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.


Shrike said...

Still think you should put some PLO time in.

Adjusting to full ring from 6-max should be easy enough... what is your frequency for making isolation plays vs. a particular target, or are you refraining from very exploitive play due to the increased number of players?


Wes said...

lol solid regular joe forte. no wonder you don't win money.

PokerFool said...

1/2 has a pretty good amount of fish. Though it is getting tougher. I've actually moved down to .50/1.00 for a while. I might stay there for a while, because over my poker career, my winrate is easily double at 100NL than 200NL.

Also, Steve Yea is considered to be one of the worst regs at 2/4+. I've played some with him, and he is a major spew monkey. And I agree with what Wes said about Forte. I've never played with him, but he is the laughing stock of the MSNL forum on 2+2


Gnome said...

If Joe Forte is so bad, then I'm worse. That guy beats me most of the time.
Guess I need to read MSNL more.

Gnome said...

FWIW, I have Joe Forte at -3,826 over 20,700 hands and at only +161 in heads-up pots vs. me. So I guess I don't run that bad to him, but he's a pain in the ass to play against.
I have Steve Yea at +5,522 over 8,700 hands.

Lucypher said...

Barry Greenstein said the same thing in his book - you don't need to be the best, just better than the other guys you play with.
If you aren't, find another game.
Nice post and good luck.

SubZero said...

Good point, reckon I should dabble in full ring games more often myself, might boost my earnings short term and maybe even my salary...