Jun. 6th, 2008

Poker Goss

Jun. 6th, 2008 12:37 pm
peterbirks: (Default)
I hardly ever go to the Poker Forums these days (although visits in the past couple of days indicated that I've missed very little); my visits to 2+2 are infrequent; and yet I remain perversely interested in what is going on in the World Series. Why should a penny ante $2K tournamment in Vegas sponsored by a bunch of twats be of interest when an online tournament worth five times as much doesn't interest me at all? Darned if I know.

Top post from Andy Ward in Secrets of the Amateurs about different styles and the sizes of raises needed in certain types of tournament. His thoughts are equally applicable to cash games and, indeed, I had come to similar conclusions as him -- I just didn't want to make them public! I had been wondering why I had been performing poorly in looser "better" games relative to my performance in what conventional wisdom describes as "bad" games. I had assumed that I just did better against a slightly better player, because against these players you can narrow their range more accurately.

However, Andy pointed out another factor -- that in these types of games you aren't looking to take down lots of small pots uncontested -- indeeed, playing that way will cost you money. You focus instead on building the big pots (by raising slightly less pre-flop) in multi-wayers, cutting down on your proportion of c-bets, and, in essence, betting for value.

"Betting for value" is a fairly small part of the game on wet Wednesday afternoons online. Those grey afternoons are about chipping away, knowing whose reraise from the blind might cave to a three-bet, knowing who won't go away. And generally taking small pot after small pot and hoping that these outweigh the big ones that go wrong.

Against the looser callers heads up its more a matter of making sure that they don't have the implied odds and accepting a stack-off if it goes wrong.

Of course, I've probably parpahrased Andy slightly wrongly there, because I'm brining my own earlier thoughts to the matter. But it would explain a great deal of why some players "hate" those weak-tight full-ring games (because they are looking for stack-offs, big pots to outweigh gradual small losses from blinds and speculative limps that go nowhere) while others are less comfortable with the games full of "players" (because they are used to a steadier game of raise, CB, take pot or raise, CB, fold to reraise).

I've been playing in a few looser games of late and I have lowered my raise sizes in an attempt to practise my post-flop play. Currently it's not going badly, but I've also introduced a few other factors. The bad news is that I've broken even for the past two months. The good news is that I am back to my all-time high and I am happy with my game at the moment.

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