Questions and Answers

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Scarmaker: ello Andrew :-) First of all thank you very much for doing this, it is appreciated. Can you please tell us what limits are you currently playing and what was the toughest limit you had to beat in order to get there?
March 27, 2013 20:03
Hi Scarmaker. My pleasure. I don't play *too* much online anymore (I'm an American who prefers to stay in the USA, though I do have a Canadian residence also). I also lost a fair amount of my roll in the FTP & UB fiasco. So, if I'm playing online these days I usually donk around 2/4. Live, though, I will often play much higher, at 5/10 and 10/25 uncapped. The toughest limits to beat are probably 2/4 and 5/10 online. Once you kinda get above the fray of regulars, 10/20 games often have tougher regs but more fish and are therefore better games.
 photo balugawhale March 27, 2013 20:06
duvan606: or someone who is starting to play poker which is the best advice thas patient on the hands or always risk in each hand
March 27, 2013 20:04
the best advice I can give someone starting is this: FOLD WHEN THEY RAISE. They're not bluffing. Seriously. At small stakes, probably <10% of players are capable of bluffing, and probably <5% can do it on turn and/or river.
 photo balugawhale March 27, 2013 20:07
johnaz: ello, what do you think about nosebleed nowadays? aren't those people just moving money around? I mean, what edge is there?
March 27, 2013 20:05
Scarmaker: peaking of you not being able to play cause you are an American, how did you get through all the Black Friday stuff? Do you remember your first reaction and what were the first weeks like after it happened?
March 27, 2013 20:09
Absolutely. I woke up, checked my messages (didnt have much), then went on a jog. Came back, had about 50 texts. A lot of people were saying, "this is probably nothing, just like the UIGEA, just like all that" but I was pretty sure that it was really over. I never imagined we wouldn't get our FTP money out though, but I was pretty sure that UB was gone forever from the beginning. Obviously I had just moved my Stars roll onto FTP for the FTOPS. The first few weeks were really stressful; i was living in an expensive 1 bedroom apt and for the first time had to really count up my expenses and figure out what I was going to do. I waited a couple months, then went to canada to get set-up there, finally got around to rereleasing my book (which I'd wanted to do but hadn't gotten around to doing yet). It really took me a long time to get fully comfortable and set again, probably more than 8 months
 photo balugawhale March 27, 2013 20:11
TJHernandez: up Baluga! DCer Soleztis here.

The trendy thing in NL these days is learning and implementing a GTO strategy.

How are you approaching game theory if at all, and do you think that because we are in the infancy of truly understanding this stuff that someone randomly trying to implement it into their game is going to be actually hurting their game?
March 27, 2013 20:09
johnaz: ave you ever been money scared when moving up the limits? what should I do to prevent that?
March 27, 2013 20:10
Of course, everyone goes through that feeling. The only cure is to try and try and try again. Accept that every time you move up limits you're probably going to get smashed. Eventually, losing a buyin at a higher stake will just feel normal, and when that happens, you're ready to crush.
 photo balugawhale March 27, 2013 20:15
Scarmaker: s someone who knows a damn lot about poker theory, can you tell us how the hell Hellmuth became (and still keeps being) so succesful even though his game is full of huge leaks?
March 27, 2013 20:11
First, Hellmuth gets mashed in cash games. But, his tournament success is clear. I have a few theories about this--
1) He has a very clear understanding of the value of tournament survival. He probably couldn't explain it, but he acts reasonably well in terms of ICM.
2) Late in tournaments, he's much more aggressive than he gets credit for and can gamble pretty hard if he needs to. 

You can knock him for playing too tightly or too passively early on in the tourney, but theoretically it seems okay.
 photo balugawhale March 27, 2013 20:16
duvan606: n canada poker grows daily more which is the most important tournament that each makes for poker players
March 27, 2013 20:13
Not sure I fully understand your question. The most important tournament every year is the WSOP in vegas.
 photo balugawhale March 27, 2013 20:17
duvan606: y question is which is the most important tournament in canada making of poker
March 27, 2013 20:19
again, the English isn't totally clear to me. But I'd imagine the players tournament in Vancouver? I haven't played any tournaments in Canada.
 photo balugawhale March 27, 2013 20:20
Scarmaker: am glad that GTO was mentioned here as I wanted to ask about that as well. First, can you try to explain to all our users here, what exactly GTO is in poker?
