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EDUCATING MYSELF

March has been a very interesting month for me. Not only did I spend the majority of my time in Australia it was also the month where I made the biggest progress in my mental game. In this blog I will sum up my progress as a No Limit Hold’em poker pro till date and show you how I try and educate myself.

WORK TASKS

Every month I try to improve one or more aspects of my game. I call it my monthly tasks.  I think adjusting your biggest leak is the most important task as a poker player. Below I have listed my work tasks from each month. I started playing No Limit Hold’em 6max cash games in mid November 2011. Naturally I have played poker before this but without a game plan.

November: Starting hands & Positional awareness.

December: Which hands to 3 bet from blinds & playing from blinds generally.

January: Implementation of 3 barrel bluffs. Good spots and good opponents to bluff. I also studied videos on how to play different types of ‘regs’ (pros & semi pros) in general which was crucial for my development as a poker player.

February: Same objectives

March: I read in my poker-bible about fear. I don’t tilt aggressively instead I tilt passively and become weak. Overcoming my fear and getting rid of irrational thoughts will be the biggest achievement in my life.

  • The fear of bluffing and feel stupid when called.
  • 4-bet bluffing pre-flop.
  • 5-bet bluff shoving all-in pre-flop.
  • Gaining +EV against solid aggressive regs.

I generally forced myself to take the hyper aggressive line rather than the passive/weak line. I wanted to become fearless and unpleasant to mess with. Mentally I am still trying to stop focusing on the results & winnings but instead look at how I played each hand and judge myself on my actions rather than the financial outcome. In a nutshell I should be happier when I play well but lose money rather than when I play bad but win. It sounds easy but any poker player knows it is very hard to archive this mindset. It is nicer to count stacks of bills than saying “I played well today but I lost”.

During March I added ‘call less 3-bets OOP’ instead I should 4-bet or fold. I also added a rule to never to look at the results in Hold’em Manager (program that tracks your play) until the session was over. I added this rule to avoid being result orientated and beating myself up for not stopping when I had won the most.

April: Go from being LAG (loose aggressive) to TAG (tight aggressive) so that I can play 9 tables GTO (Game theoretic optimal) instead of only 6. I need to tighten up by folding more marginal hands pre-flop from blinds. I also need to take fewer battles vs. 'regs’ who is opening from early positions (called EP & MP).

I need to improve my ‘River Call Efficiency’ so that I call less on river when beat. To do so I need to analyze the player’s hands, positions, actions and betting patterns closely so I can make more correct folds. You might think “how the hell do I apply this while playing 10 tables at once?” The answer is I have to be aware of this mentally while I play so it hopefully will become an unconscious competence in the future.

I might add ‘bet sizing’ during the month but it is less urgent. I am not an expert but I am not bad either.

 

LONG TERM GOALS (set in March)

  1. Become an aggressive solid grinder playing V$PIP/PFR: 24/20 (give or take)
  2. Have an overall win-rate of 4 bb/100 on $1/2 or 2 bb/100 on $2/4
  3. Play min. 40,000 hands a month on average

Reaching these goals means I will make roughly $5600 after taxes a month equivalent to DKK 30,000. If I drop below DKK 20,000 over a longer a period of time it is time to look for a ‘real job’. Let us see how it goes....

I hope this gave all you poker players some inspiration? Stay ahead of the game, work hard and improve your game otherwise you will end up losing your money to players like me. If you like reading my blogs please press 'Like' below to support my blog. Thanks!

 

All the best,

Erik