In each Minimum Effective Dose Monday episode, I read an impactful article from another poker coach or authority. Along with the article, I’ll give you two critical items:
- MED Action – this is the ONE thing you MUST DO THIS WEEK to boost your poker to the next level.
- MED Idea – this is the critical concept to take away and apply to your poker game and studies.
Episode 52: Holding an Overpair on a Coordinated Flop
Article: Holding an Overpair on a Coordinated Flop from Jason Lee at UpswingPoker.com
For the rest of your sessions this week, follow along with Doug’s plan here with an overpair on a coordinated flop, or come up with your own plan. There are only 6 pairs to think about on 8-high flops, so planning should be relatively easy. Pick some hands to check with, to bet with and to check-call or check-raise with. Having a mixed strategy will make it harder for your opponents to exploit your play.
Break a tough situation down into its basic parts and come up with a plan to implement on the felt. The simpler your plan is, the easier it is to execute. Once you have your plan, execute it and analyze the results.
Episode 51: I don’t think online poker is rigged
Blog post: Is Online Poker Rigged? from Ben Hayles at PostFlopPoker.com
MED Action: None of this I’m about to say is legal or financial advice. It’s just my opinion on the matter of playing online poker.
If you’re not playing online, you really don’t have much to be afraid of. Start up an account on any available site and make a small deposit in a safe and secure way. Just make sure that the money deposit is money that you’re willing to lose.
If you are already playing online, regardless of your site being regulated or not, think about the size of your bankroll on that site. Are you comfortable with the full amount on there? If not, initiate a withdrawal today to get your online bankroll at a size where you won’t be too disappointed if it gets taken away.
MED Idea: It’s worth it to play online poker at even the tiniest of stakes in order to practice the poker strategies you’re trying to improve.
Episode 50: Stop betting for protection
Article: Betting to Protect? Don’t do it. from Mark Warner and ExceptionalPoker.com
MED Action: In your next 3 sessions, play with a winner’s mentality. When you think you’re ahead post-flop, bet to gain value from the weaker hands that can pay you off. Here’s a message I want you to write on a sticky note and attach to your monitor:
I’m betting for value because they can call with worse, or I’m betting as a bluff because they can find a fold.
If you catch yourself betting for protection, tag that hand for review in your next study session. If you’re a LIVE player, put that message in your Evernote and refer to it frequently as you record important hands on your phone.
MED Idea: Perception is reality, so look for opponents who believe that betting for protection is a valid play. When they make those bigger-than-normal bets, know that they have a TP-type hand and they’re scared you’ll draw out on them. Respond accordingly based on how you think you can best exploit this tendency in your opponent.
Episode 49: Escape from under poker’s black cloud
Article: Eliminate the Black Poker Cloud from Bernard Lee and PokerNews.com
MED Action: You need to realize there is no black cloud hanging over you and it’s all in your head. Maybe you think you lose every time with AA, KK, QQ and AK. Filter for these in your PT4 database over the past 20,000 hands or more and see what your win rate is. Mine are:
- AA +692bb/100 hands
- KK +629
- QQ +354
- AK +275
Maybe you think you never hit your set, but your opponents always hit theirs. Filter for flopping a set and see your win rate. Mine is +2,138bb/100 hands. It feels like I never hit sets, but my history says otherwise and I’m very profitable when I do.
MED Idea: Perception is reality, so if you think there is a black cloud hanging over your head, yep, it’s there and you’ll continue to lose. The poker gods favor the player with the mathematical edge. Let this spur you to remain positive and forget about the bad beats, suck-outs and negative variance in poker. Instead, be focused on making great, +EV decisions that will make you a winner in the long run.
Episode 48: Jonathan Little’s 5 Concepts for 2019
Article: “Five Concepts to Keep in Mind in 2019” from Jonathan Little and DandBPoker.com
MED Action: In each of your next 3 study sessions, filter in PokerTracker 4 for 5 hands where you lost a pot with TP. Review these hands to see on which street you could’ve realized you were beat and folded to save yourself chips. Count the number of bb’s you could’ve saved over these 15 hands, and let this spur you to make better decisions in the future. Record the mistakes you made (like “didn’t realize he’s only raising 2p+” or “called a turn 3x x/r” or “called on the river because I didn’t want to be bluffed”), and declare your intentions to not repeat these mistakes. “I declare to NOT call on the river when I know I’m beat.”
MED Idea:Players lose too much money (or tourney chips) because they refuse to fold their TP hand even though massive amounts of chips are going into the pot. Great players can fold when they should because they don’t let a “strong” hand blind them to the situation. Bets and raises, especially post-flop, are good signs that TP is toast.
