Beat Micro Limits in 3 Weeks
I like Pokeroff. Somehow it unites users as the topics are consistent in their approach. Pro posts are seen by the common public, and vice versa. I think this is the reason why it feels more homely here than on the forums.
- That is why I want to add my five cents to the “support poker” topic. I have found a formula that has helped me to raise the quality of my play, and I would like to share it with you. I think there are several dozen near-zero, negative or lower plus micro limits players – well, my recipe is likely to help change that in 95 percent of cases. These are not abstract recommendations such as “work on your tactics”, but specific hints (although they may look the same).
- Before I start, I will tell you the story of how I have gone as far as I have gone. I think you may recognize yourself in what I am about to explain, and will therefore pay attention to what I have written.
You can read through all my poker experiences here. Around four months ago I decided to learn to play again. You can read about these four months on my blog, but to cut a long story short, I was losing, and losing a lot. I was blaming most of my problems on my lack of playing, and moving from one place to another, and thought I was playing well enough. I put my poor performance down to dispersion. My confidence rose when I broke even on limits up to NL50 or a small negative in profits and a small +EV from time to time.
But when, about two weeks ago, I summed up the last two months, I made the realization: this time “learning” cost me about 5k! I lost 2k(!) on mirco limits, and another 3k playing offline. Then I began to panic. Firstly, I thought that poker was “not my thing”, and the idea of anyone through making enough effort is able to achieve not great but at least decent results, was not true. At that moment all my “effort” came down to 90 percent of my time rolling and the other 10 percent learning. From time to time I was reading what other guys recommended to me, and I kept in contact with other “fishulars” and watched VODs – but I was doing it randomly, infrequently and not as well as I ought have been doing. Then I struck lucky – I found a guy who agreed to become my mentor. The guy is a regular NL200, a trainer and a good hand expert. Over the next four months he helped me on a regular basis.
So, after a little re-evaluation, when I was depressed in terms of poker, lacking in spirit and was 90 percent sure I would stop rolling, I phoned my trainer (he was on a three-week vacation) and told him I was thinking of stopping playing and was going to drop his training. The only way I could see of moving forwards would be to make immediate changes. I remained open to creating such conditions, and making a new list of rules that would lead to successful results in the very near future. My trainer took a day to think, then the next evening he sent me a new set of rules which he said if I followed to the letter I could turn things around.
These are the points – with my own comments:
1. Play on NL25
All-in-all BR allowed me to play on NL50, but I felt more interested and more motivated if I had the “if I have not done that, I would be in the black” feeling. From an objective point of view I could still make a huge amount of mistakes, but there is no sense in paying double for them.
2. Play 5 tables
I used to play 6 or 7 tables on a regular basis, but the smaller amount of tables allows me to concentrate on certain deals, leaving me enough time for evaluation and speculation.
3. Play for one and a half hours at a time
Before, I would play several hours in a row, especially if I was winning, but my trainer's logic is simple: three sessions a day with breaks for a total not less than five and a half hours a day. You can also spend four and a half hours a day training.
4. Make a detailed, daily review of NL25 deals
This may sound tedious, but it's important. The only resource where a sufficient amount of hands is published is Strategy (from the ones I know, anyhow). You can look up the correct evaluation in the topics that have already been evaluated. It's not a case of a scribbled “easy fold here”, but in detailed analysis from all streets beginning from pre-flop with comments for each action. It is also important to point out alternative playing possibilities, or actions in case another hand would have come out.
5. No offline or tournament playing
This is very easy: If you follow the plan thoroughly, for six to eight hours a day you will be busy anyway. There should not be any time left for an eight hour roll at night.
6. One hour of reading poker literature every other day
For example, Baluga, the Mental Game of Poker, or other relevant literature.
7. One hour of VODs every other day
If it's not a day to read literature, then watch a VOD. At the moment I am watching Poker from A to C with Kirill kindeveil, and I think it's a micro limits player's personal Klondike!
8. Keep a diary
Make a note before each session about your state of mind and mood before the session, and the things you were doing before the session. During the session note what you did right, and what you did wrong.
9. Work with your diary
Before each session read over your earlier notes in order to try and understand what is your optimal state, and what influences you to play poorly – what leads you to tilt, and which mistakes require thorough analysis.
10. Decrease your dispersive decisions
For example, tending to call with AK/JJ instead of 3-betting and 4-betting (except in totally obvious situations), avoid bluff catching against aggromonkeys, etc.
11. Watch your state of mind
Feel when your playing starts to become less than optimal – stand up and close the browser.
12. Don't review your session results throughout the day
Looking up your bankroll or HM may influence your psychological state and play a lot. Only look up your results at the end of the day.
13. Train with the Pro
We had a couple of sessions throughout this spell – the result of following these guidelines can be see on the following graphic. In total, 17 days are represented.
Now, a bit of “Captain Obvious” stuff.
I think it should be obvious to reasonable people that this scheme will work if you follow each and every point. Could I have played as well not following them? Probably yes, but my prior experience showed that I had to do something.
Several days ago I felt myself on tilt, and thought “why should I waste my time on NL25” and “why should I play without getting a kick out of it?”, and moved back to NL50. Minus 3BI on profit and +BI on EV was the result! I got the hint and got back into it. I think that now I am able to remain in the black in NL50, but we determined the frame, goals and the rules, so I decided that I would stick to it until the very end, and will eventually feel comfortable. This comfort is worth a lot.
A few words about bankroll. Although a lot of information has been written on this topic, I had absolutely no wish to follow it. Several months ago when I started and put in $200, thinking that “my bankroll is on my card – if I need more, I deposit more”. And I did. A half-empty bankroll has its ups and down, and they were having a significant impact on my state of mind. I think I am tuned to be very aggressive in terms of bankroll management, but now, when my BI is far over 50, I understand the conservative guys very well. It is paying off. I think that the aggressive BRM style is suitable only for very competent players.
Theory pays off as well. Not long ago, when I heard that calling a one-suited ace on the SB against two regular players, or calling 67c on the button against a regular player and a fish with 45BB is a negative, I did not have the slightest idea of what was happening, or who was being spoken to. What are the reasons for not 3-betting an UTG raiser, and folding AQ to the second barrel against a stable regular player on an AKJ7 board? Now, it only makes me smile and at the same time I am afraid of how much I am still unaware of, do not understand, or am simply not capable of realizing.
Even with everything considered, today I am confident in my play as never before (within the limits in which I play) and I have good results, even if someone else thinks it's worthless. I would really like this post to help at least one person. It is very easy to simply start following what is written here. Of course, one needs a strong will. You need to become a diligent, self-disciplined player after months of drowning out the background noise. It is worth trying, at the very least.
P.S. If you have tried and succeeded – let me know.
P.P.S. Writing such a post takes a great deal of time, so if someone want to see something else like this later on – give me a heads up. I would love to hear your likes, and positive comments.