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Database is busted so...

I hope everyone loves these midday posts by me that contribute nothing to the poker community nor to the world in general. Still, if you're sitting at work right now waiting for a database to come online, then you might as well spend some time here. It's not like the firewall will let you do much else anyway...


First, I wanted to thank Anonymous and a comment he left earlier (I think I know who Anonymous is, but I'll protect his secret identity - suffice it to say that he's an up and coming poker player who's undoubtedly heading for bigger and better things).

If you recall, I posted two hand histories earlier today. One showed me playing the role of donkey when I overplayed my top pair, ok-kicker against a flopped set.

Anonymous's advice on this matter boiled down to two things:

  1. Limping in UTG with AJo is a weak play, especially when first sitting at a table with no reads.
  2. Flop bet was ok, turn bet was too big, river bet was over-ambitious.
I guess when it comes to playing NL, you really have to think about what your opponents are holding. It sounds obvious, but it's something I fail to do when I hold what I perceive to be a good hand.

I'm sitting there with my top pair, average kicker. Betting out on the flop was necessary - I needed to find out where I was in the hand. Two callers? Not so good. Callers meant one of two things: someone was drawing or someone was slowplaying.

When the turn came down as a blank (board didn't pair, 3-flush was not there yet, no straight was possible), it was ok for me to bet again. It's that bet that will show me if my opponents are drawing or are holding something.

I bet $5...a little on the big side for an information bet - $3 was suggested by Anonymous as a more appropriate bet.

$3 would have been large enough to say "I have a hand - stop drawing!" but not so big that I couldn't get away from the hand if someone had come back at me with the old "I've got the f*cking nuts!" re-raise.

When the bloated $5 turn bet got called by "Room 217", I'd basically been told that my top pair was no good. On the river, the appropriate play was to check-fold. I would have had to leave with my tail between my legs, but at least I would've still been in one piece.

Betting $5 into the pot on the river was akin to walking up to a grizzly bear and hitting it in the 'nads with a piece of fruit.

Luckily for me, I must have thrown a pineapple because the "grizzly" was intimidated by my aggressive stylings and decided to flat call me. Had he re-raised all-in, I would've folded - and I would've gone on major tilt.

As for the second hand, K-high flush vs. straight flush, I did get unlucky on the river when the 6 of spades fell. However, it was my own fault that I was still around on the river to get screwed over.

As Anonymous points out, when Mr. X bet out on the turn, I erroneously called with my two "under-cards" and K-high flush draw getting only 3.5:1 odds. I wasn't getting the odds to call and there were still people behind me to act, each of whom could have slowplayed the flop, picked up a flush on the turn, or held a set with redraws to the river boat.

I only thought about the fact that I had a flush draw - 4:1 odds. In reality, my number of outs was probably closer to 6 outs assuming that one opponent had the flush and another had a set and was drawing for the boat. On top of that, my implied odds were terrible at this point. Even if I managed to hit my flush, I would have likely had no callers on the river unless they could beat my hand.

Mr. V points out that had the river come down with an offsuit J, I could have lost a bit more with my gutshot broadway straight. I think that the outcome would have likely been the same...

Check out the comments from my earlier post if you'd like to read, word for word, what Anonymous wrote. I'm sure I've muddled something up in re-hashing his words.


Does anyone out there know how to play NL ring games? And does anyone have some form of "starting hands" cheat sheet?

I'm not that creative a poker player. I like to start off with a firm set of rules that I can then modify and expand upon as I get more comfortable with my game.

I know that pocket pairs = good due to the implied odds of hitting your set, but it's some of the other holdings that I'm unsure about.

If I try to follow my limit hold'em starting hands, I know I'll get burned. My big problem seems to revolve around what to do in a raised pot. If it's raised before me, what is a good hand to call or raise with? In limit poker, if someone comes in for a raise in front of me, I'm basically playing raise or fold at that point.

And if the pot is raised after I've limped into the pot, how big a raise should I call to see the flop? In limit poker, it's easy - you call any raise of 1 bet and fold to larger raises depending on reads (loose raiser) and cards (AA-QQ). In NL, you're never going to get raised by one BB - it's normally 4xBB to 10xBB.

Is this when the 5/10 rule comes into play? I'm not too keen on calling off 5% of my stack with a hand that was only worthy of a pre-flop limp. But I also don't want to get pushed off pots on every hand either - my PokerTracker stats must show I'm a push-over since I seem to get slapped around quite a bit at the tables.

Anyway, any advice or hints would be good. Feel free to send me an e-mail if you prefer to keep your trade secrets or thoughts more private.


Does anyone out there know of any free site monitors that will record site statistics for more than just the most recent 100 hits? I'd like to get a broader view of who's visiting my site...but I also don't want to pay for the privilege...I'm cheap...


Guess who sent me an e-mail the another night? Absolute Poker! It seems that they have deposited $10 into my account. Why? Because they love me, that's why!

I may take that $10 to a NL table and try to build it up before cashing out. I just know that I don't want to keep it there any longer than I have to: Absolute players kill my bankroll.

