- Game speed: Everyone knows their move and has thought about it in advance. The action moves along much more quickly as there isn't as much thought for routine plays. Players are paying attention to the action and are well aware when the action is on them.
- Awareness of odds: On a number of occasions, I made an "outlandish" raise of 8x in the various positions (mostly from SB/BB because I really don't want to see a multi-way flop from OOP for the hand) and almost every time, would-be callers were investigating my stack to ensure proper odds. On a few instances, I got folds around the table because the odds to call and set mine simply were not there.
- Aggression factor: Most players have a good grasp that aggression wins. There were much fewer limped pots, must less willingness to stack off on limped pots, and a TON more positional raising. Blind stealing is much more rampant and there is far less calling of 3bets.
- Bluffing: 2- and 3- street bluffing seems to be more normal. There are definitely players who will 3bet or bet 3 streets with air. The game is somewhat of a sit down and strap in situation.
- Thin value bets: I saw a lot of betting on the river where a 1/2 game would likely check through. Two pair hands got more value in this game than they do in lower stakes.
- There are still donkeys: As I sat down, I quickly was reminded that this is still the same game: NLHE. Once the nerves wore off, I settled down to play my hands and put other players on a hand to the best of my abilities. It's still the same old game I've been playing all these years.
I'll probably wind up playing 2/5 at nights and 1/2 during days until I'm more comfortable with the flow of the game. I can still crush 1/2 and I think it's a cash cow that I shouldn't readily give up. In the meantime, I look to 1/2 for ego support.