Passive Poker, $40 Profit per Day and Play the Player | Q&A #242

I answer 3 profit-related questions about passive poker, earning $40 per day and playing the player.

In case you missed episode 241, I discussed 3 off-the-felt tactics you must do to increase your poker profits: hand reading, daily study and game tape review.

This is the 3rd episode in the Month of Profits.

Q1: Leak: Passive Poker (2:40)

From: Andrea

Q: I need to plug my leak of passive play

Action:

Before any future call, ask yourself if a raise would be a better play:

  • Raise for value if they can call with worse hands
  • Raise as a bluff if they can fold (this means they were likely bluffing with their initial bet)

If you think calling is better than folding or raising, it’s because:

  • You’re being offered good odds on your draw
  • Your hand is ahead of their betting range but you don’t want to bloat the pot
  • You see a potential to steal the pot on a future street

Background:

One of your goals in poker is to always choose the best option when you’re faced with a decision.

Since you’re playing passive poker, you default to calling in order to not let your opponents bluff you, in hopes that you win or because you just can’t fold your hand. Remember that you have 3 options with every bet you face:

  • Fold – you know you can’t win the hand at showdown or with a bluff raise or on a future street
  • Call – because you think your hand is ahead of their range, you have a great draw and they’re offering great pot odds, or there’s an opportunity to bluff them off the hand later
  • Raise – as a bluff (if they can fold) or for value (if they can call or re-raise with worse)

Think about your options and choose the best one for the moment.

Passive poker (preflop calling) takes you away from Bread & Butter poker, but raising is a step towards B&B

B&B situations are where you’re HU, IP and you’re the preflop raiser. This is the best chip-making situation to be in. In order to get more B&B, do these 3 things:

  1. Open-raise more frequently, especially from the CO and BTN. Use a size that discourages too many callers (hopefully just one of the blinds will call you) and it discourages 3bets. This is going to lead to B&B poker more often.
  2. Don’t call out of the blinds as often. Calling from the blinds gives your opponents a B&B situation. So, you’re putting yourself in a chip-losing situation by calling.
  3. Stop limping and reduce your calling in general. Limping and calling both ask for multi-way pots and playing out of position.

Find your leaks with PokerTracker 4

Q2: Making $40 per day (6:10)

From: Rutger

Q: How do I win $40 per day?

Action:

The first thing you have to do is become a winning poker player if you aren’t one already. You do this through daily studies and plugging leaks. Plugging leaks saves you money, which goes directly to your bottom line. If you’re making $10 worth of mistakes every day, it’s going to be that much harder to earn $40 profit per day.

Once you’re profitable, use your cash game win rate or tournament ROI to determine how many hands or tournaments you have to play per day to earn $40. Once you know that number, you can schedule your daily play in order to hit it.

Background:

To win $40 per day, you have to know your win rate (bb/100 hands or $/tournament) and play that many.

Cash game example:

If you play 25nl with a win rate of 4bb/100 hands, that’s $1 won every 100 hands. To win $40, you need to play 40×100 = 4,000 hands.

Tourney example:

If you win $1 per tournament played, then playing 40 tourneys will get you $40 profit per day.

Improve your skills and win rate or ROI

Of course, if you want to win more or hit your $40 per day faster, you’ve got to build your skills to become a more profitable player.

Let’s say you’re able to increase your tournament ROI from $1 to $1.25 with some studying and leak plugging. Now, you only need to play 32 tournaments at $1.25 profit each for a total per day of $40. But, let’s say you still force yourself to play that same 40 tournaments. Well, playing 40 at $1.25 profit each = $50 profit per day.

Start your audiobook learning by picking up ‘Preflop Online Poker’ through Audible.com. Click the pic above to begin your free 30-day trial (your first book is free) or to purchase the audiobook version if you’re already a member.

Q3: Play the Player (10:50)

From: Ricky Jardin

Q: I tend to just play my cards and I feel like I’m not getting the most value out of my hands. I also have a hard time bluffing other players after the flop. What do I need to do better?

Action:

Every time you see a flop, say aloud the type of player you’re up against: TAG, LAG, Fish, Nit, Maniac (whatever works for you). Use their VPIP and PFR stats to gauge this.

