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Am I a losing player? How can I improve my game?

    • Bernasconi
      Bernasconi
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.08.2006 Posts: 486
      Hi there.

      I was playing Poker for like 2 years between 2005-2007. After that I quit because I had other things going on in my life.

      A few weeks ago I started grinding again and I have pleasure doing so. I am not a complete beginner, but no expert neither. I play pre flop according to the Starting Hand Chart from ProkerStrategy.com and I would consider myself capable of playing NL2. But my Poker Tracker 4 graph does not look like this.

      I am willing to improve but I do not know where I should start. At this point I am not willing to put in a few hundered dollars for personal coaching. Are there any (possibly cheap or free alternatives) to find out (maybe on my own) where I can / should improve?

      My stats are based on 5K hands and the Leak Tracker says everything is GOOD except for CBet Flop which is slightly too high with 86% and Fold to Flop CBet which is too high with 70%. All other stats are in the "range of values for solid winning players".

      Basic stats (5K hands on NL2 full-ring):

        VPIP 17.5
        PFR 10
        3Bet 2.2




      I have -3.25BB/100. Without Rake it would be +2.25BB/100 but as we all know this does not help.

      So to summarize:

        1. Am I a losing player and should I quit?
        2. How can I (affordably) find spots to improve my game to become a winning player?
        3. Should I stop analyzing until I played X amount of hands? How many?


      Thank you so much for your help in advance. I appreciate this community very much.
  • 29 replies
    • nsavov
      nsavov
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.09.2010 Posts: 1,102
      NL600 at 2005 is ten times easier than today's NL2.
      The rake is very high at NL2, people nit up, no rakeback... its just not worth it building a bankroll this way...

      Try playing some tournaments, definitely watch some MTT and MTSNG videos here. The good thing about tournaments is that the rake doesnt eat that much from your ROI, the average tournament player is way weaker than in the cash games and in tournaments there are a ton of spots you can find and apply your edge over your oponent's weaknesses.

      About the full-ring strategy - you play a very old strategy that most regs even at NL2 know how to exploit - you probably open-limp low pocket pairs to set mine.
      Also your 3bet is only 2.2 which basically means KK+? You gotta 3bet alot more which will allow you to play more heads up pots and also win more preflop pots without paying rake.

      To answer your questions:
      1. Its a small sample, but you are at best like 5bb/100 winner that runs bad so far. Maybe a small loser. Dont quit just because you lose at a hard and worthless game - try other games like MTT or PLO. Most cash players dont play 9man anymore but I hate 6max NL with every bit of my heart and soul, so I would never recommend it! :D
      2. Look for an oponent in your database who you find good and watch how he player his hands that went to showdown. Watch videos. If you really want to continue with cash - read Easy Game by Baluga Whale
      3. Probably 100k will give you an idea of how good you are. By the way, search the forum for HansTheGreat and read his blog. He went from $50 to $100k in 9 months. That will inspire you for sure.

      I dont mean to be harsh, just trying to help. :f_drink:
    • pguest
      pguest
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.04.2009 Posts: 1,899
      Hi, Bernasconi.

      I'm no specialist at all, but here are my 2 cents:

      Originally posted by Bernasconi
      A few weeks ago I started grinding again and I have pleasure doing so. I am not a complete beginner, but no expert neither. I play pre flop according to the Starting Hand Chart from ProkerStrategy.com and I would consider myself capable of playing NL2.
      It's ok to start with that chart, for FR, until you adapt to the "modern times".
      Just don't open limp with anything at all and select the right spots for set mining. Preferably IP, when your implied odds are higher and against a nit with a very tight OR range or players that play too loose post flop and go broke with any top pair or combo draw.

      After playing a bit more and gaining more experience, you could switch to a SHC a bit more loose.
      Just don't go crazy on FR. I haven't crossed paths with many good lagish players at NL2.
      My advice would be to stick to the tagish style for now. It still looks "profitable".

      Originally posted by Bernasconi
      My stats are based on 5K hands and the Leak Tracker says everything is GOOD
      Very small sample size. A lot of postflop stats require a way more hands to converge. WR as well.

      Originally posted by Bernasconi
      except for CBet Flop which is slightly too high with 86% and Fold to Flop CBet which is too high with 70%.
      You're probably cbetting too much, at the wrong spots and/or against the wrong opponents.
      IMHO, it is almost impossible to cbet all that only for value...
      Haven't you been trying to push too much your opponents out of their hands? Specially OOP? That tendency is very exploitable.


