Monday, August 10, 2015

A Tale of Two Regs

Do you fancy yourself a pro?
As I alluded to in last week's post, I was tracking an apparent reg at the table - a Russian chick - while playing a session at the Belagio.  Word on the street (at least from the dealers' perspective) is that she sits there, doesn't say a word, and grinds away.  She's not unpleasant to work with - but I wouldn't describe her as pleasant, either.  The whole time I was there, she was checking her phone, disinterested in anything ongoing at the table.  In fact, when she was checked out of a hand, she was literally checked out - head down, looking at her phone.

In contrast, earlier in the session was a bald younger to middle aged gentleman (thick accent; maybe somewhere former Soviet bloc I'd imagine as well) who was [as it turned out later] waiting on a 5/10 seat to open.  It's not often that I see the 5/10 players showing up at the 1/3 games, but it was an interesting experience.  This guy was totally in tune with the game.  Although he was hyper aggressive and unpleasant [as an opponent] to have in the game, he gave me an opportunity to learn a few tricks.  He made me more alert of my game and what I was doing, and also made me more carefully examine each move that I was making.  He made me and the entire table realize that the money means a whole lot less to him than it does to the rest of the table, and as such, everyone walked on egg shells around him...  The table wasn't sure what his range was (it was very wide as he would open most pots and limp / call almost everything else).  He would frequently float and call cbets, and make large pot-sized cbets himself if he was opening the pot first (most of the time, he'd take down the pot, but if not, he'd barrel again on the turn).  He would carefully and deliberately make decisions rather than snap call or snap fold.  In other words, he was prepared to fight for every pot, no matter size nor action.

All of this glowing review of the 5/10 player is not meant to glorify him; he certainly had his flaws - spots where I would easily fold without a second thought (old guy shoves over with full stacks on a Q Q x board and he called with Q2 to be shown KQ and suckout for the chop), or 3betting me all in for $40 with A4 after I opened for $15 with A7o from the BTN immediately after the Q2 loss.  However, the takeaway for me is selective, hard aggression.  Barrelling twice is significant.  As I alluded to in my last post, floating flops is significant.  When opponents check the turn after taking initiative on the flop, it's usually a sign that they're giving up / pot controlling.  Stealing from the BTN makes sense.

All of the disdain I hold for the Russian chick is absolutely meant to chastise her.  If you fancy yourself a pro, stop screwing around on the phone.  Stop being distracted.  Stop being unfriendly at the table.  Use the tools you have to your advantage.  You're missing out on valuable information by not paying attention: how people play, their tendencies, why they play, what they're saying.  Identifying what motivates your opponent goes a long way to beating your opponent.  Does he play to win money?  Is she uncomfortable with the amount of money on the table?  Does he want the social aspect of the game?

Look, you consider yourself a pro.  If you work at a professional job, do you drink on the job?  Then why are you drinking at the table?  If you work at a professional job, do you play on your cell phone in between answering emails of phone calls?  Then why are you playing on your phone at the table?  If you work at a professional job, do you neglect your customers?  Then why are you ignoring your customers at the table?

Just some thoughts I wanted to put down...

12 comments:

  1. If you haven't read it you should read 'Every hand revealed' by Gus Hansen. It is a fascinating look at post flop agression and simply a entertaining read.

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    1. I haven't - I'm in the process of reading Psychology of Poker by Alan Schoonmaker, but I'm going to add Gus Hansen's book to my reading list.

      Thanks for the suggestion!

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    2. I read the book. You need to understand it is about tournament play. As near as I can tell he has lost a lot of money in cash games. I don't think his strategies translates well. Stealing blinds is stupid in cash games. It is entertaining but not applicable to the games you like to play.

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Damnit! Anonymous slipped by my assistant who approves comments :-)...

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  3. Although it can sometimes be uncomfortable, playing with players who seem to be, at least in the current session, at a "higher level," help to make you examine what you are doing. As always, I am impressed by how you turn virtually every session you play into a learning experience. Thanks for sharing so that others may also learn.

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    1. Thanks lightning - For the 5/10 player, I think the takeaway, at least from my perspective, is that I would not want to try to bluff him. He seemed more than willing to call of stacks in order to not get bluffed. In addition, he was a very good hand reader, so he was ready to call of very light.

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    2. That is true of tourists. The locals are fond of saying people don't come to Vegas to fold a lot of hands. They hand a tendency to call.

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  4. Love the grinders that bring their ipad to the table, multi-tabling on Bovada the whole time, while not even paying attention to anything occurring at the table, let alone play in any pots. Leave that shit at home. I need someone to contribute to my bankroll at that seat, not someone who wants to look the part and play on-line to a Russian bot. Play on-line at home, when at the casino, join in with your fellow homo-sapiens and play with us, dammit.
    Love the blog,
    Drunk Again

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    1. LOL - it's funny how people don't realize how much value they're losing by not paying attention. As it turns out, the dealer wasn't sure whether the Russian girl I talk about above knows English. If I were her, I'd take the perfect opportunity to practice / learn English. It's interesting that poker is a very tough game to become better in isolation (i.e. if all you have is yourself to bounce ideas / talk about hands). Moreover, if you're not watching other players' mistakes and tells, you'll have no idea how to correct your own tells and mistakes. As a pro, where this is your sole livelihood, I would think you'd want to expand your $$$ / hr rate and potentially move up in stakes. I guess some people just don't care about that much about their job...

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  5. I have the reverse opinion after playing in Baltimore after Vegas. The Baltimore players are very loose. Guys are bleeding chips everywhere. In Vegas you have to have good table selection. During the day, the games can be like watching paint dry. Things seem to heat up better later or on the weekends. The problem with Vegas is that you can easily find yourself at a table with a bunch of nits/grinders. It is not much fun playing with guys who are worried about losing chips.

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