Missing in action ????

April 10, 2008

I need to take a few minutes to apologize to all my friends at Suited Jokers and the Skype crew.

I haven’t been around a lot lately.

There are a few reasons for this but mainly I just haven’t had the energy or drive for poker. In the last three weeks, I can probably count on one hand how many games I have played. As a matter of fact, I have probably played more live tournaments than on-line tournaments lately.

Add to that, I have been doing a lot of computer and network stuff at work so when I get home, the last thing I want to do is to sit at a computer again for a few hours.

For those of you who O-Game, I find it a little boring and the potential for weeks of work being lost, too high for me. Dog was gone one week, he cam back and BLAM, half his shit or more got blown up.

I have a feeling we are all in a little bit of a slump so to speak. Blog’s haven’t been written in a while, posting in the forum isn’t that high, no one is real excited for the next forum challenge, etc. It seems like everyone is just BLAH….

I think I need one of the infamous “Lippy nights”. Where we all get a little tuned up, play some cards, and laugh our asses off.

Maybe soon we can have one of those nights. I will know it’s a good one when I get evil looks from my wife cause I am being too loud and drinking too much. lol

Until then, I will be around. I lurk a little bit more now. I watch things but just don’t participate as much. Soon though, I can tell because if I wasn’t getting a little better, I wouldn’t be writing this.

Oh and Ash, good luck with the writers block. I think Blagz’ comment revolved more around the fact that you need to just sit down and write. The act of writing may help you organize your thoughts.

Good luck to all my Bud’s…see ya soon..

comments welcome..

 

The Art of Donkey Dodging

March 17, 2008

So, you take the game of Poker seriously. You are attempting to play the best way you know how and you are always searching to learn and improve. You are out there “in the trenches”, grinding it out at the lower limit tables trying to build your bankroll so you can move up and play higher level players to test your abilities to see if you can hang with the big boys.

If you are like most of us, you are going to run into a hitch in the plan. The hitch can be defined as the Donkey.

Typically, the Donkey is the one person you WANT at your table. Once you have identified them, they are your “bank” and they should be easy pickings.

This is the way it is supposed to go but…

NLHE, basically, is a game of probability. Certain combinations of cards have a higher rank than others. When you play NLHE, you bet that your combination of cards have a higher rank than the other players’ cards. If you are correct, you win.

Students of the game know these rankings and probabilities. The Donkey either doesn’t understand them or disregards them while playing.

This can be quite frustrating to the serious player as there is still an element of chance in this game. The Donkey can make an ill advised play totally against the odds but still become the victor in the hand. Probability dictates that this shouldn’t happen very often but when it does, it can sure raise your blood pressure.

Serious players usually do not have issues with someone calling a big bet with a hand that is at least worth playing and getting beat. The frustration comes in when the Donkey makes a totally bad call and wins when they shouldn’t have been in the hand in the first place.

Since you want Donkey’s at your table most of the time, why would you want to dodge them?

The ones we are trying to avoid here are the ones that can take you out of a Tournament or SNG with their stupid play.

As mentioned in other posts, there are at least 4 areas of Donkey play that you can not determine on line that you possibly could during live play.

They are drunkenness, boredom, tiredness, and having to leave the table. Being able to physically see someone at the table can give you information as to whether or not these factors are affecting the play. So, playing live can help remove these situations which can reduce your exposure.

It’s funny. Usually, the only time I hear BIG complaints about Donkey play is when the “good” player is taken out of the game by the Donkey. If you don’t get taken out, you mark that player or attempt to set them up so you can get all of their chips. So, what we need to look at there is how to avoid the Donkey from taking you out of the game.

I have a couple of things I employ to attempt to reduce my chances of this happening.

1. I think this is the biggest one – Try not to put your Tournament life on the line pre-flop. I see this happen all the time. A “good” player gets PP K’s and goes all in pre-flop. The Donkey calls with a Q 7 suited and hits a str8 and takes you out. Do not put too much faith in your hand pre-flop. One of the factors mentioned above could be in play or maybe a Q 7 suited is the Donkeys favorite hand. Either way, you are taking a big chance with 5 cards to come. I have found that for whatever reason, a raise of half their chips sometimes make more difference than going all-in. I think sometimes, psychologically, it is easier for a Donkey to call an all-in bet than it is to call a half the stack bet. I feel is has to do with the “what the hell” factor versus the “I am going to loose half my stuff” factor. Once the flop is seen, hopefully, there will either be an A or a K showing. This will reduce the Donkeys effectiveness at winning so they may be a little more hesitant to call an all-in bet. (not always, but sometimes).

2. Don’t try to trap a Donkey (remember, this is only when your tournament life is at stake, not during normal play). If you have the hand, don’t mess around. Bet it, get them to fold and walk away. Getting cute can get you in real trouble with a Donkey. If they are chasing a hand, they could hit and take you out.

3. Identification – Make sure you have properly identified the Donkey and try to avoid situations where you are committing all your chips against him. Avoid them until you are sure your hand is really strong.

4. Watch the table – If there are bigger stacks at the table and the Donkey has been quite obvious, sometimes you need to lay down a pretty good hand in the hopes that one of the bigger stacks will challenge the Donkey. Try to use the bigger stacks at your table to your advantage.

5. Blaming others – If you do get taken out, it’s ok to vent, but I have a problem when people blame the RNG (random number generator), the site (“I just took out money so the site is against me”) and all the other crap. YOU got yourself in a situation where YOU bet ALL your chips when there still was a chance for someone else to take you out. It’s a game of skill and chance. Sometimes, chance wins.

I am sure there are other techniques employed by you out there. I would like to hear them.

Let me know what you think.

As always, good luck out there and comments are welcome.

Confidence when playing on-line?

February 2, 2008

So, you are sitting there at home, staring at a computer screen playing poker. It’s a “you against the world” type of situation. No one can see you, most people who you play against don’t even know anything about you. Table presence is dictated by your play, not your personality or attitude at the table. So why then, does confidence play a factor?

First, I should explain that I think it makes a BIG difference. Big enough, in my opinion, that it can make the difference between “being on top” or “being in a slump”.

First hand experience has shown me that when I am NOT playing confidently, I can go out 6th or 5th in a 6 man SNG. When I am playing confidently, I make the money about every time. That’s a big swing huh?

If I am not confident in myself, you could see how a few games could put me “in a slump”.

If I am confident, watch out!

What does confidence do for you?

In my opinion, it adds an aspect to the game that isn’t there when you are playing on-line. As I mentioned earlier, no one knows you, you have no “presence” and tells are more difficult. The same applies to your opponents. You have less information to work with when determining your next course of action at the table. You have no body language, no physical tells, and no ongoing evaluation of opponents actions that you would normally see at a live table. Chatting on line is usually held to a minimum. So, finding out what people do for a living, how they react in situations and “small” talk  at the table is missing. This information can help you determine whether someone is naturally aggressive, tight, etc.

I think confidence in yourself and your abilities adds a subtle difference in your actions. Being able to properly evaluate your opponents hand based on limited information is a key factor. Being confident, means you normally don’t second guess yourself. Second guessing can lead to over analyisation and poor decision making.

Having confidence makes you more aggressive which is winning poker (see my thoughts on this in previous blogs).

Having confidence also makes the “big call” easier. The “big call” is the one hand you get involved in (I feel there are usually one or two hands in a game that will either make or break you) that puts you in a position to win.

I also think confidence helps in keeping you “up”. Suck outs happen. If they happen to a confident player, I feel, they tend to brush it off easier than someone who isn’t as confident. Knowing you went in with the best but still lost, won’t effect you as much.

The non-confident player will end up in the “death sipral” of complaining about getting sucked out all the time which will reduce their confidence. Reduced confidence will put them in more situations where suck outs can happen…so the cycle continues…. 

