Sunday, December 04, 2005

So, there I was, primed, rested and ready to play poker. My mind was sharp, body strong(-ish), and spirit willing. The tourney was coming to town, and I'd be there ready to tear up the side games.

Quoteth the poker gods: "Ahahahahahahahahahahaha...(big breath).....hahahahahahaha!"

So yeah, things haven't gone very well this month yet. This week started off well. Thursday night I went and had a very good night online, playing primarily 40/80 on Paradise. But then I went out to play live.

The 80 game at the Bellagio was much tighter and tougher than typical, but I was in the must-move game and the main game actually looked pretty good so I decided to tough it out. We slowly lost players and finally it got down to three-handed. It was me, an unknown but seemingly tough player, and another guy who's currently near the top of the CardPlayer player of the year standings. (Sorry, I don't mean to be so mysterious, but I'm not a big fan of name-dropping. Just trust me, he's way up there and quite good.)

So two tough, aggressive players and three-handed poker means sky-high variance. Let's just say that, despite my being first in line for the main game, I never quite made it there. As my one friend said--and I'm paraphrasing--"You sure are an expert at game selection." I think she was being sarcastic.

Friday would be better right? With my recent focus being more on online play, I decided I was too impatient to be playing live. So Friday and Saturday would be all online. Well, I went back to good ol' Party 30/60 and was having a tough time, and so what better to do then try an even higher limit? Party 50/100 here I come!

Yuck. Friday was a bad day.

Saturday couldn't be as bad as Friday, could it? You can go back and re-read the poker gods' above quote right now. Saturday would become my Worst Poker Day Ever. And believe me, that's quite an accomplishment.

All told, between when I decided to go play live Thursday night up until the last hour or so I played Saturday night (I made a small comeback that final hour) I had my worst poker run ever in terms of raw dollar amount, beating the old record by a factor of two, and my second worst run ever in terms of big bets.

But I'm not here to complain. I'm actually surprisingly quite chipper. Of course, that could just be the insanity.

But yeah, I played the Party 50/100! One of the things people always say about the difference between good and great players is that the better players are much better at hand-reading. While I'm sure there are quite a few excellent hand-readers at the Party 50 game, what surprised me was the mindless aggression displayed by a large fraction of the players.

I mean mindless. There is no attempt whatsoever on the part of many of these guys to even consider what you might have. It's bet, bet, bet, raise, raise, raise with no slowing down until the river. The way to tell someone actually has a hand is he'll check.

At most levels, the preflop raiser auto-bets the flop. Whatever the flop is, he's betting. At the 50 game? The preflop raiser is auto-capping. I wish I were joking. If they can, they're capping. I don't know how often the preflop raiser capped it against me and then folded to one bet on the turn. If you were to take their word for it, they have AA every single hand they play.

These guys are so mindless I could write a computer program to play exactly as they do. All I'd have to do make sure the program follows a few rules:

1) Raise, reraise and cap if you can: AJ+, 88+, any two suited broadway cards.

2) Raise, reraise, but don't cap, 22-77, any suited Ace, any two off-suit broadway cards. Cold-call with all if it's already been three-bet.

3) Fold: everything else.

4) Exception: your big-blind. Always defend, no matter what, no matter who raised, what your two cards are, or how many bets it is to you.

5) When defending, always check-raise the preflop raiser, and cap if you can. What the board is and what your cards are: irrelevant.

6) If you are the preflop raiser cap the flop if you can.

7) If heads-up: cap any pair on the flop, go to showdown no matter what with K-high or better.

8) If three-handed: cap middle pair or better on the flop, go to showdown with A-high or better.

9) Four+ players: cap top pair on the flop, go to showdown with any pair.

10) All flops, no matter how many other players: cap any flush draw, any straight draw.

11) If you have two overcards to the flop, call to the river. If you hit, you'll be good.

12) Only stop betting once you have a very strong hand. Check. Then you can check-raise.

13) If checked to, always bet. If check-raised, call down with K-high or better. He's bluffing.

14) Folding is for wimps. Why fold when you can cap?

So, you'd think with such mindless betting these games would be uber-profitable. Perhaps that's true, but that unfortunately has not been the case for me yet. But one thing's for sure: I will be back. I think I'll try playing more tonight, and I may even venture back out into live play again. Wish me luck. I'll need it.


Anonymous Evan said...

Clearly, the solution is check call. To reduce your variance.


11:00 PM  
Blogger eric said...

haha, yeah, the annoying thing is that the list I presented was pretty much how I'd been playing. But suddenly everyone else was playing the same way! Time to change up the game...

I played again tonight and did pretty well. I played a bit tighter and was more conservative postflop and got more respect. Suddenly people were actually folding to some of my bets. Which I guess isn't a good thing overall, but if it's guaranteed that they're going to suck out otherwise, I prefer it. Calling and missing >> folding >>> calling and always frickin getting there.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read an article in a London magazine that there is a new breed of bingo hold'em players hitting the tables.

Sounds like they are flocking to the Party 50 game :)

I'm sure you'll get they chips in the long run.

Best of Luck, Eric!

4:52 AM  
Blogger EstonB said...

Are Paradise games good E?

5:31 PM  
Blogger eric said...

I've found them quite good. Of course I've been running super hot there, so maybe my opinion is a bit skewed.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the .10/.20 games on Stars!

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