March 27, 2013 20:19
I'll start by explaining what GTO is in Rock-Paper-Scissors. There is something called a Nash Equilibrium. Nash says that in any game, no matter how many moving pieces there might be, there is an equilibrium in which it is impossible to lose (poorly defined probably, but applicable in our situation). So, in Rock-Paper-Scissors, the equilibrium would be throwing Rock 33.3%, Paper 33.3%, and Scissors 33.3% in terms of frequency. Try to come up with a strategy to beat that-- you can't. It's not possible. Now, an exploitative rock-paper-scissors robot would learn about your tendencies (if you throw rock a lot more than the others, they'd stop throwing scissors and throw only paper and rock, for example). So, in poker, the idea is the same-- find a strategy that basically cannot lose and can only win. However, we usually just skip that "GTO" step and jump straight to exploitative play. So, if you see a fish who calls literally everything, you don't "include bluffs in your range for GTO balance", you just exploit them and never bluff/always value bet. But, against a regular who is also trying to get near GTO, it can be difficult to find their leaks at first. So, until you know how to exploit them, you want to adopt a strategy that makes it very hard for you to lose. Hope that makes sense.
 photo balugawhale March 27, 2013 20:25
Safracz: i Andrew! Have you ever thought, that online poker is rigged? If not, what would be the message for those, who think that is. Thanks and GL!
March 27, 2013 20:20
I find it very, very unlikely that online poker is rigged. A poker site operating honestly is likely to make a TON of money. Why risk it? Conspiracies are hard to pull off without people finding out. My advice is: if you think poker is rigged, how come some people who work really hard and stuff win? Seems hard to reconcile with "I don't work too hard on it, and I lose, there fore they're out to get me"
 photo balugawhale March 27, 2013 20:26
nicusor93: Hi Andrew, for instance, if you declined your friends to go in city, or to see a movie because your are in middle of a MTT / sng , and they pissed off on you. What you must do to balance the situation. Sorry for my bad english :)
September 23, 2013 19:55
Play cash games instead??
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:32
fulixas: Hi Andrew , what words describes your poker play? Gl at the tables :))
September 23, 2013 21:11
"Probably too loose" ;)
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:32
vinn: Hello Andrew i play alot of omaha hi what are your thoughts on the game and do you have a strategy you can share with us here at tiltbook thanks alot Vinn
September 23, 2013 22:35
I actually haven't played much Omaha Hi, but I can say this-- all poker games rely on the same basic ideas: hand strength is relative, personality type is the most important thing you can determine, and you win money when your opponent makes mistakes, NOT when you win the pot.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:33
BlooDyG23: Hi Andrew ! I'm an MTT player and i would love to play more cash games,but i'm not so good at it...So please tell me some basic stuff that i need to know (like hands that you openning with out of possition etc....) ! Thanks a lot and GL !
September 24, 2013 16:13
In general, when transitioning into cash games, play much, much tighter especially OOP and stop 3-betting everything that's playable.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:33
Scarmaker: Hey Andrew! As a player for quite some time now, I believe I can say I fully understand the concept of a range and I use it to my best knowledge when trying to work out the best plays and plans for the hands. That being said, it has began to occur to me more and more lately, especially as a small stakes cash game player, that it is actually quite often much better to throw this concept out of a window due to a timing or bet sizing tell from my villain, that allows me to define his hand very specifically (i.e: I think he is going to value bet this % of a time and bluff that % of a time here and therefore I should fold. But because he did bet exactly THIS way, the conclusion that he has exactly this specific hand that I beat makes the most sense/seems extremely probable and so I should actually call). How do you feel about this? Thanks!
September 25, 2013 02:49
I think you can narrow ranges down tremendously using live tells, sometimes all the way down to 1 hand. But it's still a "range", its just a range of 1 hands. That's why you can fold KK in a live game preflop sometimes, but pretty much never online.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:34
Scarmaker: Btw, do you currently do coaching and if the answer is yes, what prices do you have when it comes to NL25/50 player? Assuming that you are even willing to coach NL25/50 players, lol.
