Stop Grind, Let's Crush! Hu SnG blogg from micro to ...

    • DiSpirit
      DiSpirit
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.06.2009 Posts: 40
      Hey,

      Starting to blogg my experiences with beating HU SnG ;) With an idea to make it a video blogg soon in the future.

      Now, some background:

      I'm a 21yo IT student from Lithuania who thinks he's major is as boring as it can possibly get..

      Poker background?

      Some :) I'v been familiar with hold'em poker for two years now. First and a half year I was pretty sure that any two cards are equally good, raising pre-flop is just plainly stupid (you know, how can you bet when you dont know all the cards ?!?!) and only played live with roommates where the loser buys beer for everyone (somehow I never had to buy.. weird).

      A bit more than half a year ago a friend introduced me to PokerStrategy.com, he did most of the test for me to get the capital and I chose PokerStars as the first site and regular SnG as the game I'll make my millions with!

      Ah, first articles... Wait, what?! There are only so few hands I can play ?? Position ?! A chart for starting hands ? Push/Fold ?!!!! Now that's just crazy talk, it's not what I saw on TV shows! :s_confused:

      At that moment I was working in USA at had little time to play, and pretty much no time to actually learn. Deposited additional 50$ to get first deposit bonus and started grinding 1$ sng. Even tho I managed not to go broke, making profit was out of the question.

      Still I'm too stubborn to give on the dream of making poker money, so I came home to Lithuania, withdraw from PokerStars and deposited on PokerHeaven. My weapon of choice to take opponents money was nl4 SH.

      Last days of October, 2009 was the start of my poker career. In the next month I made 300euro profit (with rakeback), I'd say, not too shabby for a new player in a new type of game. Grinding ~40hours a week, 4 tabling, mostly at sh nl10

      Withdraw all the profit and left 50euro in my account. End of the semester was coming and poker had to take a step back so I would be able to spend spring studying in Denmark (Worked out quite well :f_grin: ).

      March of 2010, time to make some money! :f_cool: I quickly reached 100euro BR and continued playing nl10. It was sick.. so sick.. in less than ten days my BR tripled and it seemed I'm unstoppable! Got cocky and already dreamed of crushing nl25+ when it happened..

      A downswing continued with major tilting and for the next two weeks I lost half of my winnings and was afraid to play poker at all.. Financial problems on the side wasn't helping either :f_frown:

      Luckily, very luckily, a friend who showed me PokerStrategy.com introduced me to Hu SnG and gave some advice about poker attitude and tilt. So, I withdraw 200euros (whole BR) from PokerHeaven and spend them on a trip (AC/DC concert to which I'm going this sunday!! :f_cool: ). Then I got a major BR starting capital of 20euros :f_biggrin: on Titan Poker and started HU career

      Now, two months in the HU SnG (not very intense) I'm feeling comfortable again and making some profit. 10$ SnG's is my weapon now


      Plans for the future:

      I really like playing poker and making profit of it (doh?), but grinding is not the option for me, because lack of free time to pursuit my passions is the reason why I'm not going to work in a regular job.

      So for me, playing smart instead of a lot is the way.

      As mentioned in the beginning this will be be a video blogg which means I'll be adding my more interesting sessions/games with commentary. However, due to busy schedule this will most likely happen in the mid of summer.



      Woah... It got "a bit" longer than expected so I'll stop now, on the next post I'll cover my success with HU SnG so far :s_cool:

      Thank you for reading and hopefully it was enjoyable! ;)
  • 20 replies
    • DiSpirit
      DiSpirit
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.06.2009 Posts: 40
      Hey hey ! ;)

      Change of plans. Thanks to a fellow member vanja27 for recommending a software to record my sessions!

      I got so excited with it that I couldn't wait for the summer to actually start making this blogg a "video blogg" that I started recording my first games today, playing with software and would very much like to share with all of you with the result! :f_grin:

      Okey first, about the gameplay itself - it's bad (very?). I was more interested in how the recording was going than the game itself, so many mistakes, distractions and I actually deserved to lose both games. Luckily on the game on the right had a lose/passive opponent which most of the times means easy money. Anyhow, all observations are very much welcomed! :s_love:

      There are no commentary at the moment and I'm mostly interested in whether the quality of the videos is good enough for pleasurable viewing, positioning and all other general observations.

