Friday, February 8, 2008

Some cash game tips

EDIT - this post became a lot longer than I intended. But, I think it's got some good tips for a lot of the struggling cash game players (not to toot my horn but I guess I am). Take your time, read these hand histories. Maybe not all of them will help but I'm sure most of you can find one or two things that you could incorporate into your game.

Yesterday, I saw this post from Mike_Maloney. Now I didn't want to be too brutal to the guy who voluntarily created a banner for me but I just couldn't resist. So, I left him a comment which I think if you are a struggling low limit cash game player who might be breaking even or slightly up or down or whatever, would be good to read... I think. The reason I say this is because I used to be like that. When I played .50/1NL and 1-2NL, I played tight, dinking and donking to make some marginal profits. I would squeeze out an extra bet or two. And because I played tight, the ABC formula worked enough to make me profitable. Though barely. Fast forward a year to today and probably the one blog that helped me the most (for a sec, I was afraid it was gonna make his ego bigger but it's already ridiculously huge so I guess it won't matter) is Fuel's. Basically, one big thing that I got out of it was the overbet for value. To control pot size. Controlling pot size doesn't necessarily mean keeping it small. It means controlling pot sizes! In other words, you want the pot to be big if you have a big hand, smaller if you have a marginal hand.

In his post, Mike had some great hands and yet played them very poorly. Did he win the hand? Yes. But the question wasn't whether he won. The question should be, did he get the most out of his hands. And it was clearly a "no." Again, I don't want to steal his post but if you are a struggling cash player, go read his post, check out my comment, and go throw your 2 cents in there. But if you are complaining about bad beats being the reason you're not making money, I guarantee you that that's not the only reason. If you are getting the maximum amount out of your winning hands, then despite bad beats, you will notice your bankroll to continually grow.

Below are some hands to illustrate these points, I think.

6 handed - relevant stacks
Seat 1: RaiseKelly ($298.80)
Seat 5: RecessRampage ($1,095.40)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [6c 5c]
usi34 folds
sitsik2008 folds
isohartsa folds
RecessRampage raises to $14 <--- button
yakuza85 folds
RaiseKelly calls $10 <--- BB

*** FLOP *** [6h 5h Qh]
RaiseKelly bets $12
RecessRampage calls $12

This is obviously an interesting flop. I have bottom two but it's an all flush board. This is not a spot that I care to bumping up the pot size so I just call. I could look like I am just chasing a heart. If the 4th heart drops on the turn and he bets a solid amount, I could potentially let the hand go. But I run so good so...

*** TURN *** [6h 5h Qh] [6s] <--- beautiful
RaiseKelly bets $6
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage raises to $30
RaiseKelly calls $24

So the turn card was great. Now I have a boat. At this point, I'm putting the BB on either a Q or a heart draw (or both). I can smooth call here, telling myself I'm being extra tricky but this is a spot where you want to make the pot larger. Plus, my thought is, from his point of view, if I actually make my boat, why would I represent a boat by raising when the board pairs? Doesn't make sense right? So I raise. But of course, I don't raise enough to get him off his draw. I want him to feel like he still has ok odds to call. I probably bet a little too much but it's only $24 more to call for him into a pot that already has close to $60. He's foolish enough to call.

*** RIVER *** [6h 5h Qh 6s] [2h]
RaiseKelly has 15 seconds left to act
RaiseKelly bets $55
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage raises to $1,039.40, and is all in
RaiseKelly calls $187.80, and is all in
Uncalled bet of $796.60 returned to RecessRampage

This is the no-brainer overbet. 4th flush card comes and he bets out strong. I'm hoping he has Ah at this point. You don't want to minraise here. Now, you just have to overbet. If his hand is good enough to call a minraise, he's gonna have a hard time folding regardless (but he might not be stupid enough to repop me all in if I just minraise since the board is paired). Again, this is an instance where a donkey might be smart enough to want to slow down his betting but that doesn't mean that he could find the fold button regardless of the bet size. Opponent has to know that the only hand I'm shoving here is with a hand that beats a flush.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
RecessRampage shows [6c 5c] a full house, Sixes full of Fives
RaiseKelly mucks [Ah 5s] - a flush, Ace high
RecessRampage wins the pot ($596.60) with a full house, Sixes full of Fives
RaiseKelly is sitting out

This next hand is just crazy but again, when you believe you have the best hand, instead of trying to get an extra buck or two, just go for the homerun. Sure, sometimes you might strike out but if your reads are good, you will hit more often than whiff.

