Sunday, January 15, 2006


Over the past few sessions (in which I won $50 at Euro, lost $50 at Euro, and won $50 at Martins) I've identified a few more leaks -- most of which can be linked to NL play.

The first leak, and probably the biggest, is attempting to represent a big hand from the blinds. An example:

Hand #1: I'm in the small blind w/ T3s, three limpers, I complete, and the big blind checks his option. Flop comes 443, no suits. I check, big blind bets out, folds to me, and I check-raise attempting to represent a 4. He calls, I fire on the turn and river after blanks appear to fall (J and 9 I think) and he pops me on the river, so I obviously fold.
I think I got this move in NL, and its not serving me well. Yes, I can easily represent trip 4s in that situation, and people will probably believe me... but they won't fold. Especially a looser site like Eurobet, most likely they'll be confused by the read they are getting and call me down to the river with any pair and two high cards on the flop.

The move necessitates betting the turn and river which is horrendous from an EV perspective. Lets say there are 3 big bets in the pot after the pre-flop action. If my hand is good, I'll win those bets and the turn check-raise, or 4 bets if I put in 2 bets (cr flop, bet turn). It is unlikely that someone will believe me 50% of the time and fold the turn. Secondly, I will only get called by hands that beat me, so I'm really just throwing money away. I'm better off just not doing the move unless conditions are just right: I'm up against minimal opposition and I have a draw to go with my hand.

In NL though, this move can be very powerful, especially if I am in the big blind. Many decent players would be hard-pressed to call a check-raise on a board like that without at least an overpair.

Another thing I've been trying to do is put in the turn bet if I'm willing to call a bet on the river:
Hand #2: Eurobet. UTG limper, I limp in MP, SB folds, and BB checks. Flop is KJ7 (two of some suit, I think). Checks to me, I bet (the bet is almost mandatory for the chance of everyone folding). BB folds, UTG calls. Turn is offsuit 4, check-check. River is offsuit 2, UTG bets, and I call because I can beat a bluff or busted draw (which I've essentially induced). He shows A7o to win.
In those situations (HU, he hasn't shown any strength) I generally am willing to put in another bet to see if my hand is good (but if he bets into me on the turn, I'm gone). So I usually check the turn and call a bet on the river -- which happens often since the move induces bluffs. In fact, Matt Lessinger in Book of Bluffs says this is one of the rare times where UTG should always bluff since I acted so weak.

Instead, I should put in the bet on the turn, but not put in any more money (fold to a turn raise, check-fold the river). Betting charges worst hands to draw and folds better hands (pocket pairs and a pair of jacks or sevens may fold). But it still costs me the same thing -- obviously a win-win situation (excluding a little bit of EV from inducing the river bluff).

This is another one I got from NL. With a weak hand like third pair, I'll bet the flop in last position to see if I can get everyone to fold. Then I'll check the turn to keep the pot small and induce a bluff, then call a bet on the river if it is small enough and made by a bluffer. Sometimes I'll even do the same thing with TP with a weak kicker. In NL, it is a great way to see the showdown for a cheap price without getting into too much trouble. In limit it is a recipe for trouble.

Another adjustment I've made is calling down with top pair decent kicker (usually in position). Mostly I do this in situations where it was heads-up at the flop and he could easily be bluffing (i.e. blind steals). I've already proved that I can't easily fold a flopped top pair in limit, so if I don't have much of a read, I'll just call the bets to the river if I don't improve. My thinking is this: if they have me beat, I'm saving the big bet it would cost to raise the flop and figure that out (since I'm not going to fold anyway). If they are bluffing then they can bet my hand for me -- they still have bad odds to draw, and their desperation bets (a leak I've been plugging) will just go in my pocket.

Unlike the other two leaks, calling down with top pair will kill you in NL. In fact, I love people that will call to the river with a single pair in NL -- they'll make you a lot of money. But in limit, it can be very profitable.

The more I think about it, the more I realize how different the approaches to NL and limit are -- and much of my losses in limit are linked to NL techniques.

Anyway, I'm a little burned on the grinding, plus there is a lot of TV on the next two nights (yes, 24 is back!). So I think I'm going to take a few days off from limit and if I do play, do a little NL to blow some steam.

By my count, I have about 8 hours left of grinding on Eurobet and 5 hours on MartinsPoker. Plus, 2.5 hours on William Hill (I'm planning on getting an account there before the end of the month for the ~$50 for 5 table hours thing), so that's 15 hours of limit I'd like to play by the end of the month to release $500 in bonuses (of course, only William Hill is time critical). So I need to average an hour a day from here on out -- that's a lot of grinding for me!

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