Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lowering my standards

When I was first getting into poker I would watch the world-class players in the WSOP and be stunned at the monstrous final table pots they would win with comparatively terrible hands! I simply couldn't understand how they could raise their opponent on the river with a measly top pair 6 kicker, or call an allin with 2nd pair and a gutshot. Today, I still find the level of play just as awesome, but I understand it a little more. The pros play against their opponents range of hands, and that more often than not means they have to lower their calling and raising standards.

I have been playing more $5/10 games over the last month, and been finding that in order to be a winning player at this limit I have to be willing to get all my money in a lot lighter than I'd like: often with no more than a simple pair. There is a much greater focus on your opponent's playing range, which is calculated from observing their image, position and any other pertinent tendencies.

I have included two examples of me doing just this, and in them my reads are luckily correct. I put a fair amount of stock in the timing tell of my opponent in the first hand, especially on the turn. In the second hand I was playing mainly against my opponents position and current playing style, and the likelihood of hands these factors dictated.

Winston Salem ($5/10 No Limit Hold'em) 3-handed

Villain1 is at seat 0 with $485.
Hero is at seat 2 with $2508.
joazou is at seat 3 with $0 (sitting out).
Villain2 is at seat 5 with $1208.
The button is at seat 0.

Hero posts the small blind of $5.
Villain2 posts the big blind of $10.

Hero: 9c Kc

Villain1 raises to $35. Hero calls. Villain2

Flop (board: 6c 2d Kd):
Hero bets $60. Villain1 raises to $120.
Hero calls.

Turn (board: 6c 2d Kd 3d):
Hero checks. Villain1 bets $320. Hero
raises to $640. Villain1 goes all-in for $330.
Hero is returned $310 (uncalled).

River (board: 6c 2d Kd 3d 5h):
(no action in this round)

Hero shows 9c Kc.
Hero has 9c Kc 6c Kd 5h: a pair of kings.
Villain1 shows 7s 7h.
Villain1 has 7s 7h 6c Kd 5h: a pair of sevens.

Hand Summary:
Hero wins $979 with a pair of kings.

Hand at Yonkers ($5/10 No Limit Hold'em) 5-handed

cprease is at seat 0 with $1237.
Villain2 is at seat 1 with $1338.
Hero is at seat 2 with $1104.
IanMacLeod is at seat 3 with $1088.
IwillBUSTu is at seat 4 with $1687.50 (sitting out).
fishenvelope is at seat 5 with $774.70.
The button is at seat 1.

Hero posts the small blind of $5.
IanMacLeod posts the big blind of $10.

Hero: 9h 8h

fishenvelope folds. cprease folds. Villain2 raises
to $35. Hero re-raises to $115. IanMacLeod
folds. Villain2 calls.

Flop (board: 7d 5h 9d):
Hero checks. Villain2 bets $160. Hero
raises to $450. Villain2 goes all-in for $1223.
Hero goes all-in for $989. Villain2 is returned
$234 (uncalled).

Turn (board: 7d 5h 9d Ad):
(no action in this round)

River (board: 7d 5h 9d Ad Kd):
(no action in this round)

Villain2 shows 8s 8d.
Villain2 has 8d 7d 9d Ad Kd: flush, ace high.
Hero shows 9h 8h.
Hero has 9h 8h 9d Ad Kd: a pair of nines.

Hand Summary:
Villain2 wins $2216 with flush, ace high.

Obviously I got unlucky in the second hand, but my read could just as easily have been wrong and I could have been behind to an overpair. Even so, I still would have been happy with my play and still would have outs for the times I was behind and got called.

EDIT: I know I've posted like 1 post this month, but I've been getting despondent about my game and this has been spilling over into my blogging. I'm sorting things out though and getting back into a routine, which will hopefully be incorporating regular blogging very soon. Good luck all, especially those who've also been having a hard time recently. Believe me, I truly sympathise when the going gets tough...


Fuel55 said...

I am sure I have made these same remarks before too. Bluffing increases at higher limits and you have to have a counterstrategy or you will get crushed.

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Good to see you moving up in the levels. Good luck!!!!

SubZero said...

Thanks Alan, gonna need it I think! Hope your own game is progressing once more, sounds like it's been rough for you lately.