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Texas Hold'em No Limit Intermediate

The Usual Poker Leaks and How to Fix Them

8,865 Views on 1/9/15

As a player you will have poker leaks and make mistakes but the important thing is to learn from them. Read about the most common leaks in poker and how to fix them.

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Poker Leaks Coaching
I’ve been coaching a lot of students since March, and getting a lot of experience with poker players variance, teaching mental fortitude and discussing harsh spots that occur at the poker tables.

Also grinding live with each and every one of them and discussing the hands live as they go, plugging potential poker leaks and showing them newer methods to exploit their opponents, rather than the old classic TAG style that works at lower limits, but wouldn’t survive too much at the higher limits.
Playing too tight against opponents that know how to exploit you will only result in yourself being either breakeven or a rakeback pro. This leads us to our first major leak.

Folding too often out of the blinds

Most players these days are not defending as often as they should, and opponents will sometimes pick up on this and start raising your BB from the SB with ATC (any two cards), and your goose is cooked right then because you can’t really fold more than 62.5% if he opens ATC from the SB.

bookDon’t get too scared tho, most people don’t pick up on this at micro/low stakes, so you’re safe for the moment. But go up to NL200 and a reg who doesn’t do this versus a very tight defender in the BB, he’s just burning money. Most players actually fold 75-80% from the SB and 70% from the BB, and 3-bet a maximum of half of their play-back range, when it should be the other way around.

If an opponent is opening ATC from the SB you should be playing at least 60% of hands and 3-betting A LOT, because you have position and you’ll get a lot of folds, because when your opponent is opening 45o from the SB it’s really hard to call a 3-bet out of position with that hand.

I’d even go overboard to 3-bet any two suited cards, and some offsuit ones for value, if I got raised constantly by ATC from the SB and the villain was keen to fold to 3-bets. If he’s not folding to 3-bets, just re-raise with a wide range (not a polarized one), because you’re going to dominate his calling range with higher Ax/Kx/Qx/pairs.
Be very weary not to over-adjust though. There have been cases where a player caught cards 5 orbits in a row and you’re just going overboard 3-betting J2s (which is not a terrible card to 3-bet against even a tighter SB opener) but only if he likes to fold preflop a reasonable amount of the time. Don’t go crazy just yet, evaluate the player and try to get more hands on him.

cardsI can really understand the amount of folds and the fact that it’s hard to play OOP with a weak hand. But if you want to play better and get a higher win rate, this is the only solution - expanding your ranges. Also, having a tighter range makes you really easy to read and assigned to a valid range by a decent level opponent.

This doesn’t mean you have to start exploding all of a sudden. My advice here is make a chart of your defending range in the BB and start assigning hands to the 3-bet category and the call category, respectively. After that, make your total percentage and just start adding a little bit. 1% per week is perfectly fine, of course until you reach a point that it’s actually hard to add more hands because the opponents will start playing back at you and you can’t really defend 100% successfully.
So just stop when you think you can’t push on! Life is all about getting out of your comfort zone and experimenting, doing something that you’re afraid of every day makes you feel alive! Even something this small, I promise you that in the long run it’s going to have devastating effects on your opponents!

Opening too loose from EP

This might not surprise anyone but keep reading because you’re probably going to enjoy this. Most of my students opened EP very liberally with 14%+ opens, and I don’t really think this is right for a number of reasons, but actually a good reason to open this wide Is when there is a very loose player in the blinds.

timebombIn that case yes, you’re going to have position on him and he will probably call you with a ton of weaker holdings, which is very +EV for you in the long run, and it also doesn’t let 3-bet bluffers from the CO/BTN do their thing.

The problem of opening a lot from EP is that you can’t really react to 3-bet bluffers a lot, because you need quite a lot of hands on the villain and good reads to notice that he’s going to 3-bet you from the BTN with A4s. Or you need to get to showdown with him, which in some cases will be very expensive.

Putting the worries aside, let’s say that he’s going to 3-bet A4s against you, and this means that his blocking potential cuts off 50% of your AA and 25% of your AK. This means that your value range tightens and you have to fold more, because we’ve just established you need sick reads on an opponent to play back at him with a bigger % of your EP raising range.
The problem here is that you’re folding way too often, especially when he has a hand like KQo and blocks KK QQ and AK/AQ, all hands that you react with (probably). So, let’s say you react (call or 4b) with 99+/AQ, KQs and AJs, then that’s 5.7%. It’s kind of loose and it should be based on the solid read that your opponent can 3-b bluff against your opening range, because otherwise you’re going to lose money in the long run.
Let’s see how this works:

-You open 3x
-Villain 3-bets to 9x
-Blinds fold.

So villain puts 9 blinds to win a total of 13.5, so the 3-bet has to work 67% of the time. If you’re opening ~14% from EP (he has blockers), this is instant profit for him, so tighten up if you see that you’re getting 3-bet left and right. You’re probably kind of worried when you call with 99 pre OOP vs a BTN 3-bet here anyway! So why not just open tighter so you can’t be exploited?
I hope you enjoyed my article and I would love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments below!


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