Here are my 5 favorite questions and answers from the Daily Poker Tips Podcast in August 2022. I answered your questions daily for the month, and I think the 5 answers below are going to be the most helpful to my audience.
Answers to questions on downswings, the red line, auto-piloting, better bluffing and fighting fear.
Listen to podcast #406 as you follow along below
From the 5th: Use a Downswing to Improve Your Skills
I’m in a 12 buy-in downswing right now, and it’s affecting my play. What do I do? – Mark
Flip the play:study ratio. If it’s 3:1 right now, switch to 1:3.
Dig into your losing hands, find mistakes and work to improve.
Are you doing things that are NOT helping your play? (alcohol while playing, distracted, too many tables, etc.)
If the amount of losses are effecting you, drop down in stakes and re-focus on making great decisions.
Cash game downswings and tourney downswings can be approached the same way.
From the 8th: Improve Your Red Line
My red line in PT4 is an ugly downslope. How do I fix this? – Keith
The red line is your non-showdown winnings. This represents how much you’re winning or losing when your hand does not see SD, and for tight players who fold a lot and don’t steal that often, it’s a down-sloping line. Contrast it with the blue line which is your SD winnings. Tight players have an upsloping blue line because they get to showdown more often than not with a strong winning hand.
There’s a ton to improving your red line, but:
- Basically, you have to steal more pots preflop and post-flop. So your bluffs need to work. The first step to this is to now who you’re trying to bluff off the hand and be sure they can find a fold before you bluff bet or raise.
- Choose one form of bluffing at a time and work on it for 1-2 weeks each. Work on preflop steals and 3bet bluffs. Also cbet bluffs, donk bluffs, float bets and probe bets. Also, work on bluff raising on flops and turns, also triple barrel bluffing. The better bluffer you become, the more pressure you put on your opponents, the better your red line will be.
- Lose less by folding sooner. If you call flop with no plan for the turn, and you just fold quickly on the turn, then you’re hurting your red line. Before calling on the flop, plan for what you’ll do on different turn cards and against another bet.
- Value bet more, do not slowplay. Lots of players hate folding flops but fold on the turn. If you flop a strong hand and bet, they’re going to call and give you value. If you bet again and they fold, this helps your non-SD winnings. Or if they call and you get to SD, you’ve won more money. Either way, to help you non-SD and SD winnings, value bet, value bet, value bet. Get value while the getting’s good.
From the 16th: How to Wake Up from Auto-Piloting
I heard your Q&A from the 9th and I still don’t know what to do when I catch myself auto-piloting mind-session! – Brian
Here’s the definitive answer to wake-up from auto-piloting, and there are 4 parts to it:
- Sit out on all your tables right now. Do not play another hand.
- While you’re sitting out, before you exit the table, classify each player at your tables. If you use PT4, color code each player by type. This gets you actively thinking about your opponents and you’re using your poker intellect.
- Step away for 3-5 minutes. Use the restroom, get some water, do some pushups, whatever. If you feel good and calm and want to play some more, restart your tables. If not, just close each table.
- If you choose to play on, tighten up for the next 10 minutes. If it’s not an obvious open-raise or 3bet, then just fold. No calling for the next 10 minutes. Calling to much is the biggest auto-piloting mistake. Don’t allow yourself to call at all, put on a 10-minute timer if necessary.
From the 22nd: How can I make better bluffs?
I’m discovering that a lot of my losses come from erroneous bluff attempts. How can I make better bluffs -Emmanuele
Always ask, “Can he fold here?” Assign a percentage before bluffing.
Use HUD stats, range, board and tendencies.
If he can fold 50% +, then cbet bluff.
Make sure to bluff through his honest street.
If you think he’s folding 75%, but he calls, what’s that mean? He likes the board so you should give up the turn.
Lastly, do lots of hand reading practice with bluffing opportunities. As long as the hand goes to SD, you can get great practice assigning ranges and judging how often they’ll fold against your bluffs. This will build your intuition for bluffing and I bet your bluff success will increase.
From the 30th: How do I overcome fear on the felt?
I think I fold too often because when the board completes, I just automatically put them on the draw that just hit and I give up. How can I get over this mindset? – Chuck
Hand reading. Tag hands to review later. Do this with:
- Questionable hands, where you didn’t know what to do and were scared they had the nuts.
- Hands where you were right. These are great to study to confirm your reads.
- Hands where you were wrong. These are great for learning from your mistakes.
“What are they doing this with?” Take their player type, tendencies and bet size into account.
“Could they do this with X?” X is the best hand you beat.