Questions and Answers
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Scarmaker: Hey Sentin! Thanks a lot for doing the AskThePRO! As a grinder playing online for nearly a decade as you mentioned, how was online poker different back then when you started? In terms of toughness, traffic, formats, rake, VIP system etc.? :) Thanks!
October 28, 2013 12:22
Thanks for having me, very glad to be here. I actually started over a decade ago now. Somewhere around 2001-2002, while I was in university. I had a pretty unhealthy attraction to blackjack for a couple of years (man, the stories!) and one day my roommates and I stumbled upon a little movie you might be familiar with. Ya, that one. Anyways, after watching it (as a broke uni student), I instantly logged on to some totally random poker site (riverbelle poker maybe?) and proceeded to lose $50 after $50 after $50 after $50 playing cash-games.....I was definitely not one of those people who deposited once and never looked back. Anyways, after realizing I had dropped like 2K that I didn't really have, I clicked on the sng tab, began crushing those straight out of the gate and shortly thereafter found mtts and started stringing together some solid cashes that culminated in winning what at the time was the site's biggest daily trny, The 7.5K guarantee for 2.1K or something. I remember it happened while I was home on holidays and because my dad was so anti-gambling, I couldn't make a sound when I shipped it, I just signalled to my mom to come over and pointed at the screen where it said 'congrats, you are the winner. $2100 has been deposited to your account.' To this day, that is literally one of the best feelings I've ever experience. I can still feel the joy in my chest as I sit here thinking about this. And to put the growth of the game in perspective, shortly after Moneymaker brought in the boom about a year later, that trny went from 7.5 to 10K to 15K to 22.5K to 32K in super quick succession...at which point I think I stopped playing there so who knows how high it got. As far as ease of play, well in those early uni days my only goal each and every day was to make $100 profit playing turbo 9man sngs. I was playing the 30s at the time so one win would get me there and I can honestly say I don't remember a single day when I had to play more than maybe 5 sngs (I know for a fact I never hit 10 in a day). As far as mtts, the fact that pretty much the only reg I respected in those days (Vietcong....no clue if it's the same guy but definitely same style of play and he was absolutely CRUSHING then) called me a “Tournament Terror” (ill never forget those words lol) about 2 months after I had played my very first trny tells you everything you need to know about the state of the game at that time. It kinda even sucks talking about those days because if you weren't there you feel like you missed out and if you were there, you feel like you didn't take enough advantage of what you had (unless you're Vietcong I guess...or UB). Although I think I was probably on some serious god mode at the beginning of my trny career, but if you were a hyper lag player in those days (which I was, mostly out of boredom and ego probably), not many people knew how to play against you...which I guess is pretty much still the same today at the lower stakes. And as for RB and VIP, I honestly had no idea what that meant till years later. I just logged on, printed money, and went off to waste it on things I probably shouldn't have been doing. But with having a newborn at home, being a non-partier, and finding some inner calmness that I definitely didn't have back then, that all seems like a long long lifetime ago now. A fun lifetime tho, for sure. Anyways, kinda went on a mini-rant there. Fun to reminisce. Moving on...
fulixas: Hello Sentin! I see you have huge profit's in MTTS and SNGS . How you keep that up? Do you have downswings? How you improve your game? I have now 100$ grinding only 0.50360/90/45 (started a week ago with 30$) it's quite good result but I got some downswings and lost a little bit but it's still great 70$ up ! I tilt every time I lose at suckouts , how you deal with tilting? Any tips for sng's ? And from what bankroll I could safely play micro MTT's . And for the last Describe your game by 3 words! Thanks! Good luck :)
October 28, 2013 18:05
If you look at my graph you can see many many downswings. They might not seem so meaningful when we look at the big picture, but you can bet your ass they do when you're in the midst of one. (Just like real life.) Congrats on your success so far, that's a good start for sure. Keep working on your game on and off the table and never stop working on your mental game and you should be fine. I think the proper brm for mtts is like 200bi but I have no idea how that changes at the micros (I assume you'd need more due to field sizes). And my game in 3 words? How bout in one gif? http://cdn.uproxx.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/MACHINE-GUN-GIF1.gif
Trippinn: Poker is highly emotionally stressful as everyone knows, how do you leave your negative feelings for the day on the virtual felt and go about your day? I tend to find a bad session leads to a moody bad day.
