Monday, May 9, 2011

This & that from the live poker tables...

I've been working a helluvalot lately - involved in the final push for a large proposal - and had 40 hours in by this past Monday.  Therefore, I decided to take the remainder of the week off, attempting to recapture the lost weekend and weekday nights.  Tuesday and Wednesday were spent doing family things; my daughter was off of school and we did errands / father-daughter things, but Thursday and Friday were completely empty of plans.

Looking at the calendar, I was able to work it out with my wife that I could go and play poker in the afternoon on both days.  Not only was it back-to-back live poker days, but it meant significant time at the tables; Thursday amounted to around 6 hours and Friday added up to around 10 hours.  I decided I would play at Charles Town on Thursday because I had a hard stop time that I needed to be home (Charles Town is around 1 hour away), and I would play Delaware Park on Friday (around 2 hours) since I had an open-ended stop time.

Having had this much consistent time at the live tables, I am beginning to feel a lot more comfortable - not only in my reads, but in what I am playing against and how to extract value.  I have assembled a few notes from this past week's experience below (they are in no particular order).

  • I'm surprised that it has taken me this long, but I realized that for the most part, bet sizing has nothing to do with pot size.  Whether the pot is limped PF or raised PF, a bet of ~$20-30 means a mid-strength hand, TPTK or TPGK depending on the player.  The bet size has nothing to do with the pot size, so if there are 4 people in a limped pot, a lead of $20 into a $10 pot is "the norm."  Moreover, in the same pot, if 4 people called a PFR of $12, a $20 bet into $50 is customary.  $50 or more is getting into the territory of strong made hands / bluffs (much rarer though).
  • There are a TON of fish / noobs.  If I can make a hand of top pair or better, I'm going to get paid.  Nothing new there, but I need to remember bet sizing; if I want to get people out of the pot, I should bet $50 or larger.  If I want people calling and trying to "catch up," $20-30 is adequate.
  • On *FAR* more than 10 occasions, I have seen players call and not raise the 1-off nuts (i.e. top boat on a paired board where only quads beat them).  These players flip over their hands, looking for the dealer to declare them winner, or at least sort out what kind of hand they hold.  On the opposite side, I have seen these same noobs / fish call HUGE bets with nothing more than King or Queen high, thinking that their 4 flush is the winner, and having the dealer explain to them that a 5 card hand is necessary to make a flush or straight.
  • There are a TON of players who will call virtually ATC no matter the sizing of the raise pre-flop.  It never ceased to amaze me that a player to my left would call my AKo 3 bet to $40 with J6s (from the SB, no less), only to hit top pair and call my $50 river bet when neither of my cards connected.  SIDE NOTE:  Why the hell can't I hit a hand against these players IN EIGHTEEN HOURS OF PLAY?!?!?!?
  • There are a TON of players who simply don't understand that they aren't getting paid by me if their 4 straight or 4 flush hits.  I don't get it...  they see a 3 flush on the board and hold the Ace of whatever - then lead the river when the 4 flush hits and are surprised that I folded.  Dude, you don't need to show me the Ace - I know!  NH, sir.  You just paid $40 into a $50 pot on the turn to see that club or spade on the river.  You charge me $40 on the river to see a showdown, which I fold.  Good value.


  1. bet sizing has nothing to do with pot size

    At live poker, players make a lot of mistakes, but probably the biggest is bet sizing.

  2. Players who call anything preflop are those who are "Playing Bingo". They will generally call a Flop bet with anything as puny as an Overcard.

    For this reason, I find it's better to not blow up the pot preflop by raising to $15+ in a $1/$2 game. I have a standard $7 preflop raise, regardless if I have AA in Mid position, or 64o on the Button. I also rarely raise with hands like AK from the Blinds.

    I also have standard C-Bets on the Flop for my raised hands. Heads-Up is $11, 3-4 players $15, 5-6 players $20, 7 or more $25. I also don't automatically C-Bet when there is four or more players still in on the Flop. It depends on my position, my cards, and the Flop texture.

  3. It astounds me that there is such a huge difference between live & online. Clearly, live is the easier game because the general 1/2 player is terribad, but because they're playing bingo, your AK hand is far from a lock to take down the flop if 2 or 3 callers have joined the pot with you.

  4. Welcome to actual (rather than virtual) poker. This is the same sort of play I have seen at 1-2 NLHE in four different states.
    You gotta love it.


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