Friday, September 12, 2008

HUJ10: Getting coached

I got a poker coach, and it was completely worth it.

Thanks to DeucesCracked for setting me up with cowpig, whose grasp of the heads-up game humbled me. With a coach sweating me as I played, I felt like I could take on anyone.

I wanted to sit at a couple of $5/10 tables for my coaching session, but the action was a bit slow and I couldn't find any good games. But after a few minutes, I settled in for two $2/4 tables against an aggressive player who 3-bet and fired two bullets way too much.

I wish I could retain all the lessons I picked up, but it will take time and practice for these details to sink in.

I'll recount a few of them in hopes that they stick:

On a dry A5x flop, I check-raised with a set of 5s and went for a second check-raise on the turn or river. Unfortunately, my opponent didn't bite with his A3o. I missed a little value, but perhaps the value is made up for in those times when I can check-raise and get paid off.

There were also many times when I was told I needed to slowplay more. Previously, there were many hands that I would slowplay on the flop but show my true intentions on the turn. The problem with this strategy is that it makes my strong hand pretty transparent and misses out on value from hands that might bet into me or call a bet on the river.

Too often, I sacrifice value because I feel like I need to protect my hand, but that doesn't make sense when I'm up against a fairly narrow range that can hit on the river. I shouldn't fear the flush draw so much, and I should be more nimble in my re-evaluation of my hand strength on successive streets.

A final point is that exploitative strategies can have far more value than so-called optimal strategies. By that I mean that if you find a clear pattern in your opponent's game, it makes so much more sense to take advantage of it than trying to otherwise balance your range. For example, against a player who folds to 4-bets too frequently, I should 4-bet with weaker hands while cold-calling with premium hands.

Too often, I miss value because I've trained myself to make my bluffs and value bets look alike all the time.

I picked up many other tips too, and I feel like my profitability has instantly jumped a few BB/100. As my coach said, this kind of instruction will rapidly boost my learning curve, making it so I gain knowledge in a couple of hours that would otherwise take me thousands of hands and lots of thought to acquire.

1 comment:

AnguilA said...

This post totally rings a bell. I try way too hard to play my bluffs/big hands the same way so that I can't be exploited, and most probably I'm losing value on the long run.