Dumb questions, bad assumptions, & shameless self-aggrandizing

It’s natural to fixate on the hands you lose. Victories are fleeting, and are what’s “supposed” to happen, so they don’t stick in the mind as much as a bad beat or badly played hand that costs you a lot of chips.

It’s good to study both the hands you win and the hands you lose, in order to improve your game. You can learn from your mistakes. Some hands you win for a big pot are good outcomes on bad play, and some lost hands are played perfectly and yet have a bad outcome. Sometimes when you win, you don’t get as many chips as you could have if you had played the hand better. There’s always something to learn, and sometimes the lessons aren’t apparent when the hand is fresh, but when you go back later you can pick up things you couldn’t see at the time when you had less experience. I think it’s probably better to focus on your bad plays and mistakes and close holes in your game first. It’s one of the reasons I post so many hands where I lose (and lose because I made a mistake) on these forums, and not so many hands where I played brilliantly.

This is certainly what I did when I decided to get serious about improving. One of the more recent examinations I did was put together six 13x13 range boxes in a spreadsheet with guidance on decision-making via a code. Through live play and mock-up hands by myself, I’ve been able to see what works and what doesn’t.

I always like to have some kind decent hand when I decide to see a flop, but also realize that I can’t trap myself in a box. What I’ll end up doing is taking a more marginal hand within my range that I’d fold or play more passively, and instead play it more aggressively. Great if I hit with it. It’s also not too bad if the board shows a more “normal” range that people see me play, because I can try to bluff with it.

One of the best lessons I’ve learned through all of this is to avoid playing the same situation the same way all the time. If you play predictably, you’re gonna have a bad time.

So, yesterday, i have 2 OESDs hit, and lose, as well as As and Qs, and a set, to flush draws that hit. When you factor in the flush draws i had, that didn’t hit, I figured i’m owed several flush draws that don’t hit for them, and at least one that hits for me.
This was my thinking when i limped Td 6d in from the SB.
when i hit a losing streak, I don’t mess around.

I just finished reading a thread about pot limits, and how they are derived. one poster had problems understanding, so the rules were explained, several times, in detail, with real hand examples. Suddenly, i’m getting visions of doyle’s early days, with the dealer putting down the deck to pull out the slide rule. Ahhh, so that’s why no limit is so popular.

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Yes, that or fixed limit where all bets are preset increments. Sort of makes me nostalgic (but, I’m old enough to remember those games).

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Fizzy locked that topic stating “things are getting a little derailed now, I’m going to close the topic”.
Let’s not rehash it here.

I used a post of my stats, from a month ago, to come up with my stats for the last month.

09/19/19 10/16/19 last month %
Total hands played: 53700 62216 8516
Hands folded: 62.00% 33136 39052 5916 69
Flops seen: 31775 35809 4034
While in big blind: 7111 8155 1044
While in small blind: 6547 7394 847
While not paying blind: 18117 20260 2143
Pots Won: 18.00% 9743 11122 1379 16
At showdown: 65.00% 6303 7055 752 55
Without showdown: 35.00% 3440 4067 627 45

I’m not really sure what this should be telling me, except maybe lowering my value bets?
just looking at the numbers, the flops seen bewilders me, There’s no way i saw the flop in nearly half the hands i played. The first part of this period, i was having the worst losing streak i’ve ever had. There were tournaments which i didn’t win a single hand. One, i could remember every hand i played, in the 46 minutes i lasted.

What I take away from this is that you’re seeing way too many flops.

Let’s start with the ratio of flops seen when in the small blind to flops seen when in the big blind. At about 81%, this tells me you’re being far too passive, probably limping most of your small blinds. You need to fold off your small blind way more often, since you’ll be out of position postflop, making it more difficult to recognize your equity and gain value when you hit a good hand.

My guess is that you see a flop from the big blind in the vicinity of 95% of the time. You probably rarely get a walk, and when you do face aggression, most of the time it’s easy enough to defend that you do. Also, you probably rarely choose to bet your big blind aggressively and take down the pot preflop. If my guess is accurate, on average, you’re one of 7.75 players at the table - consistent with typically playing 9-handed, with occasional bust-outs and shorter-handed games.

