-Please put non-strat posts, questions, etc. in the Low Content thread. It is part of why we have it and as it's a "Community" thread you will get good perspective from a variety of forum regulars. This includes alot of stat posts, how can i beat such and such games, is such and such game beatable, and questions of a like nature.
Harv72b on posting hands
It seems like a lot of responses to HH posts lately have included a "please include" or "don't include" or "do you have..." comment in them. Since I got an "A" in high school English class (once), I thought I'd take a stab at laying down a basic guideline for hand histories. If this isn't needed, ignore it.
Without further ado...
Subject Line - This should be something that in some way describes the hand that you're posting. This could be something along the lines of "Flopped Trips Gets Raised on Turn" or "AA from the BB", etc. If you can somehow make it kind of clever, this is better. If nobody else gets it when you think you're being clever, just stick with something straightforward. Try to avoid titles which give away the results of the hand, like "Where Should I Have Folded?", or "Pocket Aces Meet the Unbeatable Luckbox".
If your post has little strategy content (for example, a royal flush hand that you mainly want to show off but which might have some points worth discussing in it), add "(LC)" at the end of the subject line. If your post has no real poker content (i.e., "look what this donk called me with!"), you should probably first consider whether anyone else would be interested in the hand, and then add "(NC)" to your subject. It is also acceptable to add what brand of little/no content the hand is, specifically: "(Royal Flush)", "(Bragging Post)", etc.
At the beginning of your main body, you have two options: either write a brief introductory paragraph, or jump straight into your reads. An introductory paragraph might have a little about you & your poker experience (especially if you're a new poster to this forum), how your session was going, or anything else pertinent, clever, or otherwise interesting.
Reads are important!!!!. If you don't have a read on any of your opponents in the hand, say so! The hands that you're posting usually revolve around decisions which have a relatively narrow equity margin, and as such, the type(s) of player(s) you're up against matters a lot! At a minimum, your read should include whether the opponent (or villain) was tight or loose, and passive or aggressive. If you want to be a bit more detailed, you can include raw Poker Tracker stats. The accepted format is: VP$IP/PFR/(postflop only)AF, or 32/7/0.8 for example. You should also include how many hands your read is based on, or at least a ballpark figure ("about 50 hands" or "over 200 hands"). How many hands you have on your opponent is crucial in determining how strong your read actually is. If you observed the villain(s) making a specific play which might affect the decision you're questioning, include that information as well (i.e., "I have seen villain semibluff raise the turn before with a flush draw"). EDIT to add: You should also include something about your own table image in the reads section, if you think this would affect the hand. For example, if you've had to fold to several turn raises when you were betting an unimproved AK or an underpair/second pair, this could cause your opponents to play more aggressively against you (or to see you as a maniac). On the other hand, if you have never shown down anything less than top pair after betting the river, this matters if your question revolves around a river raise. If you just joined the table and therefore have no table image, say so.
Once you've gotten the reads out of the way, you can move on to the hand history itself. If you have Poker Tracker (and you should have Poker Tracker), you can copy a hand history from there, plug it into FlopTurnRiver Hand Converter, and simply paste the converted hand into your post. Two things are important to note when using this converter: first, you need to select "2+2 Forums" in the Format Box, and second, you should check the box marked "Side-pot Details" (this will show when an opponent goes all in at some point in the hand; if you do not check this box and someone went all in, that action will be missing from your post). When done, this will make your hand easy to read and follow for those trying to help you analyze it. An example:
Final Pot: 11.66 BB Main Pot: 11.66 BB, between MP2, Button and UTG+1. > Pot won by MP2 (11.66 BB).
Results in white below: UTG+1 has Kd 6d (high card, king). MP2 has 5h 4h (two pair, fives and fours). Button has Ad 5d (one pair, fives). Outcome: MP2 wins 11.66 BB.
Note that this hand history includes the Results. Unless you are posting a hand for sheer bragging/opponents' stupidity purposes, you should not include results in the initial post!!! You did not have that information when you played the hand, and giving that additional information to those reviewing your hand will affect their recommendations.
If your hand comes from a B&M session, or you can't get the hand history, you can just type it in following a similar format. If you type it in yourself, it is crucial that you include information on the pot size at each street in your post--this (obviously) has a huge effect on how you should play your hand, and since you are the one asking for help, it stands to reason that you should not expect those you want help from to take the time to add it all up themselves.
If your question revolves around one specific point in the hand, you should cut the action off at that point. For example, if you want to know whether you should call a turn raise, cut off the hand history when it gets to the point where you are deciding whether or not to call that turn raise; again, leaving the river action in your post gives those of us reading it more information than you had after the turn raise. If we see that you called the turn raise, and the villain then checked through after a blank river card, it often becomes fairly obvious that you made the correct decision in calling the raise. An example:
Turn: (3.25 BB) A (2 players) Hero bets, CO raises, Hero...?
Finally, remember that the advice contained in the responses you get is meant as constructive criticism, even if it isn't always worded that way. For the most part, the people on this forum know what they're talking about--if eight different people tell you that you should have folded on the flop or you should have raised preflop, there's a good likelihood that they're right. You posted the hand hoping for help on your game, to make you a better player. Don't take it personally if one or more posters tell you that you made mistakes in the hand; if you disagree or don't understand why, then by all means say so and explain your reasoning. But getting argumentative & defensive will not help you become a better poker player, and will not get you more advice in the future.