So, work on your self confidence. Try to evaluate yourself and really see where you are. Build it if it is low. Realize that sometimes, no matter what you do, you will lose. If you can tell yourself “I played the best I could” after a loss, you’re on your way. Make sure though, you look at what you did and try to find the place where you may have made a mistake and work on that aspect of your game.

Thoughts and comments welcome….

good luck on the felt

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Aggression – yes it can hurt your game…

January 10, 2008

I think there are quite a few players out there who have read the statement “aggressive poker is winning poker” and stopped right there.

Thinking they know everything there is to know, they go out to implement their new winning ways.

I am sure we have all seen them at tables. Constant pre-flop raising, firing at a pot, still firing when the flop isn’t favorable, etc.

It isn’t just aggression that wins. It’s smart aggression.

The players that play for aggressions sake (loose aggression) are the ones that build up a chip stack early but are out after a while (for those old PCS players, I only need to say one name, Dallas). If this happens to you (build a chip stack early but never make it to the final stages of a Tourny) and your style is aggressive, then this could be one of the reasons.

I love finding those people at the table. I eat them for lunch.

Here are a couple of tricks for playing the loose aggressive player.

Play tight – play good hands. The loose aggressive player bets at pots no matter what so give your self a chance of hitting a good hand.

Don’t chase – The loose aggressive player will keep betting so chasing a hand can cost you a lot of chips.

Be PATIENT – you need to wait for your opportunity. When it comes, you will earn a lot of chips.

Try a check raise – Check raising one way of determining if the player is loose aggressive. The typical loose aggressive player will keep betting until challenged. Once challenged, they will fold. But, be smart with your challenge. Don’t check raise when a 2 comes out on the turn. Wait until a high card hits or a str8 draw presents itself. Be careful though, the loose aggressive player may still call.

Trap – This is the most effective way of getting the chips. Let the aggressive player bet for you. Some people would be tempted to raise a bet after a flop against the aggressive player because they have hit their hand. I, sometimes, will just call. I will call the bet on the turn too. When it comes down to the river, that’s when I would raise, and raise big.

Watch the table closely – This is important in the early stages. You need to determine whether the aggressive player is being tight aggressive or loose aggressive. The best way to determine this is to watch a few hands get called down. Eventually someone else is going to get a hand and play them so you need to watch and look back to see what cards were played, etc. This will help you when it’s “your turn”. It’s funny. You can almost see the mentality of the table change when a loose aggressive player gets called and looses a couple of hands. Other people at the table will start challenging more and before you know it. The loose aggressive player is out.

If you are the one that takes the loose aggressive player out. Be prepared to get yelled at. Why, you ask? Here is what happens. The loose aggressive player doesn’t realize that other people are paying attention or they think a A 5 off really is a good hand (lol). The other people at the table see the loose aggressive player push pots with over cards, middle pairs, draws, etc. So, when bets by the loose aggressive player are made (especially if they don’t change their betting style) people stop believing as much as they originally did.

Now, lets say Mr. or Mrs. Loose Aggressive gets pocket Q’s and bets like they have been or maybe even a little more. Mr. or Mrs. gets one caller who happens to be on a A 10 suited. The flop comes 8 4 2 rainbow. Mr. or Mrs. bets. The caller who has seen Mr. or Mrs. bet like this a lot decides that Mr. or Mrs. probably didn’t hit the flop and is likely playing a weak A so he calls. The turn shows a J. Same bet out of Mr. or Mrs. so A 10 calls again. The river shows a A. Mr. or Mrs. bets again (cause that’s what they do), the caller raises (the caller is smart enough to raise enough to get them to call and not so much they fold) and Mr. or Mrs. looses a big pot.

Now, the talking starts by the loose aggressive player. “I can’t believe you called with that crap”. “What a Donk!”, etc. The loose aggressive player has failed to realize that they lost respect at the table. People were getting tired of all the raising and were more willing to gamble with marginal hands.

So, the moral of this story is…

Evaluate your play. If you play a lot of hands, bet aggressively, and are trying to figure out why you don’t win more or why you “always get sucked out on”, maybe you are loose aggressive.

My fellow members of the SKYPE CREW can help. We can watch you play and make a honest evaluation of your style. I think the loose aggressive player tends not to realize that they are.

Anyway, this one has gone on too long. I hope it helps.

See ya on the felt and good luck!

Comments welcome….

And now…back to poker

December 29, 2007

Hopefully, all of the DRAMA is over regarding the League and what’s going on in it. It all gets down to if you want to play by the League rules, stay. If not, leave.

Anyway, Lippy made a post on the League site the other day regarding the play of the members. He was pretty upset about the whole thing and it brought up an interesting aspect of the game.

Basically, it came down to this. (I am paraphrasing because I wasn’t there but this is my understanding of what took place) A short stack went all-in on a hand. There were 3 or 4 big stacks at the table (20X the all-in bet). No one called the all-in bettor. Not even the BB who only had to call $400 more in chips.

Excuses were presented by those at the table.

1. They weren’t going to call even $400 more with a 9 4 off because it isn’t a good hand and they didn’t want to double up the all-in bettor.

2. (This was presented by someone who was at the table) They didn’t call because it is hard for US people to fund their bankroll. So, some US players play like that because they are trying to make it to the cash.

WOW

Where do we start with that?

We could sit here and argue why the call should have been made and that the whole “bankroll” thing makes no sense but I want to comment on something else.

I think the whole situation can be explained by the following:

Playing “not to lose” is a lot different than “playing to win”.

This “playing not to lose” attitude happens at most of our league games. You can see it by watching how people play, how long the games take, and some of the comments regarding the play.

I am not immune to it either. Sometimes, I notice my aggression is a lot lower than normal in league games. I think this is due to the fact that the games tend to be more “friendly” than non league games and I am also pretty confident I can beat most of them because I know how they play.

So, Lippy came in the game playing to win (Lippy made the post so I assume it was him that was the all-in person. It may not have been. He may have just saw the play and commented on its stupidity) and ran into people at the table who were playing “not to lose”.

Of course, the big fallacy with that type of thinking is that you will lose more when playing not to lose versus playing to win.

It may seem like you are doing ok but in the long run, someone playing to win will have the bigger bankroll.

Ok, so you play not to lose and you make it to the cash once in a while. The people playing to win will eat you up and make it farther into the cash, which, in the long run, will earn them more money.

If I sense someone is playing tight because they want to make it to the cash, I will force you to make decisions every hand because I know you won’t do anything unless you have a real good hand. Over time, I will have eaten you away by taking small chunks out of you and when you finally make the decision to go all-in, I will have earned enough from you to possibly call and take you out.

I am not even going to get into some of the calls made and hands played at league games. That would be another post or two.

Sucessfull poker is playing to WIN!

Comments are always welcome…….

Good Luck out there…

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Changes in the League – continued

December 12, 2007

I was going to comment to the responses in the previous blog but I thought I would start another one so it doesn’t get too deep in comments.

Excellent responses by both Ann Marie (gotmewrong) and Larry (Pinkdog).

I guess we all had and have the same impression when it comes to the League.

It was originally a place to meet people and learn about the game of poker with no cost and no “requirements”.

Learning and teaching was fun. I get just as much enjoyment teaching someone as I do playing the game.

Maybe we get so “emotional” about the whole thing because we have developed friendships along the way which makes it harder to let go.

Personally, at this point, I probably won’t quit. I don’t play that much with the League anyway because of my time constraints but every once in a while when I have the time, I do play. There are a select few in the League that I enjoy playing with, and at least in the League games, you are pretty much assured you will have a pleasant table with friendly people. (most of the time)

If I get “kicked out” because I don’t meet the requirements, then I guess that’s just the way it goes. I’ll find some other place because I am sure they are out there.

I have never looked for nor joined another League so I would have to do some shopping but I am sure there are plenty of Leagues around.

Honestly, if Rich came to me and said “I’ll set it up the way you want.” I don’t know what I would say.

