I read through Tynan's post about how to learn mid-stakes poker and got Lee Jones' book a while back. I've had a lot of travel and other projects, but once the Hustler MBA was posted, I'm doubling down on it. While reading through the entire book (which is indeed amazing), I've been practicing in TTH. I'm up over 1000 hands played now, and I've been dedicating a few hours each day.
It was about day 3 when things started clicking into place and I started understanding the reasons for different opening hands' strengths and weaknesses, and I'm finally starting to see the entire table function as one unit, making guesses as to what other people have and playing based on that. Sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm wrong, but I am starting to understand what Tynan means by "low grade superpower".
I'm obviously far from skilled, as I've only played poker for fun with friends in the past. (I even had to come up with a mnemonic to remember the ranking of winning hands.) And unfortunately I am currently in Mongolia, where my searches for local poker tables have been fairly fruitless. But I am dedicated to this and will probably check out casinos in America and other countries when I stop through them.
So, who wants to join me and figure things out together, like why AJo might be a decent play, or when to check-raise?
To kick things off, I figured out how to run TTH on a Mac without having to run an entire virtual machine, which takes up tons of HD space and processor power. Simply get an application called WineBottler, an application that converts PC instructions to Mac instructions on the fly, as it's all Intel. Here's a quick how-to that's probably more than you need: http://mac.appstorm.net/how-to/virtualization/run-windows-apps-on-your-mac-free-with-wine-bottler/
I've been running it just fine for a while now. There are a few bugs, such as it immediately highlighting the advised action instead of waiting for you to click, and the analysis not working, but these are very minor and the programs runs great.
For the past 2 weeks I've been dedicated to poker too. I went to a casino almost every day, and played 1-2 no limit holdem. I play a small stack strategy where I play only like 7-8 of the best preflop hands, or if I'm getting great pot odds preflop with position. Because my stack size is so small ($40), people usually call my AK all in preflop with AJ. Or I have top pair top kicker and get called down with mid pair.
Although you do find some bad players, 1-2 stakes players at my local casino are usually regulars. But the main thing is that these guys play 1-2 while they wait for a 5-10 table. So 1-2 is like nothing to them. These guys aren't that bad overall, but they are playing way too loose.
I've tracked my progress with session logger and my average profit per hour is $30. From my 2 weeks of playing I've made a little over 300 and I've only had one losing session with a loss of $10. My standard deviation of winning is about 60 dollars. These are amazing stats. Very low risk and consistent gains.
The main frustration of my strategy is simply how much patience it takes. I have to sit and fold hand after hand. Maybe I won't see a flop for 2 rounds. I have to make very disciplined laydowns when there's a trouble board and I have to time my bluffs to when I know the rest of the table is waiting to throw their hand away.
So I'm thinking of moving up to 3-6 and doing the exact same strategy once I have enough bankroll or once I get a better feel of the game. The problem with my poker skill is that I think very slowly and tend to blank out when presented with a ton of information. Once I feel that my thinking process speeds up I will move to 3-6 and hopefully achieve the same results.
Don't correlate a two week winning streak with being a profitable player. Luck is a big factor in the short term.
Two weeks of hands is nothing. You can easily be a loosing player and still get these results short term (not saying you are bad or not profitable, but you should know this). The swings can be huge, especially on no-limit holdem, and you shouldn't expect to see accurate data before at least 20k hands.
Your short stack strategy is simple and might be effective, I have no experience with it. But consider to instead start playing full stack instead of moving up to 3-6. Full stack is a lot harder to play, but in the end is more profitable if you know what you're doing.
I also played omaha and limit holdem, omaha being the swingiest of the three, and limit hold'em being the least swingy.
Oh and I think limit hold'em is easier to become profitable in, since there are so many regulars and good players at nl hold'em that unless you learn how to exploit their specific tendencies, it's going to be hard to earn anything just going by a chart of hands to play. These people will easily figure out your short stack strategy and exploit it. (note that this is mostly from online experience, I do not know how many regulars/good players there actually are in the casino and level that you play at.)
That is my experience anyway, hope it's helpful!
You are playing no limit, which is a different game, though similar. What are you studying to learn strategy and get better?
That said, getting $30/hr at a 1-2 table sounds like a ridiculously good table. Maybe people getting their loose gambling out of the way before the stakes raise? Everything I've read says a good to great player should be making 1-2x the big bet per hour, so your record for only two weeks in is pretty amazing. I would say you are ready to move up to 3-6 already. They won't mind you thinking every now and then.
As one last thing, if you are only playing 7-8 hands (which is a good tight game) how are you only sitting out two rounds at a time? I play a slightly looser game than that, and I still only see the flop with my hand once every 6-8 hands.
The thing with poker is that even a tiny change in one of the factors completely changes the game. I've played house games, I've played online, and I've played live, and I would have to say the crowd live 1-2 is definitely the loosest. I've had a really hard time playing online always breaking even. The thing with most live games is that most players are used to playing loose players. Most of them don't know how to exploit your small stack strategy, and even if they do, they don't care to gun for your 40 dollars when they see guys with 200 dollar stacks raising and re-raising.
I see a lot more flops because I take every change to see a cheap flop that i can. So, definitely count the flops where I'm big blind and i check. But what i mean is, when I'm in late position, especially on the button, and I feel like i have passive players behind me, I will limp. I think its not too bad to see flops with bad hands, its bad to call raises with bad hands to to limp and fold to a raise. Also, especially if you're on the button, you can get away with alot more hands than you normally would.