Still, props to Absolute for giving me free money! Hopefully it's actually there when I check my account tonight...


And Royal Vegas Poker...you have disappointed me thus far! Actually, my beef is with whoever is in charge of taking the $20 bonus that I earned a couple weeks ago and actually placing it in my account.

Hell, I'll even pop on over to Royal Vegas land and hit the deposit button myself if it'll speed things up. I know it's only $20 but a deal's a deal!

I've spoken with customer support on four occasions and they can't help me. First line support is made up of monkeys, the clinically depressed, and upper-management candidates. Of course, I mean no offense to first-line support people reading this...well, I guess there is a certain amount of offense meant...you poor, silly monkeys...


Anonymous said...

Regarding the $5 river bet. I think your opponent was most likely, thinking "oh shit what does this mook have that he's betting so hard with." Part of his decision to just call might be that he's thinking that if he's ahead, he's probabaly getting from you as much money as he would have if he was the aggressor, so he is satisfied with the pot-size. Weak, but not uncommon... I'm confident that at the higher levels he's raising the turn amd/or river. I guess if you were planning on calling off your stack to a re-raise, your bet was a good "blocking bet".

Anyway, that's not the main point of this comment. (But this hand is dear to me, cause the same thing happenned to me last to the tune of $50... I had AK, flopped the A, and he flopped a set. I bet, he called. Turn was safe, I bet again, he called. River didn't help, and I checked planning to fold, but when he bet, I just couldn't fold this one and called his bet... to see his set... yuk)

After plays like this, I'd love to be able to leave a note on all the players at the table. Something like "Saw me call off $50 with TPWK". A note either in pokertracker or on the site software. Making an individual note for all players on the site software is painful. Any idea/suggestion on how to do that?

I think for long term results, betting just-enough, will save/make you a lot of money in the long run. Two reasons for this.

First: when you are behind, you usually gain the same information as from betting more. So, in this example, you bet a about 8 big blinds (bb) more than you needed to (in my opinion). Imagine you make this type of overbet when you are behind every 500 hands.... that's 1.5 bb/100 you're losing out on. The fewer times a worse hand calls this doesn't make up for the losses.

Second (I think this becomes more important as your opponents become better): once you are playing with the same people for a long time, they will start paying attention to your betting sizes. When the players become tighter, there will be lots of opportunity to take pots on the flop with mediocre hands. If you have a tight image, you'll want to steal a pot every now and then, but you don't want to risk too much doing it, so you'll need to throw in your standard "hey everyone, I have a hand!" bet.

Regarding the second hand, I wouldn't say you had 6 outs. I wouldn't necessarily put anyone on the flush yet. But someone esle out there is at least drawing to one for sure (or close enough). So, let's say 7 outs. Still for 7 outs you need 5.5:1 odds or so. Good point by Mr. V on the J.

Regarding starting hands at the 25NL (without any reads). Outlining an entire strategy would take a book chapter, but roughly: any pocket pair, from anywhere is worth a call, as long as you have implied odds. (Don't call a $1 raise with 22 if there the aggressor only has a $1 left). If there is some maniac acting after me who often raises a lot, I tighten it up a lot and only play higher pairs. AXs is pretty good from anywhere too. Fold the weak ones to a strong raise, though unless you're getting at least 8:1 (odds of flopping a flush draw), and don't play them if you are expecting a raise. I like hands like JTs, QJs, and KQs also. JT more so than the other two. If there is a raise after you, JTs is less likely to be dominated.

Suited connectors from late position, and AXo with X>9 from late position, are worth playing.

I wouldn't follow the limit hands, because like you say, the raises can be large. (That's another reason I don't like AJo from EP). Next time you're playing, before you limp in from EP, ask yourself "Is this hand good enough to face a re-raise?" You'll find yourself folding the Kournikova (as Mr.V calls it) more often.

Klopzi said...

So the blocking bet is a real thing? I've used it a few times (y'know, bet $1 or $2 to prevent the $4 bet from opponent). I think my opponent was getting seriously worried that I'd limped with rockets or hit an unlikely straight. Or he was a rock...

I guess everyone messes up from time to time - it's how we learn not to do it again. Like touching a hot stove...

I'll continue to make the feeler bets and blocking bets as I see fit. My assessment of the various situations that come up should get better over time and my bet sizes should get better as well. Once I "get it", I'm sure it'll be fine...if I get it...

I'll take your suggestions for starting hands and re-read some of the NL books that I've got. Hopefully, I'll be playing the $50 NL and $100 NL games in no time.

Until then, I'm back to AbsolutePoker where I'm currently playing some $10 NL with the free $10 they gave me today ($30 in bonus tonight more than make up for my $15 drop yesterday).

Gotta love online poker...

Nick Christy said...

check out sitemeter they have pretty good stats, as does google analytics

Sitemeter will give you lots of information on your recent visitors, analytics will show you lots of cool charts and usefull in formation, I use both!

Klopzi said...

I use sitemeter right now, but google analytics is not accepting new users without invitation.

If you happen to have an invitation though, I wouldn't complain if you sent me one (klopzi@gmail.com).