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Old 03-03-2009, 05:54 AM
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Default How to beat microstakes HU

Even tho a lot of people, like Trikkur, have said that high rake makes playing microstakes HU hard to be profitable, I beg to differ. In NL20 HU and NL50 HU you get the fish all to yourself and anyone playing NL20 or NL50 6max can probably imagine themself playing heads up against the worst player in the shorthanded table... very profitable even with 7ptbb/100 of rake. You want to make sure you have rakeback however.

I gathered up some of my thoughts about maximizing winrate on microstakes HU in my blog, and I would like to hear some opinions about my ideas. Also if here's any micro/smallstakes HU grinders that use IRC or MSN I'd like to discuss some hands and concepts with them. Or if someone has enough time, I'd like to have one of my sessions reviewed if I'll upload a video of my play.

How to beat microstakes HU
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Last edited by chinz; 03-03-2009 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:35 AM
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I still don't think micro HU is as profitable as playing 6 max. Yeah you get the fish all to yourself, but the swings are massive, the rake is killer, and if you aren't hitting, its going to be hard to play against these loose passive players. I have put in about 15,000 hands or so at 20nl HU and it is simply not as profitable as playing 6 max. I was a decent winner at HU, but just to let you know, you are probably upswinging. If you are set to play HU I'm not discouraging you not to, im just saying you should put in 10,000+ hands of HU before you make an assumption about these games. The swings are going to be huge and in the end its going to be hard to make a profit. A big part of HU is handreading and i dont think most 20nl players are great hand readers.

To put it simply, if you are making money, great. Keep playing those games. But if you realize how difficult it is to win when you don't make hands, you may want to go back to 6 max. Sample size is going to be a big issue, and until you start running bad, is when you will see how profitable these games really are in the long run.
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShoveOrFold View Post
I still don't think micro HU is as profitable as playing 6 max. Yeah you get the fish all to yourself, but the swings are massive, the rake is killer, and if you aren't hitting, its going to be hard to play against these loose passive players. I have put in about 15,000 hands or so at 20nl HU and it is simply not as profitable as playing 6 max. I was a decent winner at HU, but just to let you know, you are probably upswinging. If you are set to play HU I'm not discouraging you not to, im just saying you should put in 10,000+ hands of HU before you make an assumption about these games. The swings are going to be huge and in the end its going to be hard to make a profit. A big part of HU is handreading and i dont think most 20nl players are great hand readers.

To put it simply, if you are making money, great. Keep playing those games. But if you realize how difficult it is to win when you don't make hands, you may want to go back to 6 max. Sample size is going to be a big issue, and until you start running bad, is when you will see how profitable these games really are in the long run.
Yes, I do realize I've been running very hot. But I've played around 12-14k hands (can't check now, not at home) now with 7ptbb/100 winrate and for first I had no idea how HU is played... In 6max I was struggling to keep up the 3.5ptbb/100 winrate on the long run.

I have a 45% rakeback deal, so I make more than 3ptbb/100 in rakeback alone. So even if my winrate drops to 3.5ptbb/100 in the long run, it will be more profitable for me to play HU. Of course my sample size isn't yet big enough to say, if I can manage to run even that 3.5ptbb/100 in the long run, but I'm gonna give it a try!

Other thing making this +EV, is that I am really taking poker serious* and willing to learn. I do believe, I am able to play at least smallstakes (NL100) by the end of this year, and that is where HU is the nuts. Good NL100 regular in 6max makes 3ptbb/100, while good NL100 HU regular makes 8ptbb/100 and more rakeback. And while for NL100 6max regular, taking shots in NL400 is almost always -EV, a good NL100 regular can bumhunt in NL200 and NL400 too profitably.

HU also seems more interesting game, of course I might just be bored after playing A LOT of 6max in short time, but for now the change is good! It's the same thing than with PLO, I won't be playing it 100% of the times, but when I'm bored it's cool to also be able to beat another game.

Once again in other words: even if microstakes HU would at the moment get me the exact same $/h, it will be more +EV for the future. At least I believe so. I deff think it's worth the time to give it a try for at least 50k hands or so.

Do you have anything to comment on the article itself, or do you agree with those things?



*serious = I've been literally using at least 3 hours daily to improve my game, I've tried to dailywatch at least one video (PokerTrikz and DeucesCracked mostly),check the forums (pokeritieto, 2+2 and pokertrikz) and play a session.


EDIT:
Quote:
A big part of HU is handreading and i dont think most 20nl players are great hand readers.
Not that this makes a huge difference, my last 6max games were NL50 (just a few sessions). I am not claiming to be a good at reads yet, but I am working hard to become good at it.
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Last edited by chinz; 03-03-2009 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:02 AM
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Hey Chinz,

I am playing 50NL HU on FT after not playing poker for like 6-8 months. I really enjoy HU and think its more a "pure" form of poker where self control, bankroll management (I can hardly talk given my current roll!), observations, game selection, and reading your opponent are all so much more important than other forms of poker. imo at least.