I'm not trying to be the hand history police, and to be honest I couldn't care less whether or not everyone follows these guidelines when they post one here. But using this format, or one similar to it, will most definitely get you more and better responses.
MEbenhoe on evaluating hands
Recently I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from the poker forums, but the past couple days I’ve ventured back into reading some of the poker forums, especially a good amount of time reading in SS. The thing that I noticed is something that has always been a bit of a pet peeve of mine, that there are many posters on here who seem to have enough knowledge and grasp of the game to be good players, yet they don’t seem to evaluate hands in any sort of a logical manner. So in the spirit of this I bring you my guide to evaluating a hand.
1. READS! READS! READS! – Reads are included in the hand for a reason, and that is not only to attempt to show you why the Hero took the line he took, but also in order to judge if against the type of opponent Hero was against if he made the right type of play to exploit this player’s tendencies. Given this, take into account what different actions from different types of players might mean, and use this information to narrow down what type of hand this villian might have, what type of action can be expected from them in situations, and if they vary from this expected course of action why might that be? All players are not the same, don’t treat them like they are.
2. In poker, nothing is impossible – Far too often I see the phrase used “theres no way he has ……” or something similar. This is the wrong way to examine a hand, and often leads to mistakes in evaluation. A more accurate statement to make would be something like “It is unlikey that he has …..”. But to say that something is impossible for another player to be holding is naïve. When you’ve played enough hands you will see some really strange things that you would never expect out of certain players, so be aware of the fact that unless you can actually see your opponents cards, nothing is ever out of the question. Also, another reason for this idea of saying its impossible for an opponent to have a certain holding is that the person evaluating the hand puts the player on what they consider to be a reasonable set of holdings given the way they played the hand. What this person often forgets is that from one person to the other, what is considered reasonable fluctuates greatly. I’m not telling you to fear monsters under the bed every time you’re evaluating a hand, but being aware of all possibilities is a good quality to have.
3. Be able to find a fold – I know, I know, no one ever really wants to fold, especially when its in a situation like being for a single bet on the river in a good sized pot, but sometimes you have to be able to find that fold. Often, I will see it recommended that the Hero should call in situations because the pot is large enough that he has odds on his call. While there are certainly situations where this is true, it also gets recommended in situations where the pot would have to be giving the Hero ridiculously large odds for him to call even just one more bet. Going along with this, raising in a situation where you’re not very confident, and getting 3 bet means you are beat, yet you will inevitably make a crying call anyways is a bad idea. However, if you’re someone who can find a fold here this play becomes a better idea. The reason being for person A is wrong they lose 2 additional bets, when person B is wrong they only lose 1 additional bet. Taking the way you play into account in decisions like this is just one more step to good evaluation
4. Avoid being results oriented – If I never saw results posted to a single hand in SS I would be incredibly happy. If someone really wants to know what the results were they can PM for them. The reason is this, often posting results will ruin what was a very good discussion by giving preference to what play you would have made had the cards been face up. However, it is important to understand that just because a certain play wouldn’t have worked out for you in a specific hand, it isnt necessarily wrong, and just because a certain play would have worked out well in that specific hand doesn’t mean it was necessarily right. What you are trying to find in the evaluation of a hand is what play would be the correct play if you were faced with the same situation over and over again over a large sample of hands. Almost no play will work out for you 100% of the time, and if the hand you’re evaluating is one of the few situations where it would it was a bad hand post to begin with. Because of this, there is no reason really that the results to any hand post ever need to be given or discussed.
5. Be able to see more than one view point – No one is perfect, and thus no one will be right in their evaluation every time. Being able to see view points other than your own is a very valuable skill in being a good at evaluating hands. While good discussion on both sides is great for the learning experience, being open-minded allows you to see another players thought process during a hand. Sometimes you will find that you were indeed correct, and in figuring out why you were correct you will learn something as well as help the other person to see why their line is flawed. Other times you will be wrong and now you and now you can see why your line is flawed. The overall goal of evaluating hands is to be a learning experience for everyone involved. By keeping an open mind at all times, you will put yourself on the best path for gaining more and more knowledge and making your way to be a great poker player.
This is basically just what I came up with off the top of my head through reading this forum as well as others. There’s probably some things I missed and such, so any additions are appreciated. But overall, I hope this helps some of you to see what goes into a good hand evaluation.
CallMeIshmael's Statistics Information
This post was intended to provide some insight as to what Pokertracker Stats a beginning player should try to achieve. It is a representative sample of the players that contributed at the time the post was put together. It is meant to give some direction on what your various long range statistics should become if you are playing a fullring "TAG"-style. The online games have changed a bit since it was originally posted, but the premise is basically the same.
This link provides information on relavant Pokertracker statistics at the 2/4 and 3/6 level. This should help any of you to answer most statistics questions you might have.
Other Helpful Links
Beginner's Forum - a link to the Beginner's Forum for alot of the basic questions and answers.
Posting Hints -some insight to basics of posting and other useful tips.
The Archives -One of the most valueable assets on Two Plus Two. Browsing through these you can see cutting edge and monumental threads, many of which held ideas that were ahead of their time. Also, you can find threads/posts by many legendary posters that have since stopped participating in discussion. Some of them may be gone, but their legacy remains in these archives.
Books and Publications -for many of your questions as to what books provide the best information pertaining to Limit Hold Em, etc.