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My leaks -- a self-indulgent long post

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  • My leaks -- a self-indulgent long post

    I am halfway through JL’s course on 25 biggest leaks, and inspired me to write out a few of my biggest leaks. I am doing this mostly for my own benefit, because putting them in writing is a way to acknowledge them and force myself to correct them. And as long as I’m writing them out. I figured I’d put them somewhere that others could read them, just in case they are of any help to anyone else. And if not, that’s cool. I’m just talking to myself.

    Fancy Play Syndrome. This is the biggest leak of my poker life, and one I have been trying to rid myself of for years. Essentially, I spend so much time studying poker that I feel like there should be some tangible situations where I say “There! I made that happen by being good at poker!” My new mantra — often said by JL, in a different form — is this: “What makes you good is not being bad.” You can be good simply by not doing bad things, as opposed to doing good things.

    Picking spots poorly. This is a sub-leak of Fancy Play Syndrome. Sometimes I’ll decide to do something to actively pick up a pot, beyond just waiting for a spot to present itself, and I’ll ignore some key factors, like my opponent, my cards, the chip stacks, the tourney situation, etc. Obviously you can’t just sit and wait for the perfect cards, but you need to wait for at least some of the other elements to align before trying something. The garden variety of this is when I am on the button and three players limp so I raise with any two cards. Then one of them calls and I have 95o on a flop of A83. I fire a big c-bet and get called. Villain probably had something like A4s or 77 and isn’t folding. I should have picked a better hand (one with some blockers or post flop playability) or just done it when there were two limpers instead of three or made sure I knew the particular limpers were likely to fold. And then I still could have just abandoned the effort if I didn’t work preflop. At the end of the day, I’ve wasted 15 bbs with 95o.

    Thinking people are bluffing too much. In the games that I play, the vast majority of players just aren’t bluffing when they make big bets. If they make a big bet when you can eliminate them, or you have shown strength, they’re really not bluffing.

    Playing the small and medium pairs too much. You have an 8 to 1 chance of flopping a set, but some of those times the villain will have nothing. Some times the board will have too many other scary draws for him to pay you off. Some times he’ll have a higher set and you’ll actually lose all your money. Because of all that, I am trying to start folding some of the lowest pairs, especially when I’m in EP. It’s so much harder to build a big pot OOP when you do flop a set. There are also those times you have 44 and the flop comes JT6 and you call because you're "sure the opponent has AK" and then he bets the turn too. Now you've lost bets on two streets, and still may have ended up folding the best hand. It's just an uncomfortable spot to be sitting there OOP with 44. The other problem with the small pairs in EP is you really don't want to be open limping, but raising UTG with 44 is just going to create a tough spot if you get called (or 3-bet) by anyone behind you.

    Not discounting your outs. All outs are not created equal. Some of them end up making you a bigger loser, not a winner. The classic example is when there’s a flush draw on the board and you’re holding a straight draw. Two of your straight outs are also going to complete the flush draw. At best, you won’t get paid off as much when you hit, and at worst you’ll lose all your chips. Also, in multiway pots there is a good chance that some of the other players putting money in on the flop are either holding some of my outs or else they have better draws.

    C-betting too much, especially out of position. I guess I read a book at some time that said after you raise you’re supposed to bet, and it you don’t you look weak. I used to C-bet probably 80-90 percent of the time, and I didn’t really adjust my frequency much at all based on my position. But I am trying to add in a lot more checks, and if you check some good hands OOP and then check-raise on the flop, it will prevent your opponents from simply betting and taking the pot every time you pass up a C bet. I’ve also learned that when you check back in position, if the villain also checks the turn, that’s a pretty reliable sign that they have nothing so you can then bet almost anything and they’ll fold.

    Ignoring the strength of a call. Sure, a call is not as a strong as a bet or a raise, but it’s not a check or a fold. When players call a bet, they have something. Too often I think “call=draw” so I’m either ahead or I can push them off the hand with more bets. But that is obviously not always the case. A call very often means a hand that’s too good to fold but not good enough to bet. If players call your flop bet, you have to consider the possibility they have something that won’t fold, and act accordingly. I get myself into so much trouble by continuing to barrel and having a guy call all the way down with top pair-bad kicker.

    Overvaluing small-sample reads. I see a player do something (maybe a loose call or a bluff) and put a label on him, even though I still don’t really have enough information to accurately classify that player. Then I do something to try to exploit that player, which often doesn’t work out. Also, even if my read is right and someone is, say, aggressive, it doesn’t mean they never have it. You still have to take into account the actual strength of your hand, the size of the bet, etc. Just because I saw a guy bluff with a 10bb bet into a 20 bb pot a half hour ago doesn’t mean he’s bluffing with a 40bb bet into a 30bb pot now. Also, he obviously knows that everyone saw the previous bluff.

    Anyway, that’s all for now. I have a few other leaks that I feel I’ve sealed up since joining here. I hope this has helped someone (I know writing them out helped me), and if not maybe it inspired you to write out your own leaks. Acknowledging them is the first step!

  • #2
    Originally posted by JFletch2323 View Post
    Ignoring the strength of a call.
    You need to keep in mind how the call affects the range advantage.

    If you range cbet the flop, and your opponent calls, then you lose almost all of whatever range advantage you had on the flop.

    You still have your entire range on the turn, including the garbage, but the opponent will have folded his, thus strengthening their remaining range.