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.


At 6:29 AM, Blogger BadBlood said...

I can't answer your question unfortunately, except to confirm that these players are EVERYWHERE in the G-Vegas underground card rooms. I've had the EXACT same experience with an all-in pre-flop with AK vs AT vs. AJ.

At 6:33 AM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Sounds like TV play.

The KTo dude is calling because he has a chance to triple up. Not sure I'd make that play, though.

Either that or players who are convinced that any Ace with a high card or two face cards (or a Ten) equals a good hand.

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Sloejack said...

I see this a lot lately not just in ring games but in tournament play. The shocking part is that they really do think this is correct play and when they win, regardless of how much of an underdog they were, that's as it should be. I haven't been watching poker on TV so I couldn't say if this is the newest run of TV fish or not. What I have noticed though is that they play these hands like they are the nuts and call things like all-ins or bets that leave them pot committed with weak hands ultimately turning their outcome over to the dealer. Frustrating when they hit for sure, but when they don't it's as it should be and I'm happy to give their chips a home where they are respected.

At 7:14 AM, Blogger Shelly said...

I think we are over-estimating some players to assume that they even understand the concept of "live cards," or that they actually think through their plays before they make them. Something as simple as poor hand selection makes me think that not only have these people never read a book, but they haven't even paid attention to the commentary on TV - because often, the commentators (in between oooh's and ahhh's) do explain what the right play should be, or describe some of the wacky plays as risky or gambly. Too much TV poker and zero attention to proper strategy.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Is this the 2/5 game at the Majestic Star? I've only played there for a couple months, and yeah, I do see this a lot. I'm curious to know how the play was before six months ago, though, as I can't imagine most of these guys playing any other way. Were they just more tight passive?

At 11:04 AM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

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. Please do not think this is questioning your play at all I am just trying to explore an interesting facit 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.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Chilly said...

I see it a lot with cash game players treating their stacks like tourney stacks. One buy-in and I am down 3/4 to the felt so I need to double up to get healthy I better push and pray.

Oh, and I started playing Stud.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Div said...

It's interesting how often posts pop up in Bloglines that are exactly in tune with my own thoughts.

Last night I played cash for the first time in a while after lots of SNGs.

A few of the hands I saw were quite bizarre. One guy managed to get it all in pre-flop with A6o after a raise and reraise.

Another guy called a raise and a reraise pre-flop with K3s.

It's almost incomprehensible to a sane person, but if that's how they want to play, long may it continue!

At 7:52 AM, Blogger imjusthere4thebeer said...

I think these people aren't even really aware that you have hole cards, just that they have these two cards that are "kinda good at worst" and probably really good, because "it's the ace, right?" (implying it's the only one in the deck and unbeatable, similar to the big joker in spades.)

These are the very same peeps who are not going to correlate a raise in EP, followed by a reraise MP when action comes to them as one in which one of you "may" very well have a monster. And by monster, I mean, aces, kings, and hands of such strength... maybe even 10s. That being said, they can't put two and two together and figure their king-ten or ace-ten to be "dead."

For this reason, there's no "outplaying" it's a bingo contest - you have 2 cards, he has 1... let's start calling and see who wins.

Oh, by the way, additional reason for my response... some moron is stealing your content (and 100 or so other blogger's content). Drop me a line to "mike - beerfc - com" I'll give you the url and contact info for his host's legal dept.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger 787Style said...

If I for some reason was playing a ring NL game that capped me at 40BB's, I'd be all in every hand until i doubled up.

And the reason these calls are being mades is because they are a) bad or b) action junkies. Neither of these are bad things to have at your table.

That being said, find a better game where you aren't choked by the buyin.


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