If I was running it would I want to go back to the days of “come one, come all.” Freerolls, freerolls, freerolls? With all of that comes the bitching and moaning which appears to be greater when freerolls are involved for some reason.

I think Rich’s whole point with this is to keep the freeloaders out. Keep the people who only show up for the freerolls out or make them do something to earn the right to play.

This I understand, however, it is a major shift in philosophy from when he started.

Now, you have to pay to join, learn and play. I know, its only a few bucks a month but it is still money.

I would suppose that managing an “open” forum would be quite complicated. I think this is why the admins in the League are supporting this too. It is a lot of work for people who do other things too.

If it was me, I think I would ask the members. I would explain the situation and see what ideas people have. We have a lot of creative people in the league who could come up with some ideas.

How do you keep the league open to all, but at the same time, have a different tier, or level, for those who have progressed in their game?

How do you design the games to try to make managing them less time constraining?

We were considering this when thinking of a possible club. Voting people to a higher level is pretty subjective but then again, it is a club.

Actually, the division idea currently being set up may work for something like that.

First Division members are the new ones, freeroll players, etc.

Second Division members are the small buy-in people and occasional freeroll players(you can always play in lower division games but not higher division games).

Third Division members are higher stakes players.

The only thing you need to consider is how to move up in the divisions. Points, votes, etc.

Again, more management…….

It sure is complicated….I just want to play once in a while…lol

See ya all soon.

As always, comments welcome……

Changes in the League – again

December 6, 2007

Most of you reading this will understand the jist of this blog by the title.

For those of you who don’t, I am a member of the Pokerchipsquad League. I have been a member for gosh, I don’t know, 5 years maybe. The league has made quite a few changes over the years and we are now in the midst of another.

I thought I would make my thoughts on all of this known here instead of in the forum because I am free to say whatever I want since it is my blog. Also, Rich (forum owner) doesn’t want any negative comments made in the forum about the changes. I am not saying I will be negative but I want the freedom to be negative if my thoughts take me there.

When I first joined the forum a long time ago, it was a freeroll league. All of the games we played were freerolls. Points were earned by placing high enough in the tournament that was posted as a point scoring tournament for the League. This was good for me since I had just started playing on-line poker. Also, since there were members from all around the world, you could play at more opportune times depending on which time zone you were in.

I didn’t have to invest any money, and if I won, I could build my bankroll.

Over time, I made some friends and my game got better.

The league grew too. We changed from only freerolls to a little of both (freerolls and small buy-ins) and we are now changing to a buy-in only league with rules for membership.

I am not going to go into specifics. I am just going to write as I think.

I joined the league to learn and to make some friends. I have done that and a selected few I would be proud to call, good friends.

I am wondering with the way the league is structured now, how would it be possible for someone like I was originally, to join this league to learn and enjoy this game?

I thought that was the point of the whole league. Find people who want to learn and bring them into our community. Teach them, and maybe learn something yourself along the way.

It’s almost like the administrators of the league have grown in their game like I have and applied that to the league. No patience for freerolls, no patience for a beginners, etc.

Now, I am not saying I would be any better at running anything. I wouldn’t have lasted half as long as Rich has at running his forum. I am just wondering how this is going to end up? Is the Pokerchipsquad forum going to end up being a 10-20 member league playing where and when they want with strict membership rules? If that’s the case then it really isn’t a forum is it? It’s a club.

I already feel like the “redheaded stepchild” because I am in the US. League game times are all set at good times for Europeans during the week (I can’t play during the week because all of the league games start at about 4:30 p.m. here). The new Highroller section is for everyone EXCEPT US players. The new Division section will require playing at certain times that are not favorable to US players. 

I don’t play freerolls anymore (my exception is league games) because I don’t really want to wade through all of the bad play and beginners. HOWEVER, if someone shows interest in learning the game, I will stop whatever I am doing to try to help. That’s one of the reasons I write this blog. To help.