Episode 47: Make Your Isolation Raises BIGGER
Alex’s website to get his newsletter: PokerHeadRush.com
MED Action: In your next 5 play sessions, make your isolation raise sizing bigger in an effort to take the pot down right now or get at most one caller. Limpers are used to limping then calling 3 or 4 bb’s. Make your sizing 5bb+1 per limper at a minimum. Choose hands that play well post-flop and isolate limpers who will fold easily to your cbet or who will give you max value when you hit TP+ on the flop.
MED Idea: Getting heads-up as the preflop raiser, whether or not you’re in position, is a moneymaking opportunity. And if you’re facing the weakest player at the table in a bloated pot, you have even more profit potential.
Episode 46: Play Your One Pair Hands More Decisively
Article: One Pair Will Make Or Break You from Alex Fitzgerald and AmericasCardroom.eu
MED Action: In your next 5 play sessions, choose a line on the flop when you hit a one pair hand. Are you going to call the flop and fold to the double barrel from this opponent who doesn’t bluff often? Are you going to triple barrel for value against this loose passive fish? Are you going to bet the flop and turn, then assess on the river whether or not to bet or check behind?
MED Idea: One pair hands can be difficult to play, so having a plan on the flop is a good way to get value and to avoid it difficult spots. Pay attention to the stack and pot sizes as well as the type of player you’re up against.
Episode 45: Elevate Your Win Rate with these 8 Great LIVE Poker Tactics
Article: Crush Live Poker Games With These 8 Battle-Tested Tactic from George Mathias at UpswingPoker.com
MED Action: In your next 3 online or LIVE play sessions, practice exploiting weak flop checking ranges. When the preflop raiser is the kind of player who will mostly bet when they hit the flop, their check is a sign of weakness. You must attempt to steal the pot after demonstrations of flop weakness with a sizing that they’ll find hard to call with most of their range. This works very well on dry boards where your opponent does not have a lot of strong draws in their checking range. Tag each of these hands for later review.
MED Idea:The key to success in poker is to exploit your opponent’s tendencies. Utilize strategies that work against the field, but always consider the tendencies of your specific opponent before you pull the trigger on an exploitative play.
Episode 44: Learning Good Things from Losing Poker Hands
Article: Seriously Good Losing from Mark Warner at ExceptionalPoker.com
MED Idea: Your new strategy for learning from mistakes: Make mistakes >>> review and learn >>> implement new strategies >>> improve. This is how you will separate yourself from the rest of the poker pack.
MED Action: Create a hand tag called “Mistake” and use it in every session you play this week. After each play session, review the tagged hands and your biggest losing hands. Make a record of the mistakes you made with the number of instances. The mistake that you made most frequently will be the focus of your next play session.
Episode 43: Showdown Value and Aggressively Playing Draws
Article: “Playing Draws, Part 2” from Steve Blay and DandBPoker.com
MED Idea: Play more passively with draws that have some showdown value. With little to no showdown value, play them aggressively.
MED Action: Practice playing aggressively or passively based on the showdown value of your draw. In your next play session, consider how much showdown value your drawing hand has, then make the play that Steve recommends. An average calling range of 12% flops some kind of draw at least 34% percent of the time. That means 1 out of every 3 calls you make will give you an opportunity to practice aggressive or passive play. Tag each drawing hand on the flop to review your play later.
Episode 42: Finding Sweet Squeezes at the Micro Stakes
Article: Why You Need to Make the Squeeze Play More Often at Lower Stakes from Nathan Williams and PokerNews.com
MED Idea: Don’t say “no” to easy squeezing money when you’ve got a strong hand. Those callers are dead money, and if they can call your 3bet squeeze again with weaker hands, you’re making theoretical profits hand-over-fist with your value squeeze plays.
MED Action: In your next study session, filter in your database for the biggest pocket pairs separately and compare your win rates. How much do you win with TT, JJ, QQ, KK and AA? In this example hand, the 3bet squeeze could’ve earned Hero a 10.5 bb pot. In one hand with JJ, he could’ve earned more than he does per hand with AA.
Now, filter for squeeze opportunities with these big pocket pairs where you failed to make the squeeze. Review 10 or more hands. Calculate how much dead money you missed out on by not squeezing with these big pocket pairs.
Episode 41: 5 Tips for Better Squeeze Plays
Article: Squeeze Play: Top 5 Things to Consider Before Making the Move from Tadas Peckaitis and MyPokerCoaching.com
MED Idea: Make your squeeze plays at least 4x the original raise size, but don’t go below 12bb’s. If somebody min-raises to 2bb and you squeeze to 8bb’s, this is less than a “standard” IP 3bet to 9bb’s. Go to at least 12bb in order to put these min-raisers and callers to a tougher decision.
MED Action: In your next 3 play sessions, your goal is to find 10 good squeezing opportunities and pull the trigger. Tag each of these hands for later review. As you review the hands consider the 5 tips that Tadas laid out for you and gauge how well you executed these squeeze plays against what you learned in the article.
