Monday, 13 August 2012

Studying the Hyper-Turbos


Ok, I know it's been a while since my last post but you know... Summertime, nice weather, it's hard enough to be studying when you'd rather go to the nearest beach! But, as promised, it is time to make a post about how to study the Hyper-Turbos.

I want to clear out that I am not by any means an expert on the subject. This is just a presentation of what I did during the month of July which I dedicated to studying. So let's get started:

1. Make spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are very important because they help you have a clear vision of how to play. Yes, AA is a clear shove and 32 is a clear fold overall, but what do you do with the in between hands that are neither great nor awful? I know making spreadsheets is a huge headache and there is no clear answer on how to do them, but it's a crucial step. If you already have spreadsheets, review them and look for ways to make them better.

2. Study your opponents

You probably have an idea who your most frequent opponents are. Set a filter on Holdem Manager to find all the people that you have a lot of hands on and take a look at their statistics. Play around with the filters and the different options offered by the program. Try to figure out how they play, if they are loose, tight etc. and what their ranges are. Then, go to the notes of PokerStars client that appear while you are playing against them and insert any usefull information that can help you in game.

3. Study the bubble

Okay, so you have your basic game figured out and you know when to shove or call in the early stages of the tournament. Since hyper-turbians rarely play flops, the situations you come up with do not vary that much (comparing with regular tournaments that is). But what happens when you reach the bubble? There are bubbles where the chipleader has 2k+ chips and the other two players are struggling with what's left while in other cases the chipleader is only a slight favorite with 1.1k chips. You can be the short on the bubble with 2BBs, you can also be the short with 10BBs. And so on... How do you react in each case? I know some people have spreadsheets for the bubble as well, but I find that suddenly the possibilities of different situations become so many that it's hard to use that kind of spreadsheets. Making spreadsheets specifically for the bubble is good, studying them is good because you get a good idea about ranges, but using them while playing  at least for me, is very hard. I think the best option is to pull up all bubble hands that you have and review them, taking your time to think about each play seperately. After all, the bubble is the defining moment of the tournament that separates the winners from the losers so you should give it extra attention.

4. Get your notes organized

If you have no notes, I suggest you start keeping some. There's a lot of information out there, and there is no way our minds can keep it all. Whether it's a piece of advice from a friend, something you read on the Internet or an observation or a thought you had while you were playing, write it down. There are no hyper-turbo manuals out there (at least not as far as I know), so make your own. If you keep reviewing information that you think is useful, it will obligate you to think about certain stuff. If you have some golden rules, writing them down will help you keeping them clear and not forget about them as your style of play changes and evolves. You may also be more observant of some changes you make by comparing earlier notes with more recent ones. And since sometimes it's not enough to talk in general, make notes of specific situations. I find it easier to visualise if I have everything gathered up on paper so I came up with this: 

That is an improvised 6-max table that I made with Windows paint. I print several mini tables on a A4 page and then I take notes of plays where I am not sure what to do. Then, I pull them up on SitnGo Wizard (or any other similar program) and write down what the correct play is. Not only you clear out any doubts you have about that situation, but you gather up information that you can quickly review later. I know there is an option to "mark" some hands in PokerStars, but I never managed to figure out how it works. Oh well, I'm a pen and paper kind of person anyway...

5. Play less tables

This may be obvious to some of you, but I think it's important enough to include here. If you are studying your game and looking for leaks or ways to improve, it's not just about what you do away from the tables when you are pulling up ranges in your favourite programs. It's also about making what you learn part of your normal game. And that takes time and a lot of focus. When you play your maximum number of tables, whether that's 2 or 20, you need to be playing a bit like a robot. Some decisions need to be made automatically, with almost no thought. Which is the exact contrary of what we are trying to achieve here. You need to think about the plays before you do them and make sure you don't fall back to your previous way of playing. So play less tables. I would suggest cutting what you usually play by 50% but that is something personal and you know what's best for you better than anyone else. Personally, I normally play 9 tables. Now that I'm studying I play 6. I know it's not half, but if I play less I get extremely bored and lose focus anyway. Plus, with 6 tables I rarely get to complicated situations in more than 3 tables at a time and that I can perfectly manage.

