I’ve been trying to define the qualities and traits that make me great at poker and pattern recognition has been something I’ve found myself thinking a lot about.

I’ve said more than a few times “I think what makes me good at Pot Limit Omaha is pattern recognition.”

I’m not really sure how true that is.

Going back in time I think it starts something like this

  • You find yourself in the Cutoff with QQ vs a Middle Position raise at 50cent/1dollar full ring no limit cash game online. The raiser is playing 21/15 (VPIP/PFR.
  • You decide to 3bet him to 9 dollars
  • He 4bets you to 27 dollars
  • You go all in for 100 dollars
  • He calls and you get all in preflop against AA and lose

Now I have one spot I’ve played in my mind.

Then you have QQ in the Cutoff vs many other different player types and try different variations of a pre-flop strategy. You understand certain strategies might turn out a certain way because of variance and you have to figure those out as well.

This would take seeing this situation many many times.

I think this is how I started to win playing online full ring NL cash back in the day. I would play many tables for hours/day. I talked some poker hands with a couple friends, read the poker forums a bit for strategy but 99% of my time was spent playing and thinking.

I think I got exceptional at the pattern recognition aspect of things and that is why I was able to play 10 hour/15,000 hand sessions so often. I wasn’t really using up that much mental energy to do it.

It is interesting to think back on.

I was always able to have a very small win rate playing NL cash games and then switching to Pot Limit Omaha happened.

Playing 24 tables of PLO didn’t go very well ūüėÄ There are many more patterns ūüėÄ

I think I was able to do it for periods of time during my 450,000 hand month when I achieved Supernova Elite but it was ultimately my downfall.

Switching to 2-6 tables rather than 20-24 tables changed my poker career. I went from a small loser before rakeback to a really good winrate for the past 5 years. The times I’ve lost are the times I’ve tried to play to many games/stakes at the same time.

 

How much has pattern recognition played a part in the success at Pot Limit Omaha??

 

I really think that it might be one of my strongest traits but I have no idea how to quantify it.

I can recite almost every PLO spot in my head right now.

On the BTN with 5678 one suit facing a raise in the Cutoff from a regular I have as a lower tier. I don’t remember this player ever putting me in a tough river situation without having the top of his range. His CBET range is so jumbled, his checking range is unprotected and he plays poorly vs flop aggression on a majority of board textures. He has only shown down the top of his range when 3betting me on the flop against my in position raise. His TURN CBET range is a bit more protected as he doesn’t merge his value betting range enough on cards that will be perceived to favor my range more than his and now I must figure out the pattern he plays after he check/calls the turn.

This is before we take into account anything involving the blinds.

Then we think about the way he plays facing a 3bet from myself and the game tree develops from that point.

Now we have a pattern of play developing from a specific regular and then we figure out how to take advantage of that pattern of play. The better players patterns are harder to figure out.

I have an infinite amount of spots in my mind right now and I have a game plan for how I would approach every one of them vs every type of player I’ve ever encountered.

I feel like after playing 5 million hands of PLO, I have most patterns understood and then it becomes executing on those.

Now, I’m not sure how much of this would fall under pattern recognition or other types of traits/characteristics……

Thinking back to the reason I was able to play such long sessions previously. I didn’t use much mental energy while on the grind, it was all pretty robotic.

When I’ve played PLO over the past few years, I always excel during short sessions. I can still put in those really long sessions but my results are always¬†more consistent during shorter. It is probably like that for most people.

This has gone off a bit to the side¬†of where I initially thought it might go but it has been interesting to reflect on it. I’m really curious to see how much other players think¬†about the idea of poker being many different patterns you need to figure out. Then I wonder if that is true, can you train yourself at other pattern related activities to give yourself more success at poker.

Joey