How did I improve?

by ~ October 25th, 2009. Filed under: Bankroll, Basics of poker, Philosophy and approach, Poker aggression, Poker psychology, Weaknesses.

I was searching through some of my old posts, searching for cashout/deposit information because I was trying to build a spreadsheet that tracks my “net”; my online bankrolls plus my net cashout/deposits. It’s actually starting to get to the point that I can’t keep track easily any more because of redeposits (chasing redeposit bonuses) and cashouts. At this point my net offline poker monies almost equals my online bankroll, which is fine since that means I have money available for redeposits, as well some insurance against as some unlikely event like PokerStars going under or my bank refusing to cash cheques from Stars.

In the process I reread some of my posts during the period during which I was having aggression problems. It was a very interesting period in my poker career as I was nearing a full year since first learning poker, had made my first deposit, had my first bankroll developed from freerolls on another site, had completed my first deposit bonus, and had a bankroll to show that I could be a winning player.

I’m almost afraid to read those posts. It seems like a fine line between me back then and me now and I remember it took me so long to work my way out of it. To review now is a bit threatening, as if I might fall back into that world.

So what is the difference? More poker theory knowledge, to be sure. I now know the value of pot equity combined with fold equity which makes shoving over flop bets with strong draws +EV. And more control over my play. I can fold decent hands to aggression from passive players. I can give up decent preflop hands to unexpected aggression. I can raise marginal hands when I think that I have fold equity and then fold when someone who is not aggressive 3 bets. I can also 3 bet marginal hands against players that I know are aggressive, or call postflop shoves with marginal hands against similar players. I can float or take away pots when it’s unlikely that my opponent has hit the flop when I have nothing or a draw. I can make judgment calls as to when to call down with underpairs and when to give up.

So many things, but they all come up relatively infrequently. Well, I guess it depends on how you define “relatively” and “infrequently”. To a one or two table player they would come up infrequently, but for someone who plays 8 or more everything will come up more frequently. And it’s the accumulated effects of those slight differences, the raise with draws that folds out the other players, the occasional stolen blind, the pinpointing of an aggressive player to 3 bet rather than to continue to fold the blind, the fold rather than paying off the passive tight player, the fear of 3 flushes against loose un-aggressive players, all these things make a difference over the longer term.

Better timed aggression, and more control. I think that’s the difference between me as a breakeven player two years ago and me now playing more tables of the same levels with relative comfort and win rate. Now, I’ve long had the bankroll, if I can just get myself to play often enough to feel comfortable enough to move up ….

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