Brought to you by Americas Cardroom
 

When to Double Barrel

Posted by BlackRain79

when to double barrel

I wanted to write a bit about double barreling. When to do it and when not to. Something that I consistently see with the students that I work with is a tendency to bet the turn too much or in the wrong spots. There is definitely a strong theme these days in poker literature, on forums etc about the benefits of being aggressive but I think the problem is that some people take that a little too far and end up causing even more problems for themselves. I call it betting for the sake of betting.

Aggression in itself is never a bad thing in poker but when you are being aggressive just because you don't know what else to do, it is very easy to see through and counter. Versus habitual barrelers I will sometimes just take a hand that has some equity, call the flop and raise them on the turn. You won't face this very often at the micros but much more often you will be barreling in a spot where your opponent can only continue with better (versus a nit for instance) and so you are burning money just the same.

I figured that I would just toss out a couple of examples here and try to generate some discussion on it in the comments. But before I do that I just want to list a few of the factors that I think we should be thinking about when choosing whether or not to double barrel:

  • our hand value
  • our position
  • villain's player type
  • the turn card

These are probably the most important factors to consider. Having a hand or at least some outs is important in poker no matter the limit. And especially at the micros where there are a lot of calling stations it is especially important to have something. If you have absolutely nothing you really should be just giving up most of the time. Always leave yourself with some outs because why wouldn't you?

Our position is important because when they check to us it tells us a lot about the strength of their hand. When we are out of position we are just kind of playing the guessing game.

Villain's player type and the turn card might be the most important factors of all though. Versus nits who have a very narrow continuance range on the flop we should really only be double barreling with strong hands most of the time because they almost always have a big hand themselves. Versus all other player types their range can be quite a bit wider. Although some moreso than others. Your 65/5 drooler fish can have half the deck for instance, all sorts of ace highs, totally ridiculous draws etc. A TAG won't have nearly as wide of a range.

And lastly, the turn card is a huge factor. In general big cards (broadways) will be good for us and low cards will be bad for us. And this is just because when we raise preflop big cards are what we are representing. So oftentimes barreling versus a stationy reg for instance on 9974 is bad because if he called the flop with his 88 why would he fold when the turn is a meaningless 4? If the turn was a T, J, Q, K or A it is a much more difficult spot for 88 to continue however.

So with all of that said I am going to list a bunch of examples and ask you to please leave your comments below. Double barrel or not? I won't leave my response for a few days.

1)

Hero is dealt K♥Q♦ in MP, raises and gets called by an SLP (semi-loose passive) in the SB.

The flop comes,

J♠A♣6♦

Villain check/calls our cbet.

The turn comes,

8♥

What should hero do?

2)

Hero is dealt 4♦4♣ in EP, raises and gets called by a TAG in LP.

The flop comes,

8♣3♠Q♥

Villain check/calls our cbet.

The turn comes,

A♣

What should hero do?

3)

Hero is dealt 8♥9♥ in LP, raises and gets called by a fish in the BB.

The flop comes,

6♦9♠3♥

Villain check/calls our cbet.

The turn comes,

7♣

What should hero do?

4)

Hero is dealt 8♥9♥ in LP, raises and gets called by a nit in the BB.

The flop comes,

6♦9♠3♥

Villain check/calls our cbet.

The turn comes,

7♣

What should hero do?

5)

Hero is dealt A♠K♠ in LP, raises and gets called by a fish in the SB.

The flop comes,

8♠5♣6♥

Villain check/calls our cbet.

The turn comes,

Q♦

What should hero do?

Nathan Williams aka "BlackRain79" is a microstakes grinder, poker coach, DragTheBar instructor and the author of Crushing the Microstakes. Now available in Spanish and Russian as well.

www.blackrain79.com

The part time pursuit

Posted by davedastardly

Like all of the budding poker fiends here at DTB, I aspire one day to be grinding the mid stakes. Sitting in my pants dominating the tables, padding my account with bumper bonuses, and paying the bills with rakeback haha… living the dream.

Back in the real world I work 60 hrs a week driving a truck through the night. This means I grind, study, and read books etc. at very strange times. All while at work, all done on the steering wheel of a 44 tonne truck I kid you not. (Fear not, the vehicle is stationary during poker time!)

