Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Sophomore Post

In order that I start to get this little project off the ground, I am sitting down to write with nothing really particular in mind, so pardon me if this does not come across as being very inspired. I will try to jog my memory for a bit to pull out some past nuggets....

In light of the fact that I just recently overcame one of my worst losing streaks in about a year (over 4 days, I was down $1,800, mostly from $1/2 but some added satellites and small MTT's as well), I had to remind myself of a few tips that I came up with to help yourself along when you are running bad. So here they are (all examples are from a $1/2 game with a $200 max buy-in):

1) Avoid likely coin flips for large sums of money.

Example, there is an early limper with $100 in chips. You raise AKs from middle position and every folds around to the limper who now raises all in. His most likely holdings here are exactly JJ, QQ, or AK. With KK or AA, he almost certainly would have raised less, but yet again, these are not impossible as well.

The reason to fold here is simple: you can call and expect to get your "entitled" coin-flip to protect your $8 or so while risking $92 in the process, or you can get on and find a better spot. If he is bluffing, then you can expect him to do something stupid again shortly, but losing a pot this size without even holding a pair will tax you mentally more than it could ever be worth.

2) Fold AK or AKs to a large re-raise from a big stack who is less than all-in.

There is a certain quality about AK that most novices and professionals overlook. Against a hand like QQ, it is not even a coin flop- it's 43% to win. That's not the issue though. It's 43%....but ONLY if you are seeing all 5 cards! It's a nasty 2:1 to the flop, making it not even worth a call. And let's face it, the implied odds suck. The only way you are likely to get paid is if the re-raiser has AQ, in which case you will be getting bluffed off the better hand when your ace or king fail to hit, which is a majority of the time.

3) Avoid thin value bets.

A thin value bet in NL is far different from one in limit. In limit, you might even bet A high for value against some people, but in NL it can often be betting your AK on a river K659J. Even though you believe you are probably best here, it is often better to just check it down if things aren't going your way, especially if you believe that your opponent has nothing. If he really does have nothing, then trying to squeeze a few tiny drops out of A high or a pair of 5's or 6's really means little if it will encourage them to make a bold bluff or hit you hard with a hand you never saw coming, like a straight or a rivered set of jacks.

I will add a few more later, but that should be some food for thought for now.


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