Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A stranger in a strange land... news & notes on 2/5

Although a departure from the normal paragraph form of posting, I wanted to take down some notes / observations from the 2/5 tables and share them with you:

  • 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.
In summary, I was a winner for the night.  I ran well on the first table, doubling my initial buy in.  Not feeling comfortable with 200BB quite yet, I requested a table change and pocketed 100BB.  Upon switching, I immediately got hit with suckouts and monster draws not getting there, and found myself down 50BB.  I wound up winning around 50BB for the short night - I'll take that; it's around double my hourly rate!

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.


  1. Is this 2/5 game the biggest game that runs at this casino? A lot of times the biggest game has the most action, just because the "donks" that are in the game are more likely to be aggressive gambling types. Sound like you found some pretty good games, good luck!

  2. You pocketed 100 BB? Isn't this going south? The room allows that?

  3. @Derek - no. They have 5/10 and sometimes 10/20. They spread around 50% 1/2, 25% 2/5 and maybe 15% 3/6 limit and 5/10+ NL with 10% 5/5 PLO.

    And yes, I went south. Yes I pocketed 100BB when I switched tables. No the room does not allow that. Right or wrong, this rule is not only nearly impossible to enforce, but in my opinion, silly. As I build more confidence in my 2/5 game and become more accustomed to the dollar amounts in play, I don't anticipate going south in the future.

  4. it shouldnt be considered "going south" because u are playing with totally new people, its no different than going to a casino next door and rebuying in there. only when u do it on the table u are still at is it "wrong"

    also reading ur posts, really makes me wish when i had the large bankroll for 6 months id have took at least $1000 of it (or $2000 of it) and played 10 times or more $2-5 NL. ive had very very little $2-5 NL play in the last 20 years, and that SHOULD NOT BE, agreed?

  5. @Tony - Yes, agreed. However, you have other issues to contend with. I have a full time job and this is my "part time" hobby. For you, losing at 2/5 could be a matter of eating or not eating. You shouldn't be taking risks until you are properly rolled to take those risks. I've heard you need 100x buy ins to shot the next level. By that measure, you should have around $50k or you run the risk of ruin.

  6. Hi PokerMeister,

    I have been taking shots at CT 2/5 off and on. I usually buy-in for 150-200 a 1/2. If I double up and some, would take 200 and try a session of 2/5. Poker is a part-time thing for me as well, so, I don't have the same strict guidelines about my Roll.

    It is true that for a proper bank-roll you need to have atleast 4/5 buy-in's to play at a certain level. But, if you want to take shots here and there this set-up works fine for me. If I loose my buy-in I can always go back to 1/2 (which are always plenty to choose from at CT).

    Somedays, I run into a monster within 5 minutes of me sitting down and would loose my buy-in right away, like the last time it happened:

    The very first hand the BB raised to 35 when it was 4 way limped to him (I had A3s) and folded to his raise. He proudly flips 107os.

    The hand that I played I had Q6s on the button. Once again 3 way limped and I toss in my $5, SB and BB join the fun as well. Pot: 30.

    Flop Q78 with 2 hearts. Checked to me (top pair and Q high flush) and I bet 30 to see where I was at, SB and BB call. Pot: 120.

    Turn is a 5. I bet 60 (half the pot), SB folds and BB calls. Pot: 240.

    River is 10h, I bet 80 (with 20 behind), BB goes All-in (ouch!), I put the rest and he turns over A9h.

    So much for the 107os hand he showed to the table, I thought till the river I was pretty good. The downside of shortstacking is that people are not worried to get it in with draws against me as their risk is minimal.

    The variance is heavy in 2/5, but, the winning potential is good too. I don't mind in booking the win, I either take a lunch break or go down/up a level and retry 2/5 after some time.


  7. @GolfPro - I have a friend who has been doing similar to you: short stacking 2/5. It's a smart choice, but I lack the patience to play a short stack strategy.

    On your hand, you mentioned that you played Q6s with a short stack on the BTN. This is exactly the type of situation where I lack patience; as a short stacker, you need to throw these hands away, no? You have a 35BB stack and should be looking to get it in with primo holdings or look for spots to 3bet wide openers. You shouldn't be limping any hands.

    Ultimately, I think you ran into bad luck; you had the OESD + FD + TP against an overpair + better FD and got sucked out for $100. Given the way you played the hand, why are you half potting the turn? You're committed either way, no matter the river, so why not bet bigger and/or shove the turn?

  8. Hi PM,

    Sometimes we play the player and sometimes we play the cards. When Villian showed me 107os on the previous hand, I was pretty sure my flush/st8 would be good against him if I hit.

    I didn't want to over commit myself on the turn (I know the pot is 120 and I was only committed for 30 before my turn bet) just in case if he is playing the Q with a higher kicker. I thought If I pushed here, he will definitely call.

    When I am playing SS, I never think that the rest of money has to go in no matter what ( I guess that's what makes the SS stratergy tricky). I had 195, I bet 95, I am still left with 100 (that is like 50% of my buy-in). If the last card doesn't finish my flush or st8, I would have checked the river and reevaluated the situation.

    I do understand that while playing SS, I should go in with only premium hands, sometimes the pot odds and flop textures make it very tempting and promising (in the above situation I was only in for $5 and would be easy for me to get away if I didn't connect on the flop).

    Also, not to mention, I observed that when I take my stance with AK,AQ,AJ,1010+ hands I seem to run into SET mining monsters. I had AKs, raise to 20/25 and get two/three callers preflop (lets say I was left with 120-150). Flop comes A63 R, checks around, I push the rest of my stack, 9/10 times I seem to pick up the only caller who stayed around with 3's or 6's (it is not even rare, almost every time). Last time it was even worse, I bet 60 (pot sized) on the flop (A63 3 callers) with AK, I get one caller, turn 8, I push the rest of my stack, he snap calls and shows me 88's.

    I think I need a little more time and a bigger BR to try multiple buy-in's at 2/5. Till then need to stick with only premium hands with single/two buy-in SS games.


  9. @GolfPro - Disregarding the 88 suckout, here's a consideration: By & large you're going to make money on the AK, AQ hands because there are so many players playing Axss or Axo that will call you down. You perhaps remember those set mining monkeys so well because you know they're making terrible plays. As an aside, are you pushing with non-A non-K flops? I think you'll also make a ton of money in bluffs with AK when you've raised PF as well. One other aside: I'm tending to raise bigger PF with hands that need to improve with a flop, and "smaller" with hands that are made PF (i.e. JJ+). I'm also generally raising 4-5x + 1x for each limper.

    When do you typically go to Ctown?

  10. they may have been investigating your stack, but i doubt they were ensuring proper odds :-D

    the players have more of a clue about what they're supposed to be doing, but they are probably still doing it wrong.

  11. Hi PM,

    I usually go between 12 and 5 and mostly weekdays. The other issue I have is that my time there is very fixed, so, sometimes I am driving the action when I am down and reaching my time limit or waiting for a big hand to close the session.

    I know when you are playing you need to spend as much time there as needed. But, for now this how it is. Hope to bump into you sometime, but, I know you don't come before 5 on weekdays.


  12. HI PM,

    What happened, no more blog entries!

    Did you quit Poker?


  13. @GolfPro Haven't quit, but with the holidays, I've had very little time for poker. I think I've played 1 session in the past 3 weeks. Couple that with running bad for the past month or 2 and poker life has pretty much sucked. I haven't had much to write about that wouldn't be perceived as wallowing in my own misery.


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