So, the league went from everyone is welcome, to, you have to post a certain number of times to join, to, a agreement you have to commit to to be a member. A agreement that requires playing a certain number of times per month and “suggested” joining of other tourny’s.

And, maybe it a British cultural thing, but the wording and explanations in the forum seem pretty heavyhanded.

If anyone questions anything or posts non favorable comments, the next post usually goes along the lines “if you don’t like it, quit”. “I don’t really care”, etc.

Jeeze, where is the exchange of ideas? It’s like a couple of people sat in a room and decided that this is how its going to be. No, ifs, ands, or buts!

But, it’s his forum, Rich can do what he wants. I need to decide whether I want to be a part of it or not. I don’t have any right to question his decisions. I am a member, not one of the decision makers. The only decision I need to make is whether or not to stay.

Am I way off base here?

I would like to hear from the rest of you?

See ya soon

Svcmgr

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More Omaha H/L

November 16, 2007

In the last post, we got a few of the basics covered regarding Omaha H/L.

I was thinking of continuing this but first I want to talk a little about what Gopher mentioned in his reply in the last post.

Goph mentioned that he plays Omaha H/L better drunk. He admittedly points out the fact that it is probably luck that gets him through but it raises an interesting point.

Now, I am going to talk about plain Monkeys, drunk Monkeys, and aggressive Monkeys but I want this in no way to reflect on Goph. He is a good player. He just mentioned it and it got me thinking.

If you are drinking. In my opinion, the best game to play is Omaha H/L pot limit.

Why, you say? Well, lets look at it compared to No Limit. In Omaha you get 4 cards down. In No Limit you only get 2. So, right at the start, you have a lot more possible hand combinations.

In Omaha, there is typically, less pre-flop raising so the cost to play is generally cheap.

In No Limit, good hands tend to pre-flop raise to narrow the field of players so you have less opportunities to play.

But, there is a down side. If you don’t know what you are doing, or aren’t paying attention in Omaha H/L you can loose a lot of chips.

Lets say you have Qc, 9c, 10d, 4h (this is a typical Monkey calling hand).

The flop comes 8h, 8s, 10h.

Ok, you have been drinking and don’t recognize the fact that PP 8’s or anyone with a 8 10 has you crushed and there is a flush draw out there but you call anyway because you have 2 pair and a str8 draw.

The turn comes 8d.

Here is where a BIG mistake is made by a lot of people. If you think you now have a Full House, 3 8’s and 2 10’s, you are wrong. Your hand is 3 8’s with a Q high. Remember you have to use 2 cards from your hole cards. Anyone holding a PP in their hole cards has a FH not you. (Since a lot of people don’t realize this, if I had a PP, I would bet at this time if I were in this hand).

The river comes 10c

Ok, now you got it right? FH 10’s over 8’s. WRONG. You have 3 10’s. You still have to use 2 cards from your hand  so the 8’s don’t play. Anyone with a PP 2’s or higher in their hole cards has a FH.

I lost a lot of chips with this type of hand once in a League game. The difference was I had a 8 and a 10 so I flopped a full house. 8’s over 10’s. I slow played (stupid move on my part).

The turn wasn’t a 8 it was a A and the river was a rag.

When the turn hit, I bet a little and got called and when the river hit I bet more and got called. The person I was playing against flips over 2 A’s. So, he has a FH A’s over 8’s which beat my FH.

My mistake was slow playing the hand. I should have bet the flopped FH hard.

So, to conclude, if you have had a little too much to drink, I would suggest playing Omaha H/L. The Monkey play can survive easier since there are a lot of hand possibilities and there can be a split pot if low cards hit.

But, if you do this, don’t sit at my table cause I will eventually get ya!

GL

Omaha H/L

November 12, 2007

I didn’t play a lot this weekend but when I did play, I played mostly Omaha H/L Pot limit.

It seems a few of us have been playing that game more often. Maybe is a case of boredom with Hold Em or just something different to try to get the enthusiasm back.

