Monday, January 31, 2011

TwoPlusTwo's master thread on the "Complete Guide To Beating The Micros"

As I posted a few days ago, I've been playing down to 25NL for the lack of games at 50NL.  I've seen some 50NL regs doing the same - SHROMI is down there with me, as well as a few others.  Since I'm so used to 50NL, it's astounding how easy the value is to get out of these players - in some respects, it's far more profitable for me to play 25NL instead of 50NL.  These players are much more likely to call off with their TP holdings, or chase those flush draws for poor odds.  In particular, I've been getting huge value from the players who don't seem to get when I float their cbet on an Ace high flop on a completely dry board.  Of course, their typical next move is to check the turn and I take it down with a "value bet."  Regardless, one of my poker buddies sent me a link to a thread that I had read long ago, but still holds a lot of value for players who are just starting out or trying to gain traction in the micros.


Check it out - it's a comprehensive guide, covering a TON of concepts and tactics.  It also pretty accurately describes the different limits from 2NL - 25NL and the typical players.

Good luck on the tables!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Playing in the WBCOOP Event #5 - "8 Game Mix"

Anyone have any clue how to play?  How about some basic strategy?

I at least looked up the rules:

Link to Pokerstar's website

T - Limit 2-7 Triple Draw
H - Limit Hold’em
O - Limit Omaha Eight or Better (Hi/Lo)
R - Razz
S - Limit Seven Card Stud
E - Limit Stud Eight or Better (Hi/Lo)
H - No Limit Hold’em
A - Pot Limit Omaha

Razz should be okay.  Limit 2-7 Triple Draw should be okay.  NLHE, obv okay.  PLO?  Isn't that some sort of terrorist organization?  WTF?  [Facepalm] I'm so SCREWED!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Moving down? - 25NL - WOW!

I have taken a brief respite from blogging; as readers of this blog may know, I was in London last week.  Time at the virtual felt has been difficult to come by, between work, business travel and personal travel.  As a result, my apologies, but there haven't been any particularly interesting hands.

I had my first chance to sit down and play a few hands last Friday - the first time since earlier in the week.  I was playing in the morning, London time, which is +5 hours from here on the east coast of the U.S.  I opened up the Full Tilt lobby to see very few 50NL tables which matched my filters (i.e. <23% VPIP, <4 players, 40-200BB), so I decided to waitlist myself on the 25NL tables, which seemed full of life and LAGs.  Shortly before 5AM east coast, I was running my normal routine of 12 tables, though at 25NL.  It had been quite a while since I had played 25NL, so I wasn't entirely familiar with the betting routines (i.e. standard raise sizes, etc.), but after 50 hands, I had it figured out.

Regardless, my immediate impressions of the current state of 25NL are shock and awe(ful).  Perhaps it's been so long since I've played there that I really don't remember the awfulness of it all, but it was more than one occasion where I was looked up with Queen high, against my flopped sets.  Really?  3 streets of betting and you feel comfortable with a river call for your stack with a Queen high?  For what it's worth, I would see similar play on multiple occasions from multiple opponents.  Simply put, "Wow!"  What a profit center!

Perhaps it's like what I read about on the 2p2 forums or talking with friends, where the context of the discussion centers around "If only I could go back to 2000 and take the knowledge of what I know now, with 3betting, steals and whatnot."  I truly feel like dropping back from 50NL to 25NL is the same thing; I am running circles around these guys.

Look, I have played 25NL at Bodog recently, in order to get my bankroll into a sustainable order so that I can play 50NL comfortably.  The players at Bodog's 25NL (and 50NL, for that matter) are awful, but I figured that they were on somewhat of an island - free of natural predators, they are able to evolve into defenseless donkeys.  I figured that since it is increasingly difficult to get money into Bodog, there would be no new predators introduced into the ecosystem.  However, it is far easier to get money into Full Tilt, and given the sheer multitudes of players available to play all stakes on Full Tilt, I assumed natural selection would eliminate these spaz monkeys.  Boy, was I wrong!  I see players stacking off with all manners of holdings from 22 - AT, calling 3 bets like they were going out of style, calling down 3 streets with second pairs, etc.   Don't get me wrong - I see that type of behavior at 50NL, but simply not at the same frequency.  I'm simply surprised that such exploitable players are sitting right below, in such magnitude.