Episode 40: LIVE Poker Tournament Preparation
Newsletter email: Preparing For Your Super Bowl from Alex Fitzgerald and PokerHeadRush.com
MED Idea: Have fun. This is something that far too often we forget when we’re playing in the occasional LIVE tournament. After you buy in to the tournament, consider that money gone, and now have fun trying to earn it back and then some.
MED Action: In your next LIVE tournament, keep a poker face, poker shoulders and poker hands. Try to develop a routine for looking down at your hand, grabbing chips, capping your cards or making a bet. Basically, try not to give any tells through your actions. Control your breathing and randomize how much time you make on each decision by counting up to the last number on the tournament clock.
Episode 39: Learning from hands played… It’s all in the details
Article: “Remember Details to Improve Game” from Mark Brement and AnteUpMagazine.com
MED Idea: LIVE players can learn from their own “database” of hands. They just have to take the initiative and record the important details for themselves.
MED Action: For you LIVE players, record one hand every hour over your next 10 sessions. This will give you plenty of hands to study off the felt in order to find your leaks and begin working to plug them. Start with the 4 details Mark outlined: the positions, the effective stack, the cards and the board. Work to record the action, bet sizings and player types as you gain experience recording your hands. Then of course, take the time to analyze each of your recorded hands before you next play session.
Episode 38: Learning from Bet Sizing and Showdown Hands
Article: Show Me the Money! Bet Sizing Information in Poker from Mark Warner and ExceptionalPoker.com
MED Idea: “Trust the ‘truth’ of big bets and calls more than small wagers, and actively search for correlations between a villain’s showdown hands and his or her bet sizes.”
MED Action: In your next 3 online sessions, start by playing one table for 30 minutes. Force yourself to pay attention to all the action on every street from every opponent. At the end of each showdown hand, in your mind replay the actions and bet sizings used. Try to make at least one note on one of your opponents. Also, for each player at your table open up and read any prior notes you made on them. Try to put the notes to use and exploit your opponents.
MED Action Demonstration Video:
Episode 37: 5 Tips for Set Mining
Article: When Should You Set Mine with a Pocket Pair? These 5 Tips Will Clear Things Up. from Dan B. and UpswingPoker.com
MED Idea: Don’t auto-call to set mine with your pocket pairs 22 through 99. Consider first the likelihood you’ll face a 3bet you have to fold to, and consider the likelihood you’ll win a big pot if you do hit your set.
MED Action: Filter in your database for prior hands where you called a 3bet holding 22-99. Review 10 of these hands and find mistakes made so you can work to avoid them and make better choices in the future.
MED Action Demonstration Video:
Episode 36: Poker Forums and Reddit are wasting your study and play time
Article: Why Poker Forums and Reddit Are Killing Your Poker Results from Nathan Williams and BlackRain79.com
MED Idea: The best people to talk strategy with are winning players or those who take the game very seriously.
MED Action: Take a break from public forums and Reddit. Instead, discuss poker with people in-person or try to build friendships using social media with people who seem to be just as serious as you. You can always send me an email with a question. I answer every email that comes to me, even if it does take a few days.
Episode 35: The Goal of Aggressively Playing Draws: Earn the Fold
Article: “Playing Draws – Part 1 from Steve Blay and DandBPoker.com
MED Idea: The goal of playing a draw aggressively (semi-bluffing) is to win the pot then and there. Choose the line and bet sizings that will accomplish this.
MED Action: In your next two play sessions, when you flop a draw, ask yourself, “Can I take this pot down now by playing it aggressively?” If the answer is yes, decide on the line you’ll take and your bet sizing. Then make the play and tag the hand for later review. If the answer is no, then tag the hand so that in your next study session, you can analyze it to see if you can find a way to earn the fold.
Episode 34: You can’t bluff bad poker players
Article: Stop Being an Idiot – You Cannot Bluff Bad Poker Players from Mark Warner ExceptionalPoker.com
MED Idea: If they ain’t folding, you ain’t bluffing. Like Mark said, it’s okay to throw out that first bluff on the flop because without a pair, they’re often folding. But if they call, give up the bluffing or try to get to SD cheaply.
MED Action: Before throwing out any post-flop bluff in your next session, assign a percentage for how often you think your opponent will fold. Look at the board and their Fold to Cbet stats and make a guess. Is it 80%? Great! Go ahead and bluff. Is it 20%? You might want to save your chips for a better bluffing opportunity against another player.
Episode 33: Poker Cash Game Strategy Tips
Article: 10 Cash Game Poker Tips for Dominating the Table from Dan B. at UpswingPoker.com
MED Idea: Bet a lot when HU and IP. This is applicable both for value and as bluffs. If they know you value bet your best hands, they’re more prone to fold. If they know you cbet bluff a lot, they can call with worse when you have them crushed. And if they know you’re capable of both, they’ll have a harder dissecting and exploiting your play in-game.