6. Talk with other Hyper Turbo players

I know this something not everyone can do, but it's very helpful. I was lucky enough to get in touch with another hyper-turbian to discuss our strategies. In the beginning the idea was to exchange thoughts on the game and help each other improve but that person was more advanced and turned out to not need my help as much after all, so it was a one-way thing. We are talking about someone that not only plays higher stakes than me, but has a completely different approach to the game. The whole conversation was very mind-opening, cause I never thought that someone could play the game in such a different way than mine. That player also made some suggestions about how to use certain stuff of Holdem Manager that I didn't even know existed :P It was very interesting to talk about the hypers to someone other than André. Sometimes I agree so much with what André says it feels like I'm talking to myself. Or I know what he will say before he says it. Anyway, I know that unless you personally know someone that plays your type of games, it's rather difficult to find someone willing to openly discuss their strategies. Read other people's blogs, write your own blog and share your thoughts on poker chat rooms, that's probably the next best thing.

7. Explore the poker programs

If you are like me, then you probably consider poker study something relatively boring (unless it includes a well-written book) and you would much rather be playing. But let's face the ugly truth: all those poker programs need to become your friends eventually. Play around with them and use them to exploit your opponents and fix your leaks. Don't limit yourself to programs you have been using since you started playing poker, try out new stuff! Two new cool things that I discovered last month are the Icmizer (which I loooooooooove) and the HoldemResources Calculator (which is still in Beta version but works fine for me). The only thing that bugs me with poker programs though and I cannot for the life of me understand why they do it, is that they ask you to put the full stack of each player before posting blinds and antes. Like, if a player has 397 chips behind after posting the blind of 200 and the ante of 40 chips, you need to put 637 as the player's stack. Since we always specify the blinds level and the beloved program knows that it's the 100/200/a40 level, why can't we put 397 as the player's stack and we need to do the boring math of 397+200+40=637?!?!? Not that it's complicated, but it's annoying and takes a significant amount of time if you consider that you need to do it for all the stacks around the table and about a million times in the day because you are studying. It's just not practical. If there is some kind of reasonable explanation that I am missing, please let me know cause this "little math" is driving me crazy. And do not tell me "because the player might have less than the ante or the blind". That is not the norm, so they could put a tick or something where we would manually put the stack. Whatever! :P

8. Get coaching

Who gives hyper-turbo coaching? I have no idea. But if you can find someone to coach you and your bankroll can take it, I strongly suggest you go for it. I've been bugging André to give me coaching for quite some time now, but I never really got much more than the occasional advice. He had a change of heart in the beginning of August though (between us, I think he's just feeling guilty for that Micromillions challenge, haha!). I'll write more about it in my next post.

I hope you found this at least a bit helpful and it gave you some ideas. If you have other studying methods /ideas that I didn't think of, please feel free to leave a comment!

See you at the tables! :)


  1. Hello, can you please tell me how I can filter in Holdem Manager for hands??

    1. Hello Mário,

      I'm not sure what exactly you mean by that... Can you specify?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Very good article Katerina, got ur blog on my favorites, will chek it out frequently, keep the good job and gl on poker ;)

    1. Hi Angelo! Thank you, I'm glad you liked my blog! Good luck to you too! :)

  4. Hi, you have really nice blog. i start with 6max HT now :)

    1. Thank you Tom! I'm glad I inspire other people to play the hypers! Good luck! :)

  5. Hey :) I have been thinking about switching those hyper turbo sats. But couldnt find any video or document about it (except for the 1 andre did:) ) Are there any good source you can suggest? Gl at the tables btw :)

    1. Hello Osman! There isn't really any material that you can use to study the hypers. Unfortunately, you need to rely pretty much on yourself to improve and learn the game. The good news is... your opponents have the exact same problem! Good luck! :)

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