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Showing posts with label low limit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label low limit. Show all posts

Saturday, April 24, 2010

You people suck at poker. I mean that in a nice way.

Over the last few days I’ve been playing micro limit sit-n-go single table tournaments at PokerStars and have encountered some pretty horrible play.  Stuff like people calling off half their stacks with small pocket pairs when the blinds are low or seeing four or five people all-in preflop where there isn’t immediate pressure to play. 

On some level you’d expect this.  I mean, the stakes are very low and that is enticing to new players who want to get their feet wet and play some poker bingo.  The thing is nowadays with people multi-tabling ring games and sit-n-gos 10, 20 or even more tables at a time, there is profit to be made at the very low levels and so I also expect to see a fair number of average to good players sitting as well and so far I’m not seeing it.

One no limit hand happened recently that illustrates what I’m talking about.  This is early in the sng, blinds are $20-$40 and everyone is still within +-$200 of their initial $1500 in chips.  The UTG player and UTG+1 limp and I look down at KK and make a large raise to $150.  MP2 and the CO calls and the button raises all in (!).  I call (I have the button covered by about $100 chips) and MP2 and the CO both also call the all-in.  The cards are shown and MP2 shows A5o, the CO shows Jh 8h and the Dealer shows Ad 9d.  I’m still feeling pretty good until the flop comes 799.  A ten on the river gives the CO the best hand and he takes down half the chips on the table.  Why anyone was in that hand after I raised is a mystery but if you find yourself at a table like that it’s important to make a couple of adjustments.

Plan on being called

When you have a good hand bet it or better yet, overbet it.  You are playing against people who might check down to the river but who will also call off their entire stack to see what cards are coming.  A great time to make a big bet is on the turn when they only have one card to come on their draws.

Don’t get fancy

Connected to the above point, your fancy play isn’t going to work.  Don’t try a squeeze play against people who won’t lay down their hands!

Make value bets

Don’t give away free cards on any street and that includes the river.  If they are passively calling they may have your second pair beaten but there’s a very good chance that they are on a draw/holding an underpair.  They will pay off a river bet if there’s any way they can imagine you don’t have a hand.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Kickin’ back at Doyle’s Room for some micro limit Texas Holdem

Come on down and sit with me (LowLimitBlog) for some low stakes action!
4-6-2010 6-05-42 PM
The action is pretty loose here and I think part of the reason is that Doyle’s Room is using the Cake poker network which means most heads-up displays and poker stat programs don’t work here.  For me it’s one of the closest things to playing live at least in terms of the action from the players.  For example I have seen 72 at a showdown and the owner of that fine hand wasn’t in one of the blinds!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Limit Holdem: Making Fewer Mistakes Part 2 (Bad Draws)

In the first part of this article I talked about making fewer starting hand mistakes in Limit Holdem which isn’t as simple as playing aces kings and ace-king only.  The next most common mistake limit players make is continuing on the flop and turn with bad draws.

What is a bad draw?

A bad draw is a draw that will not win enough money when you win to offset your current and future contributions to the pot when you lose. 

30752590A beginner’s approach to this is to look at the pot odds for a draw compared to your odds of making that draw with one card.  For example if you can call a bet for $10 and the pot already has $100 in it then the pot is laying you 10:1 odds, therefore if the odds of making your draw are less than 10:1 the you should call and if they are greater you should fold.  Pot odds has some flaws, namely:

  1. It doesn’t take into account future action on the hand.  With some draws you are more likely to get paid off on the river (or even have your opponent raise you) when you make your hand.  This concept is called implied odds and basically means comparing your total contribution to the pot when all cards are dealt to the final (obviously estimated) amount of the pot.
  2. It doesn’t take into account the times that you make your draw and still lose the hand.  This concept is called reverse-implied odds.  A common example of this is drawing to a flush that isn’t ace-high (a non-nut flush draw).  Sometimes one of your opponents will have a larger flush draw and you will end up paying extra bets on the end when you make your draw.  Other common examples are drawing to non-nut straights or drawing to a hand like two pair (sometimes your opponent will have a set or even a full house when you make your hand)
  3. Many players don’t see all of the draws available to them in order to more accurately estimate their chances of winning when all the cards are dealt.
  4. The way you play the hand (perhaps by raising instead of calling) can affect not only your likelihood of winning the hand but also the amount of money that ultimately goes into the pot.

