Episode 109: Ringing in the New Year with Leo Wolpert

Old friend Leo Wolpert joins us to talk about setting goals, taking breaks, and planning for the year. And strategy, of course!


:30 – Hello & Welcome; Planning and Goal Setting
34:42 – Strategy

16 thoughts on “Episode 109: Ringing in the New Year with Leo Wolpert

  1. Hey it’s Leo. Thanks for having me on to ramble on. Hope people enjoy the episode and people should feel free to ask me questions in the comments.

  2. Hey Leo – enjoyed the episode, and best of luck in 2015 with your goals!

    Hey Nate – thanks for the Beeminder tip, I just got started with it yesterday and I’m pretty excited about it. I figure it makes a lot of sense for me to pledge $ to a goal of studying some poker situations since NOT studying them costs me money anyway, and this might light a fire under my ass. I’m interested in hearing how you are using it and how you like it so far.

    Hey Everyone – I haven’t decided how to structure such a goal yet though (see Hey Nate), so if anyone else is trying to get themselves to be more studious in poker (or even just trying to make any other non-poker or non-study goals), share some of your ideas in the comments here because I’m really interested in this stuff.

    • Sean – I’m using the OKR framework to track my poker goals: http://www.slideshare.net/HenrikJanVanderPol/how-to-outperform-anyone-else-introduction-to-okr

      An example might look like this…

      Objective: Understand cbetting better and improve my ranges
      Key results:
      -Read the cbetting section in 3 books
      -Watch 3 videos about cbetting
      -Post 1 cbetting situation to 2+2 every week
      -Every week do a thorough analysis of cbetting decisions on 35 of my own hands
      -Construct standard ranges and bet sizes for the most common flop textures in 2, 3, and 4 way pots

      • Hi Jeff –

        I appreciate that info. OKR is news to me and seems like an effective way to organize things like this. Your example is also a cool way to breakdown and come up with some of the quantities that Nate’s reply noted are a little tricky to come up with.

        Thanks for sharing!

    • Sean:

      Good luck with Beeminder! I haven’t quite figured it out correctly yet; I seem to be making sign errors with some of my goals.

      There’s an issue here in that improving at poker can be hard to create easily quantifiable goals for. For me it’s a little easier given that a lot of my poker activity is not playing: I can make sure I write X words or write up X hands per week. If I were playing, I’d probably have goals about analyzing hands, calculating range equities, or maybe just allocating minutes to study.

      Let me know what you decide!

      I think Jeff’s OKR system looks pretty good. (FWIW, Google [I think] uses OKRs internally.)

      • Thanks, Nate!
        I’m glad to hear that it confuses you a little bit, too. It took me a few minutes to understand how to input data for an extremely simple type of do more goal. I’ve tried self-imposed motivation type exercises before with some success, but I feel like Beeminder’s threat might keep me in line a bit more.

        For poker goals, I was considering allocating minutes to study as a good starting place, actually. Additionally I had been thinking of x videos per week as useful for me, since I tend to learn well from good videos (like those by Andrew Brokos!), but sometimes I don’t make the time to watch them. Since I’m paying subscription dollars anyway, it seems to make good sense to threaten myself with Beeminder penalty dollars as well.


  3. Thanks for a great podcast as usual. In the 3bet with TT hand, I believe this is one of the few instances where folding face up helps with the metagame.I fold fairly quicklly and say something like “Ok, you got me this time”. Should strengthen your range image for future 3bets, at least until you have to show down some of your K3s, T7s hands?

    • Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. Have to disagree with you about showing the TT, though:

      1. Strengthening my range image isn’t intrinsically good or bad. When I’m light I’d rather have that image, but when I have the goods I’d rather not. I prefer just to play the image I seem to have rather than try to cultivate anything in particular.

      2. Showing doesn’t necessarily strengthen my image anyway. In fact, a second-level thinker might conclude that if I’m choosing to show this hand, it’s because I’m trying to cultivate a value-oriented image.

  4. I can’t believe Leo kept a notepad file of all his expenses! There are other good apps besides Mint. I use Expenditure on my iPhone, and it’s really good for usability and automatically converting different currencies.

  5. Nice to hear an update from Leo.
    I think it has to be tough to be a poker professional. Dedicated time off, either for leisure or for other professional pursuits has to be good for peace of mind, longevity, bankroll.

    Good luck squire.

  6. Interesting to hear Andrew refer to MTTs as luxuries compared to his hourly at the cash tables. Last year Andrew played one of the better value events at MD Live (mid stakes buy-in, small field, good pro to fish ratio), and Nate called these type of tournaments “fodder for your bankroll”. I wonder if Nate still feels that way, and if Andrew agrees with the comment? I know many weekend MTT warriors who would be better served grinding 2/5.

    Between Vanessa (assuming she passes the Bar), John the lawyer and Leo, you undoubtedly have the best legal minds in poker on the podcast.

    • I think that soft small-field tournaments with reasonable rake are good for your bankroll. I think one thing I was emphasizing is that field size matters a *lot*. Being able to sell action at markup is also very valuable.

      I think 2-5 is better than many weekend tournaments for many grinders. I think that the *best* small-field tournaments are better than 2-5 for many grinders, especially those who have skill sets better suited for tournaments and who are psychologically ready to play their A games in a cash game when they bust. I think that most weekend tournaments are much worse than the best weekend tournaments.

      • Nate –

        This topic interests me greatly. Can you speak a bit more to some specific numbers Re: field size and rake? To elaborate on my personal interest, I’m currently playing NJ online poker where the MTT field size averages around 100-150 entrants. I’ve found these to be quite good value, and of course it goes without saying that the variance is much lower than pre-Black Friday MTT field sizes.
        I realize that you’re more thinking of live events (possibly) but those interest me, too. So I’d be interested in hearing your ideas on any of that!

        • I’d like to be able to give really exact numbers, but it would take more work than I’ve done in a while to give them.

          A very quantitative and very smart friend of mine once suggested, as a quick rule, that a reasonable bankroll requirement is to only play tournaments for which the prize pool is smaller than your bankroll. (I’m not sure whether $3 tournaments with 10,000 runners were meant to be in the domain of this rule, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.)

          In general, I think that MTT players underestimate–or at least used to underestimate, back when I was in better touch with how MTT players in general thought–the effect of field size on the quality of a tournament for a given bankroll.

          Suppose you’re playing a $350 tournament at the Borgata with 200 players; now suppose that there’s a snowstorm and only 100 players show up. Your ROI might be a little lower than it was, but I bet that the second tournament is better for your bankroll. It wouldn’t surprise me if you should pass up the first tournament in favor of 2-5 but should prefer the second tournament to 2-5 if you are a tournament specialist.

          Again, I’m rusty on this subject and this depends a lot on various specifics. Hopefully some of this helps a little, though.

  7. Hope I’m not too late commenting about the TT hand to get a response. Is there any hand you would be 3 betting preflop with that is better than TT that you would be folding to a donk bet on that flop (I believe flop was QJ4r)? If it’s the top of your folding range couldn’t you put it in your donk-bet-raise-give-up range? You have blockers to his draws, and a shit tonne of value raising hands in your range. If this isn’t in your bluffing range do is there anything that is? I supposed suited Ax with backdoor nut flush draws that a) didn’t flat preflop and b) is not worth a call on that flop are good candidates, but how many of those are there?

    Normally I err on the side of folding because with the typical opponent at these games it’s the best way to exploit them when they make a strong bet. However given your read that this opponent may be ego tripping, however unreliable you may think it is, I think it’s better to have a pure bluff raising range, even if it’s small, and I think TT is the best hand to do it with. What do you think?

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