MED Action: Do not slow-play, but instead, build the pot when you likely have the best hand. Your opponents bluff a ton, and they see this same tendency in their opponents. Because of this, they’re less likely to believe you nowadays and you can gain more value than ever from these non-believers.
Episode 32: Think Like a Poker Player and Rewire Your Brain
Article: “How to Rewire Your Poker Brain” from Alex Fitzgerald and DandBPoker.com
Alex’s New Course: How to Think Like a Poker Player
MED Idea: Thinking about the most important thing at every decision point will lead to more reasoned, sound poker. Ask yourself the question: “What is the most important thought here?”
MED Action: In your next 3 sessions, play a 30-minute focus session with 1 or two tables and for every decision you face, ask yourself the question, “What is the most important thought here?” See if your answer to this question guides you to better decisions. And then after those focus sessions, play your normal sessions and see if you don’t ask then answer that question and make better decisions for it.
Episode 31: Change Your Ways and Stop Losing Money at Poker
Article: 5 Proven Ways to Stop Losing at Poker from Nathan Williams at BlackRain79.com
MED Idea: Each of these points are important, but the most important was the first: Fold against turn and river raises with one-pair hands.
MED Action: In your next 4 sessions, focus on one of these points at a time. Session one, you’ll think thrice before calling a turn or river raise. Session two, you won’t slow play a single big hand, either pre or post-flop. Session three, you’ll only play at tables containing loose fish. Session four, you’ll focus on using your preflop ranges and getting to the flop in money-making situations. And, throughout all four of these sessions, pay attention to your emotions and if you’re feeling tilted, take a break.
Episode 30: When the light’s green, proceed with well-timed poker aggression
Article: Be Ready to Be Aggressive When Given the Green Light from Ashley Adams at PokerNews.com
MED Idea: When your opponents show signs of weakness, use aggression to take down pots. Weakness can be checking instead of betting, or betting tiny amounts or they just have a propensity to fold without a very strong hand.
MED Action: In your next 3 sessions, bluff bet every time a single opponent checks to you in position. They called your flop cbet and checked to you on the turn. It’s your chance to double-barrel bluff them. You check-called their flop cbet, then they checked behind on the turn. It’s your chance to stab the river and take it down. Experiment with different sizings and use the bet size you think will give you the fold you’re looking for.
Episode 29: Stop and consider before you plow through the streets of poker
Article: Don’t Forget to Observe the Poker Stop Signs from Ashley Adams at PokerNews.com
MED Idea: Pay attention to what the board, your opponents, their actions and their bet sizings are telling you. Stop and consider the best play before you click that button.
MED Action: In your next three sessions, play with the intent of considering every option available to you when you’re involved in a post-flop situation. As the preflop raiser, you can cbet, check, call or raise a donk bet on the flop. As the preflop caller, you can check, check-raise, donk bet, call or fold to the cbet. What play do you think will earn you the most chips on average if you were able to repeat this scenario 1 million times? Whatever the play, if you judge it to earn you money, or save you money in the case of folding, then make it.
Episode 28: Want more poker profits and excitement? Play boring poker
Article: Folding = Boring = Grinding = Winning = Exciting from Mark Warner at ExceptionalPoker.com
MED Idea: Profitable poker is boring poker. Most of us play poker for profits. Some play for excitement. If poker excitement is your bag, baby, then have at it. Bluff like mad, play T4o and 62s and have a ball. But, if profit’s your motivator, boring poker should be your bag, baby.
MED Action: In your next study session, review your “river call and lost” hands. I’m sure you’ll find some hands where calling was an obviously bad play, but you clicked that button anyway. Answer this question, “Why did I call here?” Find patterns in your poor calling choices and resolve to learn from them and to make better decisions in your future play sessions.
Episode 27: Adjust your opening ranges because the poker times, they are a’changin’
Article: How Opening Ranges Have Evolved And How to Adjust from Jason Lee at GamblingSites.com
MED Idea: “Pre-flop hand selection is the framework for your entire game.” You can set yourself up for failure or success with the starting hand choices you make.
MED Action: Look at the profitability of suited connectors in your database. Filter for them one-by-one starting with AKs. Look at their profitability by position, when open-raising, calling the 2bet and 3betting. Review the three biggest losing hands from each of these suited connectors. What mistakes are you making? Are they preflop mistakes, like it was a bad spot and you should’ve folded pre? Or are they post-flop mistakes and you’re playing your draws too passively, too aggressively, or can you never fold 2p and TP hands?
Episode 26: Become a Better Preflop Open Raiser
Article: What to Open-Raise Preflop? from Hunter Cichy at RedChipPoker.com
MED Idea: The blinds are your only monetary incentive to enter a preflop pot.
MED Action: Look at the profitability for every specific hand in your database over the past 50,000 hands or more, and compare these to your ranges. Do this for each non-blind position that you have a range for, so UTG through the BTN. The reason for looking at non-blind profitability is because you want to see how profitable you are in spots where if you fold you lose $0. You can do this separately for the blinds later if you’d like.