6 handed - relevant stacks
Seat 2: RecessRampage ($374)
Seat 6: The Orange Frog ($612.20)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Ks Kd]
The Orange Frog raises to $14 <--- UTG
FrankMorris08 folds
RecessRampage calls $14 <--- CO
Manifest071 folds
christina82 folds
DunderDaniel folds

*** FLOP *** [Jh Js 7c]
The Orange Frog bets $24
RecessRampage raises to $72
The Orange Frog has 15 seconds left to act
The Orange Frog raises to $204

Interesting set up. He raises UTG. However, instead of repopping, I just smooth call so he's not gonna give me much credit for a hand. When he bets out on a x-x-y board, that's a prime bluffing flop. In other words, it's likely that this hand didn't hit anyone. So, my raise could seem to him that I have a small pocket pair or I'm trying to steal this pot away from him. Of course, he could have AA but that's the only hand that beats me that I could think of. I can't imagine a 77 betting out like that, at least on this board. And I can't think of a hand that includes a J (other than AJ) to raise from UTG. Of course, it's not to say that that won't happen but you can't always be afraid of the nuts. He puts in a 3rd raise and so now, I'm thinking maybe this is a setup hand... But he could be doing this with TT or QQ as well. So, I decided to just commit my stack.

RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage has requested TIME
RecessRampage raises to $360, and is all in
The Orange Frog has 15 seconds left to act
The Orange Frog CALLS $156
RecessRampage shows [Ks Kd]
The Orange Frog shows [Ac 6c] <--- this was not in the hand range I had for him
*** TURN *** [Jh Js 7c] [8d]
*** RIVER *** [Jh Js 7c 8d] [8c]
RecessRampage shows two pair, Kings and Jacks
The Orange Frog shows two pair, Jacks and Eights
RecessRampage wins the pot ($751) with two pair, Kings and Jacks

The next hand is where if you represent a hand, even if you hit a hand that is different from what you were representing, if you hit it hard, just keep betting. Don't try to get too fancy.

5 handed - relevant stacks

Seat 3: __Acehole888__ ($487.70) <--- button
Seat 5: RecessRampage ($384.45) <--- BB

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [9d Td]
Sparky1980 folds
jsfry18 folds
__Acehole888__ raises to $14
Camen folds
RecessRampage raises to $44
__Acehole888__ calls $30

He's a pretty decent player and since it's 5 handed, I figured his opening range is even looser. I have a great suited connector so I put in a 3 bet.

*** FLOP *** [9h 2h 3s]
RecessRampage bets $72
__Acehole888__ calls $72

Interesting because I hit a piece of the board but he smooth calls. Now, I'm worried that he has a hand like JJ or something.

*** TURN *** [9h 2h 3s] [Ts] <--- woot!
RecessRampage bets $268.45, and is all in
__Acehole888__ calls $268.45
RecessRampage shows [9d Td]
__Acehole888__ shows [4h 4d]

Again, the turn brings the second pair and now I have what I believe is the best hand. At this point, I have no reason to get cute and check. He could have been on a flush draw but he's a decent enough player that I don't believe he woulda called my flop bet with only a flush draw. I reraised preflop, bet out flop so I'm basically saying I have a pocket pair. By him calling, again, I put him on a hand like JJ. So, I shove, hoping he'd call with a hand like JJ. Of course, what he turned over was a little surprising. I guess he though I had two overs and was shoving to get him to fold.

