Like my new Full Tilt avatar? **
Here's a novel idea. How about a post about poker? More specifially No Limit Holdem Tournament play.
When I got home from my weekend on Sunday I had a (4) hour nap and then proceeded to play a marathon poker session. A few heads up games, which I won (thank you mynightmare!) and then some mtts. Mynightmare said it was the best game he'd played in a long time even though he lost. I agree it was a really good and challenging heads up match.
Then I played an mtt for a $26 token and was happily surprised to see Morning Thunder at my table, although he didn't get his token.
With my token I played another mtt where 20 places got a $75 token. I played really, really well. I got shortstacked maybe 45 min into it, but when the final 20 were itm I was the chip leader. One random guy, who I do not know, kept telling me how impressive my play was. He went onto rail me during my next game, and said I was interesting to watch.
I went onto play a $75 tourney. I doubled up when I had 6-6 and the flop was A-6-x. I check raised and got called all in after the flop. I was up against A-6 and I won. Afterwards 2 guys at the table said they were upset that I might've been knocked out because watching me play was exciting. I ended up knocked out of the big tourney when I got rivered. I had A-Q and the flop was q high. Someone jammed all in and I called. He had 10-10, and yes the river was a 10. After playing for maybe 6 hours I was out.
No it didn't end well, but the point is I played sooooo well until that river.
Let's get into some specifics of what I mean by good play. There are so many decisions to make during a game and all are key to your success. Timing is everything. The right play in one instance isn't always the right play. It depends on your position, your stack, your opponents stack, they way your opponent bets, just to name a few. There are many factors that go into my decision making.
I like to play aggressively. I believe with all my heart that aggression is the key to success. Aggression forces your opponent to make decisions, and every time he makes a decision there is a possibility he will make a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. When you are making hundreds of decisions in a game, a couple of them are bound to be the wrong one. The key is to capitalize on your opponents mistakes and try to make precious few yourself.
One mistake people tend to make is raising in early position. Once I get a feel for what a certain player tends to raise with, I will punish them if they raise in early position. A standard raise will get a big reraise from me and usually a fold from them. This move works only well into the game when you know how a person really plays and how tight he is.
You cannot get a feel for how a guy plays at the beginning of a game. At the beginning of an mtt, players tend to be on their best behavior. Maybe they've promised themselves they'd only play premium hands or they'd tighten up. And that works for maybe the first hour. After that, they go back to playing how they normally play. Humans are creatures of habit and will do what they do. Human nature. Like Gary. I've embarrassed him countless times when he raises with K-6 and loses. So he'll go into a game saying he's going to play tight, but an hour into it and he's back to playing Gary's way. We all do it. It's not just him. It's whatever your style happens to be.
For me, it's chasing draws. I used to chase every straight and flush draw in town. I no longer chase straight draws but those flush draws seem to call to me. :) If the price is cheap enough I'll call to look at one more card. And more often than not, I have to fold the hand and I've pissed some chips away.
In general calling is a bad move.
No I'm not crazy to say that. If you're just calling (unless you're slow playing) odds are you have the worst hand. You need to be the one betting out. If you're betting out you can win two ways; if they fold or if you have the best hand. If you're calling there is only one way to win. And like I said, that doesn't seem to be a winning move.
Another bad move is calling because of pot odds. I know many of you will disagree with me on this but calling with a less than stellar hand because of pot odds is a way to lose more chips. I don't care what the pot odds are. Pot odds DON'T change a losing hand into a winning one. Why throw good money after bad?
Another thing I like to do is fuck with people. Plain and simple. I will give you (2) examples of fucking with your opponent.
1.) When I finally won that heads up game with Mynightmare, here is how I did it. I was playing in my usual aggressive way and he commented on how aggressive I was. The heads up game took quite a while. He'd fold and fold and fold. So I raised and raised and raised. About 25% of my raises were crap and 75% were good starting hands. I could tell that he thought those percentages were reversed, and that's good. Let them think you have shit, cuz that's the way to get their chips in the pot. I had won a couple of small pots in a row, had more chips than mynightmare and had A-10 so I raised. He called, and the flop was 10-6-x. I bet out, and he jammed all in. Now I know this wasn't the way he usually played so he either had a monster, or was frustrated by my many raises.
I almost folded my tptk. Thought about it for quite a while and decided if he had an over pair he would've reraised me preflop. So I called. He had a 6. All in with middle pair. Mistake!!!! It took him a looooooong time to make a mistake, but if you're patient it'll happen. My play definitely was a factor in his mistake. I assume he put me on 2 high cards and was trying to bully him. But let's no forget the fact that I almost folded the best hand. Why? I don't like calling. And his reraising forced me to make a tough decision. Luckily I made the right one.
2.) Another move I like, is to fuck with people when they are steaming. IMO when someone's lost a good chunk of their stack, the first thing they want to do is get right back on the horse and get their chips back. They'll do this with less than stellar starting hands. If you've got a decent playable hand this is a good opportunity for you. I like to raise them preflop knowing they'll call. Like I said you need to have a good hand for this. If you connect with the flop, jam them baby. Odds are they'll call because they're frustrated and steaming, and if they don't there's already plenty of chips in the pot for a nice score.
I'm playing The Mookie tonight. I came in 3rd place last week, because I made a mistake and someone capitalized on it. Now half of me is thinking, "Why the hell are you laying so much information out about how you play? This is gonna help your Mookie opponents." The other half of me thinks "Shit, they can use the help". lol Besides, like I said people are creatures of habit so I'm sure a little old poker post from me won't change things.
Update: I just got knocked out of The Mookie. About 25 minutes into it I have AA. Keep Floppin a/k/a Poker Meister a/k/a Jew Boy II raised to 120. Everyone folded to me and I reraised to 320. I thought to myself, not so big that he'd fold, but big enough to get some decent chips in the middle.
Flop was Q-9-8. I bet almost pot and he called. Doh! Turn was low....There was 1500 in the pot and I had maybe 1600 left so I jam all in with my over pair. He instacalls and shows Sigfried and Roy for trip queens. Ugh. That's poker baby. I wasn't getting him to fold QQ, preflop or post flop and I certainly wasn't folding American Airlines.
** Okay, so it's not my avatar. It's Shannon Elizabeth's Full Tilt avatar, which really doesn't look much like her if you ask me.