I get around 3-4k hands in a week (hands and miles come to think of it), and I don't do ANY poker at home as I owe it to my family to spend what’s left of the week with them. I often wonder how other beginning players cope juggling the necessary obstacles, whilst battling the roller coaster of Poker and the affect it has on their lives compared to mine. What I’ve found the hardest is coping with is the length of the barren spells/downswings. Not the mental anguish of them happening necessarily, just the length at which they can last when you’re a part timer. My recent 30k+ break even spell lasted over 2 months which is just an eternity to me.

The road to Poker paradise is gonna be darn tough. We know this, but there are just so many uncertainties. Have I just been lucky so far? Was my downswing mostly bad play? Have I missed bits out of the learning process?

I can see why guys just give it up, or go busto. Why do we put ourselves through the torture of Poker when we could be having fun? In my opinion the mental aspect is harder to grasp than the strategic element. So many pitfalls, and the fact we never ‘get there’. It’s an on-going process as QTip says.

Please don’t think I’m whining, I’m not. If it were easy, most poker players wouldn't be losers, and as they say if something’s hard it’s worth doing. I’ll simply never give up; I’m too stubborn for a start! And the pull of Poker is just too strong… the best game ever invented.

I look back to my skill set a year ago and laugh. I am improving for sure. After a losing 25k sample at 10nl I’ve now played well over 100k hands and now play 50nl. I think I’m holding my own over a short sample….maybe ; ) There’s a thread on my progress here. Sure I’m not breaking any records, but it’s still progress by my standards. Small steps baby.

The pursuit continues….

Filed under: Uncategorized 7 Comments

Crushing Online SNG’s – Finally Done!

Posted by zerosum79

After almost 2 years worth of work, I have finally been able to complete my new Ebook and Training Tool - "Crushing Online Sit and Go's."  First I would like to apologize to fellow DTB coach BlackRain for the similarities in title. I cringed when I saw the announcement for Crushing the Microstakes, but it was too late since I had already paid for my cover design :) .

What is Crushing Online SNGs?

Crushing Online SNG's is a first-of-its-kind training tool designed to simulate the one-on-one coaching experience at a fraction of the cost of private lessons. I first conceived of this project because I was having to turn away a lot of eager students who simply did not have the money for private lessons. A lot of people have trouble learning poker strategy from a book. That's why great sites like Drag the Bar exist.

So what I wanted to do was create an ebook that really flushed out the complete strategy for how a novice SNG player would go about learning SNG's from scratch.  Then I wanted to follow that up with videos that directly reinforce the concepts of the book by giving immediate feedback on mistakes that still existed in their playing strategy, since that is what a coach would do.

So here is a more detailed description of the course:

In Crushing Online Sit-and-Go's, Greg "zerosum79" Jones reveals his comprehensive method for teaching winning strategy at a fraction of the cost of private lessons. Based on his proprietary Pivot Points concept, this system mirrors his private coaching lessons that have turned complete beginners into winning poker players in as little as five weeks.

Contained within this course is an in-depth framework for identifying and executing, in real time, the most important profitable sit-and-go plays, including:

  • Fundamentals of how to play low-, mid-, and high-blind levels.
  • A simple, yet powerful, system for low-blind pre-flop and post-flop play.
  • Simulations for building a profitable Pivot Point strategy to crush mid- and high-blind levels
  • Strategies for making crucial Pivot Point adjustments that will maximize your results and get you thinking like a true expert.

Crushing Online Sit-and-Go's also comes with plenty of tools to help you accelerate your learning and start implementing the strategy contained in the e-book immediately, including:

  • Three interactive sit-and-go walk-through videos, putting you in control of the action and providing in-depth analysis of your decisions for direct real-time feedback. Videos take place at the low ($6.50), low/mid ($24), and mid-stakes ($55) teaching you how to adjust the Crushing Online Sit-and-Go's material as the stakes get higher.
  • Printable Strategy sheets for use while playing.
  • Excel spreadsheets to create your own customized pivot point strategy.

Crushing Online Sit-and-Go's is different from any other book on the market, directly simulating the one-on-one coaching experience necessary to make fast improvements in your game. Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced low-stakes grinder, this book is guaranteed to take your game to a whole new level.

For a look at the table of contents, click here or for more information visit my website: www.zerosumpoker.com and click on the Crushing Online SNG's tab. Crushing online Sit and Go's is normally priced at $99.99 (The cost of a single private lesson with Greg "zerosum79") but for a limited time (Until April 1) Crushing Online Sit and Go's is on sale for a promotional price of $69.99.

The book, videos, and strategy tools are available for immediate download upon payment and payments are now being processed by PayPal.  There is a two week money back guarantee and I will be starting a thread in the SNG forum to contain strategy questions raised by the book.  It is my hope that with this book, you will gain a deeper insight into some of the videos that have been most popular on the forums like the ABC SNG series.