Also, know how they approach post-flop play by looking at their Flop and Turn Cbet stats, as well as their Fold to Flop/Turn Cbet stats.

Now that you know the type of player they are and how they approach post-flop play in general, you must make your plays to exploit your knowledge of them. If they fold a lot, you must bluff frequently. If they never fold, value bet often and make it bigger to get more value.

If they bluff a ton, call with bluff catching hands or re-bluff them with raises when you sense they are weak. If they bet rarely, meaning they’re flop or turn honest and their bet = strength, ditch your weakest hands against them.

Background:

Your decisions are always better when you take your opponent into account. If you flop top set and your opponent folds versus flop cbets 70% of the time, you’ve got to bet small to entice a call or just check to give them room to hang themselves on the next street. The exact opposite is true if they never fold on the flop. Take this opportunity to get the maximum value out of your top set against players who call with anything on the flop because they think you’re bluffing.

Targeting the weakest players at the table is one way to improve your profits.

In a prior episode I said, “The losingest players are the loosest players”. So if these loose players are the biggest losers, they’re the ones that you need to be targeting. And who are these “loose” players?

Targeting Fish

The best loose players are the Fish who play 30% + hands and raise very infrequently. They are easy to spot because their VPIP is greater than thirty percent and there PFR is less than ten percent. The larger the gap between these two stats, the more fishy they are. When you’re up against these fish, your biggest concerns are these 2 things:

1. Getting to the flop with them heads up. The more flops you see against these fishy opponents, the more likely it is you will be the one earning their chips. If you let other players at the table isolate the biggest Fish, then you’re just giving up potential profits.

2. Value betting more frequently than bluffing. Because these players are so prone to calling preflop, this often bleeds into their post-flop play as well. We’ve all seen the 50/6 fish calling flop and turn bets with 3rd pocket pair and with weak got shot draws. Remember my old saying: “If they ain’t folding, we ain’t bluffing.” Value bet heavily instead.

Targeting LAG Maniacs

The next best loose players to target are the LAG Maniacs. They are easy to spot as well because their VPIP will be higher than 40% and there PFR will be higher than 20%. They just can’t help but raise all the time preflop and can’t stop betting/raising down the streets.

In order to exploit these LAG Maniacs, you’re going to do these 2 things:

1. Play pots with them in position. When a LAG Maniac has position, they see this as their opportunity to get aggressive and push you around. Because you are out of position, it’s good to be a little bit harder for you to fight back unless you’re willing to check-raise or check call quite often. But when you have position, they are less likely to be aggressive and when they show weakness on one street, that your opportunity to push back at them.

2. Call down with bluff catching hands. You’ve probably seen these players bluff multiple streets withdraws, ace high hands and maybe even 3rd and 4th pairs. When you have a hand with showdown value against their potential bluffing hands, you have to call their bets. When you do this, you are allowing them to spew chips in your direction without you making bets or raises to bloat the pot. Of course, if you have a very strong hand and you think they can call, make the raise. But let them bluff a few streets against you when you have those week top pair hands and sometimes 2nd pair hands.

Pick a Challenge (16:05)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  I just gave you 3 different potential Actions to take:

  1. Think about your other options to raise or fold before you make a call (no more passive poker)
  2. Challenge yourself with a monetary goal to hit based on your current ROI or cash game win rate
  3. Know the type of player you’re up against and make plays that exploit your knowledge of them

Now it’s your time to shine!

Support the Show

Mandy Letteri just purchased my favorite poker software, PokerTracker 4.  There’s a reason I’ve been using it since 2006: it’s da best!  Thanks for your support, Mandy.  In appreciation, I sent her my Smart HUD for PT4.  Along with the growing database of hands to study, the Smart HUD is a powerful tool in anyone’s poker toolbox.

Tony Sonita purchased the Smart HUD directly from me.  Tony already owned PT4, and now he’s got the best HUD in the game to go with it. Get the Smart HUD by clicking here.

Some great poker peeps supported me by purchasing webinars with my 30% off summer sale (ends 6.21.19 at Midnight PST).

Up Next…

In episode #243, I’m going to do a deep dive into the most profitable poker situation you can put yourself in.

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

Sky Matsuhashi
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