Friday, December 02, 2005

Playing in the Shallow End

Pacific Poker 6-max LHE is still kickin' my bum. Played two sessions today, almost four hours, and came out down a bit over a buck. Honestly, I feel like I was fortunate to end up that way...

Let me just say they are generally horrible players -- it is amazing the number of times I folded third pair to heavy action and found out it would have held up to the river. And the number of times my aces got cracked (2 out of 4). But, I don't want to have to put 'BB' in the title of this post, so I'll cut my whining off there.

Quite honestly, this is what I should expect with a no-fold'em game. Yes, there's lots of money to be made, but your good hands will never hold up nearly as much as you expect them to. In fact, top pair or an overpair on the flop will probably only be good 30-40% of the time by the river if 3-4 players are in against you. Honestly, the probabilities hold up like they should, but the outcome just generally makes people suicidal.

I've still got about $300 to wager to clear the bonus (and at this point, I'm ~$40 down so I'll come out slightly ahead if I break even from here on out). But, I'm not sure it is worth playing 1/2 LHE anymore on the site because the swings suck and I don't need that stress. Instead, I think I should finish up with NLHE where I should be able to protect my hands better. It will also allow people to outdraw me a bit more effectively :) Long-handed hold'em is not a bad idea either.

If anything, this has been a good education for me on playing with loose players (they are surprisingly aggressive too -- they'll represent an A with their 44 on the river with 5 overcards on the board and me betting the whole way). These are the lessons I've taken away:

  1. Missing the flop is bad, even if you have overcards. Very rarely will you be able to chase them out by betting it down, and they'll happily show their pair of 2s on the river to take the pot. Continuation bets can be useful, but slow it down on the turn. This was a major leak for my first few sessions -- on Stars you can usually get it down to one player and possibly force them out, no way on Pacific.
  2. Top pair will rarely hold up. Just a reality of 4 players calling the flop bet, one of them is bound to hit on the turn or get enough to chase the river draw.
  3. Lots of variance. You'd think that a huge edge of a good player would help reduce variance, but it actually makes it worse because you play fewer hands and don't get lucky as much.
  4. It is worth calling the river bet (maybe even the turn) even if you don't improve. I've seen a lot of desperate river bluffs or bluff-raises. You'll pretty much always have odds to call, sometimes even an overcall.
  5. Aggressiveness is good, but only if you believe you have the best hand. Otherwise, there is little chance of making a better hand fold.
I learned a lot about my leaks:
  1. Two high cards are my kryptonite. I was too aggressive with overcards when I miss the flop. Less continuation bets unless I have only 1 opponent (maybe 2). Less follow-up bets when I have nothing on the turn and I bet the flop... Less river bets when I still have nothing but try to steal the pot...
  2. I usually pay off draws that beat me (many times I had the right read when they drew out on the turn, but couldn't lay it down because of the bluffing factor at low limits).
  3. Still working on valuations of hands at 6-max.
Anyway, that covers it. I should probably edit this when I'm less tired.

No comments: