Monday, 20 July 2009

On coaching

Some guy on 2p2 asked me for coaching. He was angling for free help by buttering me up, but I don't have time, so I said I'd do it for money (not much money -- 30/hr if you want to learn how to crush) and he asked what would be the best way to gain from coaching and how you should do it. So I said this:

There are three indispensable skills if you want to win using a 2p2-type strategy: 1/ Hand selection 2/ Not ****ing up postflop and 3/ most importantly, late game.

In 1, you have to know which hands to play in which spots, which hands you'll threebet, which hands you'll shove over limpers, which hands you'll resteal with against which players. Some of this you can figure out for yourself, some you can be taught, some you just get a feel for as you play.

In 2, there are different approaches, but the most important thing is not to make the bigger mistakes your opponents make: not to stack off light with top pair, not to go broke in unraised pots with hands that are easily beaten, not to chase draws; and more positively, to bet strong hands hard, to apply aggression correctly and to understand bet sizing and have some idea of what your opponents are trying to do. An appreciation of range-based thinking and play is essential, because this is the foundation of good poker.

In 3, you need to know when to push and when to fold. This involves understanding ICM above all, and working through spots in a program like SNG Wizard, which is an essential purchase for anyone who wants to improve at STTs. I don't have a lot of time to study ICM, which is one reason I don't play turbos too much (regular speeds are more forgiving of patchy late-game knowledge), but there are good and bad ways to use it imo.

If you get anyone to help you with your game, you need them first of all to understand what you know. To do that, they need either to sweat you or to go through a HH in a replayer. They can do this without your presence, but tbh talking to a player about why they played their hands a particular way lets you know whether they get it or not. You know what I mean? Someone might do something differently from the way I would, and I'll ask them why. If you understand the game, your answer will make sense to me, if you don't, the flaw in your understanding becomes apparent. Most people have glaring leaks because they just dont' understand areas of the game, or spots that they are in. This is true of everyone bar the very best: I'm a moderate player and I definitely don't know it all.

I'll be honest with you. Coaching has a value in STTs, but it's limited, because a lot of the knowledge you need is gained through experience and work that you have to do for yourself. So it's valuable to have someone talk through some games with you, and explain broadly where you're going wrong/what you're doing right, but they can't teach you push/fold -- you have to study that for yourself. Having said that, if you are very much a learner, either being sweated or going through a HH in a replayer will work -- using Skype and Teamviewer or similar. I think the second is best because there's no time pressure and you can explain your thought process.


Anonymous said...

Why would anyone pay you for coaching. You hide your sharkscope results, and spend all your time whining about how you cant move above the 11 dollar level because you suffer beats while 1 tabling. I guess posting on 2plus2 constantly gives you the validation playing doesn't and tricks fish into thinking you are coach status.

Dr Zen said...

I hide my results so I don't have to discuss them with cocksuckers like you. If I didn't, you would be asking for coaching. I generally 16-20-table but I can't do that during the day, and I don't blog about it because the games aren't salient enough. I have given up posting on 2p2. It's draining to have to deal with arseholes and yeah, I doubt I have much to offer, but it passes the time.