An Interview with Peter Clarke, “Carroters”, Author of The Grinders Manual and 100 Hands | #174

In this episode, I interview poker coach and author Peter Clarke, aka “Carroters”, author of ‘The Grinders Manual’ and ‘100 Hands’.

In episode 173, I pontificated on limping in the SB and discussed essential HUD stats.

Interview with Peter Clarke (3:45)

We have a special guest on today’s episode… Peter Clarke is here to talk all things micro stakes.  He’s a long-time poker player and coach, I’ve been listening to his podcasts for quite some time, he’s also authored two books: ‘The Grinders Manual’ and ‘100 Hands’.  We’ll discuss all that and more, so without further a-do, welcome to the podcast, Peter.

In the beginning, we discuss the importance of goals and he has a student whose goal is to be better than Phil Galfond.  BHAG indeed!  Your goals should inspire you to work hard to achieve.

Poker Origins (8:20)

Peter started with 5-card Draw in HS with his friends.

Decided to go pro at 22 after making some good money in cash games and some tournaments.  He had the ego to match his poker pro ambitions.

Peter started learning online poker from FlopTurnRiver.com and pros like Nutsinho and Ben Sulsky.  He gradually worked on his game through forums and training videos.  The coaches at the site would drop into the forums and share their knowledge with others.  Once his ego got out of the way and an attitude of learning took over, his game really started to progress.

In one year he went from 25nl to 100nl and started working at Grinderschool.com.  Coaching is what made him a great player.  He has a great attitude while coaching and when he’s faced with a situation he doesn’t understand, he’ll work through it with his student so they get to see how he solves problems on his own.

GTO and Coaching Discussion (17:35)

Peter gives us a quick tutorial on how GTO helps us improve our poker games.  He uses PT4 and PokerRanger.  A big part of his coaching is using PowerPoint to create slides and an entire presentation to help them fix their leaks.  This is a killer idea!  I will incorporate this.

He’s got to turn these PPT presentations he’s got into a course (or 2 or 3 courses)!

The first lesson he gives with a new student he gives them 1.5 hours where he gets to know their game and to begin diving into their leaks.  He does a massive stats report and analyze all the most important stats.  Over the next few sessions, he’ll tackle their biggest leaks and help them improve these ASAP before moving on to new tings.

Mental Game

Peter’s developed his own system of helping his students with their mental game.  It begins with Jared Tendler’s book ‘The Mental Game of Poker’.  It’s all about seeing tilt as a subconscious habit that we need to drop.  We need to get ourselves thinking about beats and tilty situations differently.

I also recommend Dr. Tricia Cardner’s book ‘Peak Poker Performance’.

The mechanism he uses is RIP:

  • Recognize the problem
  • Interrupt the habit
  • Practice injecting logic like Tendler discusses

You can still teach others while you’re learning.  You don’t have to be an expert.  “Do as I say, not as I do”.

‘The Grinders Manual’ (35:05)

This is THE BIBLE for online 6-max cash games.  But, this book is great for anybody in any game.

Peter recommends that you go over this book many times.  It’s so dense and packed with strategy that it’s necessary to go through over and over.  Think of it as a poker text book.

Blockers help you give preference to one hand over another in your ranges.  They’re selection criteria.  They help add equity to the play you decide upon (bluffing with A3s is higher equity than doing so with J3s).  They guide you towards the right decision.

Polar and Linear 3bets.  Linear 3bet ranges start at the top and works its way down to the weakest hands you would 3bet.  These are normally used for value against weaker players.  There are no gaps in the range.  Example: JJ+ and AK.

A Polar 3bet range contains value hands and semi-bluffing hands, with calling hands falling between the two.  Example: JJ+, AK, A5-A2s and 66-77.

Common Micro Stakes Leaks (46:00)

“Calling is terrible” – some players learn that in the blinds they should just 3bet or fold.  But, there are plenty of great opportunities and cards worth calling.  One of the things we want to do in the blinds is to minimize our losses.  Because folding the BB is 1 full BB lost, if we can call with a hand like Q6s and lose only .5bb’s each time, we’ve just improved our blind play from folding every BB.

You don’t always need to have a plan.  Peter thinks it’s ridiculous to try and plan for every occurrence before you make your play.

Just because you’re uncomfortable doesn’t mean your play isn’t right.  If the math is correct, practice it over and over and become comfortable with it.

“Neglecting the mental game” – this is something overlooked by way too many players.  This is leads to hidden leaks in your game that you can’t even spot.

‘100 Hands’ (50:45)

This is a quiz book first and foremost.  The book takes you through 100 hands where it outlines a situation and asks you what the best play is.  Then the text teaches you what is the best play and teaches you the theory behind the most +EV plays.

It’s for players with a good grasp of the fundaments (reading ‘The Grinders Manual’ is a good start).  This book takes them through GTO exercises as it teaches you new strategies.

The hands presented are random as if you were playing a real Zoom session.

Peter recommends playing Zoom.  This style helps you work on and use a GTO strategy.  Sure, your BB/100 hands win rate might be lower (then regular tables), but you play more hands per hour so you can possibly make more money.

Zoom also helps you notice the small things that weak players do (like min-opening in the HJ).

Contact Peter and learn more:

Support the Show

Carlos Vignoli got PokerTracker 4 through my link.  I also sent him my Smart HUD in thanks for his support.  Get PokerTracker 4 here.

Pedro Contreras is taking his game more seriously than every before, and he purchased the How to Study Poker Webinar.  Study hard, Pedro!  Pick up your own copy of the webinar here.

Up Next…

In episode 175, I’ll discuss what I learned through playing 263 HU SNG matches in December.

Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.

Sky Matsuhashi