You’ll group the hands by “Starting Hands (Holdem)” and run the filter for each of your open-raising range positions. By doing this, you’ll see every hand dealt to you in each position and how profitable they’ve been for you.
Now whip out your ranges and look at the profitability of the weakest hands. Let’s say in your EP range, 22 is the worst pair, AJs and AJo are the worst Aces and KQs along with KQo are the worst Kings. Ask yourself: “How profitable have each of these hands been for me in the EP, and should I consider ditching any of them?”
Let’s say 22 is a losing hand for you, and so is 33 and 44. But, 55+ all show at least a little profit. Then you might want to consider lopping off 22-44 from your EP range.
Episode 25: Are you the kind of idiot who can do this?
Article: Any Idiot Could Do This from Alex Fitzgerald at AmericasCardroom.eu
MED Idea: Stop over-thinking poker. Let your opponent’s actions tell you what they have.
MED Action: Do 14 days of hand reading practice where you pick apart hands that you called the river and lost. Could you have left the hand earlier than the river? Did your opponent tell you they had the goods, but you just weren’t listening to their actions and their bet sizings?
Episode 24: Handling the Frustrations of Low Stakes Poker
Article: The Mental Battle of Low Stakes Poker: How to Survive Among Bad Players from Nathan Williams at PokerNews.com
MED Idea: Everybody has issues with anger, so what sets you off at the tables? For me, it’s when my bluffs constantly fail to work, my big hands get cracked by super weak hands and when I give unnecessary value to fish who catch a great hand against my mediocre hand. Because I know these are my weak spots, I’ve put plans in place to help me deal with them when they happen. And because I’m aware of them, I’m focused on not letting them tilt me when they actually occur. Figure out your mental game weaknesses and work to overcome them.
MED Action: Overcharge the fish who are willing to pay for their draws. If you usually bet ½ to 2/3 pot for value, make it even bigger against calling stations on wet boards. This week test out ¾ pot-sized bets, full pot-sized bets and 1.5x or even greater value bets. When they’re willing to pay, you’re losing out on value with smaller bets.
Episode 23: Improve Your Game with 15 Quick Poker Tips… and Hard Work
Article: 15 Quick Poker Tips That Will Make You A Better Player In 7 Minutes from Dan B. at UpswingPoker.com
MED Idea: Tips do you no good if you don’t work hard to implement them. If you’re a boxer and your next opponent has a weak chin, then you must practice chin shots over and over, right? So, just reading this list isn’t going to be enough to improve your game. For tip #1 about tightening up your preflop range, you’ll probably have to work for 2 weeks or longer to develop ranges you like, test them out and refine them. For tip #5 about game selection, that’s an ongoing process you’ll have to force yourself to do: leave unprofitable tables and actively search for profitable ones every time you enter a cardroom or fire up your online software.
MED Action: Read the full article and choose the ONE tip that will most impact your game if you “master” it. Commit to working on it for 1 or 2 weeks. Practice over and over, and do additional studies surrounding the strategy. Filter through your database and study past hands to learn from them. Tag relevant hands to study as you play and practice the strategies. Record game tape as you focus on putting the strategy into action, and make sure to review the tapes.
Episode 22: Gettin’ Value with Them Overpairs
Article: Failing to get value with an over pair from Jonathan Little at JonathanLittlePoker.com
MED Idea: Try to get value from your opponents, don’t try to push them off their weaker hands. Some people might say that it’s a good idea to bet with an overpair to get the Aces, Kings and Queens to fold so they don’t hit the next street. But, if you bet enough for value while denying them the proper odds to call with weaker hands, you’ve done your job as a poker player.
MED Action: In your next 3 poker play sessions, complete this sentence before you check-back any river with a potential value hand:
“If I bet amount my opponent can pay me off with hands.”
If you can name enough second-best hands willing to call your bet sizing, then you must make the value bet. Tag any hand when you bet or check-back the river so you can review them later.
Episode 21: Do You Yearn to Learn to Earn on the Turn?
Article: 6 Very Simple Ways to Play the Turn More Profitably from Nathan Williams and BlackRain79.com
MED Idea: The turn is where you can earn more than your fair share of pots as there are many ways to exploit your opponents here. Use your opponent’s stats to gauge the most profitable line, and plan for river play before you make your turn play.
MED Action: Over your next 5 sessions, focus your play on utilizing one of the 5 ways Nathan gave to play the turn. Your 1st session focus will be on double-barreling in profitable situations, the 2nd will be on betting when checked to and so on through the 5th way to play the turn. In all 5 of these sessions, have a plan for the river before you make your turn play.
Episode 20: Understanding Your Greatest Enemies at the Tables
Article: Your Greatest Enemies in Poker from Alex Fitzgerald and AmericasCardroom.eu
Sun Tzu Quote:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
MED Idea: Make a list of your own enemies in poker, and figure out how you can overcome those enemies.