September 25, 2013 02:57
I currently coach! And I work with people across all levels. My rates are the same per person tho-- $250 per hour, each sessions lasts 1.5 hours. I also offer a package deal.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:35
Astiwp: Hi, Balugawhale :) wazzup bro? Can u tell me: 1.Are you working on another book? 2.how to beat the micros NL25-NL50? (if I'm TAG 20/18 or even 19/16 with 3bet 5-8) 3.how much time I should learn theories and how much time should I play? 4.how quickly you got to NL100+ from the beginning? 5.your basic tips to improve the game(5 words) ? thanks a lot and especially thank you for your book :) gl boss! :D
September 25, 2013 11:29
1) Yes, but other projects have gotten in the way so it'll be a little while before it's done. 2) Bet big for value, fold when they raise, don't bluff turns and rivers. 3) Grind a ton, post/study a ton. So, all of your time. 4) It took me over a year to beat 25nl Full Ring. Then, I moved from 25nl 6-max to 1000nl 6max in about 6-8 months. 5) Bet big for value, fold when they raise.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:36
sierinsh: Good evening, Andrew. I have few questions, hope u will give me answer for theese questions, 1. I’m often sitting at a table where most of the players are competent to very good, but there is usually at least one player who has no idea what he’s doing. I know I’m supposed to go after this player and find ways to play pots against him, but that often gets me into trouble against the others. What’s the best way to isolate a bad player? 2. Do you talk trash to put people on tilt? Is there anything you've said that's gone over the line and you regret it now? 3. I have tilting problem in cash games, how to deal with it? It takes 1 hand where a weirdo calls a 3bet vs your KK 3bet then donk bets pot in a AK8 board, bets pot again the 5 turn, and goes Allin when the 6 river comes to lose your stack when he shows 74o. You just feel that 2 hours of "hard work" disappeared in 2 sec, and just the idea that you'll have to raise-C bet for 2 other hours is depressing. How to deal with it?
September 25, 2013 13:33
1) Raise preflop when he limps? Play a lot of hands when he's in the blinds, play fewer hands when he's not in the blinds. If the table around you is playing crazy loose and splashy, you may have to just tighten up. 2) Nah, I'd rather be a nice guy. I talked trash with Freddy Deeb one time (told him that his missing cat was in my house when it burned down lol) but I don't regret that. 3) Take a break! You're not gonna win it all back now, call a poker friend and talk about the hand, go get a bite to eat, refocus. Too often people play poker like its the last session in the history of the world-- there's lo of time.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:39
johnaz: is redline hugely overrated? how fiercely should we fight in limped pots?
September 25, 2013 15:04
Redline is hugely overrated in small stakes games when everybody gets to showdown all the time. Not fiercely at all.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:39
Scarmaker: Hey again, I almost forgot to say how much I appreciate you are doing this Andrew :) Since the biggest category of villains I encounter are unknown regs I have pretty much no useful stats on, I struggle with finding out the best sort of a general approach I should take against them, the most profitable general "level of aggresivness" if you will. I go back and forth (without having solid reasons to back up either of these approaches) from not making too many bluffs vs them until I find a certain leak about the player on one hand, to trying to 3-bet/4-bet them with higher frequency and trying to barrel bluff then more often. Can you shed some light on how to approach problem? Thanks a lot!
September 25, 2013 15:11
In general, "balance" applies to these unknown regs. Try to not get too far out of line in either direction until you've gathered some info about them. Balancing can be a little tricky, but it usually ends up meaning "3-bet as a bluff every once in a while; barrel the turn and/or river every once in a while as a bluff; see what happens"
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:41
george12: Hey Andrew Seidman , How long did it take to write a book and all you are writing your ideas? apart from NL Hold'em you have other favorite games? What is the best result out of poker? Sorry for my eng :) BIG UP
September 25, 2013 18:29
The book itself took me a few days to write; coming up with ways to explain all the concepts took years of coaching. Preparing the book to be published took a week or so. Apart from NLHE, I love Chess, Boggle, etc. I have never really taken the time to master other poker games (though I probably should). The best result out of poker is that you're mentally engaged, exploring difficult problems, and hopefully winning money. The last part should always be the least important to you.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:42
dexon303: Hello Andrew. Is check raising the best way to get more money in the pot? I think not. I belive if you floped the nutz you should always come out betting dont bet to big just enough so you get callers cause if you check raise your going to be scaring the people out. I belive getting four people to call a 50 dollar bet is better than only one person calling a two hundred dollar re raise cause on the next round of betting youll get another chance to get them all to pay.What you think?Thanks.
September 25, 2013 18:37
Well, there are a lot of possibilities. If you have a 4-way pot, donking is probably best (because it's pretty unlikely that people will c-bet, especially if they a re passive). In a heads-up pot where people are really likely to c-bet, it probably is better to check-raise and trap a bet in (especially if you've been playing aggressively, because people will assume you're bluffing a lot.)