Regards,

Zerosum79

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

How to Play From the Blinds

Posted by BlackRain79

How to Play From the Blinds

Something that I get asked about quite a bit is how to play from the blinds. So I thought I would write a bit on the subject. Before I say anything though it should be understood that nobody wins from these positions. So really this whole post will just be about how to hopefully get you losing less. But we shouldn't think about this in a negative way because the old adage of a "penny saved is a penny earned" absolutely applies to poker as well. If you can shave off a couple of bb/100's of your lossrate for instance, this will have a noticeable effect on your actual winrate.

So how should we approach playing out of the blinds?

Blind play is really tricky because it so often depends on how the action plays out before us. Since the blinds act last preflop we will be reacting to others a lot of the time. So the range of hands that I will play (and how I choose to play them: complete, raise, check or fold) will almost always depend on factors such as

  • did someone raise before me?
  • what position were they in?
  • what type of player are they?
  • what is their stack size?
  • were there multiple players?
  • what is my hand strength?
  • what is my image at the table?
  • how much will I need to make my raise?
  • or should I just complete or check?

You just don't need to ask nearly as many questions from the other positions at the table. So that is why giving an exact range or VPIP number is so difficult to do. I will probably need to break down blind play by many different situations.

So fair warning: this blog post will be lengthy

Having checked my stats I can see that I am playing about 16% of my hands from the SB and about 11% from the BB. Now keep in mind that these stats are for full ring and mostly mass multi-tabling. And also keep in mind that I advocate a pretty tight approach to blind play overall. My stats for 6max will probably be something like 20% and 15% repsectively.

Why do I advocate a tight approach to blind play?

Because you lose so much from these positions duh! Well that would be the simple answer anyways. And really I guess that is also most of the answer. If you simply choose not to play that many marginal hands from these positions, then you can't lose nearly as much. I think one of the first things that a lot of people need to get over is this idea of fiercely defending their blinds.

The old saying "some battles just aren't worth fighting" really applies here. And I should be clear that I am talking about the micros here and especially NL2-NL10. Very few people are really going to notice that you are playing super tight from these positions and furthermore have the know-how to take advantage of it. I certainly don't think it has affected my results.

Now I am not saying that you should fold every time somebody raises your blind and you don't have a premium hand. But you definitely don't want to be calling a bunch "because you have an ace" or "because you have pot odds." These are misnomers that cost people a lot of money. Until you really look at the numbers in HEM or PT over a big sample it is hard to really understand just how important position is in poker. And the same thing goes for initiative (i.e., being the preflop raiser). It is very important to learn to approach poker as a long run pursuit and try your best to stop focusing on particular situations.

We can easily trick ourselves into thinking that a bad play is actually a good play because we happened to flop well and win a couple big pots recently. Position and initiative are the two most important keys to success in poker and that is why I begin my book by talking about them at length. But this is unfortunately a lesson that it takes many newer players a long time to learn. I know it did with me. It is only in the past couple years that I have really began to develop a total commitment to being aggressive and trying to have position a large amount of the time.

Drills and experimenting

What I have learned especially is that even if you think you are aggressive and use position well there is probably a lot further that you can take it. I made some videos recently for this blog about abusing late position (Part 1 and Part 2). I was playing around 50% of my hands from the button and cutoff. I didn't really do this on purpose but trying some of these "drills" so to speak at low limits might be a good exercise in pushing your boundaries and experimenting.

Just go to 1c/2c and literally raise or re-raise every time you are in late position and try to severely limit your play from most other positions. Watch how others react to you. See how much easier every decision you have to make is when you have position. Stretch your mind to a new level with regards to position and initiative and your regular game will adjust a little bit in this direction as well.

Anyways back to the topic at hand here of blind play. So my main approach to playing the blinds is to play a fairly conservative range in most situations but not quite as tight as from early or middle position. And the reason is that you have already put a little bit of money in the pot and you should fight for it in some instances. Also, often it will be a steal situation where you know your opponent's range is pretty wide. So a hand like AJ or AT might be played for value versus them.

However as I already mentioned the twin pillars of success in poker are position and initiative. The first one we cannot change. We are in the blinds. It sucks. It is what it is.

