Thought Process. What's yours like?

1
I've been realizing I have some brain fog when I'm put into spots that I don't know what to do automatically. As I play more and improve on and off the table the amount of fog goes down, the harder and more I work the better and better it will continue to get. What I'm trying to do in the meantime is create a mental checklist I can go through and rely on when I get put in a bad spot or when the pressure is on, something I can rely on to sort through the confusion in that moment. It will at least slightly improve my ability to come to a rational solution at the table.

Here are some of the thoughts I have so far.

Two different check lists? One for facing aggression and one for being the aggressor?

In Hand Checklist:
Calling:
1.) What odds are you getting?
2.) What is your opponents range?
-Are they capable of bluffing? How often?
3.) Am I attached to the hand emotionally?
Betting:
1.) What is the pot size?
2.) Are you bluffing or value betting?
3.) What are your opponents range?
- If you bet 2/3rd pot, what calls/folds?
- Scale it each way and see what changes.
4.) If you're bluffing what's the least you can bet to get the job done? If you're value betting what's the most you can bet?
5.) Are you trying to force a situation that shouldn't be forced?

10 Responses to this post

That's a really good list!

In mtts I like to add: if I'm wrong and lose, how many chips will I be left with and are the blinds going up soon?

I would also modify it by removing the are they capable of bluffing. Over the years I've seen so many random spazzes coming out of nowhere, that I prescribe to the Dan Harrington's school of thought where you always give at least a 5-10% chance of a spazz/bluff.
I love the 5-10% rule, and have always used it. In live poker there are a lot of spots where someone just will not bluff even if they should, and calling down in those spots is obviously really bad. That's why I put that question in there, to keep myself honest.

Here's an updated version.

Calling:

1.) Take a deep breath
2.) What odds are you getting?
3.) What is your opponents range?
4.) Are they capable of bluffing?Be realistic.
5.) Am I attached to the hand emotionally?
6.) What's my plan for the rest of the hand?

Betting:

1.) Take a deep breath
2.) What is the pot size?
3.) What are your opponents range?
4.) What are you trying to accomplish by betting? Are you bluffing or value betting?
5.) Are you trying to force a situation that shouldn't be forced?
6.) What's my plan for the rest of the hand?
Gonna try to use this ^, seems like something i need! im a slow thinker so I always run out of time and get more stressed, leading to bad decisions... Hope this helps, thanks!

//22
Originally Posted by IwinUfail


4.) What are you trying to accomplish by betting? Are you bluffing or value betting?


I just want to be clear: I think this is the best thing on the list. If you read a book like 'The Intelligent Poker Player' by Philip Newall you'll get a really good idea of the split your ranges into these different categories type of thought process that might not be necessarily the most important thing to think about in a stack really bad players at 1-2 live full ring NLHE but will absolutely be necessary in a wow my opponents are starting to get pretty good type of game.
Nice Post. And I agree I too get in a brain fog in unusual or pressure filled situations. I only play live MTT so as the tournament progresses I find myself acting fast without as much thought as a way of coping with pressure.

Its like my mind just shuts down and I want to act as quickly as possible without thinking.

I really like your checklist. And since I think it is an exercise that could really help me out I went ahead and put something together based on what I think would really help my weaknesses.

Since I am fairly new to playing seriously and only in live MTT tournaments my list is based around that: Some of this my seem very newbie like, but that is where I am at.

Pre-flop:
1. What will my position be after the flop
2. What is my stack size like (using the m formula or BB)
3. What are my opponents stack sizes like
4. Whats my possible opponents like if I play
5. Whats the tourney situation (early, middle, late, bubble, and how will this affect my decision)

Calling:
1. What odds am I getting
2. Whats my opponent(s) range
3. If I call how much will I have behind
4. Whats my plan for the rest of the hand
5. Analyze opponents actions in the hand and act

Betting:
1. Whats the pot size
2. Whats my opponent(s) range
3. Why am I betting (value or bluffing)
4. How does the texture of the board blend w/ my actions and plans the rest of the way
5. Analyze and act
Originally Posted by IwinUfail

I love the 5-10% rule, and have always used it. In live poker there are a lot of spots where someone just will not bluff even if they should, and calling down in those spots is obviously really bad. That's why I put that question in there, to keep myself honest.