I like this game. I wouldn’t play it every day, all the time, but it can be challenging at times. I also think it is easier to win money if you know what you are doing. My experience has shown that there are a lot of people out there playing this game that don’t have a clue as to what they are doing.

I am not going to sit here and tell you I am the best player at this game. I will however offer some general advice that may help your game.

Pinkdog, Netty, Blagger and others are much better at this game than I am but in an effort to help, I will start this discussion up. Of course, those that read this (all four of you..lol) and get better may end up not giving me as much money as they used to but better play makes the game more challenging and fun.

These are going to be very general tips. If the discussion gains momentum, we can delve into more advanced play in later posts.

First off, you need to understand the rules. Basically, you are dealt 4 cards down. Then 5 community cards are dealt. The player with the best high hand (using 5 of the cards) gets the high pot and the player with the best low hand (using 5 of the cards) all 8 or under gets the low pot.

Things to remember. One, you MUST use 2 cards from your hole cards to make either the high or low hand.

A low hand is from 8 or lower so the community cards have to have a minimum of 3 cards that are 8 or lower.

Omaha H/L tend to be more of a post flop game so pre-flop raising doesn’t happen too often. There are so many more hand possibilities out there since you have 4 cards, pre-flop raising can be tricky.

Since there isn’t a lot of pre-flop raising, beginners tend to call a lot of hands. when I first started playing Omaha H/L, I used to do the same thing. After about an hour into the tourny, I would be short stacked wondering where all my money went. Sure, once in a while my hand would hit, but those players playing the better starting hands will eventually prevail and eat away my chip stack. Lesson one – know what a good starting hand is in Omaha H/L.

Before we get into starting hands, lets look at another common beginner mistake. The object in Omaha H/L is to SCOOP. Scooping is taking the whole pot and not splitting it with another player. In order to scoop, you need the best high hand and the best low hand. The best low hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 5 or a wheel.

In order to have the best low hand you would need a A and 2. So, most any starting hand should have a A and a 2. Of course, there are cases where this might not be necessarily true but in most cases, a A and 2 in your hand should be a minimum.

Usually, pairing the board or even 2 pair are not enough to win a high hand. There is normally a str8 or flush draw considering there are so many cards in play. So, the other consideration with a starting hand is to have some sort of flush or str8 draw. So, a suited A with a 2 and a high card plus another low card in case you get counterfeited (later discussion) are good starting hands. So, As, 2s, 3h and Kh would be a pretty good starting hand. You have a good low draw. A nut flush draw. A secondary flush draw. A str8 draw and another card to protect your low.

Lesson 2 – You need to watch closely

Another beginner mistake. There are 3 or more people in the hand. The beginner has A 2 and 3 low cards are on the board. So, the beginner has nut low. The beginner is first to act. They bet because they have the nut low. To me, with 3 or more people in the hand, this is a big mistake. Why? you ask. Only one high hand is going to win. If a low card comes on the turn or the river and A 2 starts betting, another player with A 2 will call of course. The player with the high hand SHOULD raise if he thinks he up against 2 hands with A 2.

When the hand is over, the high hand will get half the pot. The 2 low hands would split the other half. This is called getting “quartered”. You can actually end up losing money if you get quartered. So, watch the board and try not to bet into a quartered hand.

This is starting to get long so maybe next time we talk about counterfeited hands, when to raise pre-flop, when to fold, etc.

Come on H/L people. Lets hear from ya…..

As always, GL at the tables.

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Big pot suck outs – continued

November 8, 2007

Well, my last post was a jumbled mess. I am trying to communicate something and I am not doing a very good job of it.

My buddy, Blagger reminded me of that in his answer to my previous post.

So, I am going to make it worse by expanding on it in this one…lol

I think, what I was trying to talk about was more about identification of a hand/opponent than the actual suck out. Blagger made a good point. If you aren’t in the big pot to be sucked out in the first place you aren’t playing right.

