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I Got Capped!

On the advice of a friend, I decided to start making game selection a part of my poker playing routine. Last night I checked out TableRatings.com and found a few juicy tables waiting to dump some chips into my bankroll. Surprisingly, Full Tilt had a bunch of great tables; Stars, Titan, and Party were all sidelined in favour of some easy games.

Did game selection help my results? In theory? Yes. In practice? Not so much. When the best games found were Full Tilt's $0.50/$1 Cap games, I had no idea what was in store for me.

Full Tilt's Cap games are pretty wild. Take six normal hold'em players, tell them that they can't lose more than $30 on any given hand, and watch the chips fly. With an effective stack size of only 30 BB, tight is right. You're looking to see a flop with a big pair or a blackjack hand and stack off with top pair hands, monster hands, and monster draws.

At Full Tilt's capped NL tables last night, things were a little different. Most pots had 4-5 players seeing a flop. With the potential of "stacking" two or more opponents per hand, it became right to start limping into a number of pots with many more hands including small pocket pair, suited 1-gap and 2-gap cards, and even suited Ax, Kx, and Qx hands.

Although I tried to raise a number of pots, many of my opponents happily called off as much as 8 BB pre-flop with any two cards. This led to many pots reaching showdown with my A-high or K-high taking down a 20 BB+ pot. Absolutely nuts. My only regret is that I wasn't quite prepared for the action when I first sat down. I got stacked three times (once with top pair and twice with pocket pairs) before I started to catch on.

My night culminated with the following hand. I can't really fault anyone for their play in this hand given the crazy action at the table. I should mention that only the Button in this hand seemed to be a rational, thinking player. The other two players had VP$IPs well over 60% and tended to stack off with some very weak holdings. It's also possible, however, that they'd simply altered their regular style of play to better suit the conditions at the table. I'll never know, I guess.

Full Tilt Poker
No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $0.50/$1
6 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $125.95
UTG+1: $69.15
Hero: $102.05
Button: $105.70
SB: $103.10
BB: $57

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is CO with 9♦ 8♦
UTG folds, UTG+1 calls, Hero calls, Button calls, SB calls, BB checks.

Flop: 7♦ 6♦ 3♦ ($5, 5 players)
SB checks, BB bets $3, UTG+1 raises to $6, Hero raises to $29, Button calls, SB folds, BB calls, UTG+1 calls.

Button shows 3c 3♠

BB shows A♦ T♣

UTG+1 shows K♦ 4♦

Hero shows 9♦ 8♦

(I'm in bad shape. Come on two outer!)

Turn: 4♣ ($121, 4 players)

River: 8♥ ($121, 4 players)

Final pot: $121

If I'd managed to hit my straight flush, I would have been up close to a buy-in for the night. Oh well, everyone played the hand well so it's no one's fault that I lost. It's got to be a rare situation to flop a flush, get all the money in against four players on the flop, and be in "last place".

All in all, I had a good session. Put in 400 hands which is a good bit of experience for me. Only lost 4 BB/100 which is good on the bankroll. And I had a lot of fun. I'll probably stay away from the Cap games for now since I'm enjoying playing full-stack poker. However, I think I have a new favourite poker game to play on my drunken poker evenings. The Cap games have to got to be more +EV for me than your average $10 sit-n-go.

Have a good one!

A quick PSA:

If you'd like to try Full Tilt's Cap games, I recommend getting a Full Tilt account via RakeTheRake. Rakeback is good. I paid $30 of rake while playing last night but I'll get a piece back at the end of the week. Although I make more money if you sign up for Full Tilt directly through me, I'd much rather have my readers invest in their long-term poker careers with a rakeback-enabled account.

For what it's worth, any money that I make by having you sign up with RakeTheRake does not affect the amount of rakeback that you'll earn (or any of the other crazy bonuses and freerolls on offer). My "cut" comes out of RakeTheRake's pocket: that's why RakeTheRake is the best rakeback site around!

For the record, the above statement is NOT an advertisement. RakeTheRake is probably the best thing to happen to me as a poker player, along with Professional No-Limit Hold'em and Small Stakes Hold 'em.

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