posted by Ramble
      Originally posted by nathanrenard
      I'd reccomend what I use playing poker; working; studying or anything that obliges me to keep focus that is the Pomodoro Technique. I find that is very good during my grinding hours and it does show a positive result in a short amount of time.
      Interesting - so how long are your pomodoro's when at the tables?
      I go with the basic 25 traditionally used on it, and it works fine for me.

      Although "The creator and others encourage a low-tech approach, using a mechanical timer, paper and pencil.", I go with an iPhone app called 30/30 to set everything up and put my phone in airplane mode, so if anyone messages me it doesn't bother.

      Because I play SNGs, I keep opening them until the timer runs out, and also because I don't look at the timer, sometimes I do happen to open them a few seconds before a break should have started. I let the break roll on, and after all of them end I just award myself with extra minutes from the break, divided by 5 because I'm a pretty methodical person.

      It's just an idea thrown around, honestly I've been using it in life for a couple of years; enjoying the hell out of it. Could be placebo, but I do feel that I'm freakin' focused on something during each pomodoro, and I add to myself a reward in every big thirty minute break, just like an obedient dog.

      :f_p:
    • flopraiser
      flopraiser
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.01.2009 Posts: 202
      A massive thanks to nathanrenard as I now have the Pomodoro Challenge app on my phone from the Google Play store, as concentration is one of my biggest difficulties then this could prove to be invaluable! The graph that follows is play since I posted the last one, although it shows a loss, it's not as severe as previously once the bonus credits are taken into account, so maybe there is hope :s_thumbsup: Although I seem to have made some over adjustments with the red and blue line trading places. I'll be employing the Pomodoro technique to see how I fair with this over the coming few days and after giving it some thought I'll be playing one table at a time until I'm happy I'm putting enough thought into each hand. I'll put the spare screen space to good use and leave Equilab open in order for me to better understand OP's range as I now have good stats on several players. I'll post a graph after my session tonight and a weekly graph there after.

    • nathanrenard
      nathanrenard
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.02.2009 Posts: 816
      Originally posted by flopraiser
      A massive thanks to nathanrenard as I now have the Pomodoro Challenge app on my phone from the Google Play store, as concentration is one of my biggest difficulties then this could prove to be invaluable! The graph that follows is play since I posted the last one, although it shows a loss, it's not as severe as previously once the bonus credits are taken into account, so maybe there is hope :s_thumbsup: Although I seem to have made some over adjustments with the red and blue line trading places. I'll be employing the Pomodoro technique to see how I fair with this over the coming few days and after giving it some thought I'll be playing one table at a time until I'm happy I'm putting enough thought into each hand. I'll put the spare screen space to good use and leave Equilab open in order for me to better understand OP's range as I now have good stats on several players. I'll post a graph after my session tonight and a weekly graph there after.

      Glad to hear about that, hopefully it will do good for you as it does for me. Will follow your blog too, see how you are going.

      Losses are normal in every winning player. :f_pleased:
    • flopraiser
      flopraiser
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.01.2009 Posts: 202
      Okay, so here it is, 4 pomodoro sessions later (4 x 25 minutes with a 5 minute break in-between each)



      Certainly felt focused without the drifting into auto pilot mode I usually do. Although I'm not about to retire I did post a profit whilst avoiding so many swings in my graph. Made one or two questionable plays for a few cents rather than a full stack as it has been on so many occasions! I've marked these hands and any I'm not sure on the correct line I'll post to the hand forums.

      There could be something to this pomodoro, will be very interested now to see how the coming few days are.

      Now it's time for a cider or two and a movie, certainly no more poker after the consumption of cider :f_drink:
    • vonki
      vonki
      Coach
      Coach
      Joined: 18.03.2008 Posts: 6,091
      Good luck!! :f_thumbsup:
    • nathanrenard
      nathanrenard
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.02.2009 Posts: 816
      Originally posted by flopraiser

      Okay, so here it is, 4 pomodoro sessions later (4 x 25 minutes with a 5 minute break in-between each)



      Certainly felt focused without the drifting into auto pilot mode I usually do. Although I'm not about to retire I did post a profit whilst avoiding so many swings in my graph. Made one or two questionable plays for a few cents rather than a full stack as it has been on so many occasions! I've marked these hands and any I'm not sure on the correct line I'll post to the hand forums.

      There could be something to this pomodoro, will be very interested now to see how the coming few days are.

      Now it's time for a cider or two and a movie, certainly no more poker after the consumption of cider :f_drink:
      Great to hear it was a good first experience, I love the breaks because they push me into reviewing a few hands just after a short time of 25 minute sessions, so I can adjust and avoid future mistake, don't know if you feel the same.

      Keep up killing these guys out there, best of luck man!
    • flopraiser
      flopraiser
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.01.2009 Posts: 202
      So it's actually been two weeks since I last posted against the weekly posts I'm meant to be doing, so here's the update.

      Have been spending a lot of time on trying to learn how to play a profitable game of poker at the micros this week after losing most of my balance :f_rolleyes: I've found weasels walk through series very informative and am about to watch the last of the 10 video series this evening. During these videos I've been frantically scribbling down notes on points I need to learn, I intend to type these up to form my guide through the micros. I've also created a spread sheet with the opening/cold calling/3bet ranges that weasel suggests using, these are now pinned to my wall above my PC screen for quick reference rather than having to consult equilab every time.

      I'm going to continue with the pomodoro technique but extend the time to 1 hour with a 15 break at the end of each hour, I feel for me the 25 minutes standard time is too short, this will also give me 15 minutes to review any marked hands. I'm also considering putting a 3 hour cap on poker play in any one day until I'm at least turning a decent win rate. I'll refer to my typed guide every time my analysis shows me I've unnecessarily donated chips to villain until such a time as these mistakes are rectified and the information is committed to memory and put into use at the poker table.

      Okay, now for the graph. Although I'm still losing money, it's at a lot slower rate so that has to be considered a step forward, this graph follows on from the last one.



      If it wasn't for the free rolls then I would have had to deposit already, the graph shows the amount won in Dollars for some reason although it's actually the amount won in Euros.