PezRez and md261 are two of the poker world's most consistent 6-max SNG players. Together they run, which offers coaching and staking services. Here they dissect hands and games they've played. Also found at:

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Professional VS ****

md261 on 26th October 2010

Villain: You play so ******* bad, you really are a Donk, Putaaaa.
Hero: Hee-Haw :)
Villain: You’re only still here cos you hit that river King, Fish.
Hero: Sorry that was pretty lucky, better to be lucky than good I suppose :)

This blog has never included a post about myself or Marcos, because we realise that no one cares; People want to read a poker blog that is instructional, interesting and helps increase their profitablility.
Everything in poker comes down to money, everything you do should be designed to increase your hourly rate, including any and all chat at the table.

There are many winning players who get into arguments or berate players at the table, if you do this I am not preaching, it is your right to do as you please, but I will explain the reasons why I will never do so

  • Pull out a gun or soothing words: Do you want to escalate a situation, or diffuse it. If someone is spewing venom at you they are more likely to make big moves against you, for all your chips. This is (apart from the early early blind levels) never desirable in a SnG, it will negate your ability to play your standard game. If you respond and taunt back, this escalating ‘Beef’ will happen; if you apologize, or agree with the Villain’s words, he will calm down, and probably feel bad (though never admit it). It is hard to argue without a partner in crime.

  • Mutual respect: It is particularly important to maintain professionalism against Regulars. You will face them time and time again, and if they don’t like you, and they themselves let their emotions influence their play, you will both suffer. Retaliatory words will lead to spite calls.

  • Mental Balance: Implement this "Hourly Rate Only" strategy and you will quickly disassociate yourself from the games you play. This has both upsides and downsides. The downside is that you will not care as much about the games you play, you will get no thrill from outplaying someone, your big wins will not fill you with happiness and you will lose a small part of the passion which made you play poker in the first place. The upside is that the same lack of emotional attachment which makes you not care so much enables you to take “big picture” view of poker, and tweak everything that you do to increase your hourly rate from your on-table plays to improving your PC setup. Though you will not feel happy from the big wins, the trade-off is that you will not be disappointed at all if you suffer a large downswing. In essence you will be treating poker like a profession, you work your hours with the intention of maximising your hourly rate, and win or lose, you are still a happy person when you spend time after your sessions with family and friends.

You need to work on your mindset just as hard as you need to work on your poker game to maximise your hourly rate. It is easy to understand the reasoning above, but that does not make it easy to implement the changes. How can you not to rise to the bait of the Villain in the chatbox?! There are however methods to ‘trick’ yourself into acting the right way, and if you act the right way, the mindset that goes with it will soon follow. People like to feel superior, when someone tells you that you play like a Donkey, you KNOW you are better than him and you tell him so, this is human nature. If you feel the need to feel better than the Villain, you can placate him like the Hero, safe in the knowledge that you are rising above his taunts, because you know that he wants a reaction out of you, and you are not going to let him control you like that. This will let you act in a professional manner, which is a stepping stone towards thinking professionally. Before long, if you work at it, you will placate the Vaillain not to feel better than him, but because you don’t care what someone you don’t know thinks about you, you just want to make as much money as possible.

The final thing is that it’s just not very nice to be an asshole. There are some bad eggs online, but there are a lot of regulars who don’t take anything personally, they understand that it is strictly business, and though you are enemies on the tables, you are still friends. Online poker can be a lonely job, and it can be nice to have the occasional friendly chat with someone who is in the same situation as you. Plus, you never know what might come of it, maybe someone you know decides to start a video site, and since you are both a good player AND a model professional, he might ask you to join. This wouldn’t happen if you insulted his mother and wished him death every time he outdrew you.


Friday, 15 October 2010

Mediocre Top Pair on a 3-Flush Board

PezRez on 16th October 2010

In this hand, I flop mediocre top pair out of position and take a line which looks inconsistent, but which actually makes perfect sense.

PokerStars Game $72+$6 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50)
Seat 1: Player 1 (1900 in chips)
Seat 2: PLAYER 2 (2025 in chips)
Seat 3: Player 3 (1345 in chips)
Seat 4: Hero (1640 in chips)
Seat 5: PLAYER 5 (1105 in chips)
Seat 6: Villain (985 in chips)
Player 3: posts small blind 25
Hero: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [8c Ac]
PLAYER 5: folds
Villain: raises 50 to 100
Player 1: folds
PLAYER 2: folds
Player 3: folds
Hero: calls 50
*** FLOP *** [7h 5h Ah]
Hero: checks
Villain: bets 50
Hero: calls 50
*** TURN *** [7h 5h Ah] [2d]
Hero: bets 150
Villain: calls 150
*** RIVER *** [7h 5h Ah 2d] [9c]
Hero: checks
Villain: bets 350
Hero: calls 350
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Villain: shows [8s Kc] (high card Ace)
Hero: shows [8c Ac] (a pair of Aces)
Hero collected 1325 from pot

An aggressive villain minraises, and although I’m not thrilled about A8o out of position, I’ve got 3.5-1 and stacks behind against an aggressive player who I may well have beaten. I elect to call, and flop a pair of aces. Only problem is all those hearts.

My hand, although improved, is still mediocre, so I check to see what my opponent is saying. He minbets, which looks pretty weak to me. If he had hit an Ace, he probably would bet more to protect his hand against the flush draw. I figure I’ve probably got the best hand, but there are so many bad cards that could hit. Checkraising seems too strong for this hand, so I elect to call, but with a specific plan in mind.

That plan is to bet a safe card, and the 2 of diamonds looks pretty safe to me. I reckon I’ve probably got the best hand, and now my opponent only has one card remaining to fill his flush if he’s drawing. If I bet, I can safely lay the hand down if raised, but I avoid a free card and extract value from a flush draw. Just less than half the pot is sufficient to give my opponent an incorrect price to call with a flush draw, so that’s what I bet.

Another blank on the river, and I now need to consider my opponent’s range. When he calls the turn, he probably has an Ace (in which case I’m probably behind), a flush draw (maybe with a pair) or possibly some kind of WTF hand. Value betting doesn’t make much sense, as there are few worse hands in this range that will call. But there are myriad missed draws for an aggressive villain to bluff with. I check to induce a bluff and snap it off, and WTF indeed: K8o.