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The Disciplined Degenerate

A spot where I try to make sense of a game that rarely makes any sense
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It's been a few days since last posting, but before I start, I just want to thank Pokerstars again for making my last post the featured post of the day sometime last week. Also, a big thank you to all the people who have read or commented on the blog over the last couple of weeks.

Like I wrote in my very first post, I said that I was going to do the full course selection on PokerSchoolOnline even though I've been playing money games for almost 20 years now. So far, the courses that I've taken have been very well done. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is just starting in poker and needs a starting off point for strategy at either cash or tournament tables.

There's only been a couple times so far where I've disagreed with some of the teachings, but overall, it's been very well written and the interactive videos are a nice touch. The first thing I disagreed with was the requirements for game selection based on the size of bankroll. I understand that any player, recreational or professional, needs to be careful with their bankroll for sake of preservation against variance and downswings, but I just thought the requirements were a little high. Particularly when players tend to just deposit 50-100 dollars to start off with. Unless I'm way off, I just don't see a lot of people opening accounts and depositing 500-1000 dollars to start.

The other thing I disagreed with was betting size when it came to dealing with opponents that have flush draws or straight draws. The course says to really push medium-high bet sizes out there against opponents with perceived draws in order to make them pay for it. I really think players need to exercise a little bit more caution when going against these kind of draws, especially in low buy-in cash games or tournaments.

What I've noticed over the years is that players have become even more confident in their chances to have these draws come through for them by the turn or the river. I think the amount of poker on TV has really romanticized the flush draw and straight draw for an opponent since they see it get there so often during exciting TV hands. So we're not only seeing players call big bets with these draws, but often times, they are shoving or even check-raising with these draws in order to give themselves a second way to win the pot. So, all of a sudden, you're betting top pair and you're stuck in a much larger pot than you ever expected.

I think if you're a truly skilled player, you'll recognize that these types of hands can be equalizers for less-skilled players, so I say, wait for a better spot to be aggressive with bet sizes.

What's been your experience dealing with opponents with flush draws or straight draws? Hopefully more good than bad...

Good luck at the tables today!

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