MED Action: Get out a piece of paper and divide it in half. On the top half, write down how the average player at your stakes approaches a hand of poker. How do they play preflop, and how do they approach post-flop play? What kind of hands do they check-raise with on the flop and turn? What do they call 3 streets with, what hands do they check-behind instead of cbetting and what kind of hands do they triple-barrel with? What hands does an average player 3bet with? Everything you write here is your understanding of the enemy.
Now that you know your enemy, use the bottom half to write down strategies you can use to exploit them.
Episode 19: Learning from Losing
Article: The Non-Agony of Defeat from Mark Warner at ExceptionalPoker.com
MED Idea: We have two things in life we control: our actions and our attitudes. Beats don’t have to cause pain and suffering. You can choose instead to learn from these “painful” situations. You can choose to ignore the pain, but instead be grateful for the learning opportunity you’re presented with.
MED Action: The next time you lose a big pot, say to yourself, “Thank you for this learning opportunity.” Tag the hand for review or write down the relevant details, then off the felt, analyze the hand. Why did you lose? Was it variance or was it a bad play on your part? If variance, be grateful your opponents make the mistakes they do because that’s why poker is profitable. If it was a mistake on your part, what caused it? What information did you overlook? Was it a mental lapse in judgement? Did you run the math incorrectly? Did you think you had more fold equity than you actually did? Figure out the mistake, learn from it, and resolve to not repeat it in future sessions.
Episode 18: Increase Your LIVE Tournament 3betting
Article: A Frequent Mistake I Saw at the WSOP from JonathanLittlePoker.com
MED Idea: 3bet more often in LIVE tourneys but do so for the right reasons against the right players. Bluff them if they are capable of folding, and only value bet against the tightest opponents. Increase your 3bet value range against marginal hand callers.
MED Action: Practice 3betting this week. If you’re a LIVE or online player, either way, aggression gets awarded with more pots and chips won.
Episode 17: Turn Your Poker Brain ON Before the Tournament Begins
Email from ThePokerAcademy.com
MED Idea: Hope is not a plan. When you show up to the tournament not even knowing the structure or the buy-in amount, you haven’t mentally prepared. When you go to a LIVE event as an online player and you haven’t warmed up with a smaller event first or purposefully getting into a poker mindset, you’ve hampered your chance at success. When you call with J7s with the hope of hitting at least a fd or gs, that’s not a plan.
MED Action: Begin or add to your current pre-tournament warm-up. Download a tourney-related podcast to listen to, run through some tournament hands in your database, familiarize yourself with the structure, visualize your play, review your recent study notes. Do something to turn your poker brain on before the tournament begins.
Episode 16: Playing Poker… but, without a HUD!?
Article: Poker HUDs Banned Where You Play? – 5 Easy Ways to Get Reads from Nathan Williams at BlackRain79.com
MED Idea: You don’t need a HUD. There are so many other ways to get reads. For every showdown, replay the action back in your head and see if you can find a pattern to how their aggression and passivity present themselves through the streets. Did the player get aggressive or remain passive with the nut flush draw? What was the strength of their hand when they check-raised the flop? Every showdown is your opportunity to understand the players at the table.
MED Action: If you’re playing LIVE poker this week, your goal is to make a note on each opponent that shows you their cards at showdown. It can be as simple as “CO opened J7s” or as detailed as “CO open J7s, IP f 2p, bet ¾ pot ftr on J7234 board for value the whole way”. If you’re an online player, find one specific winning player (positive win rate over 2K+ hands) and filter for their SD hands. Go through at least 25 hands and make note of the hand strengths they made post-flop plays with. like check-raising, cbetting, checking behind, donk betting, etc. Your goal is to make a player note for each showdown hand you review.
Episode 15: Metagame Thinking in LIVE Tournaments
Article: Metagame Considerations in Live MTTs from Matthew Hunt at TournamentPokerEdge.com
MED Idea: There’s a lot to learn from the way your opponents present themselves, how they act and what they say at the tables. These are additional characteristics that can clue you into the type of LIVE player you’re up against.
MED Action: Pay attention to the conversations you’re in and the ones taking place at your table during your next LIVE MTT. Try to learn about your opponents by what they talk about, how they dress and how they act. Find and target the players who won’t offer resistance. The nitty and foldy players. These are the ones you’ll earn the most chips from.
Episode 14: Systematize and Simplify Poker for Increased Profits
Article: Martyball from Alex Fitzgerald and AmericasCardroom.eu
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MED Idea: There is a way to simplify poker in an effort to put you in more money-making spots. The best coaches do this to win more games and titles. You can do this to earn more chips.
MED Action: Collect some data, interpret it and create a simple 3 to 5-part plan.
Take these common spots and find your bb/100 hands win rate. Divide that number by 100 to find what that spot is worth to you per hand on average. For example, +35bb/100 hands is +.35bb/hand.
Next, make a simple plan that puts you in more money-making spots and keeps you out of trouble. Make a 3-part, 4-part then a 5-part plan.
- Keep the betting lead by being the last raiser preflop
- 3bet more frequently with decent hands in good spots where I’m unlikely to get 4bet
- Cbet the flop and turn when going for value or my opponent can find a fold
- Strive for IP play
- Don’t limp, 2bet instead as it’s much more profitable
Episode 13: 6 Ways to Overcome Tilt
Article: 6 Ways to Stop Tilting (That Actually Work) from Nathan Williams at BlackRain79.com
MED Idea: Tilt (playing at your worst due to a bad emotional state) is the number one bankroll killer. Because it’s so detrimental, you’ve got to address this issue ASAP!
MED Action: Create a plan for your next experience with tilt. You know it’s going to happen, so plan for it. Follow this simple 3 step plan:
- On a piece of paper, write down the 3 most common causes for your tilt. It could be river suckouts, AA get cracked, getting 3bet by a Maniac, etc.
- On the same piece of paper, write down two things you’ll do to overcome the emotions when one of these three things happen. Maybe you’ll drink a glass of water and do 5 sets of 15 push-ups. Maybe you’ll play two of your favorite Kenny G songs. Maybe you’ll watch the opening scene of the South Park Movie, laugh your ass off, then sit back in on your tables and resume playing in a lighter mood.
- Read over your plan during your next session warm-up and actually implement it when the inevitable happens.
Episode 12: Confusing Opponents With Unconventional Bet Sizing
Article: Unorthodox Betting from Alex Fitzgerald (@TheAssassinato) at AmericasCardroom.eu
MED Idea: Have a reason for every bet size you choose, and choose a sizing that gives your opponent a reason to do what you want them to. And of course, tailor your sizing to your opponent and the range you assign them. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to bet sizing and betting lines.
MED Action: Look through your database and review the most recent 20 hands in each of these two very common situations:
1. IP on the flop, HU, you made a cbet with TP+
2. IP on the flop, HU, you made a bluff cbet with a marginal hand or draw
Record the cbet sizing you used over these 40 hands. Can you spot any patterns? Are you predictable? Are all of your bluffs at ½ pot, but value bets at 3/4 pot? Are you tailoring your bet size to your opponent and the board, or do you use a one-size-fits-all approach? Learn from your current pattern of play and decide on any necessary changes or adaptations you can test out over the coming week.
Episode 11: The Perils of Failing to Plug Your Poker Leaks
Article: How Poker Leaks Become Self-Perpetuating from Matthew Hunt (theginger45) at TournamentPokerEdge.com
MED Idea: Avoiding uncomfortable or confusing spots is not a fix to any leak. Accept the leak and the reality that you’ll lose a bit of EV now as you work to improve your skills and plug the leak. By plugging the leak sooner rather than later, or never, you’re developing yourself into a stronger, more profitable player.
MED Action: Pick one leak right now and resolve to plug it over the next two weeks. You know what that leak is; it’s the one you’ve been dreading and you do your best to avoid it in every session you play. Throw every bit of study time you have to watching videos, reading articles, digging through your database and discussing this leak with others. Look for opportunities in your play sessions to take this leak head-on and to practice the skills you’re learning off the felt. This is your opportunity to take a short-term hit to EV for a long-term improvement in your game.
Episode 10: Tommy Angelo’s Take on Tilt
MED Idea: Everyone suffers from tilt, and tilt is simply non-A-game play. The question is, how often and how long do you tilt for, and how much does it cost you?
MED Action: Over the next week, track your tilt. Does it happen every session, every other session or once per week? Are you able to catch your tilt in the moment, or do you only realize it after the fact? You need to be honest with your tilt assessment. Awareness of the real issues and effects are the first step to getting beyond tilt.
Episode 9: Tommy Angelo’s Take on Tilt
Article: Poker Bluffing Tips from Greg Walker at ThePokerBank.com
MED Idea: You should bluff when you think your opponent will fold.
MED Action: Use a tick sheet and before every bluff decision, make a tick under “Will Fold” or “Won’t Fold”. If you assess this honestly and think he won’t fold, don’t make the bluff. If he will, then make the bluff. Tag every bluffing hand for later review, regardless of your success or failure.
Episode 8: Improve Your Cbetting
Article: Continuation Betting: The Ultimate Guide  from Richie Jenkins at HowtoPlayPokerInfo.com
MED Idea: Know why you’re cbetting and consider how the board interacts with your range and your opponent’s range before you click BET.
MED Action: Give more thought to your cbet opportunities in your play sessions this week. Use a tick sheet and before each cbet you make, tick the sheet under either bluff or value.
