In my last entry, I shared with you my quarterly results, as well as some of my PokerTracker stats over that time. I promised I would be doing an analysis of my game in PokerTracker to see if I could find any leaks, and would share part of that here.
PokerTracker is a wonderful self-analysis tool. You can view your hand histories in a replayer, sort by individual sessions to watch a session, and look at individual stats in a myriad of areas. You can also see your results with every single starting hand you’ve received, and can sort by win/loss rate or other stat in this area as well. This is particularly and immediately beneficial in that you can make this type of sort for the hands that have cost you the most money over time and leaks will pop right out at you. Perhaps you’ll see some A-x type hands show up here. Or some suited connectors. Or to quote Ed Miller, some not-so-suited connectors. Or some suited not-so-connectors. These hands can be played profitably in NL, but only when played well, and under the right conditions. Most players leak chips with these holdings by playing them too often and in poor circumstances, and those leaks will show up here.
If a particular hand is giving you fits, you can review it. Maybe you’ve been dealt that hand 22 times… you can click on the hand and links to all 22 hand histories will come up in which you’ve been dealt that hand. You can sort it by result, and start with your biggest losses with the holding. Then you can view each history in the replayer and watch yourself play this hand. Usually this will shed some light on where the problems lie. The last time I did an analysis of this nature, it was for limit hold’em. I had been struggling for a couple weeks, so looking at just that time frame I picked out my losing hands and started looking at them. The leak I found was that I was c-betting too frequently. I would raise preflop with AK, pick up 5 callers, miss the flop, and c-bet into all those opponents. That’s just throwing chips away, I know better than that. But I had fallen into this pattern without realizing I was doing it. And of course I was not winning these pots, which created a butterfly effect… losing more chips on these hands than I was supposed to, creating an image problem for me, and increased frustration leading to even more pressing. Becoming aware of and plugging this one leak set the ship straight again.
Those are some examples of the things you can do with this powerful analysis tool. What I would like to do today is this:
In my quarterly review I shared some basic stats for the entire quarter. They were as follows (for definitions of these terms, see the last blog entry):
Went To SD%: 28.46
Won $ at SD%: 54.42
Won $ WSF%: 49.37
Today I’d like to take a look at my stats for the solid winning sessions, and the solid losing sessions, and see if anything stands out. PT has the ability to select specific sessions and review the stats summed together for those only. I’m going to compare and contrast the extremes, taking a look at my stats in a sum of all sessions with a win rate of -15 BB/100 or worse, and comparing to the sum of all sessions with a win rate of +15 BB/100 or better. As I sit here typing this, I have not done it yet, so I don’t know what we’ll find. Maybe nothing. But maybe we’ll see something, so let’s try…
> -15 BB/100:
Went to SD%: 34.53
Won $ at SD%: 40.26
Won $ WSF%: 43.05
Went to SD%: 24.46
Won $ at SD%: 71.93
Won $ WSF%: 54.94
Ok, so there’s what it looks like. What do we see? A few things jump out at me right away. First, every single stat is different, and not by what I would consider “close” margins.
In the losing sessions, I see I’m voluntarily entering pots 8% looser, 34.74 to 26.78. I’m also more aggressive preflop, raising 16.62% of the time vs. 10.83% in the winning sessions. So my preflop play in the big losers has been more loose aggressive and in the solid winning sessions, more tight-aggressive. Perhaps in the losing sessions I was lacking patience or pressing a bit?
Post flop my aggression factor goes the other direction. In the winners I’m much more often the aggressor, 2.56 to 1.77 in the losers. This sort of makes sense to me… in the losers if I’m more loose preflop, I’m probably getting called more AND I’m finding myself in more marginal situations post flop. Since my image is loose, I would expect to get played with a bit more after the flop, and would probably adjust by calling down a bit more with my good but not great hands, hands like top pair for example. This is probably leading me to playing bigger pots than I should with hands that are truly “small pot” hands, leading to the poor results. Already I think we’ve got some insight.
The went to showdown % is much higher in the losing sessions, 34.53% to 24.46%. This is also consistent with the other stats IMHO. In the losers I was calling down looser so I was going to showdown more often. In the winning sessions I was taking a more aggressive stance post flop when I continued with a hand, so I was folding more often, AND (this is important) I was winning more pots uncontested in the process as well.
Won $ at showdown % is starkly different. In the losing sessions I was clearly going to showdown too light, winning only 40% of the time when I got there. In the winning sessions, I was releasing the small pot hands when the pots threatened to get big, and the misses when I got resistance. So when I did go all the way to showdown, I was getting there with much stronger hands in general than during the losing sessions, and that’s reflected in the 71.93% win rate in those hands.
Won $ when seeing the flop is also much better in the winning sessions, 54.94% to only 43.05% in the losers. This number is really a by-product of all the others. In the winning sessions I was entering with stronger hands or in better situations in general, and being more aggressive post flop which was winning me more uncontested pots. So when I was getting involved, I was dragging the pot more frequently.
What can I take away from all this? The biggest summary take away I have is that when I play too loose preflop and too passive post flop (in general), I tend to struggle with my results. I know, when I say it like that, it doesn’t sound all that revolutionary. But before looking at the stats, it would be natural to think that on the occasions things haven’t gone well, I’m just getting unlucky or catching some bad breaks. My over all win rate has been very solid after all. Some of the time that’s certainly true, but after this comparative analysis, it’s clear to me that I’ve been contributing to my own demise as well in some of these bad sessions. My focus to correct this should be to make sure I’m not looking for excuses to play too many hands, and if I’m feeling anxious or impatient, to take a break or quit the game and get my head screwed back on straight. And post flop, make sure when I’m calling down rather than being the aggressor, that I have a compelling reason to do so, and not just “keeping them honest”. Stay focused on managing the pot with my good but not great hands, and releasing when I’ve missed and the opponents don’t cooperate by going away.
I’ve learned something from this analysis of my stats, as I usually do. I hope you’ve found it informative and helpful too.