Here's an updated version.

Calling:

1.) Take a deep breath
2.) What odds are you getting?
3.) What is your opponents range?
4.) Are they capable of bluffing?Be realistic.
5.) Am I attached to the hand emotionally?
6.) What's my plan for the rest of the hand?

Betting:

1.) Take a deep breath
2.) What is the pot size?
3.) What are your opponents range?
4.) What are you trying to accomplish by betting? Are you bluffing or value betting?
5.) Are you trying to force a situation that shouldn't be forced?
6.) What's my plan for the rest of the hand?


Sweet post! I think I have found that I have dealt with this, by simplifying the process. If I am in a calling position, I fold most times, I believe for the most part this saves me money. If I am on the betting end, I usually go ahead and bet, sometimes this adds an extra level of variance but most times, I've found its never a bad thing to add some extra pressure. To limit my confusion, I have discarded any type of poker tracking software. I feel very strongly that this is a tool that should and only be used by advanced players. I find completely moronic that this isn't the main stream of thought. Until a player has the correct thought process and understands ranges, and can estimate his equity accurately, using a hud will do nothing but increase the complication of the problem at hand.

Whether calling or betting I have found by rethinking each hand, and going through the narrowing of ranges, most hands will usually tell a story so to speak. Starting with preflop actions, then flop actions, turn etc etc. until I am able to come up with a decent estimation of there range. I find most of mistakes come from a mistake somewhere in this thought process. I also find as long as I am able to focus on ranges, and stay focused when put in a big situation, I am able to take a breath and then solve the problem at hand.
hello guys I want to see a review from you guys am I right on this played hand?

Hand Converted by Ace Poker Drills

NL Holdem $0.5(BB)
SB ($86.81)
BB ($95.62)
HJ ($19.25)
HERO ($55.05)
BTN ($43.02)

Dealt to Hero A 7

HJ Folds , HERO Raises To $1.5 , BTN Folds , SB Calls $1.25 , BB Calls $1

Flop ($3.75) 3 3 K
SB Checks , BB Checks , HERO Bets $3 , SB Folds , BB Calls $3

Turn ($9.75) 3 3 K A
BB Checks , HERO Bets $3 , BB Calls $3

River ($15.75) 3 3 K A 7
BB Checks , HERO Bets $14.25 , BB Calls $14.25
Originally Posted by aejones

Originally Posted by IwinUfail


4.) What are you trying to accomplish by betting? Are you bluffing or value betting?


I just want to be clear: I think this is the best thing on the list. If you read a book like 'The Intelligent Poker Player' by Philip Newall you'll get a really good idea of the "split your ranges into these different categories" type of thought process that might not be necessarily the most important thing to think about in a "stack really bad players at 1-2 live full ring NLHE" but will absolutely be necessary in a "wow my opponents are starting to get pretty good" type of game.


Thanks for giving your input. It's definitely insightful. Is this book worth the read?
Originally Posted by IwinUfail

Originally Posted by aejones

Originally Posted by IwinUfail


4.) What are you trying to accomplish by betting? Are you bluffing or value betting?


I just want to be clear: I think this is the best thing on the list. If you read a book like 'The Intelligent Poker Player' by Philip Newall you'll get a really good idea of the "split your ranges into these different categories" type of thought process that might not be necessarily the most important thing to think about in a "stack really bad players at 1-2 live full ring NLHE" but will absolutely be necessary in a "wow my opponents are starting to get pretty good" type of game.


Thanks for giving your input. It's definitely insightful. Is this book worth the read?


Yes it is, even for NLHE players, to make sure you're categorizing your ranges properly.
Awesome. Thank you, I'll be sure to check it out soon.