October 28, 2013 18:06
Well, it may not be for everyone, but if you're anything like me and have tried every trick in the book and yet still sometimes feel like a total tilt-monkey (both at the tables and also after, when you try to put them aside), the free mindset video from my new HUSNG video-pack that I'll be posting at the end of this Q&A might help, so definitely check that out and if you have any questions about any of it afterwards, I'll be more than happy to answer them.
TheGambler18: If you had to start over again from the begining (micro stakes , micro toruanemts ) what will be your plan , with what bankroll will u start , and is there any thing that would u change from your first begining , maybe something that was slowing you down in your succes and if u had to doing again you would do difrentlu ?? :D
October 28, 2013 18:29
To be honest, altho it took me over ten years to get here, I think the games I'm playing right now (HU SNGs and 6m cash) should be the starting point for any player (assuming you have the basics already), but only under two VERY STRICT conditions: 1. You have to be studying extremely hard, especially at the beginning, and having better players look at your game every once in a while 2. You have to have good BRM The reason I say that is because learning a game that forces you to develop your aggression while giving you a wide-variety of opportunities to explore and improve all your fundamentals is likely going to allow you to develop a way of thinking about the game that will transcend game format and put you way ahead of the curve. However, this is coming more from a developmental approach; so if you just want to build a bankroll safely without overtaxing yourself, I dunno, maybe 180s or FR cash (the FR stands for “Finally, a Raise!”) And would I do anything differently? Yeah, probably most things. It's hard to get something right the first time around ;)
kipishaz: it looks like everyting you play, you better at it than everyone else. how do you elevated your self to be good at everything or it just comes naturally with experience?
October 28, 2013 18:39
Haha...that's not even a little bit true, but I appreciate you saying it. I think I do some things better than others and some things much worse. Experience helps a ton but for me personally a coach or mentor (friend who plays higher stakes, for example) was pretty much always the fastest way to make up ground on everyone else.
Scarmaker: What is MrGreene so good at and so much better at than others? :-)
October 28, 2013 21:09
If I had to guess (have no way of knowing for sure) I'd say Hand Reading (ranging) and Perception of Self (the awareness + ability to manipulate his own perceived range), but he clearly does everything incredibly well and I wish he would let me be the mrGR33n to his LivB.
johnaz: hey sentin, in regards to discussion about your video you posted here, you mentioned timing tells. Do you mind sparing some that you think are the most proven for you? Also how big this factor is in your decision making? this is the area I probably struggle a bit. (I'm thinking zoom/rush games .) ty.
October 29, 2013 12:39
I discuss it a little in my videopack but I think one of the most reliable timing tells is when a guy makes a snap decision, like the guy in the video who instantly 3bet. I think when someone does this they generally become incredibly polarized since if they had a bit of a close decision, they'd most likely take a second to think about it. So when they don't, it seems to me that they either have a total bluff or super strong value. And since I very rarely see anyone snap 3betting a hand like aces or kings in zoom (in fact, pretty sure I've literally never seen it) I tend to weigh their range more towards bluff, like I did in the video. So although it's by no means a read you can 100% take to the bank, if you suspect something's going on, I would generally recommend erring on the side of aggression, as it will allow you to accumulate reads faster than the alternative (playing passively).
atunazzz: Hey Sentin, it's written that you play only 6max cashgames. Do you agree with a saying that "fullring cashgame is dead"? Why?
October 29, 2013 15:08
It's totally just a personal opinion, but I literally can't imagine anything more boring than playing fullring nitcash. Seems to leave very little room for creativity so whenever I try grinding it it just seems like I'm working some menial desk-job. But I have very little experience at this game format online, so I could be wrong.
kramirez05: Hi sentin, few months back i was a reg at $30 HU SNG and really doing well till i experience huge downswing that really affected me emotionally. I would like to ask what advice can you give and if you had the same experience, how did you cope with it. Right now i shift to MTT, learning at the lowest stakes. Can you also give your thoughts on this? thanks.
