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Interesting Discussion Regarding Playing Style

March 23rd, 2009 3 comments

I got a couple of comments from poker players that I really respect regarding my bad beat story. This one came from @swyyft:

Hey buddy I am going to be honest with you, a lot of the play you describe is weak tight. While you are getting it in ahead you should be trying to take pots down with no showdown. JJ vs A4 hand. If you raised and got re-raised you either fold this or go all in right there. if you think he has AA KK QQ you are dominated why even call, if an AKQ hits you have to assume he has it whether he does or does not. if he re-raises you jam if you think you are good, if you don’t then fold. Qh-10h vs. 99 This hand you should just fold in early position you are hoping for too much and its too hard to play out of position. If you do play it, raise it up so you can represent things later on. I will say this is a horrible beat and the guy was a horrible player but you can change this a bit. 10-10 vs. Q4 If its close to the bubble you need to be playing aggressive. You need to jam this all in with TT or 3 bet. QQ vs. Ac-8d legit bad beat is going to happen, but if you get this 5x in a tourney you are going to get a bad beat once. 10h-10d vs. Jd-7d quit calling with TT mid to later. raise it up sometimes and see what happens. This guy folds and you collected 5 bb and move on. I mean these are bad beats but anytime you let it go to showdown you are allowing luck and not skill to dictate the hand. stick with it. If you saw me in the 30RA you saw me go from 40k to 75k with no showdowns. I never once had a premium hand in there. I just knew they were weak so i acted like i did. After i started 3 betting no one wanted anything to do with me because they knew i was a strong player.

Here is my thoughts:

Hey Joe. Love the feedback, and thanks for the comments.

I guess it’s more that middle pairs and even higher middle pairs make me slightly nervous. They’re a hand that looks appetizing pre flop, but if 1 over hits, you can be dead. My last 3 eliminations from a tournament came with JJ, JJ again, and then As-Qs. In the case of the pocket J’s, I found myself moving, and getting called by a bigger pair.
With the AQ, I flopped a flush draw, but moved when I was behind a 6-5 caller. All of these situations, I’d 3 bet pre-flop, and either got re-raised all in, or we saw a flop and I found out I was behind.

Basically, I’ve learned not to overvalue middle pairs. I like calling with these hands to see if I can hit a set and break an over pair. QQ has been a historically terrible hand for me for some reason. I often find myself in a race against AK or up against a board that scares me stupid (any A or K on the flop has me wondering if I just lost to a 3 outer), and when I get it in good, I find that I’m rarely ahead for keeps.

The only thing that I can point to is that in the lower stakes games, I’m finding that players don’t respect pre-flop raises. I guess that’s why I’m not a big fan of putting all of my chips at risk unless I have better than 70% chance of winning. That would make me a tight player at these levels I guess because that happens only rarely. But deep stacked in a tournament, if I move with those odds and chip up well in most cases. In the mentioned cases in the post, I was better than 85% to win on all of those when the money went in, and it still didn’t pan out.

Something that I need to learn is how to pick up more pots with post flop bets, and not having to see a showdown. I don’t know if this means that I need to focus on better starting hands, or I need to play the mid-range starting hands with greater aggression pre-flop, but I do need to work on my post flop play. I also need to figure out a consistent scheme to the lower stakes games, where the players just aren’t as good at reading strength. I’m thinking that I may want to upload $300 or so to my account if I go bust, and play at higher levels, but it makes me nervous considering that I haven’t come close to mastering the lower levels first.

I’m also considering investing in some poker books. I’ve never read one. So aside from the experience of playing, everything I know about poker comes from watching TV, reading the blogs of my twitter friends, and involving myself in conversation with people like this. That’s why hard for me to classify myself as any form of an expert on the matter, or a “good” player. It’s why I totally classify myself as an amateur.

It’s funny because in the cases of the hands that I posted (and lost) the only right move in those cases is to fold my monster’s, because the end up the worst of two hands. Because if they’re calling stations anyway, then I’m walking away a loser regardless of the percentages and good reads.

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