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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Play Solid

... But I Can't Seem To Win.

I hear a lot of players say this and it gets funnier every time I hear it. The reason is, they don't play solid. What they meant is they play in a robotic manner and hope to cooler someone. So when they win these big cooler pots, they play well and run well. If they lose, they run bad. There is some truth to this because you obviously run bad if you don't win the cooler pots.

But poker is much more than those big cooler pots. Poker is a game that is defined by better players accumulating small edges here and there. When you sit and play a solid game, better players are taking a more active role in maximizing their EV. One example, they play with a little more aggression. They fight extra hard for pots. They think of opponents' ranges before betting. They dictate the flow of the game and is always aware of their images.

People usually say they play a good game and they are just running bad. But whenever we have sweating sessions, there are so many small things they miss out. Three notable examples are cbetting too much, neglecting the small pots, and passive pre-flop play. It's hard to detect these problems because if you knew it, you would have fixed it already. When we look over our sessions, we usually focus on the big pots that we win/lose but neglect to think about our overall game and what we can do to improve it. A player who is active pre-flop will take a lot of uncontested pots and thus, don't have to win those big cooler pots to have a winning session. It's amazing how Doyle was sooo ahead of his time.

Next time when you're at the table, remember to think throughly about a situation before clicking a button. Don't be lazy. Talk aloud. Practice. Perhaps you'll realize that maybe, just maybe, you weren't as solid as you assumed.

By Tri "Slowhabit" Nguyen

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