Monday, 15 December 2014

Some Live Events!

  PokerStars Party

  Actually it is a very delaied post. On the last month I attended to a live club party from PokerStars hosted in São Paulo - Brazil. I went to the party with my gf and thoghter we had a lot of fun in there. Good drinks, decet food and really nice entertainement, like been welcomed by circus artist, see a magician show face to face with him on a private room, and also of course chat a lot with other poker players.
Three team online pro members of poker stars team also atended the party, brazilian pros Caio Pesagno and André Akkari, also present was argentinian member Celeste Orona. All three were very charismatic, with the brazillians been the biggest hosters, Celest is/was still a new comer to the team and looked a little shy, but I really liked to chat with her, and that was very special to me since it was the first time I talked with someone that I face on a daily basis at the tables.


 Live Tourney

 This month I decided to play some locel live events. Plaied one tournament, a 5k granted one, with around 50 entries. The field was hilarious to be honest I think I never heard so many ridiculous thoughts about on line poker and poker in general than on this event. 
Some or the guys thoughts realy entertained me, things like "the guys who win have a blessed account", "some hnads win more often than others on stars" or, my favorite, "with your luck I would already be a milionary", where comum to hear. This suposed future poker millionary guy is a massive fish and I'm sure that he honestly thinks he is good at this game, he certaly has a deeper conection with the cards since he is able to call 3bets oop with 74o routinely.
One great thing about live events is that it kind of motivate me to continue on this journey since it becomes obvious how live fishs can be huge and so abundant.
In the ed I made the final table and finished in 3rd for a nice prize.

 Interestig enough is that most of the guys who reach the FT where actually somekind of locel regs. Those guys are no poker pros but some of them have made a significant amount of FTs (and money), their style is something like 30/10 which is far from optimal but for sure a winner at games where the majority of the players are playing over 40% of all hands.


  This month I'll defend my disertation on logistics, and since it is consuming so much of my time I'll be playing mostly nl25 nd nl50 since I supose that playing those games I'll be somewhat fine with the usuall stress tht poker can cause to the pros. Something good is that I'm getting more in tune with the games that lots of my students play, and have started producing some material at bluefirepoker with the nl25-nl50 players in mind.

Best Luck at the tables,

Willian "KhalDragon" Mates

Monday, 1 December 2014

Learning Process

   Today I want to discuss in more detail how I started learning the game of poker and how I keep improving.

  The Beggining

When I decided to take poker seriously I started out with a book designed for begginers, that was very new (I think it was in its first year), and written by a proven winner, I think at this point it is no secret to anyone that the book was Crushing The Micro Stakes. That book doesnt pledge to turn you into a professional poker player, or to be really good at it, the author just says that taken his adviceyou will be a winner at the lowest stakes on internet. I think it is also no news that I put a lot of efford to learn everything that author was teaching.

Hard Work

What I think maybe be new to some is how much efford I have put to understand every single word the autor have written. First off I tried to put as much ranges and game plans in excel tabes as I could, made lots of extracts on word and posted hand on foruns nearly every day. Coupled with all that study I was playing as many hands as I could, experience just does matter too much on this game.
Oh posting hands in foruns, that is a subject that you probably do wrong. I have never ever posted a hand on a free open forum, like many out there, and I'm really happy I dident, any time someone showns me a hand that they posted on a very popular free forum I get surprised by the really bad quality responses. If you are posting hands at a free foruns where any breakeven or losing poker player can post a replay, please do yourself a favor and stop doing that. You need to subscribe to a serious poker school, like blue fire poker  and then post your hands. I garantee to you that all the answers you will get will be valid, those web sites only take proven winners, over large samples (I send a 300k hands graph to BPF) to their teams.
There is another very important step that I believe not many of you guys take, it is to THINK. You have read all books, made all kinds of schemes, put down a lot of hand ranges, not it is time to put it all together and think about it, how everything works. In order to made it a lot easier, not to mean feaseble, you need to start making things simple and a good way to do that is follow only ONE coach at a time. Poker trainning sites tend to have multiples coachs teaching the same game format for a reason, there are multiple ways to think about this game. You need to think a coach that you can relate to, and at least in the beggining study pretty much only his material or the ones he indicates, in poker it is very easy to lost yourself when listenning to too many voices, even today, when taking advice I take those from pretty much only two players/coachs.
Still on the coach subject, when choosing one you need to be sure the guy is really a big winner in the games he is teaching. Really sucessfull poker players tend to have a really high $/h, if the guy is charging a very low price, suspect that he really crush those games you are trying to learn.

Training Videos

Something that blows my mind is the way the regular folk watchs instructional videos. They watch tv while watching/listenning to the video, drink a beer, watch tv, talk at the phone and somehow expect to kind of passively absorve the knowledge. Man you need to listen carefully to every single word those coachs are saying! You need to make notes, the more the better, and ask questions to the coach who made the video. Trainning videos can be, and actually are, free coachig sessions, people can post their doubts right in the same page they are watching the videos and the coachs almost always answer all the questions, go ahead and make it a conversation, the more the guy talk about the subject you are havving dificults on, the better for you.
The next time you go watch a training video do yourself a favor and do following:
1) Get yourself confortable, but not too mcuh, it is not like you are resting watching tv, it is more like u are watching a presentation at the university. Focus is the key word here, listen to every word;
2) Take notes of everything that draws your attention;
3) Post those notes on the forum and ask for the coach thoughts, they usually will answer in very short time;
4) Do your home work, i.e., the coach says "most poker players are at best marginal winners with their small pocket pairs", go to your tracker and see how you are doing with this kind of hands in different spots/positions. 
5) Think about how the coach advices fit in your play style and how you can incorporate some of that in your on play, at the games you pat at.

Books Recommendations

Last as someone who has read  very large sum of poker books (30+ easily) I would like to recomend some books that in my opinion stand out:

Crushing The MicroStakes - you got this one!

Poker Math that Matters and Hole Card Confession - Both by Owen Gaines, those two give all the fundementals to star crushing it, one about the math aspects of the game and the other about hand reading.

Playing the Player - This one got me! I just had a lot of those "wtf!" momments when reading this one. If you do all the work Ed sugests on this book you will be read to play a very flexible exploitive play.

Let There be Range - For some kind of "short play book" this book is really amazing. Most important aspect is that you will start to look for so many more spots to be profibably bluffing, specially the river, after reading this one you will get the idea of how hard it is to make a strong hand in NLHE.

Exploitive NLHE - Quite new book of Paul Ratchford, it is kind of a mix of plays and what I would call "non betting" strategies, such as table selection, bankroll management. If you are more of a intermediate or even advanced player it is a no brainer buy.

Good Luck At the tables,

Willian "KhalDragon" Mates