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Return to Live Poker (pt. 4: Starting to Get Comfortable)

Stoic Poker Reclining Blog Post Comfortable
In this Drop, Stoic Poker Dave Starts Getting Comfortable on the Live Felt.

When I was younger I was a wildman. I was a blackout drinker, dabbler in other things, and an all-nighter-soul-reader-lafaggaf-ego-based-heads-up-for-rolls poker player. Upon my return to the felt, I was none of those things.

I was playing my preflop ranges, I was basing all my moves on other player's ranges, and I was acting accordingly. I wanted to start to merge the two, but how?

The first thing I needed to realize was those motherfuckers didn't have ranges. If they did, they were so far away from anything I had learned it was unknown to me. I started looking back at how I used to play when I first started playing and using it to frame their "ranges."

If the cards are high, suited, or close in number I used to play it, and I think that is what the average live player was doing at my local casino. They had zero consideration of position, or amount of other players in the pot.

I also noticed they all had the same 3-betting and 4-betting ranges, both were AA, KK, and AKs... ONLY! Finally, I noticed that they never got it all in without the nuts.

Of course, I don't mean everyone plays the same. I was trying to create a simulacrum to represent the average local live player. I have always been someone who liked to lay down an approximate baseline, and if there were deviations I would try my best to adjust to them.

This system only worked after I drew a decent mental sketch to use for my baseline, and that was something I was working on during the time this post references. It was starting to come together nicely.

Once i had a decent approximation, I could start adjusting to the average live player. I could always take new information in for a specific player and use that to adjust my plans, but I needed to have basic outlines in order to feel more comfortable at the table.

It is not my intention to discuss the specifics of how I played against them, but let's just say, the new gameplan worked right away. The thing I kept noticing was how much of my "old style" was starting to come back in the form of my new plans. I was getting more aggressive pre and post-flop. I was using my reads to help me lean one way or the other, instead of randomizing. \

Of course, I got whacked again when someone rivered trips with their bottom pair against my overpair after calling a massive overbet on the turn, but such is life. I was too busy being happy with my new mindset to be hurt by a cooler.

Also, I had started reviewing my session notes and it was making me feel better. I was running horrible, playing well most of the time, and just bricking or getting sucked out on. That stuff didn't make me question my ability to achieve my goals. I just needed to keep playing.

The biggest gift I got from doing all that work off the table was that I was more comfortable and calm at the table. It was a lot like the difference between showing up to class for a pop quiz vs. studying very hard for an exam and then showing up and crushing it. My brain was relaxed enough to think through hands the same way I did when discussing them after the fact.

Check back in next time to find out if I could turn this knowledge and comfort into victory, or if I will have to head back to my 10-month job at the Public Poker School for Children to rebuild my roll. I know the guidance counselors, Mr. DGAF and Mr. Carrel, believe in me, and I hope you do too.

p.s. The administrators, Mr. Berkey, Mr. Galfond, and Ms. Ho had no comment on the subject.


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