Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fish in the Sea

"Poker is about making money, not about being a good poker player. So it's kind of a Catch-22 situation. ... The No. 1 thing you're supposed to do in poker is play with people that are worse than you."
--Gabe Thaler on "Cash Plays"

I was trolling around the 2/4 NL 6-max games on Full Tilt a few nights ago, looking for a good game. Instead, I found a bunch of tables with three seats filled by CardRunners pro Taylor Caby, Full Tilt pro Steve Yea and solid regular Joe Forte.

Clearly, those games wouldn't be very profitable.

It was a bit frustrating because I had moved down from 5/10, where has been my primary game for 2 1/2 years now, after hitting a rough stretch. And then when I go to the lower limits, I found that the games are no softer than they were at the higher limit. I had been telling myself to accept the fact that I may not have much of an edge anymore at 5/10, and then I dropped down and still couldn't find much of a profit.

"Well, I guess it's time to learn PLO better," I thought to myself. "Or maybe I'll play some 1/2. Or I guess I could play later and hope the games are better then."

All of those were fine ideas, but it took me a few more days to see a solution sitting right in front of me: full ring. Most fish, especially those accustomed to playing live, aren't going to sit at shorthanded tables. Many of them will play full ring.

Sure enough, the slower 2/4 full ring games have been far easier to beat than the 6-max games. I've made the vast majority of my money over the last few years playing shorthanded, but that doesn't necessarily mean full ring is less profitable. It just means that I gravitate to the type of games I feel most comfortable in -- the games I perceive to be best. Those perceptions need to change as the poker environment evolves.

There are juicy games of many limits and types. Being willing and able to find them takes some effort. From a broad perspective, the important thing is to recognize games that will be profitable, and not let pride or ambition get in the way of finding where I can maximize my advantage.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Deepstacked with an overpair

In trying to improve my deepstacked game, I picked up a tip from an instructional video:

There's nothing wrong with not continuation betting an overpair out of position and check-calling down against an aggressive opponent. Many players in position when deepstacked will both value bet with worse and bluff when checked to.

If I were to continuation bet with the overpair when stacks are deep, there are many flops on which I'd be unnecessarily inflating the pot or setting myself up to get bluffed off the best hand on a later street.

When 100BBs deep, I'll continuation bet my overpair just about every time. But deepstacked, one pair loses so much value when the pot gets big, and I can't afford to be guessing when out of position.

Here's an example:

Full Tilt Poker $5/$10 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players - View hand 160019

The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $1474.05

Hero (UTG): $2023.25

Pre Flop: ($15.00) Hero is UTG with QQ of hearts QQ of spades

Hero raises to $30, 5 folds, BTN calls $30, 2 folds

Flop: ($75.00) 55 of hearts 88 of clubs 22 of diamonds (2 players)

Hero checks, BTN bets $60, Hero calls $60

Turn: ($195.00) 88 of spades (2 players)

Hero checks, BTN bets $155, Hero calls $155

River: ($505.00) 66 of hearts (2 players)

Hero checks, BTN requests TIME, BTN checks

Final Pot: $505.00

BTN shows 99 of clubs 44 of clubs (a pair of Eights)

Hero shows QQ of hearts QQ of spades (two pair, Queens and Eights)

Hero wins $502.00

(Rake: $3.00)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Free Stuff from Coaching Sites

Here's a belated congrats to LJ for finishing in 10th in the $1,500 HORSE event at the World Series of Poker! Very cool. Full results can be found here.

One of the best ongoing deals out there has got to be Truly Free Poker Training, which allows you to get free subscriptions to CardRunners and StoxPoker based entirely on how much you play on Full Tilt.

It's free. There's no deduction from rakeback. Why wouldn't you do it?

CardRunners even added an additional incentive to sign up for Truly Free Poker Training: You can get a trip to Miami and personal coaching without having to do anything.

Here's the text of the e-mail I received notifying me of this promotion:

Truly Free Poker Training Member,

The Camp CardRunners Fantasy Sweepstakes is underway, sponsored by our friends at Full Tilt Poker, and we hope you can join us!

The Prize: you could be our guest for 3 nights at the deluxe Gansevoort South on South Beach in Miami (round-trip domestic airfare included), plus you get to relax with five members of Team CardRunners who are also available for a personal leak finder session. Sun. Surf. Poker. Need we say more?

Here's how it works: eligible participants in Truly Free Poker Training who earn 15,000 or more Full Tilt Points in any calendar month between June 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009 automatically receive one entry to the Camp CardRunners drawing. Limit one entry per qualifying entrant per month. Eight lucky winners will be invited to the inaugural Camp CardRunners.

Reserve the Date for Camp CardRunners: February 22, 2010 to February 25, 2010.


DeucesCracked has posted a documentary (no subscription required) that tells the story of Greg Lavery, aka Captain Zeebo, a reclusive dude who found riches through online poker.

Check out "From Busto to Robusto."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Reraising Warz

How often do 3-bets, 4-bets and 5-bet shoves need to be successful to show a profit when 100 BBs deep?

It's easy to determine how often a reraise needs to get a fold to show a profit by calculating bet/(bet+pot). Note that this equation ignores hand values entirely because it only measures risk vs. reward.

1. 3-bet
CO raises to 3 BB, Button raises to 11 BB. Blinds are 1.5 BB.
11/15.5=71 percent

2. 4-bet.
CO raises to 3 BB, Button raises to 11 BB, CO raises to 25 BB. Blinds are 1.5 BB.
25/40.5=62 percent

3. 5-bet shove
Button raises to 3 BB, SB raises to 11 BB, Button raises to 25 BB, SB raises to 100 BB. Blinds are 1.5 BB.
100/137.5=73 percent

See the ball, hit the ball, Meat

A good friend of mine used to say, "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while. --Bull Durham

It never ceases to amaze me how, after taking just one day off from the game, everything seems so simple when I come back.

Bad plays become obvious in retrospect:

What was I doing 3-betting A4 from the big blind, even against an aggressive button stealer? Why was I squeezing so much? When did I decide playing Ace-rag in position wasn't that bad?

Many of these errors are a result of attempts to loosen up my game, defend my blinds more and become more LAGgy. Most of them didn't directly result in large monetary losses.

But they did add up. More than that, they distracted me and put me on tilt. Which blows, because the best solution to tilt is to stop playing, and that's hard to do when I'm stuck.

One hand at a time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cashout Problems?

If you're having problems cashing out your poker money, just use the Bank Wire option.

While Bank Wire may not be available to everyone, I made a cashout request Sunday morning and found the money in my bank Wednesday morning.

A previous cashout by check failed last week, but I was credited $200 for my trouble. Bank Wire was an easy solution.

Don't panic.

Web's Poker Winners Face Delays in Collecting

U.S. Deals Blow to Online-Poker Players

Dealing with losses

Things to do when losing:

1. Step down in stakes.

2. Buckle down, review hands and study harder.

3. Tighten up.

4. Refocus on hand reading and hand ranges.