So ok that is a lot to think about and being able to accurately estimate the amount the final pot size and how much you’ll have to invest to get there is a skill that requires experience, however there are some mistakes that people make in limit holdem that are so bad they are quite easy to identify and take advantage of:

Mistake #1: the inability to lay down a pocket pair, especially in non heads-up situations

You’ve definitely seen this one if you’ve played any amount of limit Holdem…  There are certain players that absolutely cannot fold pocket pairs regardless of how unlikely they are to win.  You will see people call down to the river with pocket tens while the flop is Ace King Four against three opponents.  The general rule of thumb for pocket pairs is that you want to flop a set and in most cases if you do not you should fold your hand.  If your pocket pair doesn’t give you 1) a set, or 2) an overpair or 3) the high end of an open ended straight draw then in almost all cases you should abandon it on the flop vs. more than one opponent.

Mistake #2: weak straight draws while there is a flush draw on board

If there is a flush draw on the flop then you only want to be drawing at the top end of an open ended straight draw and even then you should often abandon this hand if there aren’t enough people in the pot.   You will notice some people that will draw with the bottom end of a gutshot straight draw when there are only one or two people in the pot.  You need to first mark these people with a little green dot in your poker client and then you need to take advantage of them by betting your stronger draws and made hands consistently against them.

Mistake #3: non-nut flush and straight draws heads up.

30424363When you are in small pot situations and you don’t think there’s a decent chance your hand may be best right now it is often correct to dump many draws when you are playing heads up (for example the button raises and you are the only caller in the big blind).  Usually the flop call is correct and the turn call is incorrect if your opponent has a better made hand than you do (when drawing to a nut flush, for example, your ace high alone may give you the best made hand).  In these situations it is a matter of knowing your opponent and what range of hands they are likely to play to know if you should abandon your hand or play it more aggressively if there’s a decent chance you can get them to lay down a better hand than yours.

If you have a simple draw and decide that drawing (check/calling) is the correct move then you should often draw on the flop and fold on the turn if you haven’t improved and if your draw has less than 10 outs.  Keep in mind you may have other outs besides your main draw.  In a heads-up situation, for example, your ace may be good if you are drawing to the nut flush.

Mistake #4: Drawing with less than six outs with one card to come.

It is almost always wrong to draw to a gutshot straight draw or worse (most common worse draw is hoping to hit a set with a pocket pair) on the turn.  It is a rare pot that is SO huge that you can afford to chase your hand in this situation.  You’ll be plugging a big leak if you can get out of hands in this situation.


If you can learn to take advantage of other people making these four mistakes and avoid making them yourself you will see an immediate improvement in your limit results.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jackpot Share

I won a share of the UltimateBet jackpot about a week ago. I was sitting at one of the $0.50/$1.00 Limit Holdem jackpot tables and someone at another table (but at the same limit) hit it so everyone not at that table got $260 and some change, which in terms of the limit we are sitting at is ... well it's 260 big bets. The bad beat of this story is that I wasn't sitting at more than one table (which I usually am) because you get a share for every table you are sitting at...

I've been playing quite a bit of low limit Holdem at UB the last few weeks and trying to improve my multi-tabling. So far the most I can do halfway reasonably is about six tables and that is without paying all that much attention to individual players. It just blows my mind that there are people out there that multitable 20 tables at a time. I'm wondering how that works, exactly, as I'd have trouble hitting 20 different buttons when it is my turn to act...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I can dodge bullets, baby!

Sometime around about the fifth of the month I got the idea in my turtle brain to try to qualify for Full Tilt's "Iron Man", which involves getting 200+ Full Tilt Points at least 25 days out of the month. Naturally I picked the last possible moment to attempt this trick if I don't miss a single day. Compound that with not really having the bankroll to effectively multitable at a respectable ($3-$6+) limit and you've got the makings for a Saturday Night Live "Bad Idea Jeans" skit... ("Sure I don't have a condom, but when's the next time I'm going to be in Haiti?")

Up until now I've managed to stretch my meager bankroll at Full Tilt and earn the requisite points from the 5th through the 13th (and since the clock has rolled over midnight I am currently sitting at a $2-$4 table listening to hate-chat and grinding through points). They definitely call it iron man for a reason--even though getting 200 points is very easy to do in a single day it is quite the marathon to try to do it every single day of the month without exception.

Why you little @&#*@*&#*^@$^*@$#

With all these time at the Full Tilt tables it is very noticable that some of the players there can be some of the rudest folk at times. Of course that is why there is a mute option but it makes you think about how casually people say things on the internet that they would not try for a second in person and about something as silly as a $20 pot. Some people really do enjoy the humor of the rail hecklers, though, so to each his own. If you do run into someone who is chatting as an observer that you would like to mute you can right click on any chat line they've said and go to player notes for them, and then mute their individual chat. It's a great way to get the rest of the table hating them because you won't be responding (because you cannot hear them) and the railbird flamer will only be irritating everyone else.

I'll post at least one more update on how the Iron Man thing went this month, but in the mean time if you want to come heckle me you know where I'll be playing and what my turtle's name is...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Live Low Limit 2007

For the last few years most of the poker I've played has been online. Even though I'm a Southern California local and there are a half dozen poker rooms within a half-hour drive it is still more convenient (and less rake, and no dealer tipping) to play online.

The last week, though, I've wanted to get back into the live game and see what changes if any there are in the low limit arena. I played a total of about 30 hours at the following limits: $2-$4, $3-$6, $6-$12 and $9-$18.

Much of what was true in 2000 (when Low Limit Holdem Strategy and Tactics first appeared) is still true today about these tables. They're all very loose and many are very passive.

The difference now vs then is a slight reduction in the number of people that will see the flop, especially at the limits above $3-$6. While it's still very common to see 5, 6, or 7 people see the flop in the past there were many tables where every single person would see the flop almost every single hand. In terms of the starting hands for these loose/passive games that are listed on LLHSAT I'm considering a couple of revisions the most notable is to drop the unsuited connectors from the late position list of hands and perhaps some slight tightening in early position.

The drop (which is how the local cardrooms handle rake) ranges from $3 to $6 every single hand (!) at the low limits ($1 of the drop is for the jackpot and the rest is a fixed amount--unlike online rake which varies according to the pot size). What makes it possible to overcome this astounding charge is how badly many live players play both pre and post-flop (calling with 3, 2, and in many cases 0 outs to the best hand after the flop). If you haven't dipped your toes in the live poker action water it's definitely worth doing if only for the experience.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Leaving Low Limit

The strategy described on Low Limit Holdem Strategy and Tactics www.lowlimitholdem.com including the starting hand selections is, at its core, not a low limit strategy at all. After all, the cards don't know what limit you are playing... A 1 cent table is exactly the same as a $10,000 table in terms of the rules, the cards, the odds and so on.

The reason the site was named "Low Limit" is that at the time table conditions at live poker rooms (the kind you actually go to in person and sit down) at games in the low limit range ($1-$2 through about $9-$18) were ideal for playing lots of good multiway hands. Essentially these were loose games where many people saw the flop and then, because the pot was large from all the pre-flop callers, continued on past the flop too far with very weak hands.

Now, in 2007 at the end of an unparalleled explosion in the popularity of poker which was thanks almost entirely to the World Poker Tour and its televised final tables with hole card cameras, it is more and more difficult to find this sort of extremely loose table online at the low and "micro" limits.

One of the reasons for this is that there's been a lot of poker education and access to good general poker advice from professional poker players. There's also the fact that most new poker players severely underfund their poker playing efforts and then play an extremely tight game to try to minimize their variance.

The strange truth online is that the looseness of the tables actually increases as you raise limits from micro to low to middle limits at most cardrooms. You're more likely to find loose conditions described on our main site at a $3-$6 to $10-$20 table than you will at a $0.50-$1 to $2-4 table.

Your goal as a money winning poker player should be to increase the limit you play at. This is not just to take advantage of the looser behavior mentioned above, but also (and very importantly) to minimize the impact of rake on your winnings. At most online cardrooms $3 is the maximum rake taken so a large pot of $100 at a $3-$6 table will generate the same amount of rake as a large $400 pot at a $10-$20 table but the percentage of the pot that is actually rake is much less. To maximize your profit you must continually strive to increase the limit you play at.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

WPT Legends of Poker

I got to watch a bit of the final day (before the final six tomorrow) action of the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker event at the Bicycle Club casino in Bell Gardens, California.

I wasn't there to play--at least not to play in the $5000 event--more as moral support for my significant other (SS) who was participating in the Ladie's Poker Party (first place would win a spot on the WPT Ladies Invitational event which is filming September 1st).

Before she went in to start her tournament we spotted Clonie Gowen and Evelyn Ng milling about and I was almost run over by Shana Hiatt and a small group moving with her (she would also be playing in the ladies event). Access to the final few tables of the WPT main event was suprisingly easy to get and I was able to watch Doyle Brunson and Jennifer Harmon play a few hands from my vantage. I didn't get to see any huge deciding pots or exciting races but I did get to see a lot of pots won without anyone ever showing a hand. Now that's good poker.

Pokerwise I did put in some obligatory time in the 3-6 holdem game and ended up a 10 big bet loser (the deciding hand was when my AA was cracked by 88 on the turn when his third 8 miraculously appeared) after three hours when SS was eliminated during the 5th blind escalation from her tournament when her all in with TT vs another player with 77 ended in tragedy when the person in question hit a 7 on the turn. She did pretty well and felt she was playing well the whole tournament and managed to eliminate Kathy Liebert with her JJ vs KL's 77.

I can definitely see the lure that the WPT has brought to poker. The air of the poker room was charged with excitement and it was pretty neat to be surrounded by celebrities (even if they are "just" poker celebrities). If you get a chance to participate in a WPT event (or even just railbird one for a little while) I highly recommend it.