Monday, November 21, 2005

Open the kimono

I told everyone that I would share some of my memory mneumonics that I use to classify players at the table. I will be playing O8B all this week, so I thought this would be a good time for this...

Memory Mnemonics for holdings

FIRST a recap of "simple-solid":
Pre-Flop [remember the GAP concept after level 2]
AA, KK : Can min raise to keep field (2.5x-3x)
QQ, JJ, TT: raise for value, not to reduce field (3x)
AK, AQs, AJs, KQs: Must raise to reduce field. (3x-3.5x)
99, KTs, QJs, KJs, ATs, AQo, JTs : FTAraise (3x), call any <5xBB raise (& <5% of stack)
Suited connector (56s+), Suited 1 gap >7, pocket pair, ATs, A9s, A8s : play with position (or anytime in PL) for <5% of stack
2 gap or 3 gap, suited ace or King, 2 face : <3xBB raise or FTA raise 3xBB, in LP

Flop (what are they calling with?)
Continuation bet if you were FTA raiser, you are FTA now, and there are 2- opponents (monster or big draw can check-raise)
Probe bet (¼ pot) vs. ½ pot bet (only make these two bets)
Post Flop bets based on number of opponents (2-), table dynamic (tight), current image(not loose), and position(LP), stack size.

Turn (watch pot size, apply pressure or get out)
Raise at least ½ the pot if the player makes the same turn bet as the flop bet (shows weakness or inexperience).
FTA Bet or Call probe bets with any draw (top pair w/bad kicker, pair with over-card, middle pair with draw)
FTA Bet or Raise probe bet 2x with top pair w/good kicker, two pair
FTA Bet (just under ½ pot) or Re-Raise (his bet size) any action with a monster hand (set, open draw, flush draw, trips)

OK. Like Phil Helmuth has his base “animal” categorization system, I too have a system for remembering how a player will play certain hands. I have adopted the chopsocky system.

Similar, but more intricate than the animal system, it associates silly kung fu moves (colorfully named after wacky, improbable animal actions such as “snake in the eagle’s claw” or “tiger dancing drunk”) with players to help remember how a player will react in a given situation or how they play hands.

This allows me to associate MOVES with a player instead of your typical (rock, tight/weak, LAG, tight/aggressive) categories of play-styles. The nice thing about this method is that you can make up new ones on the fly and add them to your list.

Here are my list (a work in progress) or basic types: The animals are based on Chinese folklore attributes, not “Anglo” ones. I also referenced the 4 elements just for those of you who know this folklore.

Animals themselves (starting requirements and play-styles)
• Turtle (aka mouse) – patient and rock-like pre-flop. Plays slow (only comes at you with big cards, only raises when ahead).
• Dragon (fire) – Very dangerous and aggressive post-flop. Maybe tight aggressive, but understands to mix up play and loosen up with position. Will make more complex moves. WILL put players on hands and get it right. Most dangerous at the table.
• Viper (aka serpent) – Plays by the book (solid tight aggressive), but slowplays big hands (see snake).
• Snake (earth element) – Tight (coiled). Typically plays “by the book” pre-flop. Tight/Aggressive.
• Grasshopper (aka panther) – a decision maker. Still learning, but not stupid. Solid, but basic. Online internet qualifiers are often grasshoppers. Typically has played less than 2 years.
• Mongoose – an intermediate player who can dispatch snakes and vipers by playing back at them with re-raises, but has little additional creativity. A post beginner.
• Leopard (water element) - It relies on speed and aggression. The leopard attacks with a relentless series of attacks, unconcerned about blocking or being hit. LAG! Will rip through a weak table like a tidal wave.
• Black Tiger (metal element) – Looks to intimidate players, bully. (in chopsocky, the tiger styles are preferred by bad guys.) Likes to pick on short stacks and tight players (dead money) only. Will often clash with Leopards and Eagles.
• Monkey – someone who is constantly jumping around and changing gears but is too good to be a leopard. (Flack, Hansen, etc.) Hard to get a read on.
• Hound (aka hound dog) – Likes to hang around and play speculative hands (NL only). Loves drawing hands. Then tries to look weak (like he is drawing) with big hands. (Negraneau)
• Phoenix – likes to fire out pots, especially on uncontested pots. Will play tight when below avg, loose when above avg.
• Crane (wood element) - Likes to see cheap flops and will often limp, even FTA. Weaker as the levels progress. They look to avoid conflict and will defer to a show of strength unless they are on a big draw or a made hand (or are uncontested). Not always Weak/tight though. Very common at low stakes NL in Brick and Mortar.
• Panda - A calling station or Loose chaser.
• Eagle – tries/likes to be table captain. Physical behavior (touching chips, telling the dealer things) is also a good indicator of this. You can play mental games with these players.


Snake in the Eagle’s shadow - a tight solid player who is waiting for the table captain to knock out players.

Now when you assign a mental note to a player, you are unlikely to forget it.

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