Dial-A-Dealer - Home & Corporate Poker

Friday, October 13, 2006

Beginners guide. No use to the Ben Grundy’s and Rob Sherwoods of this world.
NLEM part 1. Guide to short-handed small/medium stakes cash game poker. Typically $1/$2 NL with $200 at a table buy-in 6 seater tables.
OK, welcome to a brand new series. Since the weather has turned nasty and im spending a lot of time in the office I thought id have a go at posting a fair bit of my strategy on my blog for mates of mine who regularly do their bollox online (ie. Rob ;)
Basically patience And discipline should be the 2 key factors influencing your play. NEXT should be your opponents. I normally 4 table, but you could 1 table KNOWING that you will be playing very few hands.
In my experience you make money online and win big pots by running the absolute nuts into the second or third nuts. This guide will talk about choosing the correct hands to ensure you don’t fall into that trap. Simply put, as Chris Ferguson and numerous other players have said "online players don’t play anywhere near as tight as good game theory dictates". Well, this guide is a rock till they drop guide. If you can be patient enough, all players will make mistakes, they will lose to you. Your aim is to play mistake free poker. This means not only having the patience to wait for good starting hands, but having the patience to play them in position and waiting till you flop to them.
BIG PAIRS.
AA- obv in a class of its own but a lot of money is lost with this hand online every day. Post-flop, its difficult to play, period. Unless you flop a set to it, or the board comes 3 flush cards with your Ace, I prefer to play it slowly against a good player. The trick is to keep the pots small when you are unsure whether or not you have the best hand or not, but maximise it when you know you are winning. Always raise 3*the BB whenever you raise imo if you are 1st to enter the pot in a LATE POSITION (ie cutoff or Button). You should be confident enough in your post-flop ability to not have to overbet. The only time you should overbet is when there are a lot of limpers and you get AA in the blinds. Because your bet could spark a series of flat calls, raise the full pot, or more if the stacks are very deep. Basically, if you think a few will call with small pp’s, then you want to negate their implied odds. They will hit a set 1 time in 7. So make sure that they are getting 5-1 on their money if they want to call. That way, you have done your job as far as Slansky is concerned as they have made a mistake.
If there has already been a raise, re-raise. Always. And make it healthy. If there has already been a raise and a re-raise, shove. Simple really. If a tight/solid player Raises big on the button/cutoff and you are in the blinds, shove also. There is a good chance they will think you are loco and cal with QQ/KK. YOU DO NOT WANT TO PLAY AA out of position with deep stacks, simply because the hand is too easily married and hard to lay down to a (good?) maniac.
Tricky flops. Ok. So you have raised 3*BB with AA from the button and got 2 callers, the BB and an EP limper. You have $360 and they have $180 and $80 respectively. This will happen regularly when you are equipped with the tools you need. There is $17 in the pot. Flop comes JJ4 rainbow. They both check, you bet (and it should always be 2/3- full pot in situations like this where you took the lead preflop) $14.
1 caller. Ok, now we have to weigh up his hands. Could have a Jack, could have 44, MOST LIKELY has a pp between 44 and JJ. On the turn, a King, he checks. Bet again, try and price him but really find out where he’s at. Pot is 45ish, bet 20 (note you can do this on this board because there are no real draws, normally it would be larger). He calls again (At this point you have to seriously consider he has a Jack, as he would most likely think you have an AK (the hand that most players put a preflop raiser on)). River, 7. On the river the pot is $100ish. If he bets small, call anything up to about $20. If he bets big, fold. A lot of players play trips by using the big "bluffalike" bet on the river. If he checks, check behind ALWAYS when you are unsure where you are on the river.
Ok, a different scenario. You re-raise preflop and get a call from a solid, tight aggressive player. You both have $300. Flop comes J107 with 2 spades. You don’t have A spades. He bets the full pot into you, ie $50 into a $50 pot. Now you have to evaluate whether or not you are up there. He doesn’t have AA/KK because he would have re-re-raised. He doesn’t have AJ because he wouldn’t stand a large re-raise preflop. Same with KQ/KJ. He either has QQ/JJ/1010 or 77. Against a weak player you would re-raise here and freeze out his odds on a draw. But a quality player isn’t betting a flush draw In this spot. He thinks he’s winning. Which means that although sometimes you may fold the winning hand, you should fold AA. He is saying he’s prepared to go broke on the hand, believe him. If he is a mediocre player, probably you should just shove and pray, KNOWING that you are going to lose a good proportion of time, but beat AJ/KJ/QQ enough to make the play worthwhile. These situations really require a lot of feel.
OK, different situation. You get AA and raise preflop. 3 callers. Flop comes QQ10. Bet big on the flop, but shut down if you don’t win it there. As you were the preflop raiser, callers have to think you have a strong holding. Unless a weak/short stack calls you, lose no more with the hand.
Hope that was fun and some of you might pick up a few ideas. GL all.
Oh, tomorrow, kings, I can hardly conceal my excitement ;)
This is going to be the start of a mammoth NL cash game series, you have been warned.

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