Episode 7: Play Less Hands Pre-flop and Don’t Be the Fish
Article: How to Stop Playing Too Many Hands in Poker: 3 Simple Steps from Nathan Williams at BlackRain79.com
MED Idea: losing players lose because they play too many hands.
MED Action: Use the Holdem Hand Range Visualizer in PT4 to see what hands you’re calling 2bets with pre-flop. It’s okay to steal from the CO and BTN with J9s and K5s. But, if you’re calling EP opens with these hands, you’re putting yourself at an incredible range disadvantage. On the statistics tab, select “Holdem Hand Range Visualizer” as the report format. Down below, turn on the “Cold Call 2bet %” heat map statistic. The first thing you want to do is look at your winnings here. Hopefully, it’s +. If not, you’re making some bad calling choices. All of the green highlighted hands are what you’re cold calling 2bets with. Do you see any J9s or K5s or 54o or 92o hands? Click on the questionable calling hands and review them. Commit yourself to not call with those crappy hands any more.
Episode 6: Upping Your Aggression in Profitable Spots
Article: You Probably Aren’t Aggressive Enough in These 4 Common Spots from Michael Brady at UpswingPoker.com
MED Idea: Checking-back instead of cbetting is a sign of weakness. Find ways (like probing the next street) to get them to fold their hands.
MED Action: Find spots where you can probe turns and river when opponent checks-back instead of cbetting. Make a sticky note for your monitor and play today’s session with this focus. Every time your opponent checks-back, consider how likely they’ll fold to your turn probe. Find their pain threshold with your sizing, and choose boards and turn cards that don’t hit their pre-flop raising range. Also, create a tag in PT4 for “TurnProbes” and tag every hand where you had the opportunity to probe and the hands where you actually probed. Review each of these hands in your study session tomorrow.
Episode 5: Playing from the Small Blind
Article: How to Play — or Not to Play — from the Small Blind from Avery Wilson at PokerNews.com
MED Idea: Stay conservative in the blinds. I recommend at most a 9% calling range in the SB and 10% in the BB.
MED Action: Play a :30 focus session of just one table where your goal is to play optimally from the SB. Take out a piece of paper and write down all you know about the player on your left, the BB player when you’re the SB. How can you exploit their pre-flop and post-flop tendencies? What do you need to look out for? What kind of plays like pre-flop steals or limp/raises, or post-flop donk bets or check-raises will get them to lay down hands? How can you go for max value against him? Do the same for the player on your right, the BTN when you’re in the SB. Know how you can exploit this player as well.
Episode 4: Small Stakes Cash Game Play from the Blinds
Article: Playing Effectively from the Blinds in Small Stakes Cash Games from Nathan Williams at PokerNews.com
MED Idea: At the lowest stakes keep things simple against what are often weaker opponents. Play a tight and aggressive game from the positionally disadvantaged blinds.
MED Action: Filter in your database for the hands you call 2bets with. If you see a lot of hands outside of the ranges that Nathan recommends, like A4o and J8s, then practice tightening up your play from the blinds. Type out or write down the 15.8% range Nathan recommended and play only that. Raise or call with these hands as you see fit, and fold everything else. If you’re raising, make sure you know if it’s for a bluff or for value. It’s a terrible decision to bluff 3bet then call the opponent’s 4bet.
Episode 3: Learning From Poker Mistakes
Article: Winning, Losing, and/or Learning. Pick Two. from Mark Warner at ExceptionalPoker.com
MED Idea: Don’t think in terms of wins and losses. Instead, try to think in terms of wins and learns.
MED Action: Create a “Mistake” tag in PT4 (Configure submenu >> Tags >> Add >> “Mistake” and symbol >> Use). Every time you make a mistake, train yourself to tag that hand instead of berating yourself for it or going on tilt. Commit to reviewing these every day from your prior session.
Episode 2: Stop butchering river play: get value!
Article: How You’re Butchering River Play (Part 1) from Alexander Fitzgerald at AmericasCardroom.eu
MED Idea: Do not miss out on river value with those big ½ to 2/3 pot-sized bets. When your opponent knows they’re beat, they can’t help calling 1/3 or even ¼ pot-sized bets. Heck, if it’s even 6bb’s you win in one hand, and if you’re a 4bb/100 hands winner, then you’ve just upped your win rate by 150% for those 100 hands.
MED Action: Make smaller 1/3 to ¼ pot-sized bets when you know your opponent is dominated but they just can’t help themselves but call.
Episode 1: Getting Maximum River Value From Fish
Article: 6 Bet Sizing Tricks to Skyrocket Your Poker Winnings from Nathan Williams at BlackRain79.com
MED Idea: With any bet size you make in poker, you want to put your opponent to a proper test. You want to get it as close to 50/50 in their head about what to do.
A no-brainer to fold or call or re-raise makes poker easy on them. Make it tough on them and more profitable for you.
MED Action: Try making the river over-shove vs the fish with the absolute nuts.