Not long ago, Doug Polk, together with top HUNL reg Fabian “frabbxd” Adler, recorded a new heads-up training course. He came to Reddit to advertise the new material and offered to ask any questions. No one seemed very interested in the course itself, but this did not stop Doug from openly answering other, sometimes very pressing questions.
– How are you guys?
I will be happy to answer any poker questions, including about my new HUNL course. If you are not at all interested in it, I am ready to give free advice on other topics. Ask about hands, strategies and everything that comes to mind.
Yesterday I lost $200k, and slept 3 hours, so I may not be in the best shape!
– Live hand at $5/$10. I'm playing with a reg I know quite well; he hasn't worked on heads-up at all. Effective stacks $2k.
He opened $30 and called my raise to $120, I had .
Flop: ($240), I check-called $120.
Turn: (480), check-call $330.
River: (1140), I checked, he bet $1,100, I called.
What do you think? Do you agree that there are more flushes and air in his range along this line? In your experience, is it more common to over-bluff or under-bluff with three barrels?
Spoiler: he was bluffing with black nines... wtf
– Played normally preflop, 200 bb deep – it’s always a 3-bet.
On the flop with a flush draw we either bet (optimal sizing ~30% of pot) or check. It's better to bet with eights. When we use a small sizing, then with the smallest pair, which is higher than the middle card of the board, we need to bet with a high frequency.
Considering what we have , we might consider checking because we are blocking calls with a heart card and would be much more upset by a raise. But I would still bet.
On the turn, we find ourselves in a difficult position. Most likely, we still play check-call, but without much joy.
On the river, the opponent chose a very bad sizing; he must either shove or check. The way it was played, I would have thrown it away. Although, on the other hand, we don't block much of his bluffs.
In our course, we analyze several similar situations. When your opponent 3-bet and then checks. Betting on the flop is a strange story in general.
We will often see bluffs with very bad hands, e.g. / /43s/J6s/ ... And we don't block any of this. But our middle heart blocks some value hands.
Also, we do not block any two pairs or sets, and we received a pot-sized bet. I'd rather call with hands like , , 53s, , / etc.
It's funny that I like calling a little more if he pushes, although in this case, it's a fold.
His play with nines is complete nonsense.
– Okay, Doug! It's time to be honest, what do you think about Berkanator ( ed. – Matt Berkey )?
– Not a bad guy who doesn't play poker very well, but doesn't realize it himself. He's definitely stronger than Airball.
– Top five best players in the world at the moment?
– In modern poker, so many narrow specializations have appeared that it is impossible to name an objective top. But the regulars who play expensive cash games online are always the strongest.
– Do you think Tom Dwan is a better poker player than you?
– Tom Dwan is a legend, but he doesn't play poker better than me. I think we won't hear much about him in the future, but time will tell.
– What do you mean?
– He has too many debts.
This topic was moved to a separate topic, in which many doubted the veracity of Doug’s words.
“This is the reality, guys,” Polk responded to criticism. “I don’t understand why this upset so many people.” At Triton in London I heard about this from 10-15 people. Some even insisted that I make a YouTube video. For some reason I decided not to do this. If you don’t like this truth, you can believe in your own reality, which you like!
– What do you think about crypto?
– I would advise you to keep a small percentage of your savings in BTC/ETH and not get involved in it again unless you need liquidity for poker.
– Who will win this match?
– Uh, what?
– Why did you lose $200k? Isn't it better to win the same amount? You would be in a better financial position. Just thinking out loud.
– Three hours of sleep, minus $200k, doesn’t seem like such a downswing for you.
– I don’t agree.
– Who plays poker better: Mike Matusov or an inanimate object, say, a teddy bear?
– Will your match take place?
– I seriously doubt it.
-Are you tired of Doug and Vanessa Selbst jokes yet?
– What are these jokes about Doug and Vanessa?
– Besides “fold more often preflop,” what other useful tips are there for beginners? For example, if I don't work in a solver, how should I choose sizing? When to bet without position? And so on.
– This is too general a question, but I’ll try to give really useful advice. When you are out of position, try to determine whose range the strongest hands are – yours or your opponent's. If it's the latter, just check and see what he does. If the former, bet with both strong hands and some bluffs. Without position, it is always better to play with small sizes. Try to think: “What sizing to choose for a bet with both good and bad cards.” Don't forget about balance.