Given the action I have been getting at 25NL, I am going to play a few more sessions to get a better sample size.  I'm way ahead of target to recover my full Iron Man bonus, so I'm in no immediate need for points.  My goal for this year is show a good profit directly from the poker cash tables, rather than be more of a rakeback pro (due to my awful September / October) like last year.  Don't get me wrong - I profited from the cash tables last year, but my rakeback far exceeded my poker profits.  Playing at games where I have the highest chance of succeeding at my goals seems to be the way to go.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

WBCOOP Registration

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! The WBCOOP is a free online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers, so register on WBCOOP to play.

Registration code: XXXXXX 328730

An appropriate spot for a bluff?

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Hand History Converter

CO: $25.25
Hero (BTN): $52.30
SB: $15.50
BB: $17.50
UTG: $58.80 - At the time, I had all of 14 hands on him, but he seems to be a spewey, LAGgy player. He turns out to be a 38/9 / .9AF @ 70 hands...
UTG+1: $22.35
UTG+2: $76.65
MP1: $17.50
MP2: $67.25

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with 9s As
UTG calls $0.50, 5 folds, Hero raises to $2, 2 folds, UTG calls $1.50
I isolate the LAG, in position.

Flop: ($4.75) 5s 6h Th (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero requests TIME, Hero bets $3, UTG calls $3

Turn: ($10.75) 2h (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero checks

River: ($10.75) Qh (2 players)
UTG bets $10.75, Hero raises to $30, UTG requests TIME, UTG folds

Final Pot: $32.25
Hero wins $30.65
(Rake: $1.60)

Here's my thought process: We check through the turn, which is likely bad for the both of us. I don't think there are many flushes in his range that he's not leading on the turn, given my "weak"-ish flop lead (i.e. there's not much I can rep on this board, save for an overpair, which is less likely in the BTN position given the iso raise). Regardless, there are plenty of overcards to the board that I can hold, given the nature of the Ten high flop and deuce turn, but the obvious 3-flush freezes me up. When he leads full pot on the river, it just seems like such an obvious "please fold" bet, that I have to raise to a price that hurts. I thought about the min raise, but considered that it would be too easy for him to look me up with a call. Therefore, I go with the 3x raise, a bit more pricey call to make with any heart Queen down. If he has half of a brain, which he clearly did (and he did not easily lay his hand down), he knows that he can only make the call with the Ah or Kh.

P.S. I was thinking about the formulaic aspect of this hand; [30 / (30 + 10.75 + 10.75) = 58%], meaning I need this to work 58% of the time for me to show a profit. From a math perspective, I think a raise to ~$25 makes this a ~50/50 prop for needing to be successful, but I think the chance of success drops dramatically with the reduced call size.

FWIW, take the bet size and divide it by the current pot + the bet size to determine the percentage of time needed for your play to be profitable.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hands that make me smile...

Dude... If you're going to sit there with a 2/3 stack and call of a 4bet, you may as well shove. Given any and all flops, I'm auto shoving anyway...

I'm so happy to suck out on you, B*TCH.

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players -
The Hand History Converter

MP2: $38.05
CO: $71.00
BTN: $35.40 - 33/20/ DONKEY
SB: $53.30
BB: $50.00
Hero (UTG): $50.00
UTG+1: $54.25
MP1: $40.15

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is UTG with Kh Ah
Hero raises to $1.50, 3 folds, CO requests TIME, 1 fold, BTN raises to $5.25, 2 folds, Hero raises to $13.50, BTN calls $8.25

Flop: ($27.75) 8h 5c 3h (2 players)
Hero bets $22, BTN calls $21.90 all in

Turn: ($71.55) Kd (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($71.55) Js (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $71.55
BTN shows 8c Ad (a pair of Eights)
Hero shows Kh Ah (a pair of Kings)
Hero wins $68.55
(Rake: $3.00)

Monday, January 10, 2011

What would you do? #217 - 4 flush board holding Ace, with paired river

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Hand History Converter

CO: $143.45
BTN: $50.75
SB: $50.85
Hero (BB): $77.45
UTG: $42.90 - 9/9 / inf AF / 33 hands
UTG+1: $50.00
UTG+2: $54.20
MP1: $51.90
MP2: $25.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BB with 7h Ah
UTG raises to $1.50, 3 folds, MP2 calls $1.50, 3 folds, Hero calls $1

Flop: ($4.75) Kh 2h 6c (3 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets $2.50, MP2 calls $2.50, Hero requests TIME, Hero calls $2.50

Turn: ($12.25) 8h (3 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets $3.50, MP2 raises to $7, Hero requests TIME, Hero calls $7, UTG calls $3.50

River: ($33.25) 6h (3 players)
Hero bets $7, UTG requests TIME, UTG raises to $31.90 all in, MP2 requests TIME, MP2 folds, Hero requests TIME, Hero folds

Is this player stacking off with Qh *EVER*? Particularly against 2 other player who are presumably drawing to the flush? Easy bet / fold.

Final Pot: $47.25
UTG wins $44.90
(Rake: $2.35)

Friday, January 7, 2011

What would you do? #216 - Fold bottom set?

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 7 players
The Hand History Converter

UTG: $50.00 - 12/8 / 73 hands
UTG+1: $77.05
Hero (MP): $83.90
CO: $50.00
BTN: $52.35
SB: $50.25 - 13/11 / 3.2%3bet / 36% steal / 2.2 AF / 50% cbet flop / 478 hands
BB: $50.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is MP with 5c 5d
UTG raises to $1.75, 1 fold, Hero calls $1.75, 2 folds, SB requests TIME, SB calls $1.50, 1 fold

Flop: ($5.75) Jc 5s 8s (3 players)
SB requests TIME, SB checks, UTG checks, Hero bets $3.75, SB requests TIME, SB raises to $9.50, UTG folds, Hero calls $5.75

Turn: ($24.75) 2c (2 players)
SB requests TIME, SB bets $15, Hero requests TIME, Hero ???
SB's detailed aggression factor

Click to see results

Hero folds

Here's the rub: I can't see him check / raising with anything less than a set. He's clearly trying to get stacks in, though it's curious that he only bets $15 on the turn, which is the one question that sticks out in my head.

The only obvious draw here is 6s7s, but I simply don't see him playing it in this way. I think he 3bets AsKs and AA, KK given the multi-way pot. I have to say, I think I'm proud of my first ever 3rd absolute nuts laydown. I've never folded a set on a non 3flush / 3straight board. It's liberating. I don't intend to make a habit of it.

I'm ready for the comments / flames to begin. Fire away.

Final Pot: $24.75
SB wins $23.55
(Rake: $1.20)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What would you do? #215 - Bottom pair facing river "value" bet

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Hand History Converter

UTG+1: $41.25
UTG+2: $50.00
MP1: $17.70
MP2: $32.75
CO: $18.85
BTN: $46.20 - 25/0 / 2.3AF / 16 hands
Hero (SB): $50.00

BB: $85.40
UTG: $50.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with 3c Qc
6 folds, BTN calls $0.50, Hero calls $0.25, BB checks

Flop: ($1.50) 7c 4h 2c (3 players)
Hero checks, BB checks, BTN bets $3, Hero calls $3, BB folds

Turn: ($7.50) 3d (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $3.50, Hero requests TIME, Hero calls $3.50

River: ($14.50) Th (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $6, Hero ???

Click to see results

Hero calls $6
I feel like a random is three barrelling with sets / two pair or air / bluffs. There's not much for this board where he's showing up with strong hands, and betting small on the river... He just doesn't seem that pressed to get stacks in, but he continues to bet. If he's 3 streeting, he's definitely betting more on the turn and much more on the river. This seems to be a fairly safe board to call down bottom pair.

It wreaks of a missed hand which has showdown value, but more importantly wants to fold out weak hands which have it beat.

Final Pot: $26.50
BTN shows Kh Ah (Ace King high)
Hero shows 3c Qc (a pair of Threes)
Hero wins $25.20
(Rake: $1.30)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hands that make me smile...

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players
The Hand History Converter

CO: $34.45
BTN: $50.00
SB: $50.00
Hero (BB): $50.00
UTG: $34.50
UTG+1: $50.75
MP1: $22.35
MP2: $34.25

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BB with Ah Tc
1 fold, UTG+1 requests TIME, 3 folds, CO calls $0.50, BTN requests TIME, 2 folds, Hero checks

Flop: ($1.25) 5h Jh 6h (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $1.75, Hero raises to $4.25, CO calls $2.50

Turn: ($9.75) 8h (2 players)
Hero requests TIME, Hero bets $4.50, CO calls $4.50

River: ($18.75) Kd (2 players)
Hero bets $25.20, CO calls $25.20 all in

Final Pot: $69.15
CO mucks 5d 7h
Hero shows Ah Tc (a flush, Ace high)
Hero wins $66.15
(Rake: $3.00)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Adjust to Win

Once upon a time, the 3-bet (or re-raise) pre-flop was perceived as "I'm ready to dance, but are you?" and was rarely used by most players. The good players exploited this by three-betting more liberally, especially in position and could confidently fold to a 4-bet a majority of the time. Consider the profitability of forcing folds from most hands most of the time.

Today both passive and aggressive players use the 3-bet and even 4-bet for a multitude of reasons including: for value, as a bluff or to define their strength earlier in the hand rather than later. In today's game, if we don't 3-bet enough, players are going to accurately predict our uncreative range without much thought. If we start 3-betting liberally, our perceptive opponents will determine that our range is too wide and will adjust by playing back at us pre-flop or trapping us post-flop.

When I first began to win on a consistent basis and felt that I had begun to separate myself from my competition, my first revelation was to adhere to a strict set of starting requirements and try not to deviate from them too much. I started learning how to open-fold small pocket pairs pre-flop from UTG and not defend 3-bets with hands with reverse implied odds, such as A-10 or KJ. I studied charts which recommended specific opening ranges based on stack sizes and implemented many widely accepted 'rules of thumb' into my game. I was shaping up to become a TAG (tight-aggressive player) which was considered the optimal style of play.

By adapting a framework of solid opening ranges I was able to avoid a lot of trouble spots that would previously give me headaches. Not too mention I enjoyed more consistent winning sessions and less volatile results. I relied on the successes of those that came before me to buy into the idea of playing a solid range of hands from more beneficial position(s). But then people started making the very same adjustments and my sure-fire winning hands that I used to get a lot of value out of weren't winning as much. It seemed like everyone knew how to draw or semi-bluff or use the overbet as a valuebet.

I then started thinking that online poker was quickly becoming a game of coolers (Full Tilt Rush) where we all just pass around money and only survive because of rakeback/promotions and the rare fish. I considered whether it was still possible to have a defined edge or if every online player was now a professional by 2005-7 standards. You'll be hard-pressed to find a table these days that will allow you to exploit the 3-bet gap which existed not too long ago, but how do we define and exploit an edge in our usual game? The answer is to constantly adjust.

I believe that most players can be exploited in one way or another. For some they are too tight pre-flop. For others they go to showdown too often. Once we can begin to get an idea of our opponents tendencies, we can begin to experiment and test them in many situations. This is where the old adage "paying for information" really comes in to play. You don't just go paying off bets when you're beat because you need confirmation that you're beat with your made/semi-made hand. Instead, you decide that your hand is likely to win often enough to justify a call and even if you are wrong, you believe you will end up making more money against your opponent or in like situations having better understood the action and why you were beat. When you approach the game in this manner, you'll become more aware of the nuances between players. Does she check behind with a lot of hands that could be bet for value? Does he always play his monsters fast? It is these types of questions that you should be focusing on as opposed to being overly concerned with your "solid range".

To excel at the next level and beyond we need to be committed to re-inventing our game. I no longer care about being a TAG through anyone's perspective. I will be the biggest LAG (loose-aggressive) monkey you've ever seen if I'm big stack in a tournament with a table full of nits on the bubble. I will be the biggest nit you've ever seen if I'm at a cash game where a the standard open is 10-15 BB's every hand. The point is that I will consider the game flow, my position and assessment of every table I play at and let that determine my approach. It's nice to only play premium hands and not have leaks in your game. But it's also nice to get paid off and maximize your hourly win rate too.

What would you do? #214 - Mid flush facing aggressive river play

More from Bodog. I wish I could convert this to a usable form... It's copied out of HEM.

***** Hand History for Game 1111111111 ***** (Bodog)
$50.00 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Thursday, December 30, 02:05:14 ET 2010
Table Onit (Real Money)
Seat 8 is the button
Seat 1: Player1 ( $63.36 USD ) - VPIP: 31, PFR: 14, 3B: 0, AF: 1.8, Hands: 106
Seat 2: Player2 ( $36.30 USD ) - 11/7 / 4.5%3bet / 20% steal / inf AF / 72 hands
Seat 3: Player3 ( $60.70 USD ) - 29/5 / 0%3bet / N/A steal / 1.7 AF / 21 hands

Seat 4: Player4 ( $62.25 USD ) - VPIP: 15, PFR: 12, 3B: 0, AF: Infinity, Hands: 33
Seat 5: Player5 ( $49.25 USD ) - VPIP: 28, PFR: 4, 3B: 0, AF: Infinity, Hands: 25
Seat 6: Hero ( $52.55 USD )
Seat 7: Player7 ( $71.88 USD ) - VPIP: 38, PFR: 12, 3B: 2, AF: 1.0, Hands: 136
Seat 8: Player8 ( $22.69 USD ) - VPIP: 12, PFR: 9, 3B: 7, AF: Infinity, Hands: 92
Seat 9: Player9 ( $51.10 USD ) - VPIP: 34, PFR: 1, 3B: 0, AF: 0.9, Hands: 116
Player9 posts small blind [$0.25 USD].
Player1 posts big blind [$0.50 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [ Th 7h ]
Player2 calls [$0.50 USD]
Player3 calls [$0.50 USD]
Player4 folds
Player5 folds
Hero calls [$0.50 USD]
Player7 folds
Player8 folds
Player9 calls [$0.25 USD]
Player1 checks
** Dealing Flop ** [ 9h, 7c, 4h ]
Player9 checks
Player1 checks
Player2 checks
Player3 bets [$1.50 USD]
Hero raises [$4.50 USD]
Player9 folds
Player1 folds
Player2 calls [$4.50 USD]
Player3 calls [$3.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Kh ]
Player2 checks
Player3 checks
Hero bets [$8.00 USD]
Player2 calls [$8.00 USD]
Player3 calls [$8.00 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ 8d ]
Player2 checks
Player3 bets [$40.00 USD]
Hero ???

Click to see results

Hero folds

I think this is more of a reads-based fold than anything else. If Player 3 checks the river, it likely gets costly for me, but I still think I'm making the same fold to the check / raise. Either way, the Bodog'ers are CRAZY players, and fairly readable. This just smacks of such an obvious over-flush that it's not even funny...

Player2 calls [$23.30 USD]
Player3 wins $16.70 USD
Player2 shows [4d, 4c ]
Player3 shows [5h, Ah ]
Player3 wins $83.60 USD from main pot

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hands that piss me off...

***** Hand History for Game 1111111111 ***** (Bodog)
$50.00 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Wednesday, December 29, 11:28:55 ET 2010
Table Atacko (Real Money)
Seat 7 is the button
Seat 1: Player1 ( $47.00 USD ) - VPIP: 32, PFR: 9, 3B: 0, AF: 2.7, Hands: 34
Seat 2: Player2 ( $93.10 USD ) - VPIP: 10, PFR: 7, 3B: 1, AF: 1.5, Hands: 1339
Seat 3: Player3 ( $45.25 USD ) - VPIP: 13, PFR: 0, 3B: 0, AF: 4.0, Hands: 92
Seat 4: Player4 ( $60.66 USD ) - VPIP: 42, PFR: 27, 3B: 29, AF: 1.7, Hands: 33
Seat 5: Player5 ( $46.35 USD ) - VPIP: 36, PFR: 7, 3B: 0, AF: 0.6, Hands: 97
Seat 6: Hero ( $184.55 USD ) - VPIP: 27, PFR: 16, 3B: 4, AF: 2.3, Hands: 8732
Seat 7: Player7 ( $48.00 USD ) - VPIP: 22, PFR: 3, 3B: 3, AF: 1.8, Hands: 303
Seat 8: Player8 ( $28.80 USD ) - VPIP: 58, PFR: 3, 3B: 0, AF: 1.6, Hands: 40
Seat 9: Player9 ( $56.75 USD ) - VPIP: 18, PFR: 11, 3B: 0, AF: 1.1, Hands: 187
Player8 posts small blind [$0.25 USD].
Player9 posts big blind [$0.50 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [ Ac Js ]
Player1 folds
Player2 folds
Player3 folds
Player4 folds
Player5 folds
Hero raises [$1.50 USD]
Player7 folds
Player8 calls [$1.25 USD]
Player9 folds
** Dealing Flop ** [ 6h, 4h, 2h ]
Player8 checks
Hero checks
** Dealing Turn ** [ As ]
Player8 checks
Hero bets [$2.50 USD]
Player8 calls [$2.50 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ 8h ]
Player8 checks Really? Check? You want me to bluff at a 4flush pot worth $8? Sure!
Hero checks
Player8 shows [Ah, 3d ]
Player8 wins $8.10 USD from main pot

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