By definition, being “sucked out” means you went in with the best hand. What more can you ask for than to be in the big pot with the best hand going in? Isn’t that the point? Doyle even teaches that. He will go in big pots sometimes knowing he is behind but he may gamble if he has a chance because winning the big pot is one of the keys to successful poker.

I want to try to minimize my exposure to being sucked out on. I want to learn more about identifying whether or not I am in a situation where I can be sucked out.

Lets try a example. I was playing in a League game the other day. I was in late position and watching. A League player (not going to name them because I don’t want them to change their style) was utg and raised about 6 times the BB. I knew right then and there that player was on PP J’s or PP 10’s. (well, not exactly J’s or 10’s but a med/high pp).

So, when it was my turn to act, there was no way I was going to play anything unless it was PP Q’s or higher. A K is a race with me behind so even if I had A K I probably would have folded. (I say probably because it would have depended on how much alcoholic stupidity I had consumed..lol). That decision keeps me out of a suck out scenario.

On the opposite side of that fence, I want to get better at trying to identify what kind of hand I am up against when I am the one with the PP 10’s and I get called. So, lets say I am the one that raised with PP 10’s and I get a caller. The button calls the raise, everyone else folds. What do you think?

My thought process before the flop hits would be something like this (this is general, assume chip stacks are about the same and player competency is about the same. Chip stack differences and player competency WILL effect my decision).

My first thought is my opponent isn’t on PP Q’s or higher. If so, they probably would have re-raised (maybe PP A’s being slow played but usually that doesn’t happen). I also wouldn’t put them on middle to low suited connectors. PP 2-8, probably not. So, I figure I am up against A K, A Q, A K suited, A Q suited, K Q suited, maybe A J suited. So, since I am first to act after the flop I will need to consider my thinking.

If the flop comes 3 cards under 10’s rainbow – all in. ( this is where I could be setting myself up for a “suck out”) I don’t want any high cards coming out on the turn or river. I don’t want possible back door flush draws either. Usually, the all-in bet will win the hand. However if you opponent thinks your bluffing or I misread the hand, I may get called. I really don’t want A K calling. I am ahead in the hand but A K has 6 outs to “suck out”. (Ok, Blagger is going to be all over this one cause he is going to want to know how much is in the pot, how much the bet was, so he can figure pot odds, etc.). If he calls, I am happy with my chances and will hopefully prevail.

What if the flop comes K, rag, rag, rainbow? I am first to act. What do I do? This is where a lot of beginners make a mistake. They check.

As I mentioned above, there are a lot of possible hands that my opponent can be playing. How are you supposed to “narrow the field” by checking? Checking gives you no additional information on what you are up against. In this scenario, I would bet. Not all-in or anything but a “good” bet. Remember, you pre-flop raised. What your opponent does with the bet will  usually give you some real good information.

If he just calls, I would narrow down his possible hands to a K with a “weak” kicker like a Q or a J, or maybe another PP and hoping to catch. I think A K would re-raise. I wouldn’t put them on 2 pair because they probably wouldn’t have called a big pre-flop raise with K crap. If you get re-raised, you are probably beat and you can fold.

Now you’re thinking “Shit, he called. Now what do I do?”. 

Ok, lets say the turn is a 10. Yee Haw, you just hit trips. Now what do you do? In my opinion a lot of people make a mistake here with a check because they are trying to trap. Look up two paragraphs and see what hand I could narrow down with a call. K Q or K J. If your opponent is on one of those hands, a check just let him see a free card to see if he can hit a str8. If you check, and he goes all-in on you, you are going to call. (this is another place where you set yourself up for a “suck out”). Your opponent probably won’t put you on trips so a check would, to him, possibly show weakness, and he may force the issue with a medium kicker and a str8 draw.

So, I would have bet the trips, hard. To try to avoid a “suck out” call.

This is what I am talking about. Trying to minimize situations where I put myself in hands that make “suck outs” more possible.

See, I was right. It got longer and more confusing….lol

Anyway, hopefully I will see some of the Skype crew soon. I miss all of ya!

Take care.

Comments are always welcome……     

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