Friday, 8 April 2016

[Poker] Big Progress

This has been a very solid month for me so far. I made myself a timetable for the month, scheduling set amounts of university work each day, with another set amount of poker study. The timetable was fairly intense so I didn't think I'd have any free time to play, apart from the two scheduled hours a week (I'd go insane otherwise). However, I've been surprisingly efficient in both university and poker study, leaving me with usually about 2 hours a day to play, which I took as something I could use as a learning experience, considering its study month. I wanted to study something a bit more practical about the game, namely my preferences between cash and zoom. I came to that conclusion fairly quickly (I wrote about it in my last post if you're curious, spoiler, I chose zoom), and from there I wanted to develop the practical side of my game further. 

I realised I'd never experimented with any other form of table placing than tiled, and during messing about with cash tables I realised on my small laptop screen this would be nearly impossible to do. It was during this I started to cascade my tables. This certainly worked better, but I found after a few hours my wrist started to hurt quite a bit, so I decided to order an ergonomic vertical mouse, and as it was being delivered I temporarily switched to tiling tables.

I'm not sure why I hadn't considered tiling the tables as an option originally, but as soon as I switched I immediately felt the benefit. The tables were large, my HUD was clear, there was almost no movement of my wrist and I felt hardly any pain, I could add as many tables as I wanted, even playing odd numbers without it looking strange on the screen (a pet hate of mine), and I adapted very quickly to keeping track of the action. I was quite regretting ordering the mouse as I felt I no longer needed it, however I quickly took that back once it arrived - the Anker Vertical Ergonomic mouse is the most comfortable mouse I've ever used, but more about that in another post. 

Once I came to the conclusion of Zoom, I went back to tiling two tables, but found myself having a problem I'd had tiling two Zoom tables in the past - I focused more on one than the other. I also began to find the action quite slow, and felt I was spending a lot of the time waiting to be able to fold my big blind. I was never using my time bank and felt no pressure at all while playing. I came to the conclusion I was ready to add a third table, but tiling it made the others horribly small and I was moving the mouse around so much my wrist began to hurt again. So, I went back to stacking, and with only ever thinking about one table at a time and not wasting precious seconds moving from one table to the other, I played the best PLO of my life. To make my actions even quicker, I added fold and check as hotkeys, so I was using both hands to play. After about 3 hours playing like this, I added a fourth table. It felt natural within half an hour. I was now playing twice the amount of hands per hour I was just two days ago, which I think is quite nicely accelerating my learning process, and also helping to reduce the effects of variance, which is something I've definitely felt. 

This wasn't the only thing I did to improve the consistency of my game. I also began to structure my warmup process a lot more, as I was noticing a definite pattern in that I did a lot better when the first poker related thing I did that day wasn't playing. Before I play each session, I go through every VPIP+WTSD hand of the previous session, and both review my own play and make notes on my opponents in PT. I also make sure I'm well rested and I've had a good meal before playing, and I have nothing particularly stressful that I have to do after the session (for example university work). The extra tables, combined with the tiling structure, the reviews, warmups and study of PLOQuickPro and The Mental Game of Poker, my results have been positive; 

I'm playing well and running like God. 5k hands is obviously a tiny sample, but a 40BB/100 winrate pre-rakeback I think is something I can be proud of even with this size. Even if I was running exactly EV in my SD winnings, I'd be in a healthy profit. Also, this is the first month where my NSD winnings have been negative, which I think comes from adjustments I've made from studying/reviewing, where I realised I was losing a lot of money bluffing calling stations, especially blocker bluffing. I've calmed down bluffing, especially OOP, I'm more selective preflop now I'm seeing more hands (my VPIP has dropped from 31 to 25 from the previous month), and I'm playing my big draws a lot more aggressively than I was before to maximise fold equity. I have also adjusted quite a bit with how I play AAxx and KKxx, before this month I just did everything I could to pile the money in, but now I'm mixing it up with these hands and taking what I think is the most profitable line in the spot, given the opponents in the pot and the stack sizes. Tiling the tables is allowing me to do this a lot more, as I'm only looking at one table, and I feel I've practiced well at taking in all of this information quite quickly.

The point to all of this is that I think I've defined the structure of how I'm going to play PLO from now on, which means I can focus just on the games and studying while knowing I'm doing it all in the most efficient way for me. I'm also going to slightly edit the way I move up stakes, as previously I was employing a 50+10 system, with 10BI for the next stake as a stab. I'm going to change this to 40+4 for now. I think 40BI is plenty, and 4BI playing 4 tables is obviously quite tight, but I feel like I could beat the stake, and while still in the 4BI realm I would be playing very tight, using it as a learning experience of the stake. I would also only move up in a spot where I'm feeling confident in my game and am well warmed up, probably though playing PLO2Z for an hour or so prior. Exciting stuff. 

So, that's it for me. Next time will either be me discussing my first time playing PLO5Z, or another hand review if anything interesting pops up. Unfortunately, most of my hands have been quite standard recently.

Hopefully see you next time! Seacombe

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