October 29, 2013 15:16
As far as emotional control, check out the mindset video link that I will post at the end of this Q&A and let me know if you have any more questions about it. And if you think hu sngs have bad downswings, stay away from MTTs!!
vinn: Gooday Sentin i was wondering how much was your bankroll when starting out playin poker.Did you have to deposit and deposit n deposit or did u deposit once and that was it ?. Where there days when you would play good poker but just can't win against so called fish ..Do u have a cursed hand that it didn't matter how you play it u would stil lose with mine is KK can't seem to win with it ..how do u deal with your down swings..do u take a break from poker once in a while when your not doing so well or do u just keep playing through them ,poker can be so frustrating sometimes haha thank you for your time these are my questions ????
October 29, 2013 19:58
Think I've answered most of this already, let me know if I missed anything. (fortunately, I don't have a cursed hand...that sounds scary.)
bepoker555: Hello Sentin, at first I appreciate you making time for answering some questions from minors or beginners (like me). My first question might be a silly one, but I was wondering, how come you ended up playing Heads-Up SNG's, for me, it's so weird to see people play poker 1 on 1, can you maybe explain me why you are so good in it, is it confidence in the game that makes you a 'pro' in HUSNG ? second question; How do you actually play a superturbo 6max SNG, it's something that would not be in my range because I think it's all about hitting the hand early and then making some plays to keep you at a pretty stack or more easily, it's just luck no? or can you disprove my thoughts? Thank you for taking your precious time to answer my questions, and take good care of your family
October 29, 2013 21:27
I actually ended up playing husngs because I had a slipped disc in my back that prevented me (and still does most days) from putting in long sessions, so I was looking for something I could get good volume in very quickly. But although it was almost by chance that I found it, hu hypers were pretty much the exact thing I was looking for without even knowing it. I've always loved action games and used to get incredibly bored playing mtts or even turbo 45s/180s so finding a game where I could really utilize my aggression was awesome for me. And I think the 1-on-1 format is fantastic as it allows you to really hone in on your opponent's weaknesses and figure out the best way to exploit them time and time again. In hu you also get to practice a ton of different scenarios that will come up in all forms of poker and gives you a really massive edge at the end stages of tournaments where a lot of guys are pretty weak/inexperienced playing shorthanded or hu (which is where all the real money is in tournaments anyways).
cipelinio: Hello mate. sorry to hear about your kid..i have one too, and means the worl to me, i know how you feel. Just wanted to ask you..how can you beat a donk? :) i've always wanted to ask a pro, in what way can you beat a donk that calls until the river and gets it? is it in the size of the bet or what you have to do to get them fold? Thanks
October 29, 2013 22:10
Thank you (and everyone else!) for your kind words about my family, definitely challenging as hell but also totally incredible at the same time. As for beating a donk, that's obviously a much longer answer than we have time for here, but if you're just facing a guy who calls calls calls, just bet bet bet for thin value and don't pay him off when he hits. The key is remembering that it's not important HOW he made his hand, only that he did...so try not to make many curiosity calls on the river and just keep value-betting him to death. I mean, he's going to miss a lot more often than he's going to hit, so take his money when he's weak and don't give him any extra when he's strong.
dexon303: Woo - Hah Sentin Hi man.How long are your sessions? How many tables are you playing at the same time in average? Don't you think playing cash games would be more profitable than SNG's (in the long run, of course)? Thanks for doing this
October 30, 2013 05:13
well right now due to my baby not letting me have full sessions I've actually been playing pretty much just zoom 6m cash-games cause I can start and stop sessions whenever I need. So for that I generally play 2-3 tables and don't have any set session lengths. But during my usual hu hyperturbo grind I was playing 2 tables at a time and generally playing 90 minute sessions and trying to get in 3-4 session in a day (session, 15 min break, session, 1-2 hours break, and repeat). As for profitability, it really all depends where your strengths lie and what format you find most appealing. As I said earlier, I was a massive fish at cash when I started playing but instantly crushed sngs, so I think sometimes the right game chooses us, rather than the other way around. :)
sierinsh: Good evening, Sentin! Thank u for giving us this opportunity ;) I have few questions for u :) 1)What skill is more important in Holdem: discipline in the range of hands you play, or the ability to read the other player? How can you teach someone to trust their read and to let a hand go, or to trust the read and make a difficult call? 2)What was the one concept you learned early in your career that really accelerated your poker progression? 3)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? Thanks for ur answers, have a good evening ;)
October 30, 2013 13:55
If I had to choose I'd probably say the ability to read other players, especially at the lower stakes, tho hand discipline is extremely important too obviously. The way I'd personally teach you to trust your reads is to improve your analysis of the hand which will hopefully make you feel more trustful of your instincts. And you definitely want to play pots with the bad players but you don't want to put yourself in obviously bad situations to do so. So, for example, if I'm on the cutoff against a total fish who limps mp, I might iso close to 100% if the button is passive. But if the button is a good reg who will use the opportunity to reraise me every time, I'll have to scale back my aggression some and develop a strategy for combating his aggression before I raise (by coming back over the top or employing the use of an active flop check/raising strategy, for example). It's all about anticipating what your opponent's are going to do and coming up with an effective counter-strategy BEFORE the situation actually comes up.
