But then I got the famous signal of battery low", at which point the camera stopped functioning. I took this as a sign. That sign being that the battery was low. So, no pictures today, or before next Tuesday, as I am now parked at home ready to resume my hermit-like and definitely nowhere near Central London-like existence for three days.
Three plumbers (well, one plumber and his two mates) are coming to install a new boiler tomorrow, to power flush all eight radiators, to fix thermostats on said radiators, to remove the external timer, and generally to cost me a fortune, in return for which I hope to have a Rolls Royce of boilers and a fully functioning central heating system. This winter I might get air-conditioning installed. I guess it's cheaper to get that done when the temperature is on the low side.
Grubby is Leaving Las Vegas, heading to Chicago. A good move for Grubby, a lovable guy but clearly a gambling freak. Las Vegas is not a good place to live if you are a gambling freak. But the way he describes what is happening to LV at the moment almost makes me want to be a part of it (and, hell, I'm not a gambling freak). Three "urban villages" (good name for them) on the strip, in the gaps between Monte Carlo and Bellagio, the gapt to come between Paris and the Venetian, and between Fashion Mall and, well, possibly the Stratosphere, will transform the Strip from a gambling mecca to a place focused more on shopping, eating and residents. Robert Silverberg's Towers of Glass are set to become reality.
I'm playing well at the moment. I've really gritted my teeth, focused on making every decision one that I think is positive EV and, if in doubt, getting out early. This has inevitably led to me dumping the more speculative hands that I would often play if things were normal (i.e., I was winning as much as I expected to be winning). Because my reputation is somewhat looser than the way I am playing at the moment, I am getting paid off with my hands and winning. Unfortunately, just as Laggy play eventually catches up with you when people spot that your raising values are thinner than they had previously thought, so this tight style catches up with you when people realize that you aren't playing as loose-aggressive as you used to.
This is a good advertisement for the "mix it up" advice given in most good poker books, but the timetable for mixing it up is probably different from that given for live play.
It looks to me as if there is something like an eight-week window (and this is with me playing every day) before opponents in sufficient number get to categorize you correctly. At this point, some kind of shift is a good idea. This doesn't have to be a massive shift. You could, for example, move from 19% VPIP with 13.5% raises to 16.5% VPIP and 12% raises, and then to 18% VPIP with 8% raises. These apparent small shifts in percentages are quite significant enough to throw off your regular opponents. For the here-today-and-gone-tomorrow fish, you will still win roughly the same amount off them.
I had a little think about a common situation that I come across in my games.
You get AK in middle position and raise first in. It is passed round to the Big Blind who calls. The flop comes something like Q74 rainbow, and the Blind bets out, making the pot worth 2.5 big bets.
You can quite logically call, fold or raise here and each is correct in certain circumstances.
However, in the games that I am playing at the moment, with a number of weak-tights, this bet usually means a medium hand, probably a pair of Queens, but perhaps something like a pair of sevens with an ace kicker. For the sake of argument, let's assume that this is what our opponent has.
If I raise here, let's assume for mathematical simplicity that opponent will flat call the flop, turn and river with his Queens. He might, just might fold the middle pair if I keep betting at him and if some marginal scare card appears on the turn or river. If I raise the flop and check a rag turn card, he is likely to bet his queens for value on the river unless an ace or a king appears.
If I call here, opponent will bet the turn and will continue betting so long as an ace or king does not appear on turn or river.
If I fold, my expectation for the hand is zero.
So, the question is, how often should I raise with my AK to represent AA, KK or QQ? Clearly not 100% of the time, and clearly not 0% of the time. But what is the "saddlepoint" where it does not matter if my opponent calls me down or folds?
John Fox covers this kind of situation (for Draw poker when you are pulling for a flush) in some detail, and I could probably work it out (very slowly) for the above parameters. But you don't need a precise number here.
In this situation, I will have AA, KK AQ or QQ, 23 times. I will have JJ down to 88 (quite within my raising range here) 24 times. I will have AK AJ or AT, 72 times. I will have some other kind of hand about 20 times.
That gives us about 140 hands, of which only just over 14% really frighten my opponent (if he has Queens) and 28% of them will frighten him if he has the middle pin. Let's assume he has the Queeens twice as often as the middle pin. That gives us an average of 18% of hands frightening him (i.e., beating his hand) and 82% of hands not beating him.
So, assuming we always raise him with the 18% of hands that beat him (meaning that I raise with the big pairs all the time, and I raise with the smaller pairs 88 to JJ about half the time), how often should I raise with my AK, AJ or AT when I have that instead? Well, roughtly, I want to raise with the AK AJ or AT about the same number of times, so that, as far as my opponent is concerned, it's 50:50 that I am beating him or not. Since I will have the AK and AJ or AT (or some other hand that does not beat him) about 82% of the time, that means I should raise with it 18/82 times, or about 22%.
Shoving those numbers roughly into my head, I reckon that means that I should fold any of the hands where I think I am behind apart from the AK, and that I should raise with the AK about two-thirds of the time. Then, assuming the turn is a rag, I should check behind half the time and continue betting half the time. The same principle then applies on the river.
Note, I would only apply this given the parameters given at the start. If there is a significant possibility that the blind is betting out with air, in an attempt to get your AK, AJ or AT to fold, then you have to increase the percentage of times that you raise. By how much should this percentage be increased? That depends on the chance that your opponent is betting with air. However, once you get to $10-$20 or above, there's a much higher chance that the bet out will be with air. At these levels, the decision becomes significantly more player-dependent. Multi-tabling at $2-$4, you can get away with applying a more general algorithm.