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Not to Overplay the Hand Pays Off
Wrote this on the plane returning from the last days before the start of World Series of Poker 2006 in Las Vegas . Bidness would not allow the time to play (sorry Radar) even if the lightning were bottled. The short trip includes one single table satellite, cash games and a small Paris event where blinds escalate every 15 minutes. Chip leader and then gone 20 minutes later. Fame esta fleeting.
Cash games everywhere. It takes a small shop or downtown to see a casino without a poker room. The poker explosion is ongoing. The no limit games are moving out some limit tables. No limit games with 1-2 blinds and a buy in of $100 to $300 are common as are 2-5 blinds with an upper buy in limit of $500. Occasionally there is no upper limit on the buy in. Still, limit games available just not quite as many tables as five years ago. Limits of 2-4 and up are common. Recreational players may still enjoy their play with small bankrolls.
My choice for limit remains in the range of from 15-30 up to 40-80. And the better players are not necessarily at the higher limits. No limit play this trip was it.
Some name players are at the 1-2 and 2-5 blind no limit games. 5-10 blinds and up no limit may be found at the larger places (Bellagio). Not sure my bankroll will ever get there. A friend played 5-10 no limit successfully (+$1500 or so for his earlier week long trip, a “noise” result) on a ten grand bank. A little aggressive with $1000 to $2000 swings common in a 2 hour period (hence the “noise” comment).
The 1-2 and 2-5 no limit games: Buy ins usually limited to $100 to $300 or $500. Some with no upper limit of buy in.
Played about 10 hours of 2-5 and 1-2. Interesting mix of players. There are few winners as money moves Mike Caro like (the “Mad Genius” writes about the clockwise flow of money. Position dominates limit play) in a clockwise whirlwind with an occasional hiccup in direction. Position appears to remain of high importance. Please to put to use.
2 - 5 No Limit Holdem
Pots of 3 plus players are common as is a late position bet (remember the clockwise movement of the money) taking it down on the flop or on 4 th street . Common: 5 to 7 players limp in. At Caesar's we had 3 consecutive fambly pots at 2-5. With a raggy flop a (the recently written book) Classic Harrington bet of 70% of the pot usually took the pot.
The family pot is notable. After 4 or more players in front of you limp in, hands like 7-4 and 4-5 suited are worth a look. Assume the limpers have big cards. 10 to 12 high cards (of 20 Aces and Faces and Tens) are gone with 5 or 6 limpers. The indication is there should be a raggy (little cards, i.e. 4, 5, or 7) flop. 3s to 7s - there are 18 cards in the deck as opposed to the 11 or so high cards. I do not like 2 or 3 here. They are dominated by the 45, 74 etc. And straights are very limited as opposed to 45 and the like. With 23 suited your flushes require greater courage than sense.
Example: Dog holds 4 and 5 of hearts next to the button, there is no muck, so I put in a raise to $11 (an odd raise even for this table). Everyone calls through the blinds and the limpers. The flop is a very nice 494 rainbow. And the big blind bets $20. 2 callers and the hand on my right makes it $50. I have about $245 left. There is an all in in my near future. Now or next card is the only question. So I go for broke and wimp in with a call. The big blind takes it back to $100. A caller and the raiser on my right sulks and calls.
Before we go on - what do they have?
If someone has 99 I am dead or at least a zombie. Would 99 limp in? Or bet the way it went. If so she's gonna make some money here. My guess is AK or AQ are getting frisky. I sure hope so. I want to eliminate all the little pairs so I move all in. Two hands with AQ call.
That hand more than offsets a later strafing by AA over my KK. There were 2 limpers. I made it $35 and got 2 callers. Flop was QJ3 and one player called my $100. After some mental gyration I assumed he was in with an AQ or AJ. AJ most likely as AQ should have reraised so I bet into QJ3Q and get another call of my second $100. Hmm. Unless a K comes I am done. Luckily the AA also checks behind me and is happy to win. Aces. Oh well. The second Queen spooked him and saved me lots of chips. Was this an overplay? Maybe. AA played it pretty well.
Would an AJ really have called the second hundred bet? AA, AQ, KQ and Qx all torture the dog on a hand that only beats AJ. Not my finest moment.
A really nice play would be to smell out the Aces. Checking on 4 th street is ok but may lose more money to a $200 bet on the river. Think on this one. KK with AA behind you is tough to deal with unless an A comes to the board.
AK v. 99 on a flop of J 10 x. I have the AK of course. And grossly overplayed all in on the flop called by 99. For just a second my control went. And I misread the player. And all went to hell.
The wolf outplayed the grandma. There is little forgiveness at no limit, cash or tournament. One bad play ruins hours of good play. How to avoid the bad one?
The old standby - do not bet when you will only be called by hands that beat you.
Observation - Joe Hachem was murdering the cash games taunting players to call the World Champ. “Go home and tell your friends you were busted by the world champ”. This comes right out of Caro's book where he says babbling induces bad calls. Be not taunted into a call unless you have the nuts. There is no glory in being busted by anyone for any reason. If you really feel otherwise please email me your table location.
I usually hate money management nonsense. But I saw several players at a $500 buyin max table build up a stack of $2000 and lose it all back quickly. Maybe that is the time to “lock up” a profit, leave and come back at the small buy in. Or just leave. Wins do become losses but I really hate that.
9000 players, ninety million dollars. Worth a look. And made my first sports bet of the 21 st century. 150 to 1 on the Vince Young Titans to win it all. Go Vince. Wuf.
this and other strategy in the Lizard Lounge.