Assuming that assumption holds, you’re still seeing 2,143 flops out of the roughly 6,318 hands when you’re not in the blinds. Nearly 8-handed, seeing one out of every three flops when you’re not in the blinds is WAY too many. You aren’t playing nearly as tight as you think you are - confirmed by the limped weak hands you’ve recently posted.

As a point of comparison, I’ve seen 6,395 flops when not paying a blind, fewer than the 8,042 flops seen when I’ve been in the big blind, but more than the 5,732 flops seen when I’ve been in the small blind. That’s out of nearly 50K total hands played. Yes, I’m probably being overly tight in later positions facing a sea of limpers, but it works for me.

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Bounty Brawl. 7,500 buy in MTT 6/6 seats playing
Blinds 150/300
UTG, CO, and Btn limp
SB calls with image
BB checks
OK, i limped in the pair. I didn’t feel comfortable betting 3-5 BB on a hand i was probably folding, the following street. However, I’m looking at better than 10:1 pot odds, to play, so i just called.
Flop (1,680) image
SB checks. Table checks around
Being in slowplay mode, I checked the set faster than i should have. As soon as i did, I was hoping someone would bet, so i could x/r. I still got a little info, even tho i missed betting the street. 55, JJ, and J5 are probably raising here. I guess they could be doing the same thing i’m doing. but at this point, I’m feeling pretty confident that my set is well disguised, and the best hand, as long as i don’t see another club
turn (1,680) image
SB bets 840, BB and CO call
Ahhhh, the gravy. Even tho i could still be looking at a slow boating JJ, J5, or J4, I’m now hoping flush draws hit, and i may be holding a set vs trips, my favorite scenario in poker.
I’ve missed betting the flop, so i need to get chips in the middle, so i bet 1/2 pot (840).
Was this a mistake? I don’t want to run off draw hands that I’m beating, but if trip Jacks are out there, that’s a shot at somebody’s stack. Perhaps a pot bet would have folded the flush draw, but get JJJ more pot committed, and susceptible to a pot bet on the river.
River (4,200) image
SB bets 1/2 pot (2,100)
BB folds
CO calls, and mucks
The A is a little scary, as now AJ also beats me. Looking back, i wish i had gotten more chips in the middle. 1/2 pot river bet might have been fine, had i bet pot on the turn. maybe the smaller bet on the turn, to keep the draw hand in, then pot on the river, after the draw was through paying out. At any rate, i feel like i didn’t get near the value from the hand that i should have.
all comments welcome

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Your pots won stats are 65% at showdown and 35% without showdown. Mine are 55% and 45%, so possibly you need to bluff more. (I finished in the money in 5 of my last 6 tournaments, and some of the most significant winning pots that enabled me to continue, or to win large pots, were on bluffs.)

Very important for bluffing is to observe the betting patterns of opponents. What do they do if they have second pair? If they lead out with second pair, how much do they bet? If they are in late position, what size bet will they call with second pair? How will they play if they have a pocket pair and two overcards come on the flop? How will they play if they make a set on the flop?

Does your opponent like to slow play his best hands?


See how easily he could have taken down the pot with a bet on the flop. OK, I got very, very lucky on the river when I took the bait! But now this…he limps, then he three bets my reraise. What could he possibly have? What does he think I have? This hand is significant because it burst the bubble, so there was everything to play for.


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Yes that could be one reason however i know many good players on here that rarely bluff but do fold a lot pre flop. Playing Rings vs tourneys/sit n gos will make those percentages different but i play all 3 and have 76% showdown win rate and 24% without showdown with 20% pots won and 67% fold rate. This is because i like to see more flops in rings and more flops early on in the 1st 3 blind levels of tourneys where i think the hands are playable to see the flop and after the flop hits. One reason most of my pots are won at showdown is i like to isolate to 2 or 3 handed pre flop on premium hands then depending on the flop i will isolate to heads up more or 3 handed at most and after that try to take it to the river more to build the pot and out playing your opponent in many forms along the way and whether bluffing or playing your hands that you think will take down the pot after turn hits or river hits. The reason for high showdown winning percentages is to build the pot appropriately but isolating post flop to heads up or 3 handed most of the times unless you think your flopped nut will stand up till the river, in that case isolating opponents isnt as necessary as you can build the pot up even more if you slow play a bit until u jam bigger late on when u think someone catches their hand they wanted but a weaker hand than yours and if they have a half decent hand then you obviously bet smaller to get the call. This all results in a higher % of showdown pots won. Every player will have different strategies and diff %s of pots won at showdown vs non showdown wins Reading the player and the board extremely well is a must for this though.