But the second one (initiative) we can change. And we will of course do this by 3betting. When called we will still be fighting uphill a little bit postflop due to our positional disadvantage. However by having the initiative we will be able to take down many more pots with a simple cbet. Or even just take it down preflop. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

So I think what I am going to try and do here is go over a couple of common situations in the blinds with examples rather than just toss out some completely random scenarios. Because like I said before the blinds are by far the trickiest positions to play at the tables and cannot be easily discussed in a vacuum.

Limped pots

Limped pots will happen quite a bit at the micros, especially the lower sections such as NL2-NL10. And there is even a difference between these limits these days. Every time I play NL2 it still blows my mind how much limping goes on, even in 6max! And it is like an epidemic once somebody does it. Then the whole table gets involved like a domino effect. As I often preach on about, limping is bad in almost all situations. And in a 6max game I would go so far as to say that you should never limp. And even at full ring there will be very few situations where I would advocate it.

So how do we react when these spots arise and we are in the blinds? In these situations I like to open up my range a bit and take advantage of all this weakness. That is what limping is. It is weakness. I can't count the amount of times just in one session especially at NL2 where I will see a bunch of limpers, notice that I have a reasonably decent hand, raise it up and just take down an easy 3 or 4 big blinds uncontested. Either that or one of them calls, I fire a cbet and usually take down an even bigger pot. Win/win. A lot of people will just limp along here instead. I believe this is a pretty big mistake.

Versus a single limper

But it depends on the number of limpers of course as well. With just 1 limper I am going to be pretty liberal in the amount of hands that I choose to attack with. Obviously all of my premiums (TT+ and AK), all of my pairs and any ace or suited ace above A8 or so. I will probably also raise a bunch of suited connectors. Especially the decent ones like 78, 89 and JT. And I will raise with most broadways as well.

In the case when somebody open limps from the SB and I am in the BB I will raise about 50% of my hands. This is an incredibly weak play on their part and they will fold a large majority of the time. And when they do call we still have position and initiative, the two keys to success in poker.

Multiple limpers

Versus multiple limpers I will tighten up my range a bit and maybe ditch some of the weaker aces and get rid of all the suited connectors from the SB. And by get rid of I mean just fold them for the most part. I think the whole complete the SB for "pot odds" idea simply does not stand up to the mathematical data. I will discuss this more in a bit however. The only time that I will just complete is when I have a small pocket pair just because sets are so valuable and I want to always see the flop with them if I can. These hands can be difficult to play OOP unimproved and so just completing can be ok. But even then, I sometimes still just raise them.

How much should you raise it?

This is an area of concern that I often see with students of mine and players at these limits. And the concern is almost always that they do not raise a big enough amount.

You always want to put someone to a choice when you make a raise. If they feel 50/50 about calling or folding then you have made it the right amount.

If they insta-fold or insta-call then you have made it the wrong amount. Most of the time people make it too little and their opponent insta-calls. While this isn't the end of the world as you still have the initiative you want to let people know that there is a premium to pay if they want to try and limp your blind. By making your raise too small you are really just encouraging action and building a bigger pot when OOP with a hand that isn't always amazing.

In general I advocate raising 3x (where x is the big blind) in all situations. However you should add 1 big blind per limper. And you should also add one more additional big blind per limper if you are out of position. So here are a few examples of this.

Example:

In the big blind you are dealt,

A♠T♦

There is a single limper from middle position and the small blind folds.

You should raise it to 5x. 3x as your standard. 1x for the limper. 1x for your positional disadvantage. As an aside, if the small blind had of limped as well I would have made it 6x.

Example:

In the small blind you are dealt,

Q♣J♣

There are two limpers from middle and late position. The small blind also limps.

You should raise it to 9x. 3x as your standard. 3x for the three limpers. 3x for your positional disadvantage.

Don't worry too much about getting all of these numbers correct in every situation. The truth is that I don't count every limper or always make it the same. Just remember to increase your raise size if there are limpers (and depending on the amount) and also if you are out of position. Your raise size from the blinds should always be quite a bit bigger than your raise size from the other positions at the table.

And lastly don't worry about raising it up with some sort of marginal hands like these. Like I said before, you will be amazed at how often they simply fold. But secondly, remember what I said about limpers being weak. Usually these players are fish or SLP (semi-loose passive). They are bad players who just like to limp and fold a lot. You should be taking advantage of this. If they have something they will let you know.

Facing an early position raise

Another scenario that you may encounter is when somebody raises from early position (EP). In this spot your range should be a lot tighter than in the limped pots we talked about above. The reason for this is that a raise from EP usually represents the strongest range for a someone regardless of their player type. While it is true that the majority of opponents that you will play against at the micros will not be positionally aware, I believe that people will just naturally or instinctively play less hands from these positions. So you should respect these raises some more.

Versus an EP raise you should be 3betting with the upper end of your premium range QQ+ and AK and calling to set mine with all your other pairs. I would fold everything else. A few examples.

Example:

In the small blind you are dealt,

3♦3♥

A nit raises in EP.

You should call.

Example:

In the small blind you are dealt,

A♠J♠

A TAG raises in EP.

You should fold.

Example:

In the big blind you are dealt,

A♦K♥

An SLP raises in EP.

You should 3bet.

Example:

In the big blind you are dealt,

J♣J♦

A TAG raises in EP.

You should call.

Facing a middle position raise

Middle position (MP) ranges will generally be a little bit wider than EP raises so we should adjust our play towards them a bit as well. You should 3bet a little bit wider especially against opponents who have a decently wide opening range such as TAG's and some fish. A hand that we folded above like A♠J♠ for instance I might 3bet now from time to time against these player types. But for the most part my strategy is pretty similar to when facing an EP raise in these spots. That is I am mostly just set mining with my pairs, 3betting most of my premiums and folding everything else.

Facing a late position raise

When facing a late position (LP) raise things change a fair bit. I think from these positions people generally have a lot wider range. You will find many 10/8 nits these days who even know that they should be stealing from the cutoff and button with some pretty light holdings. So I will be 3betting quite a bit more in these spots. But as I said before, my range is still pretty tight overall. We don't want to be going nuts here.

So I may add a few more aces and broadways to my range (as compared with my versus EP and MP raises range) and simply 3bet them. I may 3bet some suited connectors as well. Mostly just the good ones like 78, 89 and JT. I will muck the smaller ones. And lastly, instead of calling to set mine with my small pocket pairs I will often 3bet with them as well.

I should note that I will still just call with a lot of my middle pairs (77-TT). I don't often want to 3bet with these hands specifically because they hold so much value and can't stand a 4bet. However, I won't be playing them strictly as a set mine either (i.e., folding if I miss my set).

The reason for this slightly wider range and increased 3betting versus LP raises is really simple. Like we said before, having the initiative in the hand is of vital importance in poker. Since we know that our opponent likely has a very wide range we can 3bet him and get away with taking it down or at the very least wrestling back the control a lot more of the time.

The reason we should just call and try to set mine most of the time versus EP and MP raises is because those are versus tighter opening ranges and we will likely have a lot of implied odds. But also our 3bet isn't nearly as likely to work. We will get played back at more often due to their stronger range.

Lastly, one of the biggest reasons to 3bet more versus LP raises is because we do not have anywhere near the implied odds that we think we do. A lot of players at these limits make the mistake of thinking that they can set mine and call with a whole bunch of other speculative hands here, try to flop a monster and win a big pot.

What they fail to consider is that a lot of the time their opponent will have absolutely nothing to pay them off with. If you saw those abusing the button videos that I mentioned earlier you will know that I was in there raising with beauties like K3s, T5s. Even if you finally hit your set or big hand versus me it is very unlikely that I will have anything to give you any action with.

Example:

In the big blind you are dealt,

A♥T♥

A TAG raises from LP.

You should 3bet.

Example:

In the small blind you are dealt,

8♣8♥

A nit raises from LP.

You should just call.

Example:

In the small blind you are dealt,

J♦T♦

A TAG raises from LP.

You should 3bet.

Example:

In the big blind you are dealt,

2♠2♣

A nit raises from LP.

You should 3bet

Versus a raise and caller(s)

The last situation that I want to talk about is when somebody raises and there are one or more callers. This is a spot where you could consider squeezing and taking down some of the dead money. We touched on this during the limped pot section. Preflop callers are usually weak and can't stand a 3bet so the logic goes that if we can make the original raiser fold, then the others will usually be easy folds as well.

I should mention that I have not included 3bet sizes in this article. The reason is that I don't want to make this thing any longer! But similar to what I discussed before, you should always try and make your raise sizes enough so that it puts your opponent(s) to a real decision of whether to call or fold.

Usually the standards sizings that will get this done with 3bets are 3x the original raise when you are IP and 3.5x or 4x the original raise when you are OOP. Similar to the discussion in the limped pot section though you will need to add more when their are other people in the pot and you are thus "squeezing." And similarly adjust upwards depending on the number of them.

Back to our range in these spots however. For the most part I do not advocate a wide squeeze range at the micros. I think you should experiment in a couple spots but don't go overboard. Similar to our approach before of basing our range on the position of the preflop raiser that should be the main factor when squeezing as well. We don't want to be squeezing versus EP openers very often and only sometimes versus MP ones. It should mostly be versus LP raises.

And lastly, as I mentioned earlier a big problem that I see among players at these limits is "calling for pot odds" in these situations. It really is a big mistake to call with suited aces and connectors and such here just because there is a raise and three callers. You will not hit the flop anywhere near enough of the time and even when you do it will be difficult to extract due to your having to act first on every street. Also you can get yourself into plenty of bad spots where you hit a pair with a not so great kicker and you end up spewing off some money.

You should be folding in these spots for the most part. If you want to call for pot odds do it when you are IP, not when OOP. There is an enormous difference in your profitability in these two situations. With that said there are of course always some "it depends" situations in every poker spot. If it is a mini-raise that you are facing (which will happen frequently at the micros) then it can be ok to call from time to time with a few speculative hands. But even further to this try and base your play on who is in the pot. If there is a big fish and especially if you might have position on him (i.e., he is in the SB and you are in the BB) then it can be a call. In general I see people calling too often in these spots though.

Example:

In the big blind you are dealt,

A♦Q♠

A TAG raises from MP and picks up a caller.

You should squeeze.

Example:

In the small blind you are dealt,

7♣8♣

A nit raises from EP and picks up two callers.

You should fold.

Example:

In the big blind you are dealt,

5♥5♣

A nit raises from LP and picks up a caller.

You should squeeze.

Example:

In the small blind you are dealt,

6♠6♦

A fish raises from MP and picks up two callers.

You should call.

I hope this discussion proves useful for you all. Blind situations are not easy and I should also mention that when I say "You should do X" above there are other options which are sometimes close or just as good as well. This may come down to player type, specific stats, recent history, your image and a whole other list of variables. But I don't want to write another book with this blog post. I hope this post gives you guys a sort of survey of my approach to playing from the blinds.

As always if you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

Nathan Williams aka "BlackRain79" is a microstakes grinder, poker coach, DragTheBar instructor and the author of Crushing the Microstakes. Now available in Spanish and Russian as well.

www.blackrain79.com

finally my first shot at 50NL in a long time

Posted by mpokerdonk

those of you who have read my blog knows i built a BR from $65 and 2 months later i took a shot at 50NL today. I started with a $955 BR to take the shot. It all went well after me grinding out so many hours in 10NL and 25NL i am running -$750 or so in ev in 25NL and feels great to finally run normal for once. im excited to continue my success as a poker player and each month im gonna try to move up to a new lmit and if im able to do that before than i will be happy as well. ive seen some merge poker players and a lot of them seem kinda soft in the 50NL games. I know its a small sample but i have spotted a few leaks my opponents are doing that i can take advantage of post flop. After my 50NL session i have a BR of 1167

Filed under: Uncategorized 1 Comment

Everything Flows

Posted by preachercasy151

Hey folks,

I like to swim. I’m not very good at it, but I do it five times a week and it’s a great way of improving my fitness (hey, I’m an online poker player – exercise is pretty foreign to me). One thing that I’ve been mulling over recently is the concept of being In The Zone.

Every now and then, I get into a great flow where swimming feels completely natural. I glide through the water without fatigue and without even having to think about my technique. This is my swimming A Game.

Most of the time, I need a little break after a dozen or so lengths. My technique starts pretty well but, as I tire, my time deteriorates and I get pretty leggy. This is my B Game.

And then there are times when I get into the pool, swim five lengths with considerable exertion and then go for a sauna. I do not want to be in the pool, and the pool does not want me. Ours is a loveless marriage. This is my C Game.

Over time, I have noticed that my C Game days have decreased from once a week to once every few weeks. My A Game days have increased in turn; in any given week I will have at least one of these. My B Game is my standard, and it has improved dramatically. As I swim more regularly, what is my A Game today will be superceded by next month’s B Game. Next month’s C Game will equate to today’s B Game. In other words, improvement is a moving target. Tommy Angelo calls this ‘improving from the bottom up and from the top up’, and I think he’s bang on the mark with this one.

I did a coaching session this week with a student who plays the 18-Man SNGs on Pokerstars. He did not play flawlessly; I would say that he played his B Game. However, his B Game this week is vastly superior to his A Game of three months ago. Improvement may not be easy to measure in yourself, but hard work ensures that these In Flow A Game moments occur more frequently. And that is a pretty good target to strive for.

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments