Friday, August 03, 2007

The Easy Way Out

A good old notebook post, the crutch of any lazy writer:

_ Full Tilt offered me a new bonus. Click on Requests --> Check my Bonus Offer to see if you got one too.

_ Wait, I thought tournaments were for donkeys. I agree with the thought that tournaments are harder to win than cash games, but that's obvious because of the large fields and luck (combined with skill) needed to win one.

Just because tournaments are harder to win doesn't mean they require more skill, just that they require different skills. Many comparisons are faulty for this reason.

When it comes to the discussion of what game is "better," that's a decision for each individual player to make. Smart players should choose whether to specialize in tourney or cash play based on which holds the greatest potential for profit in the long term.

Tourneys are a sucker bet for a high percentage of players chasing a big score. If you're one of those players (like me) who is a lifetime loser in tournaments, you're probably better off finding a game you can win. Anyone who tells you different is probably just trying to add more dead money to the prize pool.

If you like cash games more than tournaments, you'll probably agree that they are both more fun and more profitable. But if you're a tourney donk, you'll likely disagree, hence the debate.

_ I've seen a few blog posts recently that have mentioned in passing that you should tighten up in a loose game.

Perhaps this strategy works for some players, but I've always found it to be better to loosen up in a loose game. When more players are entering the pot each hand, they're less likely to be playing strong cards and more likely to commit big bets with a second-best hand.

If you don't loosen up in loose games, you're missing out on many opportunities to bust fishy players.

_ When I first played triple draw on PokerStars a few months ago with SoxLover, we got to talking about a blocking bet I made on the river. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but he suggested that blocking bets were largely pointless in triple draw.

I find the same to be almost always true in no limit hold 'em as well. Blocking bets on the river can serve a purpose, like when you're willing to pay a set price with a marginal hand that wants to see a showdown, but you think your opponent would bet a higher amount if you checked.

For the most part though, bets in NL hold 'em should be either as a bluff or for value, or a combination of the two (like a semibluff). Those kinds of bets serve the specific purpose of either winning the hand immediately, adding more money to the pot while you're ahead or building a pot when you have good odds.

Blocking bets achieve none of those goals.

When I think I have the best hand on the river but think there's more value in check-calling than value betting, I'll do so rather than throw out a suspicious minibet that can't call a raise.


Chad C said...

why dont they ever offer me bonuses?

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I think the blocking bet thing depends. For example, if you think your hand might be good but you're not sure and yet if you check, you KNOW your opponent will make a pot sized bet, I don't think there's anything wrong with making a 1/3 of the pot blocking bet. The opponent could be worried that you hit the monster hand and just call instead of trying to bluff at it and make you make the tougher decision.

I guess what I'm saying is that when I make a blocking bet, it's a pseudo value bet where I think I'm ahead but not sure enough to let the other guy take control of the betting.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah I don't make blocking bets often in nlh, but at just the right time I've been known to do it. I think including the move in your arsenal is always better than basically swearing it off entirely without regard for the circumstances in each case.

surflexus said...

If it's a loose condition where you can get in to a multi-way flop cheaply, then I agree. If it's a loose-aggressive table in a tournament where people are raising and re-raising with who knows what I like to let it calm down a bit and I tighten up.
Nice post!

Valeyard said...

I prefer tournaments to cash games for one simple reason: they limit my risk. It's more difficult to win big but also more difficult to lose big, and with my limited bankroll that's important.