Friday, December 9, 2011

Big v. Little

I've been playing a lot of different stakes at the 6max tables in the past few weeks. Specifically, I've been trying all kinds of different strategies, tweaks, and approaches to my game at different levels, focusing on certain key player stats and trying to adjust my game to those numbers. Does something that works at $10NL also work at $100NL. If not, why not? For instance, I'm using Aggression Factor and River Aggression to see whether I should bet or X/R a player when I have a solid value hand on fifth street. There are other things like this I'm trying out, too. Dusty Schmidt wrote a blog a few months back where he said he was going to to take the time following black Friday (the poker kind, not the Xmas shopping kind) to work on his game, experiment, and make subtle adjustments that would pay of when (not if) online poker was legalized again. I realized today that I've essentially been doing the same thing. Hopefully this will payoff later when poker is legal and fish floodgates are opened back up.

Generally speaking, I'm now crushing $10NL at something like 30+ big bets per 100. I'm also soundly beating $25NL at over 20bb/100, or about $18/hour played. That's the good news. The bad news is that at $50NL, my win rate over the past 5000 hands is barely above water, and at $100NL. I've lost hundreds of dollars. The latter isn't entirely my fault, as I've had a couple of horrendous cooler hands recently, including a $320 pot last week in which my flopped set of Jacks went down in flames to a rivered set of Aces. That stung. No, check that. That STUNG! Worse, because I'm cashing out regularly, my bankroll cannot take those kinds of variance swings very easily. Ergo, I'm currently back down around $100 in the 'roll, so for the near term I'm back into micro-stakes grinding mode.... Sigh.

And speaking of adjusting, one thing I've noticed a lot on the Merge tables lately is the proliferation of professional short stackers. These are the guys buying in for 20-30% BIs, massively multi-tabling, and following rote jam-or-fold charts. It can be really frustrating to find yourself at one of these tables, as your own effective stack size drops to the size of your opponent's stack, and you end up having to play a similar game. The bad news is that this is not really poker; it's entirely a preflop all-in-or-fold monkey game. The good news is that many of these guys aren't applying short-stack-strategy very well, and I've found that I can often exploit their mistakes, inducing overly aggressive betting errors on their part. I took one guy for about $60 last night (in $7.50 all-in increments) when he kept overshoving on me with any ace, two face cards, or pocket pair. He was on my immediate left, so I stole like bandit against his blinds using a min-raise open. He'd fold everything except the aforementioned range. When he'd reship on my steal, I'd fold unless I held 88+ or AT+, in which case I'd call. It was like printing money. The funny thing, too, is that there was one other "normal" stack player at my table who was completely flustered by this guy, and kept getting it in with him with hands like 44 and 98s, which obviously play horribly against the villain's range. This big stack guy eventually went on serious tilt and gave away at least a hundred bucks to the table (alas, I got very little of his steaming money).

And speaking of big stacks, next year's WSOP is going to feature a $1,000,000 buy-in event. Twenty-two people have already signed up. Better start saving those pennies now....

And that's it for now. I'm off to Germany for a short fly-by biz trip with Mr. Multi and a gaggle of other coworkers. By this time next week when I return I'm certain to be totally fried. We'll see if I play any poker while on the road. Generally speaking, I don't fare well when playing poker on biz trips...

...but that rarely stops me.

All-in for now...

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