Imagine playing 500 consecutive big blinds

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By Steve Blay
Have you ever been stuck in the big blind 500 hands in a row? Sounds like hell, but it just might be the best place for you to sharpen your poker skills. But there’s no way for you to practically do this, nor would you want to pay the big blind 500 consecutive times. But there’s a training site that let’s you do this. AdvancedPokerTraining.com is a web-based software site (no download needed) that pits you against more than 100 opponents in several settings such as nine-player no-limit hold’em, six-max and sit-n-go. The game comes at you fast: You can play 500 hands an hour, and at your virtual side is your choice of 20 advisors who suggest alternate lines of play. If you can’t afford a full-time pro to watch over your shoulder, this might be the next best thing.

This is a great way to plug leaks in your game, plus weekly training reports, hand replays and computerized play ratings are available. Let’s get back to those 500 consecutive big-blind hands. You can waste chips tenaciously defending your blind. The flip side can be a problem, too, if opponents are observant.

If you play tight, do you defend your blinds often enough? Or can players from late position raise you with any hand? APT helps you combat this by “freezing the button” so you’re buried in the blinds for every hand. This amount of repetition in a difficult situation will improve your game significantly. Imagine how long it would take to be dealt 500 big-blind hands in a regular session. ATP does this in a fraction of the time, thus allowing you to learn and adapt at a much faster rate.

Here’s another example: When you’re the aggressor before the flop, you need to bet on the flop most of the time, even if you don’t connect. It’s called a continuation bet or c-bet, and it’s up to you to force opponents to improve their hands or clear a path for you.

For this scenario, you can ask APT to let you play a specific hand, for example, ace-king. Before you know it, the virtual dealer will send you ace-king over and over again. With A-K, you’ll raise before the flop every time. However (sorry to break this to you), you’ll only flop an ace or king 32 percent of the time.

In other words, more than two out of three times you’ll have to c-bet. With repetition comes confidence, and you can track your performance gains by clicking the “view stats” feature. A good c-bet goal is 75 percent, less in loose games. Some aggressive pros c-bet nearly 100 percent of the time against tight opponents.

Nothing educates more than repetition.

— Steve Blay is vice president of operations at AdvancedPokerTraining.com.