Losing aggression; how did I get there?

by PokerAnon ~ August 4th, 2011. Filed under: Non-playing grind posts.

I want to track a series of events.

  1. While grinding Rush poker I open up my stealing range and frequency. Many other players are doing so as well and so I also start to open up my 4betting range against players who 3 bet from the blinds often.
  2. Black Friday, April 15, 2011, happens. I cash both my PokerStars and Full Tilt accounts down to ~ $200. Full Tilt goes into stasis. American players are removed from Stars which changes the play. I start to try to regrind my $200 account at $25nl FR tables.
  3. I bring with me my preflop aggression from Rush Poker to the cash tables at PokerStars. At first I run into a number of players who steal often and then don’t seem to know what to do when I 3bet so they call, and then I’m not sure what hand range they have because it’s probably wider than it should be.
  4. I start to become hesitant after being stuck in a few bloated pots with these players. I feel a little out of my comfort zone because the player base has changed after Black Friday and I’m wondering whether I need to adjust.
  5. I start to pull back on my preflop aggression; slightly less stealing and less 3 betting from the blinds. This leads to calling more often preflop and not having the initiative postflop. This puts me in the situation of having to play medium strength hands passively which sometimes allows my opponent to draw out on me. It also puts me in difficult situations with these marginal hands and with draws.
  6. Postflop I become passive with draws. I also get stuck in WA/WB or SA/WB situations and get outdrawn.

I’ve never been overly comfortable playing passively out of position. I know that against a player with a wide raising range I should 3 bet marginal hands and sometimes value hands but just call with hands that dominate his range (AQ/AJ/KQ) because I don’t want to chase away hands that I dominate, but I find it difficult to play AQs OOP even against a player who is opening 33%.

In position it’s a different matter as I can be happy calling a continuation bet and then seeing what happens on the turn, or raising or betting the flop since most of the time if called that will be followed by a check on the turn and I can manage the pot size more easily.

But I’ve become so hesitant to 3 bet preflop or to semibluff with a raise postflop (another loss of initiative result combined with fear of bloated pots and fear of players that don’t know how to fold) that today I almost flatted AJo from the button behind an average player raise, a loose player call, and another average player call.

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