Nothing wrong with a little set mining. Your opponents let you in cheap, you hit your set, and you added chips to your stack. You knew what could beat you, you attempted to gauge if your opponents could beat you, and then you pushed your perceived advantage.

I don’t know if I would try this against certain types of strong players or at higher buy-in levels, but hey, ya never know. Good job taking advantage of the situation.

I posted stats on a thread, so i was able to compare a month later, and get the stats for just that month. The showdown ratio was 55/45. In my case, i was wondering if there were some things about value betting, i needed to learn.

Maybe that’s why KT is called a sucker’s hand. You’re right about slowrolling giving draws a chance to fill out, but had he not convinced you he didn’t have a K, you would never have shoved a pair of Ts, and an overcard. That’s an exit, most of the time.
. My prob with slowrolling is often people lose interest in their hands after the flop, and it’s hard to get any action.

I used to call that ‘flop shopping’. It was part of the advice i got from a guide on SnG play. When i quit limping hands, it got too expensive, when i missed, too much. Also, the type of presence i have at the table affects so much of my game, if doesn’t bother me if i start out folding an orbit or two. This only applies to SnGs, and MTT in which you registered early enough not to get bounced around.


How was i lucky? Let me count the ways…

  1. The Table… I’m on the button, on a 6/9 table. OOP, especially with 8 or 9 playing, i’m doubtful that i open this hand.
  2. The Flop… The flush draw locks me in. Had this hand come backdoor, good chance it never comes.
  3. The turn… Now I’m invincible.
  4. Someone who decides to bluff his stack on the river, at about the worse time he could have ever chosen.


Image getting this hand, and winning 3 or 4 BB.

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I have a question about this chart. Wouldn’t this depend on the cards left after hands have been dealt? Are they dealing me KK and using 50 cards to figure the odds?
this is a section from a page on holdem odds at cardplayer.com

Yes. The way to check this is as follows:

For each of the five community cards dealt, what is the probability that the next card is NOT an overcard to your pair? Multiply that by the probability of the previous card. Then, subtract that quantity from 1.

In the KK example, there are four overcards you’re trying to dodge. P(One of the five cards is an overcard) = 1 - P(None of the five cards is an overcard) = 1 - P(Card 1 isn’t an ace) * P(Card 2 isn’t an ace) * P(Card 3 isn’t an ace) * P(Card 4 isn’t an ace) * P(Card 5 isn’t an ace).

P(Card 1 isn’t an ace) = 46/50, since there are 50 cards out there, of which 4 are aces. Similarly, P(Card 2 isn’t an ace) = 45/49, since you’ve now seen 3 cards, there are 49 left in the deck, and there are still four aces to dodge. Keep going, and you’re left with

1 - (46/50)(45/49)(44/48)(43/47)(42/46) = 35.3%.

You could run the same calculation using 8 overcards to dodge for QQ, 12 for JJ, and so on, in order to reach the figures provided in the table above.

I would note that if you have 33 and there’s NO overcard on the board, you can probably just fold anyway, since you’re probably looking at community quad deuces and the worst kicker.


That is as rare as a royal tho but under one scenario having 232-32-2 or any order of those cards hitting the board, then your quad 3s would win with the 2 kicker not to mention u will get a caller if anyone has a 2 and maybe a couple callers that have pocket pairs thinking their higher boat will take the pot not expecting or thinking of quad 3s out there and you would still take a decent sized pot.


Yeah, if you end up with quad 3s and no overcards on the board, then obviously go with it.

Anyone have any sage advice on note taking? I usually don’t see players at the table as individuals, unless they impress me, or annoy me. Still, i’m seeing repeat opponents a bit, nowdays, and i feel i’m missing an important aid. I’ve taken very few notes, When I do, they look something like…had it had it had it, or 'Bet heavy on oesd.
I guess i’ll need to decide what info is important, how often observed, maybe a good abbreviation system. Any hints, or organization systems, will be heeded, and possibly stolen. I try to keep the social aspect separate from the game. I respect the game too much to not blow someone off the table, if i get a chance, even if they are on my friends list. I expect the same.


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