Ramalhah: hi! thanks for help loosers (like me) improve their game, i have 5 question (yes is a lot! sorry ;) ) 1st: in micro cash game zoom NLHE should i play more bu with garbadge in hand? even i dont have a huge bankroll behind? 2nd: on mtts when you are "card dead" and below the average with some 13bb- i should push anything on bu (with no action before me) like Q9off or something? 3rd: important is to reach the money in any game, i know! but in what part of the tourney you think i should put pressure on my oponents? (except ft obvious) 4rt: on sng´s 1 table 9 players if i double i should put pressure on my oponents or relax and let them kill eachothers ? (normaly hyper turbos) 5ft (and final!!!): how can i make a dead read on a loose player ? (not acurate obvious but thinking "almost sure he had XX" thanks a lot and sorry about this lot of questions :)
October 30, 2013 14:14
You are not a loser, you are a winner in training!!! Remember, what you think about, you bring about, so alter your thinking to a way that will be productive rather than destructive! And yes, in micro zoom (esp 6m), I think a 70%+ strategy on the button in unopened pot is going to be best. I'd personally probably play close to 100% in those spots at 50nl or below. And you should always have an adequate BR or you're playing too high. Q9o with 13bb is going to depend entirely on your opponents in the blinds. I'd definitely be playing it, but I may choose to just raise/fold if the blinds are super nitty and either raise/call or open-shove it if they're more aggressive, based on their specific tendencies. For sngs the proper strategy is to increase your aggression as the field size decreases, don't try to win the sng in the first level cause you can often end up spewing away too much equity doing that and your chips are worth much more in the end game than they do early on. That doesn't mean become a nit, but don't overdo it and try to become the table boss or anything. As for reads, that's much too long of an answer, but it pretty much what my entire videopack is centred on so regardless of your chose game type, I think most low-stake guys could benefit a ton from it.
ch4oSz: How much time do you put into studying? Do you still get coaching?
October 30, 2013 17:20
I spend about half an hour a day reviewing hands from my session, give or take depending on the day. And I haven't gotten coaching lately but I'm always eager and happy to do so. No better way to learn imo.
Andre: Hi there Sentin, sick graphs!! My question for you is. Do you play poker purely for the financial benefits in order to provide for your family, or do you still enjoy sitting down and putting in a session regardless of the profit without any stress? Also whats the #1 tip you can give a poker player in general? I wish you and your family good health. Thanks
October 30, 2013 19:15
Sorry, missed this one. Kind of a mix of the two. Some days it can definitely just feel like a grind, but most days I still find myself super excited to face the challenge and put in some quality sessions. And I don't really have a #1 tip but I'd say some important ones are: study hard, find someone better than you to discuss poker with, find a game format that rewards your specific skill-set, and always default to an aggressive gameplan unless you have valid reasons not to do so.
Scarmaker: You mentioned you have your first video pack about to be released in the next few days. How if your pack different from other stuff avalible on husng.com?
October 30, 2013 19:42
While doing coaching with low-stake huht players I often found that they were lacking in very similar areas of their game (aggression, hand reading, and a functional understanding of perceived range to name just a few), so I decided to use my HUHT journey from the $1 games to discuss why I thought these skills were so crucial to my own success and tried to explain it in a way that would allow my students incorporate these skills into their own game. I think my pack is a really good primer to all the other packs as it focuses on the most basic of skills that any good poker player should possess, regardless of game format. Additionally, I spend most of the pack discussing how to exploit weaker players rather than worrying about things like balance since I think at the lower limits that it covers, the optimal strategy is to employ an extremely unbalanced game-plan that is maximally exploitative of the weak player pools.
johnan1988: Hi, what do you think about older HT husng packs on husng.com, for instance "HT masters pack" and others. Dont you think they are kinda outdated? i mean, the game is evolving so quickly, that everything older than a lets say, 1 year must be kinda not worth it? whats you opinion on this? thx
October 30, 2013 19:51
I definitely don't think they're outdated and I think there's still A TON of excellent information in those packs for players looking to improve.
ch4oSz: How much hours do you put into poker daily, and how many days a week?