      Originally posted by Bernasconi
      Basic stats (5K hands on NL2 full-ring):

        VPIP 17.5
        PFR 10
        3Bet 2.2

      You've been playing the preflop too passively. The difference between your VPIP and your PFR is too high.
      Try to keep a difference of 3 between those 2 stats. For instance, something like 17.5/14.5 or 13/10.
      You may also be carrying that passivity to the postflop...
      Your 3bet looks low as well. I would say a value of 3 is probably very nitish for SH, but a minimum for FR.

      My stats look a lot like https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/78/micro-small-stakes-full-ring/official-stats-graphs-analysis-thread-158015/ (the first post).

      I'd also say to you to avoid marginal situations, specially in NL2, where the rake is bigger.
      Try to table select a lot, and to keep the calling stations (VPIP of 30+, PRF of 10- and very low fold to cbets
      ) or the maniacs (VPIP of 30+, PRF of 15+ and very low fold to cbets) at your right and the tagish/nitish at your left.

      Keep in mind that, sometimes, the difference between the VPIP and the PRF is much more relevant than the values themselves.
      For example, I wouldn't fear a 22/10 player, but I'd avoid a 22/18 with solid postflop stats.

      Avoid the almost nonexistent good lags. Avoid tables that don't have, at least, 2 calling stations or 2 maniacs or 1 calling station and 1 maniac.
      Avoid battling with regulars. At least, until you learn how to exploit each one of them.
    • pguest
      pguest
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.04.2009 Posts: 1,899
      BTW, you can use https://www.pokerscout.com/ to decide where and when to play. Play at the peak times, when the probability of finding exploitable players is higher.
    • la55i
      la55i
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 27.01.2013 Posts: 8,490
      As others have already said, you are probably using very old strategies. Those pre-flop opening charts you are using are not the best ones either.

      The sample size you have is way too small. To see a bit more realistic overall winrate you have to play tens of thousands of hands. Even at 100k hands you won't necessarily see 100% accurately how you are playing. And in a 5k hand sample all of the stats (especially postflop) will still be a bit inaccurate. So leakfinder will also be inaccurate.

      I can suggest you post a lot of hands in to the forums and watch a lot of videos.
      I also have to throw in a small advertisement here :D If you at some point are interested in affordable coaching, check out the links in my signature.
    • pguest
      pguest
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.04.2009 Posts: 1,899
      Bernasconi, you may try those ones:



      Regards,

      pguest.
    • Bernasconi
      Bernasconi
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.08.2006 Posts: 486
      Thank you very much for all your detailed feedback. I really appreciate the help of the community. Seems like I am not doing everything wrong.

      MTTs and MTSNGs are on my radar and I think they could be fun to play as well. The reason why I decided to play cash games at least for the beginning is that I want to play a game with a lower variance. To be honest, I do not want to afford 100+ buy-ins even for 1$ tournaments just to find out that I lose.

      The point is that I see Poker as a world for self-improvement. I do want to improve, and I want to be at least a winning player to feel good about it. I do not depend on the money on these limits I play. I could potentially afford to pay 20-50$ every single month if I had to. But this is the point. I want to be good and I am willing to put in the work required. I do not want to “gamble” in MTTs until I know I (still) have what it needs to be at least a break-even player with the potential to improve.

      I stopped open-limping with low pairs and adjusted with open raising or folding depending on the position and the opponents. This is something that is new to me, but it seems to work nowadays.

      I also tried wo widen my pre flop 3-bet range in my todays session according to your feedback. Thank you very much for that input. I already experienced a few players that raise PF to fold against a 3-bet.

      I am not sure if I should...
      a) ...Stay on full-ring NL2 and grind until I have some more hands in my PokerTracker?
      b) ...Switch to 6-max NL2 (maybe Zoom tables etc.)? How should I adjust my play? Any references?
      c) ...Switch to tournaments as suggested above?
      d) ...Switch to full-ring NL5 to avoid the high rake? This seems a bad move to me because my bankroll not really allows that and I did not win in NL2.

      Any feedback on this would be highly appreacited.

      Anyway, I think about taking la55i’s coaching at some point because it is the first offer that seems payable in my current situation.

      Btw. my stats changed a tiny bit after todays session to:

        VPIP: 17.98
        PFR: 10.64
        3bet PF: 2.58

        Hands: 5.3K
        WR: -3.4BB/100
        WR w/o Rake: +2.3BB/100
    • TurokRider
      TurokRider
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.10.2011 Posts: 146
      My 2 cents, for what it's worth :

      Originally posted by Bernasconi
      I am not sure if I should...
      a) ...Stay on full-ring NL2 and grind until I have some more hands in my PokerTracker?
      b) ...Switch to 6-max NL2 (maybe Zoom tables etc.)? How should I adjust my play? Any references?
      c) ...Switch to tournaments as suggested above?
      d) ...Switch to full-ring NL5 to avoid the high rake? This seems a bad move to me because my bankroll not really allows that and I did not win in NL2.
      a) Regular FR NL2 is as easy as it gets (not saying it is easy ! I wish I could, but it's the least hard)
      b) 6max requires a looser game, those stats you show are way too nitty.
      Do not play zoom if regular tables are hard. Zoom is fun but tough thou your solid game might be suited for that. Still, better keep away from zoom.
      c) tournaments are a whole different ballgame. If you like it, do that. if you don't like watching grass grow, play cashtables :)
      d) 5nl is a tougher level then nl2, and the rake is still high. Really no point to go to nl5.


