Sunday, May 28, 2006

I should have switched to NL earlier. My results have been amazing. Ok, I'm not winning at a rate that some top players achieve, nor am I playing particularly high (online 400NL, live 2/5 or 5/10), but coming over from essentially 2+ solid years of limit play, my bottom line results are so beautiful they make me want to cry. Why? They're almost all black. 90% black, 10% red. Sure the numbers themselves are smaller, but I'm not sure I'm giving up much if any total expectation. I mean, I might win $X playing NL whereas I'd win $5X playing limit, but the next day playing NL I'd again win $X, whereas I'd lose $3X playing limit. End result is $2X for each, but I'm in a much happier mental state having played the lower-variance NL.

I looked back on my occasional NL play when I was still primarily a limit player, so before about two weeks ago. 8 of 9 live sessions were in the black, as were 6 of 7 online sessions, with the one losing session a whopping minus six bucks. Last year I was a goober and didn't keep track of online very well, but in live play I was 17 for 19 in the positive playing NL.

This week playing only NL I had a great week. Sure, it's one week. Yes, I know about sample sizes. I'm not "counting" on anything yet. But I do know that if this week does become typical, I will have matched my average weekly win playing fairly big limit games, online 20/40 and 30/60, and live 80/160 and occasional 100/200. I'm sure I have yet to see all the ugliness NL can offer, but so far I'm very, very happy with my switch.

That's not to imply I find NL easy by any means. I'm still faced with tough decisions on a regular basis. My biggest problem is when I have QQ or JJ and someone else is representing a bigger hand. So far I've taken the "safe" approach, but I'm not sure. Here are a few examples.

(In each of the first two hands, my opponent is a very good player for the level. The third hand, my opponent is described afterwards.)

Hand #1:

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $4 BB (5 handed)

Button ($394)
SB ($3618.13)
BB ($394)
Hero ($763.14)
MP ($1689.73)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with Qh, Qd.

Hero raises to $12, MP raises to $35, 3 folds, Hero calls $23.

Flop: ($76) 5s, 7h, Ts (2 players)

Hero checks, MP bets $54, Hero raises to $150, MP calls $96.

Turn: ($376) 7d (2 players)

Hero checks, MP checks.

River: ($376) Js (2 players)

Hero checks, MP bets $200, Hero folds.

Final Pot: $576

Results:
MP doesn't show.
Outcome: MP wins $576.

Hand #2:

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $4 BB (6 handed)

SB ($546.08)
BB ($682.64)
UTG ($519.84)
Hero ($801.60)
CO ($91.10)
Button ($379.92)

Preflop: Hero is MP with Qd, Qc.

1 fold, Hero raises to $12, 1 fold, Button raises to $42, 2 folds, Hero calls $30.

Flop: ($90) Js, 3h, 6h (2 players)

Hero checks, Button bets $75, Hero calls $75.

Turn: ($240) 9c (2 players)

Hero checks, Button bets $262, Hero folds.

Final Pot: $502

Results:
No showdown. Button wins $502.

Hand #3:

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $4 BB (6 handed)

UTG ($362.60)
MP ($231)
CO ($568.10)
Button ($399.40)
Hero ($404.55)
BB ($1165.48)

Preflop: Hero is SB with Jd, Js. Hero posts a blind of $2.

1 fold, MP raises to $15, CO calls $15, 1 fold, Hero (poster) raises to $53, 1 fold, MP folds, CO raises $553.10 (All-In), Hero folds.

Final Pot: $642.10

Results:
No showdown. CO wins $642.10.

The last hand I found most interesting because I'd never seen that play before. Call a raise from the CO, then when the SB re-raises, go all-in. I took up all my time thinking about that one, particularly because the CO in that hand had reason to be on tilt from recent hands. I've seen people call a raise then go all-in after a reraise behind them, and they've usually had a middle-pair, like 88 or 99, and relatively short stacks, like under $200. I've never seen someone do that against a blind's re-raise with such a deep stack, however. That definitely left me a bit bewildered.

8 Comments:

Anonymous duck said...

Why not put in a 3rd raise with QQ on each hand to define what you and the other player has? Is this a bad move? You can give them a chance to fold pre-flop for that re-raise.

7:41 AM  
Blogger eric said...

To be honest, duck, I don't know. OOP in NL is a tough spot to be in.

The problem I have with that play is that many players are willing to push with AK preflop, but are much more willing to let it go after the flop. If I reraise and he pushes, I have to lay it down, giving him credit for having either a huge edge with AA or KK or a coinflip with his AK.

Rather, I've been dedicating that same money I'd spend on a preflop reraise on making bets/raises on favorable flops, like in the first hand. If an A or a K falls I can get out (although I'd be folding some number of times to a guy with JJ/TT). If my hand is still an overpair I can C/R or lead for a large amount, at which point most AK's will fold, whereas AA or KK will hang around, meaning I can then stop putting any money into the pot.

So for the same price as a preflop reraise/fold to a push, I can see the flop. And rather than fold to all AK, AA and KK, for that same price I win the pot from that AK 2/3s of the time.

I'm not saying that's right, just saying that's how I've rationalized it to myself.

9:24 AM  
Blogger DrChako said...

Regurgitating old advice (I think I got it from you):

No one ever made any money by folding on the river.

Sure, it feels right to make a big laydown, but sometimes you have to make a stand. What you didn't say was how many other hands you played to the river. If you developed an image as someone who folds on the river, you will get pushed around.

That's exactly what happened to me the last time I played NL.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Evan said...

ROCKET!

2:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't that refer to limit?

9:18 AM  
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