Sunday, September 16, 2007

talk about hating local card rooms

In response to players who complain that they raise to $10 at the $1-$2 NL local card room tables, and get 5 callers. Especially with big pairs.

1. If you go all-in with AA, and someone calls with KK, he has made a mistake. We can all understand this. But you can not win 100% when AA vs. KK. It just cant happen. But you'll probably take the chance everytime your given it. which you did. Once and a while, statistically, you HAVE to lose.

2. Who says it IS correct to raise with a big pair at every table you play it. What makes a good player is not just understanding the math, but understanding how to adjust to a table. I often play the 1-2 tables when I travel to San Jose. Some tables are tight, some are loose. Some are redonkulous. When they are, I am coming in for a smaller raise with AA and making that same raise with 78s.

3. MANY low limit tables are loose-tight. Very loose pre-flop and then tight post flop. There is
a good justification for this. Its because players cant let go of big pairs. So when they flop 2 pair or a draw, they may win a very large hand while only risking a small amount. If you dont understand this, you end up raising to $12 with KK and getting 4 callers... and losing. If 4 players take the flop with you, you had better be able to understand where your big pair is at.

4. Last week, I played AT vs. a perpetual button raiser/caller. The flop is 67Q rainbow. I check and he uncharicteristically checks. The turn is a T putting a second heart on the board. I make a pot size bet, he calls. The river is a 3 (non-heart). I think I am in trouble here and I check. He bets 1/2 the pot and I make the crying call to see 45 hearts. He checked the missed flop, picked up a big draw on the turn and decided to call it even though the odds were a bit light. I lost probably the minimum I could. and there were other ways to play the hand, for sure. But that darn river straight is hard to dodge. So be it. He was not a donkey, just 2 hands clashing and only 1 can win. I like to think I will win more of those than lose, but if I am wrong, I am a losing player.

I guess what I am trying to say is, understand the table you are at and adjust away from A-B-C poker. And its ok to lose some hands you would win at a tighter table.

1 comment:

Jon J said...

Hey Ray, just found your blog. I've played a few times with ya. I really enjoyed the posts. You just picked up another regular reader. Feel free to read/link to

Anyway, I have to disagree with your statement that calling with KK vs AA is always a mistake.

First, calling off all of your chips preflop with KK is almost always mandatory. The long term costs of making a mistake with your preflop read and laying down KK has to be way more than the cost of getting stacked in the rare situation that you run into AA when you are holding KK. I think you get AA vs. KK approx once in every 50k hands. By contrast, you get KK 220 times more frequently (my math may be off a little, I'm too lazy to check right now - but it's directionally correct). The profit you make playing hands like AA or KK is just so disportiantely high compared to all of the other hands you play, that you just can't profitably fold KK preflop.

But let me give you the hypothetical to illustrate. Say that you get almost, but not all, of your money in preflop with KK and your opponent lets you know (flashes) he has 2 aces before you make your decision to call his all in bet.

You'd have to agree that there is some point at which calling become the right decision (i.e., the pot has $200 and you need to call $20).

In reality, you only need about 4 or 5 to 1 to make it a break even decision (i.e., calling $40 into a $200 pot)

All of this is a bit "academic" because you'd have to be a complete donkey to flash AA to an opponent who is considering a call. I just don't see it happening ever. Even if a player "accidently" exposes his 2 aces, many card rooms (i.e., Greektown and motor city) can declare your hand dead if you expose your cards to an opponent (I know, I flashed KK in a 4 handed pot as I was capping the betting preflop in a limit game at Greektown. The dealer killed my hand. I was pissed until one of the 3 remaining player won the hand with AA).

Anyway, I enjoy your blog. I'm going to read some of the previous posts.