Saturday, August 21, 2010

Poker and Football (NFL that is)

Why do I love football so much?  Because I am constantly amazed at the Xs and Os of it. The coaches and their game plans and the scheming are riveting to me. 

I approach poker tournaments like an NFL coach.  I have a game plan based on the structure and then call plays based on the situation.  This is probably why I am a tournament player vs. a cash player.  I put the situations first and try "reads" on a player second.  (I do the reverse if playing cash).

So, I was sort of bemused last night when a comment was made about my play style.  We have 12 players, so it becomes an extended SnG.  Short-handed, then full table, then returning to short handed.  I for one love short-handed play in this situation.  But apparently someone had been stat-hunting and made a comment that I am not aggro enough to be good short-handed.  I found that intriguing.  (I still think being aggressive at 6-max is over-rated.)

In a 6-max tournament, you really have to open up your starting hands and fight a bit harder for pots.  But I am not a believer that you simple change out your game-plan styles for 6-max.  That's debatable I know.  But in a 12 person home-game, there is no comparison to a full field 6-max tournament.

My game plan for this more SnG situation is simple.  (Nods to Jen Harman here).  No Limit is a game of trapping.  With big stacks and big fields, you are trapping post-flop.  In a smaller field with smaller stacks, I am more likely to utilize the Phil Hellmuth method of trapping.  Pre-flop raises, laydowns to re-raises, until you cultivate situation where you think you have gotten an edge pre-flop. 

Sure, at one point with 5 or 6 left (this hand will be OMM e107) I had to lay down what turned out to be the best hand (although I still outlasted that player to get to the chop at the end).  But more often, I was trying to play big pots with my big hands pre-flop.

To me, in a big field AK is a drawing hand.  In a shorter stack or smaller field short-handed, AK is a TRAPPING hand (and sometimes AQ for that matter). 

Sure, even in 6-max I treat UTG as UTG (nods to Lee Childs), but usually I am playing hands I might discard at a full table (AJ, the Cosenza, etc.).  And I will "float" more, but I am still not going to be stupid and bluff off large amounts of chips under the guise of aggression. 


Chris Helms, MBA said...

And you know what else? Someone told you that you weren't aggressive enough. Was that guy in the chop at the end? You play your game and let everyone else play their own. I love it when guys on the sideline tell me how to play. Nice work on your blogs.

Chris Helms

StatsProfessor said...

AK is the nuts in 6max. Its getting beyond aggro these days so trapping can work well.