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© 2016 Peter Clarke (Carroters)
Table of Contents
1.1 About The Manual
1.2 EV - The Currency of Poker
1.3 The Bottom Up Learning Model
1.4 The Other Two Aspects of Poker Success
2 Opening the Pot
2.1 The 6 Handed Table
2.2 Rating Starting Hands
3 When Someone Limps
3.1 The ISO Triangle
3.2 Frequent Strength
3.3 Fold Equity
3.5 Limping Behind
3.6 Sizing An ISO
3.7 Example Hands
4.1 Light C-Bet Factors
4.2 C-Bet Sizing
4.3 More C-Bet Spots
5 Value Betting
5.1 Introducing the Value Bet
5.2 Relative Hand Strength (Question 1)
5.3 Building the Pot (Question 2)
5.4 Slowplaying (Question 3)
5.5 Thick and Thin Value
5.6 Sizing and Elasticity
6 Calling Opens
6.1 Reasons to Call an Open
6.2 Cold Calling In Position
6.3 Calling Out of Position
6.4 Calling Blind vs Blind
7 Facing Bets - End of Action Spots
7.1 The Two-Part Thought Process
7.2 Stats and Examples
8 Facing Bets - Open Action Spots
8.1 Defending the Flop with Made-Hands
8.2 Defending the Flop with Non-Made-Hands
8.3 Defending the Turn
8.4 Dealing with Donk Bets
9 Combos and Blockers
9.1 Using Combos Pre-Flop
9.2 Using Combos Post-Flop
10.1 Polar 3-Betting
10.2 Linear 3-Betting
10.3 Practical Examples
10.5 3-Bet Sizing
11 Facing 3-Bets
11.1 Flatting 3-Bets
11.2 Complete Defence Ranges
11.3 Preemptive Adjustments
11.4 Example Hands
11.5 Facing Squeezes
11.6 Facing a 3-Bet Cold
12 Bluffing the Turn and River
12.1 Double Barrel Bluffing
12.2 Triple Barrel Bluffing
12.3 Delaying The C-Bet
12.4 Probing The Turn
12.5 Bluff Raising the Turn and River
13 3-Bet Pots And Balance
13.1 C-Betting 3-Bet Pots
13.2 3-Bet Pots As The Aggressor
13.3 Strategy As the Defender
14 Stack Depth
14.1 Playing Deep Pre-Flop
14.2 Playing Shallow Pre-Flop
14.3 Playing Deep Post-Flop
14.4 Dealing with Donk Bets
Appendix 1 - More About The Author
Appendix 2 - Jargon Handbook (Glossary of Terms)
Appendix 3 - List Of Figures
1.1 About The Manual
Welcome to The Grinder's Manual. This book is a comprehensive mega-course in No Limit Holdem
cash games with specific focus on the online 6-max variation. It spans 532 pages and contains 152
hand examples and 80 instructive figures. This book is for the beginning player, the aspiring novice,
the intermediate player, and the seasoned player who wants to improve his or her core understanding
of the game. All but perhaps the very strongest players in the world will learn something from reading
this book. This is a serious textbook that treats poker like an academic subject.
Though online 6-max cash games are the book's focus, the material covered will be very useful for
building a better understanding of the game in general for anyone with an interest in some form of No
Limit Holdem. Players who are more interested in full ring cash games or tournament poker will still
benefit greatly from working their way through the manual. Naturally, however, the aspiring 6-max
cash player will benefit most.
I have created what is, in my opinion, the first poker text ever to include all and only those technical
poker topics mandatory for a complete game strong enough for the reader to crush his way through the
microstakes, establish himself as a winning player at 100NL (50c/$1 blinds) and set up a solid basis
for going further. After reading this book and appropriately applying the material, the reader will be
strategically equipped to succeed at these stakes as the games are on the toughest sites on the internet
as I write this in early 2016. This condensing process was by far the biggest challenge I encountered
in writing the manual. My mission was for the aspiring online poker player to finally be dealt a
complete syllabus that is both sufficient in detail and simple enough to digest without getting lost in
the sea of 'too much information'. I know that I never came across anything close when I was learning
the game. And so, finally, here it all is in one place!