So again, i play about 7-8 hands normally, but count the big blind opportunity, the button opportunity with decent hands, and family pots, and thats where I'm coming from.
I might up my stack size and play a slightly looser game as my skills increase. Theres just too many things to account for, and my small stack size basically stops me from making big mistakes and defends against hyper aggressive players - I really don't know how to handle players that will fire 3 bullets.
It just seems a lot easier for me to move up to 3-6 instead of upping my game, because I only have to factor in one thing: more money. School started, so I don't have time at all to devote to poker, but we'll see when winter break rolls around
Update me when you guys make progress
I am in a somewhat similar state with my limit game. I've played poker in various forms for 5-6 years, but only seriously began to think about it in the last year or so. Probably in large part to Tynan's post on the subject. I have not tried TTH myself, but that might be the next step. The closest casino/card room to me now is a good 4.5 hour drive, so not getting any first hand experience at the moment.
As I touched on in a previous post, I am currently deciding what to do next with my life. Two of my biggest interests right now are poker and landscape photography. When my current job wraps up in May, I'm thinking about moving to Vegas and focusing on those two things for 6 months to a year. Both skills are things I truly enjoy and both are potential money makers.
So yeah, I'd be interested in comparing notes. I'll probably drop an order for TTH today.
I definitely recommend TTH and Lee Jones' book. The book unified the concepts of actual statistics-based strategy into an easily digestible methodology for me, and caused me to finally understand what good poker players do. TTH let me practice repeatedly and thoroughly to help these concepts nestle deep into my brain and stay there. Playing so many hands so fast also helps reinforce that you are playing the long game to play correctly, not individual hands.
Now that I've played 2000 hands or so on TTH, I've begun reading Small Stakes Hold Em, the next book he recommends. The Lee Jones book is definitely required reading before starting SSHE, but SSHE is explaining everything so much more thoroughly, providing much deeper strategy and methods for things like using Pot Odds, something barely skimmed in Lee Jones' book.
I also entered my first tournament today online to get more experience playing against real people. TTH is good, but they play far better than most people in the real world at a small stakes table. After all of this practice, I ended up getting 19th place out of around 300 entrants. Way better than I expected, and it really gave me a better feel for playing with real people.
I'm sure you guys know but Two Plus Two is a gold mine of a forum.
I've always wanted to play poker in Vegas and plan on going later this month as I'm driving pass it anyway. But these days you can find poker in a lot of states although I guess Vegas is the best place for finding drunk, out of town fish.
There's knowing the right play and then being able to execute. So many times I just couldn't let go of a hand. But then again that was nl
I have scouted through 2+2, but it is so intricate and specific in its questions that it's way beyond where I am right now. Most of the content, from what I saw, was people sharing hands and asking if they should have done something differently in deeply coded messages.
I mostly imagine us talking about figuring out hands, pot odds, and how to handle basic things. In plain English. The books are amazing so far and I see a huge improvement already, but I could use some people with me to make it sink in better.
I get an annoying amount of email from people asking me how to gamble like I used to. The truth is that what I used to do isn't profitable anymore. It was a right time, right place sort of scenario. Although I'm not a professional gambler anymore, I have been spending time studying and improving at poker (I'm a break-even or slightly profitable player), and I have friends who are pros. There are surely several different paths you can take to make a living gambling; this is the one that I'm aware of and is feasible for someone of above average intelligence.
Despite offering a rough guide to making money gambling, I don't necessarily recommend that you do so. I gambled professionally for seven years. During that time I made a lot of money and enjoyed my life. One morning I woke up and all of my money was gone. The story behind that is complicated, but the gist is that "they caught on". The strongest emotion I felt was a sense of relief. Gambling is fun, but it's not "big". It doesn't contribute in a meaningful way or leave you with a body of work.
Most casino games have a house advantage ranging from 2-5%, assuming "perfect play". That means that if you play perfectly, you can expect to lose, on average, about 2-5% of the action you put through a machine. Perfect play for slot machines is simply to bet the maximum amount of coins (the jackpot is skewed heavily in favor of maximum coins). For blackjack you need to memorize what to do for every combination of player hands vs. dealer hands, specific to each set of rules (hit on soft 17, resplitting aces, etc).
At the start of the year I said I was going to work harder than ever before and that I was excited to trade the markets everyday. Unfortunately this has been easier said than done, not nessecarily because the markets are hard (although they are) but because I have been lazy and not willing to learn and put in the time.
I've written here before about taking massive action. I don't believe in "balance" or moderation when it comes to achieving great things, especially when one is starting out. A good analogy is the way bamboo grows. It takes a while for bamboo to properly root itself, but once it does, it grows faster than any other tree known to man. Skills are similar. If you put in hours and motivation into learning and applying knowledge you can root yourself fast. I call it the time value of skill in a way, where if you "make" all the skill now its much more valuable than making all the skill "later" just like interest and money in the time value of money theory.
Anyways I frankly Haven't been putting in as much time and effort as I wish I were. Back in the day I would play video games for hours trying to achieve something like acquiring a super strong weapon or leveling up my character. In some cases where I knew I was against the clock ( They said they were removing XYZ soon, I had a bet with someone) I would work for longer, be more motivated, and think up of more effective strategies.
A lot of people tell me "but you will burn out". I think this is another myth. There is no "burning out" if you really decide to make what you are doing your priority. Top programmers program for 12 hrs+ a day. Stock traders and online poker players reevaluate their trades/ hands and test strategies day in and day out. I don't want to be mediocre.
Here is what I have been doing and needs to change. I am out lining it here for myself.