      Part 1



      Part 2



      Part 3



      And again, any feedback is very appreciated :s_grin:

      EDIT: Okey, having troubles uploading videos. Yay, fixed
    • NightFrostaSS
      NightFrostaSS
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2008 Posts: 5,255
      Oh, cool, Lithuanian hu blog, +1 reader for sure. :D

      Videos are obv too small as posted but if i go to youtube and watch it the sizing is fine so i guess it's better if you'd just post links to vids instead of embeding them, or play 1 table. Also add in audio, much more feedback could be given then. I'll watch it a bit later and leave few comments i guess, i hate SNG format tho so i'm not really good at it but might help w some postflop stuff in early stages.
    • NightFrostaSS
      NightFrostaSS
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2008 Posts: 5,255
      Fuck, wrote a long post and most of it disappeared when i clicked preview, wtf. Too lazy to write same stuff twice.
    • delyron
      delyron
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.07.2007 Posts: 33
      HU blog + lt = keeping an eye on this one :f_biggrin:
      gonna start playing again myself when I'll get some more free time from work and yeah I play HU also which is quite easy on iPoker and the rake is fine unlike pp. Don't have the time to watch vids now but gonna check them later :f_cool:
    • Them
      Them
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.12.2007 Posts: 612
      add commentary on videos and then I will look into them.

      and a tip. If you record live video you should only 1 table or otherwise the commentary will become much much harder.

      if you 2 table i quess its best to add sound later so you can pause and explain yourself.
    • DiSpirit
      DiSpirit
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.06.2009 Posts: 40
      Thanks for feedback!

      I'll make sure to add commentary whenever I have couple of technical issues covered. Tho I'm going on a trip for two weeks so it might take some time.

      Also, I actually prefer to play one table at higher limit than multitable 5$'s, so hopefully it will look much better (and I can comment while playing)

      I'm surprised there are many Lithuanians playing HU :) Cool! :f_cool:

      I play HU also which is quite easy on iPoker and the rake is fine unlike pp
      I was amazed at how bad some players actually are. Wonder, if bigger sites like FT and PS offer similar player pool for 5-10$ HU's
    • Lindberg789
      Lindberg789
      Bronze
      Joined: 10.04.2009 Posts: 314
      Hey.
      Nice blog. :)
      Starting hu sngs myself.
      Have a few comments regarding your play from my point of view.
      Part 1:
      3.03 : the 72 hand - you pot size value bet river, first time you don't use 3/4 pot - not that a fish would notice you differ your bet size, but i wouldn't change bet size.
      3.25 : KTs where you flop flush, I would raise flop - cause he is much more likely to defend a queen or a two pair on the flop than on the turn or river if another :diamond: or T, J comes.
      4.30 : 22 hand you need to bet at some point in the hand flop or turn - and river bluff cause you can't win a showdown, and the paired flop is nice to bet cause he is unlikely to have hit.
      4.45 : KK I would check behind the river - and noticed you only bet 1/2 pot, you differ your bet size again.
      7.40 : I don't like the A4o raise out of position cause it just plays horrible, when played c-bet flop.

      Part 2:
      0.01 : check back turn in the QT hand - as played nice fold on river.
      4.45 : Raise A4o in position fine, but why no c-bet on KJx board? You really need that pot.

      Another thing is you open raise 2½ bb now, then you could also consider lowering your bets from 3/4 to 2/3 to save some chips when reraised.

      Only had time to watch the first 2 parts, will watch the rest tonight.
      Think its a great idea with video blog, considering it myself now. ;D
      It's a unique way to learn both ways.

      Really enjoy your blog. Keep it up.

      Will be back tonight.
    • NightFrostaSS
      NightFrostaSS
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2008 Posts: 5,255
      Meh i'll do a bit of a review myself, hopefully this time most of my post won't disappear.

