Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Response to Fwalgman

FWALG says in a comment to this post: "I got an honest question and it is more because I do not play a very aggressive game and it interests me because I know you are aggressive and successfull[sic]. Please do not think this is questioning your play at all I am just trying to explore an interesting facit[sic] of the cash games.

Are hands like 55 and AK worth going all in with? Is it because of the fold equity where a good player will laydown to you? Any hand that called your 55 bet is going to be a 46% dog or something around that? Are these the margins I should be chasing in a n NL game? The AK hand you had him dominated but assuming he had QJ lets say and called your still on a coinflipish situation.

Help me understand why I should not be trying to see flops and outplaying the morons on the table instead of taking razor thin edges to the extreme. It is ok if you call me a woos. I am used to it.

I'm not sure what 55 hand you're talking about. With the TT, I'm 90% positive I have the best hand, and I'd like to take the pot down now with the $70 or so that's in there without having to see a flop, because once I see a flop, I'm going to see overcards and I don't like my TT that much. I can't really justify calling a PFR with 3 other people in with a pair of tens - I need to at least isolate because while it's the best hand now, it's probably not later. Also, if the initial raiser comes over the top of me, I can lay my hand down because I'm pretty sure I'm beat; I'm also sure with most of the table that I do have a lot of fold equity.

In fact, I limp with TT here where a lot of people raise. I often treat TT as a pair of 8s or 5s in EP, and go with the no set no bet rule.

With the AK hand, I have $96, the PFR makes it $15 so I have two options: a) call and hope for an A or K on the flop and fold if I don't get that or b) re-raise and take the aggression away from the PFR. I'm not terribly fond of a) because it induces the blinds to come in for the flop and makes my hand more vulnerable to a wacky 2 pair from the blinds, or a draw, so that leaves me with b).

Well, I have $96. Take $15 out for the call, and that leaves me with $81. I'm not minimum raising because that's just moronic, IMO. My smallest possible raise would be to $40. This leaves me with $56 left, and if I get even one caller, I'm pretty much pot committed to any bed except on an extremely scary flop. There won't be any possibility of "outplaying" anyone on the flop, because I won't have enough money to push him off a pot, and the only way I'm going to have enough money to push someone off the pot is preflop, so that's why I pushed all in.

Also, as a NB, in order to "outplay" people post flop, they actually have to know something about poker besides what they see on TV. Good luck finding that!

Note to Jim: yes, this is at Magestic, and the difference is, 6 months ago, you saw fish but even the fish would generally lay down both of these hands, although they would hate doing it. Or you'd find ONE person at the table who would do this, not 4 or 5.

Kurt and I talked about it and we figured out what the difference is - All the college kids are home from school now and they're taking their internet style of play to the casino. It's really the only explanation.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The game, it is a changing...

... especially at low stakes NL Hold'em.

I refused to call these bad beat stories, because while they technically ARE, I am not lamenting the bad beat - I honestly want to try and figure out the mind set of the players that play these days and get some feedback. Is this internet play, or TV play? How have you had to adjust your game to the 'new breed' of poker players?

Does anyone know what actually caused this change? I say this because there is a definite difference in players in my card room as of say, six months ago as there was prior to that. The fish are weirder and I cannot figure them out for the life of me.

I kid you not, I spent this entire 4 hour session going "Oh man, my brain is hurting [because it's working too hard to figure this table out]"

The game is $50min / $200 max hold 'em, $2/ $5 blinds.

Hand 1:
I am UTG+1 with TT. I limp in for $5, knowing that I can fold a hand if I do not hit a set on the flop; in fact, I prefer to play tens in EP this way.

Player with vague amount of poker skills (and 3rd best at the table, after Kurt and I) two to my left makes it $20 to go. Guy to his left calls, leaving him $90 behind. Another LP player calls, and it's folded back to me.

I say "Wow, I'm really confused." And I raise to $120 (leaving me $300 or so behind), because the $70 or so in the pot is good enough for me right now and I'm pretty sure I have the best hand.

Initial raiser folds after saying "You were under the gun, right?", guy with $90 left counts down his chips and thinks, and then says "Well, I have to call you".

Everyone else folds, and guy turns up KTo. The initial raiser mentions he had KQ. I love this. Until I see the K on the flop and the case on the river, but oh well.

Questions: When did KTo become a good enough hand to call a 4x raise with to begin with, and when did it then become strong enough to pu all your chip in with? Is there some mentality I'm missing? (not to mention, what cards do you have that you think are live?)

Hand 2:
I am in MP with AKo and only $96. An EP raiser makes it $15 to go, I look down at my hand and based on the play am pretty sure I can beat the initial raiser, and that he's not going to call the raise anyway, so I push in.

Everyone else folds except the button, who calls. Initial raiser folds.

Button tables ATo. I don't suck out against that hand and lose my $96.

Questions: What's the mentality to make this call? When did ATo become a hand that could beat a raise and a reraise? Which cards do you think are live?
Granted, this same guy called a PFR and a flop bet with just a gutterball on another hand, and he hit.

No hand, but just another observation of weirdity:
There was this one guy at our table who would call ANY bet with a flush or straight draw - he had a neon light on his head saying "I'm on a draw". And then when he hit, he would NEVER BET IT if he was out of position. If he hit on the turn, he would check, and if it checked behind he would STILL check the river. If you call a pot sized bet HU just to hit a draw, you'd think you'd bet it at least once, right?

Please help me to understand, or share your insights. This isn't meant as a snark against these players, but something is playing differently these days and I'm trying to find out why.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Obligatory Poker Post

[NB - this is an obligatory post in order not to be taken off blogrolls. So there. On the other hand, I can certainly use some motivation to actually write again]

I'm currently on a plane headed to New Jersey, and it looks like this is going to be my itinerary for the next several weeks. I also just talked to the realtor and she's going to be putting the house on the market tomorrow, so think good thoughts and prayers that the house sells soon.

My poker playing has been drastically cut down in recent times - I hardly played in Vegas and now that I'm back home, I'm only playing maybe once a week, and even then only when Kurt convinces me to come play cards. I just don't find that I have the desire to go play; perhaps some of that is the drive is getting to me, some of that is the fact that I have a lot of other stuff to get done in order to move out to the east coast in September-ish, but I think there's probably something else - I just don't need it to fill up time in my life anymore. That, and I'm kind of tired of getting sucked out on.

Kurt's starting to think that maybe it's time to go back to the 10/20 limit game, and I might actually have to agree. The other games at the casino are just so filled with fish, and while, yes, you want fish, I am of the mindset that you really want to limit the number of fish at the table.

Why you ask? Because yes, a fish will chase their three outers against you, and you want that. However, if you have 6 fish chasing their 3 outers against you (because no one knows how to fold), that's 18 outs against your hand and that doesn't make you as much of a favorite as you'd like to think you were, so the losses get harder.