The Red Line
What is the red line? Ask any player who uses some sort of stats tracking software like Holdem Manager or Poker Tracker and he’ll tell you that the red line shows up in the graphs sections of the statistics, and it illustrates the non-showdown winnings the tracked player logs. A downward pointing red line simply means that a player loses more on hands which fail to reach a showdown than he wins. A red line which is slightly southbound isn’t a tragedy. Different playing styles call for different approaches and result in different statistical scores. A player who has a downward sloping red line may still be a profitable player at the end of the day. An abruptly downward red line though is the telltale sign of certain holes in one’s game. What it means is that you let yourself be bullied around a lot, and you often put money into the pot (it doesn’t matter if it’s through the blinds or through voluntary bets), only to fold further down the hand.
How do you remedy a downward-sloping red line? There are several factors involved of course and consequently, you can tinker around in several areas to improve, but one fool-proof way to put a stop to the southward red line trend is to play your draws more aggressively. By doing that, you will improve your red line by abusing your opponent’s red line…it’s that wonderfully simple.
I bet that you’ve heard countless times that being the aggressor is the way to go, although you may not know exactly why that is the case. Here’s your simple and straightforward explanation: being the aggressor is more profitable in the long-run because it gives you two ways to win the pot. It adds the fold equity to the equation, which is a factor that you simply give up on when you decide to meekly follow instead of barging ahead and taking control of the hand through aggression.
You can win each and every pot in which you’re involved either through forcing your opponent to fold or through making your hand.
Consider the following scenario: your opponent raises 16% of the hands preflop and then he c-bets each and every time past the flop. That just doesn’t make a logical sense: there’s no way he has a hand that can stand a raise from you every time. Get on his case and keep him honest. He’ll start dropping non showdown money to you and thus by destroying his red line, you’ll radically improve yours.
Semi-bluff often. Semi bluffs take advantage of the same fold equity I described above. Your first priority with a semi-bluff is to make your opponent fold of course, but if he doesn’t, you still have a way out, because you can actually make a solid hand.
Don’t forget to make use of poker rake back or poker prop deals either. These will not act to improve your red line, but their effect on your overall poker effort will be more than noticeable in a good way of course.