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Training Wheels

I stuck to my guns and spent last night away from the poker tables. It felt good to have a relaxing evening. And I probably saved myself quite a bit of money given the way that I've been playing as of late. I think another couple nights of video games and I'll be ready to hit the tables again.

I still plan on sticking with the $100 NLHE for a little while. But I do plan on making one change to my game. I'm going to buy-in for the maximum instead of showing up with a half-stack. I've found myself wondering whether playing with only 50 BBs has had some strange side-effects on my poker game.

For one, has it made me far too willing to get all my money in? It's one thing to push when I find myself playing a pot with a favourable stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) with a Villain. It's a different story when I find myself pushing top pair too hard in a pot with an SPR of 6-8 against a tight or smart opponent.

I've also found myself having to lay down far too many pocket pairs pre-flop due to poor implied odds. When you've only got 50 BB, even a standard raise of 4 BB leaves very little leeway in terms of implied odds. This is especially true when your opponent tends to c-bet quite often while also refusing to play big pots.

Looking over my stats for the past couple weeks, I've noticed myself losing far less money while playing a little deeper. I'm a little more cautious when it comes to committing to pots. At the same time, I'm a little looser pre-flop and more willing to give action when I have position and a favourable SPR given the effective stack size and the opponent.

I guess I'll have to wait until Friday night to see what happens when the training wheels come off. If I happen to take a big fall, be sure to check out The Greedy Gamer for an increase in video-game related posts.


Anonymous said...

Hi Klopzi
Ive read your last post twice today trying to get my head around a few of the things youve written about. - maybe i should have done a bit more research on them - SPR and playing a short stack.
I really dont see playing a short stack as an advantage because when Im playing against them myself i sit back and let their agression and stack manouivering run into my real hand. Sure it might take a while but sooner or later most of them get picked off. Im usually pissed if someone gets them before me.
As for SPR - i just dont get this concept. Playing a smaller stack ( as you implied ) means you have less manouverability in a big hand and at the end of the day gives you less fold equity. At the end of the day the best hand wins and it really doesnt matter what your SPR is ( isnt it better not to through good money after bad?
What am i missing here? Im not being a smart arse - i'm interested in what you have to say as like you im trying to learn -

Regards Darrus- Good luck Friday!!!

Klopzi said...

Darrus -

One thing that many starting NL players do is fold too much. They know that going broke with TPTK is bad and they know that playing pocket pairs is good because sets are good.

The truth is that how you play your hand depends greatly on the stack-to-pot ratio. SPR is calculated by comparing the pre-flop pot-size to the remaining effective stack size.

A solid short-stack NLHE player can effectively cancel most advantages that his opponents may hold such as skill and position.

To keep things short, I'll just say that most of what you've heard regarding short-stacked NLHE play is patently false. Most NLHE players would do much better if they simply played short instead of buying in for 100 - 200 BB.

If you would like to examine this further, I highly recommend reading Professional No-Limit Hold 'em (Vol. 1). I'd also recommend looking through my archives for the past few months to see how effective short-stacked play can be when used correctly.