      Part 1

      57o hand on 889r: bet the flop it's rainbow, paired, usually first to bet it will take down the pot, and being more aggressive will help you out to feel out what kind of opponent are you playing. As played pot turn, i don't think that 10 chips difference will change his calling range but you'll have a bigger pot on river and so will be able to get more chips in. Also it's first hand and he doesn't know what bet sizing you'd usually do. And i do think it's actually pretty good to just pot in limped pots when making the first bet on early stages.

      c/r w A9o hand on dry board: he folded because you had the best hand, nothing bad w that but you could consider just calling the flop and try to get to a cheap showdown you have an ok SD value.

      72o on 522: bet the flop, need to build the pot and you have no reason to think that he stabs the pot whenever checked to. You still can get called by stuff like 5x, maybe Ax depending on how tigh he plays against the bets which we aren't sure yet, maybe some overs, gutshots etc.

      Flush hand raise the flop obv.

      22 hand, played fine but you might consider betting the river, won't make him fold Kx but might fold out Tx/Jx or a chop.

      AQs hand, alternative line could be to just try check it down because you'll get called / raised quite frequently and aren't going to fold out any better hands on flop anyway.

      AQo on J77r board as played it's fine but given that this villain has shown a tendency to c/f most flops i'd prob just bet to make him fold out his equity share, also sometimes you'll get called by worse, from this villain most likely it woul'd be stuff like gutshots etc and it doesn't seem like he's likely to make you fold the best hand on later streets.

      74o limped pot for a straight, way too draw heavy to go for c/r instead of betting out imo.

      25779 board w Q2s, def fold to his river overbet, why would you even think you are ever good here vs him.

      QTo turn bet is a bit too thin imo.

      There are some other spots i'd advocate playing more aggressively but it prob applies more for hu cash than hu sngs so i'll leave it out.

      Too lazy now to do further review. :D
    • DiSpirit
      DiSpirit
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.06.2009 Posts: 40
      Thx guys !

      I'll try to give my reasoning to the hands you just mentioned:

      57o: First hand vs unknown opponent, if it was a raised pot I'd always raise. But now, very often I'll get called and would put myself in quite an ugly position. I can also see looser opponents reraising. I like to play tight oop early in the game, I think it gives me tighter image and more effectiveness taking pots later, when blinds are higher

      A9o: This is interesting, it positions like that I usually reraise instead of call, because there are more than enough scare cards for turn/river (J,Q,K) where I won't be able to call anymore. Also, reraising his cbets early have it's benefits on itself (he'll more likely to call when I do have a hand and maybe chose more carefully which flops he cbets, which can be exploitable)

      72o: Wow.. That was bad.. :f_confused: Agree, should have bet flop. The river bet, well, when playing I though changing bet size to try to induce hero call, but now it was just not believable (maybe overbet? like 1.3x pot)

      KTs: Flush, agree, raise was needed. Btw, I often see bad players min bet flop and then full pot turn, any idea what reasoning is behind that ?

      22: As said I like to play tighter oop early, but yeah, betting river might'v been better

      KK: I believe Q with a good kicker would'v called river bet. Ace high would rarely call flop+turn, so it was a pretty safe card. Tho the sizing on the bet was bad, agree, had to be 3/4s

      AQs: Agree, checking down would be better. One of those places where autopilot kicked in :s_frown:

      AOo: Scared play by me. It turned out okey now, but don't like my line in general

      74o: Got greedy :f_grin: Yes, bet would'v been better

      Q2s: Again, stupid misplay (It actually gets worse... :f_cry: )

      Again, thanks for feedback, it's helping a lot!
    • Lindberg789
      Lindberg789
      Bronze
      Joined: 10.04.2009 Posts: 314
      Back again. Got home from work early.

      Part 3:
      0.16 : Push K9s it's strong enough and he only has 10 bb
      1.10 : T3o bet it somewhere, cause it has no showdown value and he shows weakness by completing and checking behind on flop, so bet turn.
      2.17 : I would check behind, I don't see anything worse calling a bet.
      3.20 : I would push 97s - effektive stacks is 10 bb
      4.50 : again I would push - I don't like min raise when stacks is below 10 bb, between 10-20 I think it's great.
      5.05 : I don't think you can fold there - he could be pushing a draw, A high or something stupid - and even if he has the Q you have backdoor outs. :f_biggrin:
      5.30 : you still do the min raise thing ..
      6.45 : I would consider shoving, he has limped trash earlier, adn your cards are live if called
      7.02 : yeah you start pushing :)
      9.35 : I would check flop, he has been folding to all your lead outs, no reason to believe that has changed.

