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Must-See Strategy Discussions from the Upswing Engage Community: March 2022

Upswing Poker Lab subscribers get 24/7 access to Upswing Poker Engage, a private Facebook group that makes up one of the most valuable elements of a Lab subsciption.

Lab members can post hands and questions for discussion, and get feedback from other lab members and Upswing’s roster of world class coaches. Poker crushers like Upswing coaches Gary “GazzyB” Blackwood and Doug Polk frequently answer questions in the Engage group, as do some of the best players in the Upswing family.

March 2022 yielded plenty of interesting hands and general conversations about poker. Here’s a glimpse at some of the discussions that unfolded last month in the Upswing Poker Engage group:

Do You Want to be Seen as a “Shark” in Live Poker?

Lab member Coleman A.H. posed the following question to the Engage group:

Must-See Strategy Discussions from the Upswing Engage Community: March 2022

Should Coleman be worried about other live players knowing that Coleman knows what he’s doing? Lab member Fraser G. contends that, shark or not, engaging with other players at the table is generally a good thing.

“Be lively at the table, engage in conversation, and don’t sit there on your phone or quietly waiting for spots,” commented Fraser. “The way I think about it is, recreational players are there to have fun and if they perceive you as only being there to make money, not only will they not want to play against you, they will also not like you. You need players at the table to like you so they engage in hands with you.”

Several other players in the thread agreed with Fraser’s take. Upswing Poker founder Doug Polk added his opinion to the matter as well:

“My strategy lately has been to lose all of my sessions,” joked Polk. “That seems to really get people pumped up to gamble with me.”

Hero Fold the River?

Upswing lab member Charles M. posted the following online hand, and pondered whether a fold on the river was the correct play:

Must-See Strategy Discussions from the Upswing Engage Community: March 2022

Facing three barrels of aggression in a three-bet pot, Charles is put to the test for all of the chips on the river. Should Charles make the call with two pair, or let this one go?

Charles added that the opponent in this hand seemed like a good, aggressive regular, capable of bluffing in a spot like this. Polk replied that he would reluctantly make the call:

“Looks like he needs to be bluffing Qx here? Feels super unlikely that happens in-game,” Polk commented. “Regardless this spot sucks, I’m probably calling very unhappily.”

Charles’ original post added his own solver analysis. Blackwood responded with insights on preflop hand selection, and how critical that concept is when both playing and doing work with a solver.

“Your ranges look a little out; we shouldn’t have A9o, K9o, T6s, J6s, Q2s, etc that call a 3b,” Blackwood wrote. “These will drastically change the output so be sure when doing solver work your preflop charts are solid.”

“As played, I probably find the hero fold here. Really tough for him to be bluffing and he has so many better hands for value. Really marginal call at best, and the marginal ones I’m happy to let go.”

Should I Ever Flat Call from the Small Blind in Live Poker?

The Upswing Poker advanced strategy generally calls for a “three-bet or fold” strategy when facing a raise first in (RFI) in the small blind. Does that concept still apply to low-stakes live games, or is it ok to include some flats?

Lab member Dustin J posed that question, and once again Polk offered his insights:

“It’s not 100% absolute, especially in games with min-raises or with no rake,” Polk wrote. “In higher rake + bigger raise size environments very few hands can call in the SB.”

Sidney B., one of the Engage group’s top live players, advised to stick with whatever strategy is comfortable when stepping into the live poker realm from an online background.

“Being able to flat the small blind is really a strategy choice,” Sidney wrote. “If you’re studied up on solver ranges just use those… If you’re getting volume online play the same way live and wait for them to dump you money.”

The Upswing Poker Lab includes access to the Engage Group, which gives you the opportunity to get personalized feedback on hands, concepts, and strategy questions.

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