Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Two Plus Two Forum

I will freely admit, I have not been a big "forum" guy. But recently I went trolling through the "best of" 2+2 forum links and among the flotsam and jetsam of diatribe I found a wonderful gem (link lost, sorry).

There was an interesting and thought provoking post on stealing. The supposition was that when it comes to the difference between and intermediate player and an advanced player, the intermediate player will steal when the situation is good (later positions, FTA, etc) and he has a hand that has some value such as a suite connector or a small pair. The idea being that its a semi-steal. He would be fine picking up the blinds, but if gets called, he has a hand that has some "hit value". The advanced player, however, is stealing based solely on situation and player profiles, generally with ATC (any two cards). This is further enforced by the "Harrington Bots" because Harrington himself expounds the idea that steals should be with hands that are not "trash hands".

There is a wealth of information to contemplate in these ideas, but what I took from it is, "am I a lame stealer"??? i.e., "will I only steal with non-trash hands?"

I think the answer is yes. I consistently avoid situations where I would have to play post-flop with "air". I think this is because so many players will call c-bets with a naked Ace or a baby pair. In my WSOP event, my c-bet was flatted by a naked Ace FOUR times, THREE of which were rewarded with an ACE on the turn!!! I got away in 2/3 of them, but this is only a good play if the player you are flatting is weak (will always check turn if missed flop) or you have a plan based on reads or tenancies to take the hand away. Otherwise, you are just "floating, hoping for a checked turn". Emphasis on Hope.

So I have been very weary of stealing with air. The terrible downside of this is that since even a decent hand will miss 2/3 of the time, I am not doing myself any favors! Being unwilling to practice playing a hand with air is hurting my ability to rise to the top of the the "pyramid of play".

Unlike in the past, I am looking for a minor adjustment, not a major one. I am looking to add a bit of this play, not a ton. But it does force me to ask myself this, "am I missing even more re-steal situations?". I fear the answer is YES.
I need to be conscious of this and track situations where I could have re-stole but opted not to...


Don said...

Just looking at your calendar. AIPS is not tonight--its next week.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

So play some of the big online mtt's, and when it's early and the blinds and antes are still low, *force* yourself to open-raise preflop a bit with shitful hands. Make yourself get out there and play with air -- notice nobody says you have to lose more than your preflop raise in these situations -- and pretty soon you will find yourself more comfortable with them.

All that said, I don't really think stealing with air is the big difference between good and great poker players. If anything I would think it is the decisions that are made on marginal hands, or maybe timing of when an allin bet will make an opponent fold, etc. Just my 2 cents.