I read your post and found it quite interesting as I had been thinking about pretty much the same things myself.

I am interested in your comment about not cbetting flops that have missed us or we have a weak made hand and hence some showdown value. I cbet a ton, and tend to cbet missed flops with an A, bottom pair e.t.c. I particularly do this on wet flops because I feel that the palyers at the micros are peeling the flop with any draw and thus we can get value out of our weak hands. Turn and river play are more checks and getting to showdown because of our show down value against their draws. Now I do not know if this is correct but I would be interested in your (and others) thoughts.

I am also interested in your comments about 5 betting. I am not sure whether I agree to shoving TT/JJ purely based on the maths as we are either crushed or flipping without any kind of history. Is that normal in HU? TT/JJ are obviously big hands but imo, tend to lose vaue in 4bet pots purely because 4bets are showing a lot of strength. Obviously this changes depending on reads, gameflow e.t.c. I would just be worried about doing it if I did not know that villain was an aggro monkey who is 4bet/calling A4o.

Something you didn't touch on that I think is the most important aspect of HU play, at least for me, is the physcological (sp?) aspect. If your in a bad mood, tired, pre-occupied and not really focussing 100% on the game then this can irradicate a bankroll v.quickly! I know this from experience. I guess this comes back to self control and that if yor not feeling 100% then its better not to play. Also tilt control is amazingly important. The amount of times I have donked of 2-3 buyins because I was sucked out on and did not want to take a break because that donkey just took a buyin off me have cost me a lot of buyins. I's probably be crushing 400NL if I could control my emotions better (ok 400NL is a bit of an exaggeration but you get my point!)

Anyway, thats my comments and I will chuck you a PM about linking up on AIM/MSN sometme. I am not a big grinder as I have a fulltime job and a family so time is not always available but I play at least 3 times a week so we should be able to link up.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:15 AM
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Thanks for your opinions. While I agree that shoving TT (with no special reads) might be a litle light at these levels, I do believe that folding JJ to 4bets (as a general rule... ofc it's sometimes right) is a leak, if you aren't deep.

One thing I forgot to mention, in VERY wet flops I do often bet to protect my hand with ace high or bottom pair, but that gets you into a lot of tough spots, as you probably know. So as a general rule, if you have a very weak made hand, I think (against avarage fish at least) checking is the right way to play it.

I also like to do tons of check-raising OOP (with very big range - mediocre made hands, bluffs and monster hands), so most of the opponents (if they are thinking at all) won't try to bluff me off a dry K-high flop so often.

Thanks for mentioning psychology, I know I should have mentioned that. Against a maniac (who is really likely to hit n' run), you really have to have patience, if you get sucked out or just don't get any hands... I will probably try to write something about that. I am planning to keep on updating that post, at least as long as I stay on the microstakes. So that one will not be the final version. I actually hope, that some day that could be a complete, useful guide to HUNL beginner.

The things I like about HU are just those that you mentioned, you "play poker" more in it than any other form... I just couldn't find a good way to put it in words.
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Last edited by chinz; 03-03-2009 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:56 AM
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Upload a video of a session and I'd be happy to review it for you.

The lowest stakes HU games are definitely beatable for a good winrate, even without rakeback (although RB definitely makes a big difference).

I'll take a look at your blog post later... too lazy at the moment.
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no eff eks View Post
Upload a video of a session and I'd be happy to review it for you.
I'll try to make a video later this week or maybe next week... Is there any guide to making videos? Most of the people are using camtasia, so maybe I should try that too?
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Old 03-03-2009, 11:23 AM
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Camtasia is the easiest way to do it if you can use the program for free (it's very expensive to buy, but you can get it for free if you know where to look). Otherwise there are lots of other options out there (Camstudio being my suggestion).
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:26 AM
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I know there isn't many HU players here, but I'll try asking this anyway. What kind of HUD stats are you using?

I have the following:

Name
VPIP_SB/VPIP_BB/Hands
3bet/F3b
CBet/FCB
F_Agg%/T_Agg%/R_Agg%
F_AF/T_AF/R_AF

In more clear words:
vpip from both positions
3bet frequency and fold to 3bet
same with cbet
aggression frequency on different streets
aggression factor on different streets

Am I missing something important? I chose to leave check-raise stat out, because you'd need huge sample size to make it accurate (and check-raising frequency is something you'll notice anyway).
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Last edited by chinz; 03-08-2009 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 03-08-2009, 11:12 PM
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I would probably get rid of some of the redundant stats (like aggression by street when all you have to do is hover your mouse of the total aggression)... I'd also completely get rid of either aggression factor or aggression % -- whichever you are more comfortable with is the one you should keep.

You should definitely put in the c/r stats for each street (it's a bitch to find them otherwise)... donk-bet flop... fold to flop donk bet... 4bet %... and double barrel stats.

Name
VPIP_SB/VPIP_BB/Hands
3bet/F3b
CBet/FCB
F_Agg%/T_Agg%/R_Agg%
F_AF/T_AF/R_AF
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