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:43
Andre: Hey Andrew, BIG fan! "Easy Game" vol 1&2 helped my game tremendously. I have a question about my game. Q) I am a bit of a bankroll nit, but I always consistently turn a profit in the long run so its all good. I paid half of my university costs by just grinding live/online and cashing out 2 years ago. But I sometimes feel like going crazy and just play bigger stakes and not worry about massive downswings, any advice on how I can balance the two?
September 25, 2013 20:05
Never a bad thing to pay for some of university!! I'd say that when you have 30-40 buyins you should take some shots at higher stakes. The crazy downswings are mitigated if you move down quickly when it goes badly, but you have to start getting used to the extra money and the only way to do that is to try. I had the benefit of reinvesting all of my winnings into my bankroll because i was in college.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 21:46
fulixas: Hey andrew :) What bankroll should i play in NL25 , how i have to play , loose ? tight? agressive? :) What's the best thing playing cash games? Why do you prefer to play cash games? ty for answers ;)) gl at the tables
September 25, 2013 21:58
1) 30 buyins ($750) 2) Tight & Aggressive 3) Flexibility to get up and do other things whenever you want! Tournaments keep you stuck in one place, but I like to be free :)
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 22:02
Voicu: heya been playing a little cash games but i feel like is a big difference between tournaments and cash games why do i feel like this and i basicly can not make any profit on cash games only break even or losing ?
September 25, 2013 22:02
Tournaments are much higher variance; silly aggression is more valuable because everyone is on the clock. Cash games are much harder to beat in general, both because competition is better and because rake is significant. That said, people who beat cash are generally better at poker strategy than people who beat tournaments but people who beat tournaments are much better at contextual decision making in general.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 22:15
Ramalhah: hi, my question is when you give coach to someone who is "nothing" on poker and after you give that coach, that person rises in the world of poker (live and online) how do you feel? and btw, is true for a coah that when on river (micro/low stakes) you place a bet and right away your opponent double it how many times are you ahead? (sorry my english bahhh :S) ;)
September 25, 2013 22:06
I feel great when one of my students succeeds! I coached Ben Tollerene who now plays in the highest games around. I've coached several other people, including two WPT or EPT winners. In small stakes when you bet on the turn or river and get raised, no matter how big, you're probably behind.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 22:16
fulixas: Ty for answers Andrew ! Have a great winnings ! :)
September 25, 2013 22:09
Scarmaker: Can you try to give us an educated guess on what should a "healthy" W$WSF stat look like for a 23/19 small stakes reg? Like at which point should I start to consider it a leak?
September 25, 2013 22:11
bleh. That really depends. I'm not much of a stats guy in general, so I don't think I have a good answer for you here. Sorry.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 22:16
lSUMaverick: starting to get a monotonous feeling of grinding live small stakes cash every day. I've had slight success on the tournament circuit and am friends with the best players on it. Everyone is pushing me towards moving to tourneys but I'm worried of destroying my bankroll. Should I do it??
September 25, 2013 22:16
IMO do a mix! Play a few tables of cash with one or two tournaments on the side (assuming you're playing online).
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 22:17
johnan1988: Hi! i would like to ask you how do you think its the best way to manage long sessions? how many hours do/did you play, how long do/did you take breaks. What about some physical exercise inbetween sessions? Do you drink coffe&tea to keep your mind fresh or do you use any other stimulants? Also, what do you think about some mental stretching before the actual play (etc, rewieving some HHs) to set your mind to the "poker level" ?
September 25, 2013 22:16
I tried to only do 2-3 hour sessions as much as possible. The best thing to do is to plan out some stuff to do in your day! If you're meeting friends at 5:30pm and you start playing at 2pm, you gotta get off before too long! I think it's probably a good idea to exercise, eat/drink healthy food, focus on your game before you play.
 photo balugawhale September 25, 2013 22:20
Voicu: ty for the answers
September 25, 2013 22:17
balugawhale: Hey Guys-- I gotta run about 10 minutes early. No worries though-- I'll be back soon. I'll try to answer any and all questions when I get back. Sorry!!
September 25, 2013 22:20
lSUMaverick: I'm playing live small stakes cash and traveling some of the WSOP circuit . So playing a mixture isn't as easy as it would be if I was playing online. Everyone is pushing me to focus on tournaments. Its starting to feel monotonous and like I'm stumping my game by continuing to play 1-2 and 2-5 live. I've learned that I don't care about making money as much as becoming the best. Legacy > Currency. How do I make the next step?
September 25, 2013 22:32
It's not a terrible idea to play tournaments during the day and then cash after you bust?
 photo balugawhale September 26, 2013 00:22

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