Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hand Reading

"Talking to friends is the single most important thing I did in my development as a poker player. Meeting friends around your level and talking about hands is something you have to do.

In the act of parsing out a hand, and talking about each step of it, you start to make discoveries. In order to be an elite player, or even to be a good player, you have to figure out why certain plays work. It's like in math, you don't want to learn just the formula, you want to learn the proof. It's the same exact thing in poker. You can learn a line, like "You want to check this street for pot control" or "this is a good spot to check-raise," but if you're not learning why they're working you're not learning the strategy on your own and how to apply it to new situations.

So I think through talking about hands with people, you learn why things work and learn to answer the question "what else can we do here?" It took me a while to be okay with looking dumb. I used to be more arrogant when I wasn't as good as I am now. I would be afraid to ever admit I was wrong. It was probably frustrating to talk poker with me sometimes. Nowadays I'm the first to admit if I played a hand poorly. It's easier to do when you are more confident." (Vanessa Selbst)

Got that from this interview she did.

What she says is pretty profound. Especially in these now very deep stack tournaments, you have to be very good at hand reading. It's a skill I definitely want to improve as well: understanding different lines, or taking them myself. Finding spots to check-raise/jam a river haha though I hardly do that, it's kinda nuts most times (but if someone has a marginal holding, and you're repping the nuts + good image, they'll fold). Finding spots to 2/3 barrel with air (to get someone off that same marginal holding). Finding good squeeze or 3bet/4bet spots. This game can be so damn creative and I need to really loosen up my game. I'm too tight and careful a lot of times (cuz I learned a lot of what I know from watching www.pokerxfactor videos with Johnnybax and Pearljammer, who are on the tighter TAG side). I can afford to be more of a maniac, with more chips in hand. Learned a lot watching WSOP highlights, mostly Ben Lamb and Pius Heinz stuff. They're all over the place. I envy their styles- absolutely FEARLESS.

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