*** RIVER *** [9h 2h 3s Ts] [5d]
RecessRampage shows two pair, Tens and Nines
__Acehole888__ shows a pair of Fours
RecessRampage wins the pot ($767.90) with two pair, Tens and Nines

Next hand, if the guy looks like his hand enough, then just put all your chips in the middle if you think you have the best hand.

4 handed - relevant stacks
Seat 1: galacticrose86 ($345.50) <--- SB
Seat 4: RecessRampage ($387.80) <--- BB
Seat 5: PokerPete0815 ($425)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [As Ah]
PokerPete0815 raises to $14
rambler66 folds
galacticrose86 calls $12
RecessRampage raises to $56
PokerPete0815 folds
galacticrose86 calls $42

Even in a 4 handed situation, I don't want to see a 3 way flop with AA so I put in what I'm hoping would look like a squeeze play-ish raise and fortunately, I accomplish my goal of just getting one caller, going into the flop HU.

*** FLOP *** [4h 6c 3d]
galacticrose86 has 15 seconds left to act
galacticrose86 bets $72

All low cards and this guy bets out $72 into a $120ish pot. Seems like he likes his hand enough (anywhere from maybe 55, 77-JJ, maaaaaybe QQ or KK though I would guess they woulda reraised me again preflop). Anyways, the point being, I don't want some scare card to come on the turn to kill the action. So if he likes his hand so much, there's only one move here.

RecessRampage raises to $331.80, and is all in
galacticrose86 calls $217.50, and is all in
RecessRampage shows [As Ah]
galacticrose86 shows [5d Ad] <--- OESD, nice call
Uncalled bet of $42.30 returned to RecessRampage

*** TURN *** [4h 6c 3d] [Qh]
*** RIVER *** [4h 6c 3d Qh] [Ac]
RecessRampage shows three of a kind, Aces
galacticrose86 shows a pair of Aces
RecessRampage wins the pot ($703) with three of a kind, Aces
galacticrose86 is sitting out

Another one. Again, if your opponent shows strength but you feel you have the best hand, GET THAT MONEY IN THERE!!!! Stop squeezing an extra bet or two. Try to stack them!

6 handed - relevant stacks

Seat 1: Sparky1980 ($209.30)
Seat 5: RecessRampage ($770.40) <--- SB
Seat 6: sosofino ($443.60) <--- BB

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Ah Qh]
Sparky1980 calls $4
__Acehole888__ folds
Camen folds
RecessRampage calls $2
sosofino raises to $16
Sparky1980 calls $12
RecessRampage calls $12

*** FLOP *** [Qc 3h 6h] <--- monster flop
RecessRampage checks
sosofino bets $32
Sparky1980 folds
RecessRampage calls $32

BB showed strength preflop so he has to bet on this flop. I have TPTK so I'm worried that if I raise him here, I would only get the money in behind or he would fold. So I decided to wait till the turn to see what happens.

*** TURN *** [Qc 3h 6h] [Ac] <--- monster turn
RecessRampage checks
sosofino bets $112

Ok, BB fires a second bullet when the A falls so whatever he's got, he clearly likes his hand. Now I'm actually guessing AK since the A didn't phase him one bit. Well, if he has AK, there's no way he'll fold so...

RecessRampage raises to $722.40, and is all in
sosofino calls $283.60, and is all in
RecessRampage shows [Ah Qh]
sosofino shows [8s Ad] <--- K, 8, whatever... it's all the same to the donkeys I guess
Uncalled bet of $326.80 returned to RecessRampage

*** RIVER *** [Qc 3h 6h Ac] [7s] <--- meaningless river. opponent drawing dead is a beautiful thing

RecessRampage shows two pair, Aces and Queens
sosofino shows a pair of Aces
RecessRampage wins the pot ($900.20) with two pair, Aces and Queens
sosofino is sitting out

Alright, this was a lot but hopefully, for some of the cash gamers just starting out, this post will help you think about the value of overbetting. When you think you have the best hand and the opponent is showing that he clearly likes his hand, get the money in the middle. Don't wait because you never know what scare card will fall (not for you but for your opponent) that would slow down the betting. I hope this helps. Have a good and profitable weekend.