      Originally posted by Bernasconi
      Anyway, I think about taking la55i’s coaching at some point because it is the first offer that seems payable in my current situation.
      Best idea ever ! You won't regret it, do it, really, I'm serious
    • nsavov
      nsavov
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.09.2010 Posts: 1,102
      ^ what he said. I wouldnt take the coaching, but if you can afford it, probably a maximum of 5 hours will make you a winner at 6max! That is way faster that learning on your own.

      NL5 the rake is even higher compared to what you are going to win, that is why I dislike building a roll with cash games. It is so frustrating seein you won 5 buy ins and paid like 8 buy-ins in rake!

      I forgot to also mention HUSNG. Relatively easier to study than 6max, the bankroll required assuming you are a winner is like 20-30 BIs. And there are a ton of videos here and on the husng training site with a ton different winning styles. The experience with HU will also help you with MTTs if you decide to go down that road later. :f_thumbsup:
    • pguest
      pguest
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.04.2009 Posts: 1,899
      Originally posted by Bernasconi

      I am not sure if I should...
      a) ...Stay on full-ring NL2 and grind until I have some more hands in my PokerTracker?
      b) ...Switch to 6-max NL2 (maybe Zoom tables etc.)? How should I adjust my play? Any references?
      c) ...Switch to tournaments as suggested above?
      d) ...Switch to full-ring NL5 to avoid the high rake? This seems a bad move to me because my bankroll not really allows that and I did not win in NL2.


      That is a personal call.
      I believe the rake could be even worse at SH NL2, when compared to FR NL2, because you may need to defend the blinds a lot more and, eventually, see the flop. I suppose there is a lot more of marginal and breakeven spots. But, I could be wrong...

      On the bright side, SH should attract a way more recreational players.

      This post may interest you: 6-max versus full ring cash games - What's the best choice for a beginner?

      Good luck!
    • Pokamon
      Pokamon
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2006 Posts: 538
      Originally posted by Bernasconi
      I am not sure if I should...
      a) ...Stay on full-ring NL2 and grind until i win
      e) study.
      [
      exactly.
    • Netgames999
      Netgames999
      Silver
      Joined: 12.11.2006 Posts: 1,890
      Originally posted by nsavov
      NL5 the rake is even higher compared to what you are going to win, that is why I dislike building a roll with cash games. It is so frustrating seein you won 5 buy ins and paid like 8 buy-ins in rake!
      Is that true for all big sites? Stars, Party, 888? Is there a source where I can compare the rake per 100 hands of various sites and stakes?
    • TurokRider
      TurokRider
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.10.2011 Posts: 146
      Originally posted by Netgames999
      Originally posted by nsavov
      NL5 the rake is even higher compared to what you are going to win, that is why I dislike building a roll with cash games. It is so frustrating seein you won 5 buy ins and paid like 8 buy-ins in rake!
      Is that true for all big sites? Stars, Party, 888? Is there a source where I can compare the rake per 100 hands of various sites and stakes?
      Yeah, it's called "the internet". A simple search :

      Pokerstars : 3.5% at 2nl (50cents cap) , 4.15% at 5nl ($1 cap), 4.5% at 10nl ($1.5 cap)
      PartyPoker : 5% ( $1 cap)
      888poker : ~ 6% below 10NL, 5% at 10NL (no cap)
    • nsavov
      nsavov
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.09.2010 Posts: 1,102
      Yes, except Microgaming where they have a 3bb rake cap on every hand. And with the new updates coming up in a couple of days, it is probably the BEST network for playing cashgames. If you dont have an account on a microgaming site search for an affiliate with a promotion where they give you the max 30% rakeback when you register with them.

      I think Pokerstrategy had that promotion with Betsson but Im not sure if its still going on.

      Oh, also Unibet has the lowest % rake for NL4 - 1%. But I have not tried it as that room (network) is banned in my country.

