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December 04, 2005

Newbie Poker Hand selection

Posted at December 4, 2005 01:51 PM in Beginner Topics , by The Padawan.

Greetings everyone. I am a middle aged man who has been playing home game (for fun) poker most of my life. I also spent about a year playing (and losing) on line. I decided a few months ago that I could be a winning player, so I began to take it seriously. I have now played seriously just over 10,000 hands of poker on line. And guess what, I am (so far) a winning player. My kids will have a nicer Christmas this year, thanks to poker.

I have read books, and websites and poker forums to gain any knowledge I could. One of the things I noticed was all the books and most of the forums and websites are for ‘pro’ players. I have neither the skill nor the bankroll to play $200 NL holdem. I doubt you do either, if you are a new player. I also noticed that $10 NL or $25 NL do not play like all the books and ‘experts’ say poker should play. I also convinced Greedy Gecko that what I have learned, and what I continue to learn is worth recording here. I think this is very generous of him and very arrogant of me, but if you are still reading, then maybe I can help you avoid some of my mistakes. Believe me, I have made some monsters already.

The first thing I want to tell you about is studying. If you are new to serious poker, read. Read anything about poker you can find. It may not all apply at the level you start, but all knowledge is helpful, so read.

The second item is to get a good poker database. I use Poker Tracker (although there are others), and it has improved my game already so much that I can hardly begin to describe it. As I go forward with these posts, I will be talking about what I learned from both the game itself, and from poker tracker, so if you want to get good, get a poker database.

Let me give you an example of how it helped me improve my game, almost from the start. After playing for about a week, while I was winning, I was not winning a lot, and I looked at my data base to see why. I noticed that I was playing about 32% of my hands, and that some hands were big losers for me. So I dropped a few of those hands, and my winning $$ began to go up. So I looked again and dropped a few more, and did even better. Then I noticed that some hands, like AK off suit were also losing money. When replaying the hand histories, I saw that I was putting waaaay to much faith in those hands, and not dropping them when it was obvious I was beat. So I changed how I was playing those hands, and my wins went up even more. What I have ended up with now is a listing of 3 kinds of hands. I have labeled them group 1, group 2, and junk. Group 1 hands I will play from any position, any time. They are as follows:

Any Pair
AKs – A9s
KQs – KJs
AKo – AJo
That’s it.

My group 2 hands, are hands that I will play only when the time is right. Like in late position or in the blinds, or if the table is passive enough to allow me to try to run with ‘em. They are:

A8s- A6s
KTs – K8s
QJs – Q9s
JTs- J9s
Any other 1 or 2 gap suited connector (except 4-2)
KJo- K9o
ATo – A6o

All the rest are junk. Sure, you might have gotten lucky with something else sometime. But they are not paying hands, don’t play them. Even if Uncle Frim says K4o is his favorite hand, let it go. Stay with what gives you the best shot. I got this list simply by looking at my database.

So you see, this database is an incredible tool. If you don’t have one, get one. It will do some other neat things too. Like help you spot the sharks and the fish at your table. More on that in another post. Good luck all,

The Padawan.

Just wanted to introduce myself and say thank you for this post.

I've been running cold for over a week now - and my desperation to catch up on my losses - only to dig myself in deeper and deeper by the second. Classic Tilt I know - please dont rub it in.

Anyways to get to the point:

I've read a couple of the posts here - and I was so glad to come across a couple of blokes - loving the game - but that also suffer the downs associated with it. The posts over here have managed to lift my spirits and to - try, try again,instead of throwing in the towel.

After reading this particular post last night. I logged on - determined to stick to just the opening hands mentioned above. Low and behold I started regaining control over my game again. I did 2 S&G's last night - placed 2nd and 1st respectively - and also spent some time at a cash table - I doubled my initial buy-in within 15 mins. Now I'n still a gazillion miles away from getting my bankroll resuscitated (I can feel a slight pulse but far from breathing yet) -but last nights session has done the world of good for my confidence that managed to go down the toilet in a matter of a week.

After my session got myself a copy of Poker Pal (which seems to be quite a nice utility). I've also spent an hour formulating a realistic strategy for the weeks/months to come - in order to restore my game to its former glory and going back to basics again. I guess its true the taller they get - the harder they fall. Well I've fell from my pedestal and I hit the ground with a majestic thunk! Now is the perfect time to go back to the begining - and set things right by starting from scratch. Babysteps at first - but hell - every journey starts with the first step. (Man I'm so melodramatic I wanna cry - apologies for soppiness).

Once again thanks a stack for the great posts - lets get out there and play with our (the) Nuts.

Posted by crxboy at January 17, 2006 08:00 AM

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