That said, if you were to quickly read this book only once cover to cover, picking up where you left
off each sitting, the sea of too much information is exactly where you'd end up. Each chapter within
the manual demands detailed study. The reader should try to read when fully alert, participating in the
exercises with motivation to learn. Chapters are presented in a logical order. I take care to introduce
new ideas as and when they become relevant. The reader's understanding of the necessary core
technical skills is built gradually one step at a time. It is therefore advised that the reader avoids
jumping between chapters, and follows this procession of complexity. If, for example, he were to leap
straight from the 2nd chapter to the 11th, he'd quickly find himself confused by an array of material
that was first introduced somewhere in between. The starting level of the manual is aimed at fairly
new, but not completely clueless players. I assume that the reader has played poker before, is
completely aware of the rules of the game and doesn't need to be told that a flush beats a straight.
However, this book is written in such a way that more experienced players will also begin learning
from the very start. I expect that even the simpler topics have mostly taught in a worse way before in
other places and so I aim to clarify how to correctly think about basic areas of the game from the
beginning. Even the more elementary topics, like opening the pot, are covered in an extremely high
level of detail, building mathematical and logical foundations for what's to come.
Perhaps the most important thing I've learned from years of coaching the game is that there is a very
large gap in between theoretical understanding of concepts and the application of said concepts at the
tables. In order to bridge the gap between concepts understood theoretically and concepts actually
applicable in-game, it is strongly advised that the reader tries as fully as possible to solve hand
examples and other exercises on his own before reading on. The manual is laid out in such a way as
to put the reader in the driver's seat.
I use the terms: 'Hero' and 'Villain' throughout this text.
'Hero' will always refer to the active player whose shoes we are in as we face each hypothetical
poker situation. We shall assess every spot through the eyes of Hero.
'Villain' will always stand for his opponent.
Essentially, we're the goody and he's the baddy.
I shall be using the terms 'Hero' and 'we' interchangeably throughout the book to describe how the
reader should play and think. I shall always use the male pronoun simply as a matter of consistency.
The number of hand examples may at times seem excessive. As poker is such a complicated field, I
actually consider the 152 hands covered here a bare minimum. I should also add that simply reading
one book (even this one) should be far from the full scope of the aspiring player's study time. The
reader is also advised to review his own sessions, regularly tagging hands in his database to match
the topics covered here. It is possible to greatly solidify your understanding of the material in a
practical way by reviewing real life examples that actually occurred in a session in which the
reader's own money was at stake. Community is also highly important for learning in this game and I
recommend that the reader discusses the themes and examples of this book with his poker peers.
I deal with the mathematics of poker in this manual to exactly the extent that I think is appropriate for
the aims of the book. The manual does not scrimp on any necessary math, but avoids overly
complicated in depth mathematical material that has very restricted practical application. The rule for
poker math is exactly the same as that for the rest of the book: lots of detail, but not a drop more than
is necessary to become a very strong player.
Poker is a massive subject containing an overwhelming amount of terminology. For the newer player
or anyone not versed in speaking the lingo of poker, this can be daunting. Consequently, every new
chunk of poker jargon you'll meet throughout this book is defined clearly and fully the first time it's
introduced. Should you forget the exact meaning of a term somewhere along the way and want instant
clarification, you can also consult the Jargon Handbook at the end of the manual for a quicker
definition, where all of these terms are listed alphabetically.
Before we jump into the real meat of the manual and get acquainted with the first technical topic,
there are three short but necessary sections to read in this chapter.
First we'll meet the concept of EV - a fundamental poker notion
Secondly, I'll briefly describe the teaching strategy used throughout the book and why I've chosen
Thirdly, while this book is almost exclusively a technical manual focusing on strategy and not
psychological improvement, I would like to quickly outline what else needs to be done
concerning the mental game of poker and the reader's professional approach to the game.