      For a comparison just google rake at poker comparison. :f_thumbsup:
    • Netgames999
      Netgames999
      Silver
      Joined: 12.11.2006 Posts: 1,890
      I don't want to derail this thread, but that doesn't sound so bad for PokerStars and cashgames. IIRC, back when, the cut was 5% on all limits and the cap at $2 or $3.
    • jeysan
      jeysan
      Bronze
      Joined: 10.10.2011 Posts: 239
      Hi
      Use program like HM2 , everitime after playing wach again how you play ,look some hand when you win and lose , whach some poker video how to crush the limit.
      After this you win the NL2
    • Bernasconi
      Bernasconi
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.08.2006 Posts: 486
      Originally posted by jeysan
      Hi
      Use program like HM2 , everitime after playing wach again how you play ,look some hand when you win and lose , whach some poker video how to crush the limit.
      After this you win the NL2
      Thank you for your answer. I review every session in PokerTracker 4. I do exactly what you suggest and review the best and worst outcomes and ask myself if I played the hand wrong and what could be improved.

      I watched nearly any content on PokerStrategy about full ring NL2, but im my opinion I cannot improve just by watching. I played a few more hands since I started the thread and maybe I will reach out to la55i when I reach enough hands so that he can evaluate my database with more useful feedback.
    • CptJokerFish
      CptJokerFish
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.06.2017 Posts: 996
      Originally posted by Bernasconi
      Hi there.

      I was playing Poker for like 2 years between 2005-2007. After that I quit because I had other things going on in my life.

      A few weeks ago I started grinding again and I have pleasure doing so. I am not a complete beginner, but no expert neither. I play pre flop according to the Starting Hand Chart from ProkerStrategy.com and I would consider myself capable of playing NL2. But my Poker Tracker 4 graph does not look like this.

      I am willing to improve but I do not know where I should start. At this point I am not willing to put in a few hundered dollars for personal coaching. Are there any (possibly cheap or free alternatives) to find out (maybe on my own) where I can / should improve?

      My stats are based on 5K hands and the Leak Tracker says everything is GOOD except for CBet Flop which is slightly too high with 86% and Fold to Flop CBet which is too high with 70%. All other stats are in the "range of values for solid winning players".

      Basic stats (5K hands on NL2 full-ring):

        VPIP 17.5
        PFR 10
        3Bet 2.2




      I have -3.25BB/100. Without Rake it would be +2.25BB/100 but as we all know this does not help.

      So to summarize:

        1. Am I a losing player and should I quit?
        2. How can I (affordably) find spots to improve my game to become a winning player?
        3. Should I stop analyzing until I played X amount of hands? How many?


      Thank you so much for your help in advance. I appreciate this community very much.
      Dont be disappointed you have played only 5k hands. Thats 0 sample size.
      So it does not mean that you are a losing Player.
    • Bernasconi
      Bernasconi
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.08.2006 Posts: 486
      Just wanted to post an update on my recent development. Since I initally openend this thread a week ago I played 3.3k more hands to a total of 8.4k hands. At first my graph went further down but I studies a lot and played more nontheless. Luckily, I seem to be pretty tilt resistant as I can play my game even if I lose 2-3 stacks in a session of 1 hour.

      Anyway, here are the stats:

        Hands: 8.4k
        VPIP: 17 (-0.5)
        PFR: 11(+1)
        3Bet: 3.1 (+0.9)


      And here are the results:

        WR: +1.1BB/100 (+4.35)
        WR w/o rake: 7.6BB/100 (+5.4)




      Conclusion
      It might be true that the sample size is still small with something less than 10k. On the other hand I am really satisfied with how the graph developed. Seems like I had turned around the loss I created with 5k hands with only 3k hands. Maybe I really improved during that period and maybe it is still just luck and variance. Who knows.

      What's fun to watch is the "Overall Luck Bell Curve" in PT4 which states that I am somewhat lucky with flushes but I am unlucky with sets and even very unlucky with straight draws. So maybe the variance is on my side and I can hope for more hit draws in the future.

      Anyway, the reason for posting my update in this detail is mainly because I want to thank the community on PokerStrategy for the valuable feedback I got a week ago when I was feeling a bit lost. And I hope that my story helps others believe in the possibility to improve and get better in the game. I am surely clever enough to understand that the future is uncertain and that my graph could turn again below the 0$ mark.

      Happy grinding!
    • la55i
      la55i
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 27.01.2013 Posts: 8,490
      It is great that you are doing better :f_thumbsup:

      And yea, the sample sizes are very very very small.. I have played with 16bb/100 winrate over 20k hands and I can tell you that my winrate is not even close to being so good :f_biggrin: I have also had up and downswings of hundreds of big blinds. So your winrate really doesn't tell you how well you are doing before you have close to 100k hands or preferably even more.
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