At some point in every poker player’s career it happens. You finally build up the courage and bankroll to take a shot at a bigger game, but the moment it starts going poorly you begin to question every decision.
That’s just what happened to Tanner, a member of the Upswing Lab training course. Luckily he was chosen to get some 1-on-1 coaching from Doug Polk, and the coaching session was recorded so the 3,242 other members could watch.
The intent was to help all members by showing them how Doug analyzes one member’s database, that way other members can use Doug's method on their own database.
To start the analysis, they filtered Tanner's database for pots greater 190 BBs. In other words, hands in which one player got stacked.
Tanner was a solid winner at $1/$2 and $2/$5 No Limit, but was down in his small sample of $5/$10. It didn’t take long for Doug to uncover some mistakes that he made.
In this article we'll run through the first hand Doug analyzes, as well as the #1 mistake players make when taking shots at higher stakes.
Hand Analysis: Pocket Twos Under-the-Gun
The hand starts with our hero opening 2♣ 2♥ UTG to $25 at a 6-max $5/$10 NL table. The action folds to the button who three-bets to $93.41. The blinds fold and our hero calls. Effective stacks are 113 BBs.
The Flop: Do We Defend vs a Small Bet?
The flop comes 4♣ T♥ 5♣ and the pot is $201.82. Hero checks to Villain who c-bets $74.97 and hero calls.
The Turn: More Equity, but Now What?
The turn is the 3♠ making the board 4♣ T♥ 5♣ 3♠ and the pot $351.76. Hero checks to villain again who bets $255.88. Hero calls.
The River: We Get There, but...
The river is the A♣ making the board 4♣ T♥ 5♣ 3♠ A♣ and giving our hero a straight. Hero goes all in for his remaining $725.24 and is called by villain. Villain shows J♣ 9♣ and hero cries a little.
Onto the Mistake
While our hero made a string of mistakes in this hand, they are just a symptom of the biggest mistake players make when moving up stakes. There’s a bit of a psychological shift when taking shots where people often think their opponents are trying to pick on them, and therefore they must take a stand! Don’t do this!
You have to realize that you’re still playing against other imperfect humans who are not playing nearly perfect poker. The BIGGEST mistake is deviating from your normal winning strategy just because the stakes are increased.
If you follow proper bankroll management, play your ranges how you normally do, and keep working on your game, you will become a winner at the next stake and beyond!