      I really enjoyed watching you play, and would love to see some more of this.
      Take care.
    • DiSpirit
      DiSpirit
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.06.2009 Posts: 40
      I play late game according to SAGE, so for most opponents I start pushing only when 7 BB are left.

      I think 7 - 15 BB stage is a place where I could improve A LOT
    • DiSpirit
      DiSpirit
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.06.2009 Posts: 40
      Me again ! ;)

      As this is just the beginning of my blogg, I'd like to share my successes, loses and observations from the start of my Heads Up career.

      [img]http://www.pokerprolabs.com/Personalization/AsyncGraphController.ashx?id=41508184&pnid=9&tt=4&dt=0&gt=1&w=240&h=180[/img]

      This is my graph for the first 900 games. Kinda bumpy? :f_biggrin: And with a nice tendency to go up! :s_cool:

      Anyhow, I remember reading that each downswing is a challenge and if survive it, we become better players. Never before knew how true those words are :)

      So, my plan is to go through the lines going up and down, explaining what was happening and what realizations I got so far


      First 100 games.. Ah, those were the times, I had no background in heads up play and before starting playing at 2$ sngs (atm I had 20euro BR) I just watched one HokieGreg HU video. Got to love heaters, I crushed 2$ sng's and started 5$ after doubling my BR. It was actually confusing: can other players be THAT bad ? Cockiness runs deep in my blood and winning without effort wasn't helping :f_mad: . In just two days 20euros became 90euros, kinda nice, eh ?

      Then reality kicked in :s_biggrin: I started losing, a lot. Watched couple more videos but was so sure I'm doing everything right, so didn't take anything useful. Naturally, didn't want to move down a limit and so losing didn't stop and tilt was out of proportion. Shit, can I ever win at this game ?!?!

      When I think of it, I was just playing bad, nothing more, nothing less. Took couple of days brake, reviewed videos, moved back to 2$ and started grinding. A LOT. Being stubborn sometimes pay off, when you'r not willing to give up

      Everything came to place and over a decent sample I was rebuilding my BR. Reaching 100euros was exciting as I could move back to 5$ sngs. YAY! Player pool differs a bit for 2$ and 5$, so winning was much harder, but I reached ~135-140euro in couple of days. Oh those happy days.. Hey, I'm winning, let's get overconfident again! :f_biggrin:

      Down down down, was multitabling a lot, to the point I was playing mostly on autopilot and anyone who tried HU (or poker in general) will tell you - It's money losing strategy. So my next big swing took place. But I'm smarter now? Moving back a limit, staying calm and so on.. Nah! Just kept on grinding sometimes 3 tables at a time, convincing myself that I can force through "bad luck". Back to tilt again.. wooohoo :f_mad: It was a point where I was afraid to turn on a table (again)

      Got more videos, started learning more and more and more. Then practicing, one table at a time. And you know what? I'm winning again ;) Feels good :s_love:

      Then got my revelations - autopilot sucks (a lot), making conscious decisions rocks! I'm started playing only when I feel my best (not drunk/hangover, not hungry, not sleepy, not angry, not horny and so on) and mostly one table at a time (I actually find it hard now to proceed all the information for two tables, that I do for one). For me, it's all about maxing my edge against opponents.

      Oh, one more strange observation, 10$ sng's have less good players than 5$ ones.. :f_grin:
    • Lindberg789
      Lindberg789
      Bronze
      Joined: 10.04.2009 Posts: 314
      Hey.
      Good to see you realize what you have been doing wrong, that's the first step.
      I agree that one table is much better, really think of your lines and if they make sence (especially to the fish), have had some problems with representing strength and getting called down with A high. Something like calling a bet on a paired board and when he checks turn, I bet (same for river). The fish fails to see that calling the flop is strong. Has also tried the opposite - reraising flop with nuts inducing a bluff as I represent nothing, where he folds. :( this is in limped pots btw)

      What kind og brm do you use? and are you playing turbo or regular?
    • DiSpirit
      DiSpirit
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.06.2009 Posts: 40
      Originally posted by Lindberg789

      What kind og brm do you use? and are you playing turbo or regular?
      Hey,

      My BRM consist more of guidelines than rules. I put being comfortable in the limit above all. At the moment, this means ~50BI for 5$ sng's and ~25BI for 10$ (I play both). However, I started trying out 10$ sngs with just ~15 BI's, just to get a feel of a game, observe opponents. My plan is to start trying 20$'s at BR of 300euros (~18BI).

