Poker and the Minimum Effective Dose | Podcast #87

The minimum effective dose is the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.  In this podcast series, I’m giving you the minimum effective dose strategies among 10 different themes you MUST learn to turn yourself into the profitable poker player you want to be.

Updated! Originally posted August 16, 2016.

The 10 MED’s of Poker 

1. Pre-flop Ranges

Utilizing ranges will set yourself up for poker success by choosing better starting poker hands for every situation.  I’ll give you the ranges and sizings I use preflop.  I’ll also discuss all the necessary concepts to help you make great open-raising, isolation raising, 2bet calling and 3betting decisions.  I will show you through additional companion videos how to use Flopzilla to help you work with ranges and learn the equities of hand vs hand, hand vs range and range vs range.

The Best Texas Holdem Starting Poker Hands and Ranges

2. Stealing Blinds

Stealing is a valuable play in all forms of poker.  I’ll teach you the math behind steal bets.  Mostly it’s break-even math, like my 4bb bluff bet has to work X% of the time.  And I’ll show you why it’s important to be stealing quite often in all forms of poker.

Blind Stealing Episode #96

Steal Popup #97

Steal Positional Analysis, Ranges and Bet Sizing #99

Blind Stealing Consequences and Switching Tables #102

3. 3bets

3betting is an important skill that we need to understand in today’s aggressive games.  We’ll develop 3bet ranges and 3bet defending ranges.

The Essentials Episode #104

Value 3bets #105

Bluff 3bets #107

3bet Defense #108

4. Blind Play

Blinds are defended very widely nowadays.  You need to understand how and when to defend, and how to exploit those who defend too much or not enough.  We’ll discuss blind vs blind confrontations as well.

Pre-flop Blind Defense Episode #110

Post-flop Blind Defense #113

Blind Vs Blind #120

5. Exploiting Opponents

I’ll discuss each basic player type, their tendencies and how to exploit them.  We’ll also get into the common ranges these players play and how our ranges fair vs theirs.  I’ll also cover the most important HUD stats that help you gauge your opponent’s play.

Gathering Information On Opponents Episode #123

Table Select for High Profit Potential – Avoid the Sharks! #282

Consider Before You Click and 11 Essential HUD Stats #125

6. Continuation Bets

Cbet Principles will be the first episode which will cover the basics behind this important (and ubiquitous) play.  We’ll talk board textures and opponent ranges.  Double-barrels for value and as bluffs will be covered, as well as how to react to specific cbet defensive plays (like the check-raise, cbet raise or float).

Cbet Principles Episode #133

Cbetting Board Texture #134

Double Barrel Cbets #135

Reacting to Cbet Defense Plays #137

7. Post-flop Math

We’ll cover everything math related from Expected Value (EV), Pot Equity, outs and the odds of hitting draws and implied odds.  We’ll discuss what hands are good to chase and which aren’t.  There will be a big dive into the math of determining if your call or semi-bluff is a profitable one.

Hot and Cold Equity, Outs & Odds, Percentage Form and Combo Counting Episode #138

Implied Odds #140

Expected Value, Pot Equity and REDI #143

8. Post-Flop Plays

Because we’re targeting players, defending blinds and getting called by weak players, we need to know how to play both OOP and IP post-flop as the pre-flop caller.

The Check-raise Episode #145

The Donk Bet #146

Float Bets and Probe Bets #360

9. Hand Reading

This is a crucial skill that we need to develop in order to make the best decisions possible.  We train this through daily off-the-felt work to develop great thought-process habits that we can use on-the-felt.

How to do Poker Hand Reading

The Benefits of Flopzilla When Hand Reading #151

Avoiding the Fixed Mindset #152

10. Poker Mindset

Having a growth mindset in poker is key.  Part of this will be understanding/accepting variance, something I haven’t discussed yet at all.  We’ll get more into Kaizen and working to constantly improve your game. I’ll discuss my favorite mindset question of all time: “What am I doing wrong?”

Pre-session Poker Mindset #163

In-game Poker Mindset Techniques #165

Study Session Mindset Techniques #166

Sleep, Eat, Move, Improve… Your Mind #168

SMARTER Goals and Developing Good Habits #169

Keep Stress at Bay and Have a “Bring it on!” Attitude #171

Jump Start the 1st Minimum Effective Dose: Opening Theory and Ranges

Some of you have never used ranges before, so with that I found a great resource to get you started.  Doug Hull at redchippoker.com created some awesome pre-flop range infographics.  These puppies give you recommendations, both tight and loose, for opening, calling and 3betting pre-flop.  The ranges themselves come from Ed Miller’s book, ‘The Course,’ but Doug put them together in a lovely, easy to follow infographic.

Let’s take a look at one of the ranges he gives you.  The loose BTN opening range is 33.3% or 442 combos of hands.  That sounds pretty solid to me.  Lots of steal hands mixed in with all the value hands.

BTN pre-flop range

Within this range 116 combos are 3betting hands.  Out of this 116 hands, there are 40 combos that could be considered bluffs or semi-bluffs.  They’re hands like 75s, 97s, A2s-A5s and some suited broadways.

BTN 3bet hands

The great thing about having so many semi-bluffing hands in your 3bet range is that it ups the aggression when you have ultimate position on the BTN.  This also has the added benefit of making it harder for opponents to read you.  Additionally, having all of your bluffs be suited and connected or gappers makes them more like semi-bluffs because they can spike big hands and can be used to push weaker ranges off their hands post-flop with lots of drawing equity.

So I highly recommend downloading and using Doug Hull’s infographic over there on redchippoker.com by going through www.smartpokerstudy.com/doughullranges.

Podcast Challenge

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Remember that list of 10 MED’s I asked you to write at the beginning of the podcast during the mission?  Well, let me know how and why your list differed from mine.  I’d love to get your input into my list of Poker’s MED’s and how you would rather it be organized.  Who knows, your input might open my eyes to something new I haven’t thought of.  Kaizen in action, always working to improve and open to suggestions!  Ganbatte!

Up Next…

In podcast #88 I’ll answer 3 listener questions.  Next week we’ll kick-off this new series, The MED’s of Poker, by hitting MED #1: Opening Theory and Ranges.

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

Sky Matsuhashi