As I mentioned in my last post, I need to spend more time studying poker, and by poker, I mean hold’em. No time to learned mixed games, as I indicated in that post.
The WSOP is just days away, and tho I am planning on winning the bracelet for Colossus, I figured I might just need a plan B. Besides, studying some poker now may help me get that bracelet, right? So I’ve been looking over some content from a couple of interesting poker sites and want to share with you my impressions.
The first is RedChip Poker. This is a site founded by Ed Miller, James “Splitsuit” Sweeney and several other really good poker coaches. You all know Ed Miller, one of the most prolific poker authors around, and an expert on cash games. Recall that I mentioned one of his videos back in my post here. That video was one of the free videos that RCP releases every month. I learned a lot from it and it definitely helped my game. As I’m currently reading Miller’s new book, The Course, I am reminded that a lot of what that video covered applies much more to 2/5 than 1/2. The new book is probably Miller’s best and it shows a step-by-step approach not only on how to improve your game, but how to progress from 1/2 to 2/5 to 5/10. Ed will also show you why it makes sense to raise under-the-gun with King-10 suited. You can read a full review and order the book at the link here.
The main reason I’m mentioning Miller’s new book is that he is working on a video series that ties in the book. One of the main features of Red Chip Poker is the fresh video content they release every month. You can get a free membership that entitles to one video a month. For a monthly fee of $15.99, you can get a “pro” membership get a whole bunch of videos a month—for May they have 8 in addition to the free one, though I’m not sure if it’s always the same number.
I’ve watched a few of this month’s videos and they are all quite worthwhile. The one by Miller on barreling ties in with his new book. Barreling is the first “skill” he talks about that you need to master when you step up from 1/2 from 2/5. He explains that 2/5 players are just maniacally adverse to stacking off with second best hands, and shows how to take advantage of that. I think what I can best take away from that—until I’m ready to move up myself—is that 1/2 players are not nearly as adverse to stacking off and that I need to design my preflop game with that in mine. Of course, when you do find those players who seem much too risk adverse than the average 1/2 player, you can definitely use the material Miller talks about here to your advantage. But the thing with 1/2 is, there are just a lot of really bad players who will you call you down with very weak hands (so value bet the hell out of them!). Miller gives great advice on how to tell if a 2/5 player likes his hand enough to get it all in or if he’s more likely to fold to a big turn or river bet. I almost want to go play 2/5 tonight to try it—but I need to learn the other skills first.
Another one of the pro membership videos from this month is Sweeney’s on Range Reading Live Tags. I want to watch this one several times because I think this is a weakness in my game. My mind seems to automatically put a villain on the nuts and I can’t get my mind off that thought. But Sweeney lays out a logical way of putting opponents on ranges and really simplifies it. I believe he’s going to do similar videos on different types of players. I’m waiting for the Range Reading Live Maniacs. Maybe he’ll help us all figure out the player who shoves any two cards preflop.
The free video this month was from Dr. Tricia Gardner, a psychotherapist who coaches players on the mental game. She’s also an avid poker player. Her video was about Building Confidence. For me, the timing was perfect, something I needed to hear right before all this time I’m about to spend at the poker table, and in particular, playing in the Colossus event. I think I’m gonna watch this one again the night before the event….possibly play it back right at the table when I’m playing. Well, maybe not.
But she reminds us how important confidence is, and offers tips on how to develop it. No poker strategy here but some really helpful advice, a brief visit to a therapist for free. You can’t beat it, and this one is available for a free membership.
Red Chip Poker has other nice features, including a lively forum, where you’ll get feedback on your hand histories from one or more of the poker coaches from the site. Sometimes two different coaches will give two entirely different critiques, because, as we know, in poker, the answer to how to proceed in any situation is…”it depends!” Another cool thing is that sometimes the coaches give their response to the forum questions in the form of a video.
I haven’t watched the other May videos yet but based on everything I’ve seem, I’m sure they all have plenty of worthwhile content. You can also find plenty of free articles on the site from the coaches.
If you want to sign up, here’s a link you can use. Please use the links provided in this post!
The other site I want to mention is Splitsuit.com, which is the individual site of the aforementioned James “Splitsuit” Sweeney. There’s a bunch of free videos on the site and they are all fun and informative.
I’ve watched two of the premium videos as well. The two I watched were both aimed at online play, not live poker. Lots of talk about HUD stats. Sweeney really goes into those HUD stats and tells you to use them, when not to make too much of them, and how to build lines using them.
Since I don’t play online, and have never used a HUD, I couldn’t get the full value out of these videos, but if you do play online and use a HUD, you can’t go wrong with these videos.
That said, the two videos I watched had a wealth of valuable insight that I can easily adapt for life played.
The first one was Playing Ace-King. I was really interested in this one as I know I almost always mess this hand up. I’ve written a few posts about that tricky hand (see here). And yes, Ace-King is a lot trickier than the dreaded pocket Kings. Kings are easy—just get it all in and lose your stack. Ace-King is tough and Sweeney really helps simplify it. Again, he’s using HUD stats you won’t have in live play, but I think the video will help you with a default line that you can modify based on what you see at the table. James presents a bunch of different scenarios that really got me started thinking about how I should play the hand. Hint: Three-bet. A lot. That’s not something I normally do very much. Need to rewatch this one again before I get dealt my next hand.
The other one was Reacting to 3-Bets. He really simplifies it, taking what I thought was a complicated situation and breaking it down for you. And by the way, he even has a situation where he recommends folding pocket Kings to a three-bet! Of course, this too is based on HUD stats, but you know, if that guy with the gray hair hasn’t played a hand since he sat down and he re-raises you, that’s the equivalent of an online player with a 1% 3-bet percentage and you know he’s only doing that with Aces & Kings.
What I really liked about this video was he points out at the end that you can use it in reverse—when you see the thought process you have to go through to find the right play against a three-bet, it helps you decide when to three-bet yourself. If a villain put you in an uncomfortable situation, then you can use that move yourself.
This may sound odd, but one of the things I like about Sweeney’s videos is his voice. Seriously. He has a soothing, soft-spoken style which I enjoy listening to.
I also recommend following SplitSuit on Twitter (@SplitSuit) as he is always tweeting out his free quick play videos which are a lot of fun, and also his poker quizzes.
I’m happy to announce that if you buy anything from the SplitSuit site (here’s the link to store), you are eligible for a 10% discount if you use the code “robvegas” at check out. Such a deal.
The only problem with the material on these two sites is that now I have no excuse for losing at poker!