      I do play only regular sng's as my game revolves about maxing my edge over opponents, push/fold faze has much higher variance and even very weak players have a chance.
    • NightFrostaSS
      NightFrostaSS
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2008 Posts: 5,255
      Originally posted by DiSpirit
      57o: First hand vs unknown opponent, if it was a raised pot I'd always raise. But now, very often I'll get called and would put myself in quite an ugly position. I can also see looser opponents reraising. I like to play tight oop early in the game, I think it gives me tighter image and more effectiveness taking pots later, when blinds are higher
      You shouldn't assume that you'll often get called (although it might be true at 5$ sngs), it's a good spot to bet in vacuum and since it's first hand of the match thats as vacuum as it gets. Losing 30 chips isn't much but figuring out your opponent quicker is very valuable. Not sure about the image part, it might be ok, but i wouldn't worry too much about such stuff vs someone who limps first hand in 5$ SNG. Also most poker players are huge pussies so maniac image rocks. :D

      A9o: This is interesting, it positions like that I usually reraise instead of call, because there are more than enough scare cards for turn/river (J,Q,K) where I won't be able to call anymore. Also, reraising his cbets early have it's benefits on itself (he'll more likely to call when I do have a hand and maybe chose more carefully which flops he cbets, which can be exploitable)
      This is all true, it's just that it's first hand that seemingly passive player raised and cbet + the only time you got to SD where he shown strenght he had monster so i'd tend to give him more credit here and play it a bit more passively. ;)

      72o: Wow.. That was bad.. :f_confused: Agree, should have bet flop. The river bet, well, when playing I though changing bet size to try to induce hero call, but now it was just not believable (maybe overbet? like 1.3x pot)
      Nah no need to overbet, don't recall the board now but it seemed like the spot where he'd either have a weakish hand/missed draw or a flush, weakish hand might call your river bet but get scared of overbet and with flush hell shove like 100% given how the first hand played out, but "might" get scared and just call if you overbet.

      KTs: Flush, agree, raise was needed. Btw, I often see bad players min bet flop and then full pot turn, any idea what reasoning is behind that ?
      This is actually a pretty sexy line to take vs some regs. :D Obv fish doesn't know that, from fish it might mean two things 1) he tried to induce and now is potting to get more chips in that he lost by making gay bet on flop. or 2) He used flop minbet as a feeler and since by just calling you shown weakness he's trying to blow you off the hand by bombing turn. You'll have to figure out which is which yourself tho.

      KK: I believe Q with a good kicker would'v called river bet. Ace high would rarely call flop+turn, so it was a pretty safe card. Tho the sizing on the bet was bad, agree, had to be 3/4s
      This is true for sure, i liked your play on this hand.
    • wuttehhell
      wuttehhell
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      Joined: 27.03.2010 Posts: 474
      care for a game? :P
    • DiSpirit
      DiSpirit
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.06.2009 Posts: 40
      Originally posted by wuttehhell
      care for a game? :P
      Yes! Better players are so much more fun to play! :f_grin:

      I'll be back from my adventure in the mid of June. Btw, which platform?


      NightFrostaSS, could you elaborate more on playing maniac like (mostly, how not to get carried away and where do you set the bounds)? So far, I'm playing tight oop and lose in position, but would love to learn about other styles in Heads up
    • NightFrostaSS
      NightFrostaSS
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.10.2008 Posts: 5,255
      Originally posted by DiSpirit
      NightFrostaSS, could you elaborate more on playing maniac like (mostly, how not to get carried away and where do you set the bounds)? So far, I'm playing tight oop and lose in position, but would love to learn about other styles in Heads up
      Well my style is basically is to try and be as annoying as possible to my opponents in small/medium pots that's one of the reasons why i open 100% buttons vs most regs, it also involves some unorthodox postflop lines like for example the one you asked about before when fish min donkbets flop and pots turn. The bound is not to try and make someone fold top pair type hand, even if he's good solid player chances are that he won't fold it even when he doesn't beat anything but a pure bluff, for example:

      Hand converted with online PokerStrategy.com hand converter:

      Play hand

      $0.5/$1 No-Limit Hold'em (2 handed)

      Known players:
      SB (Hero):
      $255.50
      BB:
      $194.75


      Preflop: Hero is SB with 7, 6.
      BB raises to $3.00, Hero raises to $10.00, BB calls $7.00.

      Flop: ($20) J, 7, 7 (2 players)
      Hero bets $12.00, BB raises to $28.00, Hero calls $16.00.

      Turn: ($76) T (2 players)
      Hero checks, BB checks.

      River: ($76) A (2 players)
      Hero checks, BB bets $37.50, Hero raises to $217.50, BB calls $119.25.

      Final Pot: $450.25.
      Results follow:

      BB shows two pairs, aces and sevens(2 A).
      Hero shows three of a kind, sevens(7 6).

      Hero wins with three of a kind, sevens(7 6).

      --------------------
      Anyway, if you want to live up your sng game my advice would be to start with your standard btn opening and bb defending % and go from there.

      If villain seems to be super loose calling station, you can nit it up and raise let's say 50/60% OTB but then make it 4x instead of 3x, you can limp some % of the time as well if you want to. This should obviously be applied to players who call a ton post flop as well. As for post flop play, naturally you'll have much stronger hands but then try and be more showdown bound vs such players which means try to check down stuff like bottom pair, Ax etc more often because they won't fold anything better anyway.

      If someone calls a ton preflop but then plays fit or fold postflop again you should increase your raise sizing and then slightly lower your cbet sizing, against such players no need to tighten up. In hu cash when i used to still play fish there were few extreme examples where i'd raise 8 or even 10bb preflop. :D

      Now if someone is tight OOP you can switch to minraising every button and then half pot every flop, these players tend to be extremely fit or fold and even if they aren't they'll usually fold too much anyway.

      these things probably seem pretty obvious but i feel like i failed to answer your question fully so felt like writing something more, and my play style would suck in sng format anyway. :f_p:

      Oh and get a HUD ASAP!
    • DiSpirit
      DiSpirit
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.06.2009 Posts: 40
      Hey hey, I'm back! :f_cool:

      Had a superb trip (got to love sleeping under Eiffel tower and catching a cold, or nearly braking your feet while jumping from old cannons in Barcelona lol) and the the thirst for poker is higher than ever. But, due to such minor annoyances as university, got to pass couple of exams in the next two weeks first :s_evil:

      Ah, cant wait to start making this a regularly updated video blogg! :)

      btw, played couple of games today (yeah yeah I know, tomorrow is exam, and I should be studying but meh..) and realized that it is actually possible to forget how to play :f_confused: Will be rebuilding skills back in 5$ sngs before going up again :)


      To NightFrostaSS,

      "Well my style is basically is to try and be as annoying as possible", wow, this is interesting, because so far, I'd always tried not to push envelope to far (f.e. if I cbeted several flops in a row, or reraised preflop, I will step back and let the opponent take a small pot in marginal spots) as I found it very confusing to play players when they'r going crazy.

      Let's say a situation:

      You dominate the opponent, he's pushed in a corner and starts to play back in stupid spots, this happens by mid game, effective stack ~20-25BB. Normally, I'll be raising to 2.5x BB by then, and hit 33% of flops if he'll start to reraise/flop with low pairs or air I'll be put in very marginal spots and, I think, I'll lose edge I have over opponent.

      Could you comment if I'm thinking wrong or missing something in this thought process ? I think I do understand why it works in cash, but not sure for sng


      Also, why HUD is necessary? by now there are handful of regs who have +roi, who I avoid and who avoid me, others are usually fish that I meet once or twice at all or regs down 1-3k and play just so bad it's not even funny anymore. Or, again, I'm missing something else :)

      Btw, thanks for great replies !
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