Holy Crap

Just got back from watching Spain defeat Germany, 1-0 and decided to try to find a tourney to play in.  As has been the case over the last 2-3 days – when I want to play there hasn’t been many fish registering for the tourneys.  So I decided to give another go at the cash game.   $400+ in 34 mins and decided to call it quits.

I can’t say that there’s a secret, but my overall strategy is to figure out who the really loose players are and simply engage with them for large pots when I’ve got great hole cards – and I overbet the pot pre-flop.  My impression is that these guys can’t resist an opportunity to gamble – so big hands like AA, KK, and QQ get paid off…a lot!  They chase draws passively (by calling rather than raising).   They seem to have a tendency to think that other players are bluffing too much too.  If you have a monster hand an do the stop-go, they’ll often bet the pot.  I’ll smooth call if the board isn’t too dangerous, then come out for 1/2 their stack.  Often they decide to re-raise on a bluff or semi-bluff and I catch them.  By shoving all-in, they seem to back off and fold -so I don’t get the full pay-off.  By betting 1/2 their stack, they seem to look at the bet size in relation to the pot and say, “that’s a weak bet” – and they re-raise all in.  The key to this is knowing that your opponent does not take stack size into consideration when they engage.  You can pick up on this fairly quickly and it’s a great way to manipulate the donks.  They have $100 behind, the pot is $300, you bet $50 and they think it’s a weak bet, and re-raise all-in for their last $50…it feels great when it works, and it’s been wildly profitable recently.  

If there’s a remotely skilled player acting interested in the pot pre-flop, I’ll play straightforward poker with raising/calling hands from position.  Folding AJs and even AQo occasionally from the SB – depending on how I’ve profiled the aggressor.  Position REALLY has advantages in the cash games (which shouldn’t be news to anyone) and I’ll almost NEVER play from out of position.  If I raise to isolate pre-flop and get a smooth-caller from someone in position, I’m very wary and am willing to give up on the pot unless my hand improves to a set, etc.

Anyway – things appear to be going swimmingly and I’m quitting my sessions at a point where the anxiety of losing $X would outweigh the joy of winning another $X.  I’ve mentioned it in earlier posts after reading Elements of Poker by Tommy Angelo, and I think this is going to be a key to long term success.  When I stand up and take that money off the table, I realize the income and the success.  I can go for a walk, do some exercise, call a friend, etc and mellow out before I get too far down the path of thinking that I’m the table captain and that I am invinceable.   That break brings me back down to earth.  Re-starting another session an hour or two later protects your bankroll because you buy-in for less that what you had at the table earlier, and it generally keeps you on your toes rather than getting too comfy and winding up sorry. 

I’m going to continue to quit more effectively than my opponents for the sake of my bankroll and because it’s a vital element of good poker strategy.



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