– I’ve always been interested in how professional players manage their finances. You wrote so casually about losing $200k that I immediately asked myself: “How much money does this guy have?” Naturally, I'm not asking you to reveal details, but how has playing poker affected your spending? Do you have access to large sums at any time, do you have any problems with liquidity? Do you convert all prices into blinds?
– The more money, the less liquidity, if calculated as a percentage of total savings. I invest a lot, I have a business, stocks, and so on. I play with the money I can afford to lose. My life now practically does not depend on poker; I have a stable income that is not related to the game.
When the price is too high, I ask myself, “Will this make me money over the course?” or “How much do I really need this?” My car is worth $50k, but I haven't replaced it in 7 years and don't plan to anytime soon. The desire to impress others has long disappeared. The main thing is that my family does not need anything.
– The three strongest heads-up players right now?
– Have you thought about playing a match with Berri?
– No, I'm too busy for such exhausting fights. Last time I played online was with Dnegs.
– How do you like Andrew Robl’s performance?
A good player. Technically, he is not as strong as modern top players, but he reads his opponents well and always has a clear plan for the hand.
– Worst experience meeting fans?
– Happened this summer. A guy came up to me during Day 1A of the World Series Main Event, said he'd been following me for a long time, liked what I did, and asked for a photo. Everything went fine. Then he asked how I felt about God. I said that I was far from religion, and he began to really pitch God to me, I had to tell him – thank you, no need, I’m fine as is.
Day 2A, he found my table and handed me a gift. I asked if it was related to religion. He answered “a little.” I took it (although I should have just thrown it away) and walked with it all day. At home I remembered, opened it, there was some kind of religious crap with creepy notes about all the members of my family.
Day 3, he again found out where I would be playing and came over, smiling from ear to ear. I took him aside and tried to explain that he had crossed the line and this simply cannot be done. He repeated once again that I did not believe in God and asked me to stop trying to convert me. The smile gradually disappeared from his face. An incredible situation.
But usually, everything goes fine. I try not to refuse anyone, although sometimes it can be difficult. For example, yesterday after losing $200k, people lined up at the Lodge to talk to me. I did everything to look happy. Often people forget that we need privacy too, but I'm grateful that people recognize me and want to take pictures.
– Will you invite Garrett to the Lodge?
-- Our doors are always open for him.
– An absurd question. For the rest of your life, you can only 3-bet and 4-bet with one non-premium hand (I include KQ+/A5s+). What will you choose?
– Guys, it looks like we were left with no choice. Let's take A4s!
– What are the three biggest mistakes people make in heads-up?
– Great question.
1. They do not consider all possible options. People began to play too primitively. A great example is playing from the BB in single-raise pots. We must understand what to do in the following situations: check-raise; check-check, check-raise; check-check, check-check, check-raise; check-call, check-check, check-raise; check-raise, check-check, check-raise, and so on.
2. Not bluffing enough (this is the most obvious mistake).
3. They don't want to make difficult calls. Bluffs in HU must be punished, otherwise, it will be difficult to beat strong opponents.
– There are two tables left, you have 15bb on UTG, will you push sevens?
-- I can ask Doug anything, let’s ask him about playing as a short stack at a full table in a tournament. Found my greatest strength. There seems to be nothing criminal in pushing; with a much stronger or slightly worse hand, I would play with a mini-raise.
– Do you regret trying to ruin Jnandez’s life?
– Yes, in that situation we did not behave very well. We were upset because it seemed to us that he wanted to deceive us. And they didn’t even think about how it all looked from his side.
– How cleverly, you immediately switched from “I” to “we.”
– I didn’t behave very well in this situation.
– How did you work on the game before solvers?
– Mainly analyzed hand databases. And to analyze the game tree, I had my own custom software.
– Can you call yourself a happy person?
– What a deep question for the AMA. In general, yes. But I would like to learn how to better find the golden mean. I fall from the top to the bottom too often, it’s always difficult for me to stay somewhere in the middle. This is my blessing and curse.
I love my family and friends, I am happy with my life. Nothing to regret.
– How much do you plan to earn on the new course?
– We typically sell 1,000 – 1,500 advanced NLHE courses ( ed. – each costs $999 ). But we earn less because we arrange sales, give discounts to subscribers, part of the profit goes to employee salaries, and so on.
– How to lose weight?
– Eat less.
– What do you think about PLO6?
– For my taste, there are too many cards.