October 30, 2013 19:53
All up in the air day-to-day right now but pre-baby I was generally aiming for 6 hrs/day 5-6 days a week (I always had other stuff going on irl such as school or side projects, which is one of the main reasons I was never a heavy-duty grinder)
ivancardking: Hi what was your worst downswing in life and how time you need to back on track after that and how did you recover physically and mentally after that ???
October 30, 2013 20:05
Probably like 3 months of straight losing in MTTs fairly early-on in my career....which is nothing in the grand scope of MTTs of course, but was very very difficult for me at the time.
fulixas: Heyy again! :)I have now big downswing in 0.50 sngs What is the reason for that? I am playing normal hands , but I manage only to cash in from ~100 games only 2 or 3 , what is the reason for that? Thanks and gl :)
October 30, 2013 20:41
Impossible for me to answer that without reviewing your play, but I will say in the 180s+, that seems pretty standard for a downswing. Keep you head up, work on your game and you should be ok.
luckb0x: Hello sir :) can u name a few of the common leaks huhyper regs around 30-60$ typicaly got ? what level of hypers do you think people should be able to crush after watching zzztilt and phills video package ?
October 30, 2013 20:46
I haven't actually watched their pack so I'm not sure but I do know they're both very intelligent and great players so I'm sure the pack has great value. As far as common leaks, think I discussed it a few questions down. Also, at around the 60s is when balance becomes much more important so if there's some clear leaks, they're probably centered around that.
ch4oSz: Have you ever had moments where you felt like you wanted to quit poker (as a living)? In a downswing perhaps?
October 30, 2013 20:50
Definitely. But then I imagine the alternative (a lifetime of 9-5 grinding) and I instantly feel motivated again. :)
BlooDyG23: Hi Sentin! I had a few questions and i hope it want be bother for you to answer...By your opinion what is the most important thing that i need know and that i need to be concetrated when i am playing MTT ? What's your tactic at the begining of one? And what do you think of the luck in MTT,do you have to be very lucky on theese kind of tournaments to for example reach final table,or the percentage of luck is not so big? TY very much !
October 30, 2013 20:52
The percentage of luck in any one mtt is MASSIVE (which is why Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang are world champions). As for strategy, I always studied with aggro players and their motto was build a stack early so you can withstand variance late. That always made sense to me as long as you don't overdo it.
ch4oSz: From the people you've coached, what's the most common leak(s) you've come across (HU and MTT)?
October 30, 2013 20:53
gardjone: hello my question is very short, who and how to choose or how you give this nick name and other one,soon I will be a mother probably-must be very hard to concentrate when the little child crying,how to deal with this, other questions about the game I do not ask because I have a lot to learn in poker, I think that everyone learns during his lifetime,I just wanted to know if in that period of time when baby e little more you play poker while you study and you've done with all this,I congratulate you for your achievements in poker and I wish you much success at the tables.
October 30, 2013 21:01
Thank you and congrats on becoming a mother soon! Yes, playing while a screaming baby is around is all but impossible. I suggest you invest in some good noise-cancelling headphones! And my nickname was a character in a song that I wrote when we had a little amateur band in high-school (we were terrible!) and it just kindof stuck. Just a random name I made up without an interesting story really, sorry to disappoint :)
Sentin: Alright, thank you everyone for all your questions and kind words, I enjoyed hanging out with you guys today! If you're interested, my video-pack will be available on husng.com on Thursday and here now is the release of my mental game video: Mindfulness Based Poker Stress Reduction. Hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think. Good luck everybody! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uz384dqU0XQ&feature=youtu.be
October 30, 2013 21:15
Scarmaker: I would like to thank Senting once again for doing the AskThePRO! He chose TheGambler18's question as the best one and so he wins $20, congratz!
October 31, 2013 20:32
- 32 supernova Elites
- And players who actually win pre-rakeback
- They all share their poker lives on TiltBook