Mike Maloney said...

Awesome post, even if it was inspired by my donk play. :)

PokerFool said...

A definite classic. As a .50/1 and 1/2 6 max ABC TAG, I should start doing this more.

BTW, How would you classify your play (What is your VPIP/PFR), and what style do think is the most profittable at 2/4 - 5/10 NL?


Gnome said...

In Maloney's defense, he was playing out of position in most of his hand examples, which makes it more difficult to extract value.
Yes, he should have bet more often and larger amounts, especially on later streets. But it's a lot easier to take a bet-bet-bet line when you have a strong hand in position and your opponent has already shown weakness by checking.

Gnome said...

To clarify, I don't mean to say Maloney's play was justifiable.
I wanted to point out the common error of checking when out of position in hopes of inducing another bet, even though betting out is clearly the better play.

Fuel55 said...

I've created a monster ...

Shrike said...

RR is like you, sure, but he is able to run average or better ... must be nice!

bayne_s said...

I have always considered RecessRampage a lucksack too!

Schaubs said...

I assume Shrike is referring to Fuel here...?

Shrike runs worse than anyone, it says so on his blog.

RR have you ever had a bad beat before? I'd say tell it here on your space, but that is a lot of $1 transfers to your loyal readers...

Thanks for the info.

Awesome stuff as always.

Fuel55 said...

As I see it Recess is a combination of pure genius (for taking my advice and accurately applying it to mid-level NL games) and a complete lucksack (to pick up his share of Pirate's profoundly bad luck).

kurokitty said...

As much as I love my homey Fuel, I'd really caution people who are inexperienced in the game with trying to emulate him. It's hard to recreate genius, no? lol

If anything, your hand examples show how easy it is to play solidly and take advantage of other people's mistakes.

In the first hand, I'd still put in a raise since you can't be afraid of a flopped flush in a 6-max game.

At the river, clearly it's the villain's mistake to call your all-in especially after you raised on the turn when you made your boat. But he has a little more than a 1/3 of his stack in the pot so it could be hard for him not to call. If he also was $1K behind, you might not be getting that call on the river.

Although it's good to mix it up, I'm a fan of 3-betting preflop with your KK and AQ hands. There are Cardunners videos of 6-max games that show all players' hole cards and when you see these kinds of things, you see how sorry many of the hands are.

Although it's a mistake for the villain in the AQ hand to jack it up his bb with A-rag, no one else has shown any strength and by him being the aggressor with his 3-bet, you're at his mercy if you don't hit the flop. Limp-calling people's preflop raises is an easy way to lose money 6-max.

Newbies should start watching Cardrunners videos and only take tips from Fuel on how to high-card to not have to pay for pricey dinners. :)

Taylor Caby's CR offense -- which Gnome introduced to me -- is high attitude, low-variance and there are few things out there that can beat it long term. It's the best thing out there right now for moving the chains in cash games.

cmitch said...

Great post as always. Keep tearing up the tables.

SubZero said...

Respect, lot of good points in here. So many I don't know if I can remember them all.... sorry, just gonna start reading again from the beginning ;-)

Klopzi said...

Very nice.

Three hands stand out for me since I might have played them differently or misinterpreted the meaning of my opponent's play (the bottom two flop, the T9s hand pre-flop and flop, and the AQs hand).

I'll have to check both your site and Fuel's for further advice as I keep working my way towards the bigger games.

Eric a.k.a. Bone Daddy said...

Great post. Wes made a post about 4 months ago that the third bet on a dry flop, X,X,y, is always a bluff. I guess you proved his point.

Sia said...

wow. This is really good stuff. seriously.


jamyhawk said...

Great post. I especially agree with getting it all in while they like their hand. So many people will call an all in with Ace/rag and only an Ace on the board, or even call the all in before the turn with a flush/straight draw.

And thanks to Fuel for pointing out the overbet for value. I have been doing it more lately and, amazingly, it works. Especially at my micro levels: .05/.10.