Friday, December 28, 2007

Garden City Two Nights Ago

I've been delayed, but I played Garden City on Wednesday night with a friend. I won $214 in a bit over 2.5 hours, then headed out because my friend left and I was getting a headache.

I know what you're thinking -- I chickened out again once I got ahead.

Well, kinda, but not really.

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GC was hopping, and I expect it will be for the next few weeks since people loosen up (and get time off) around the holidays. I've never had to wait more than five minutes to get onto a 6/12 table, but it took about 1/2 hour to get a table on Wednesday night. The place was so busy they used a blackjack table for 3/6!

So, we got on the 3/6 list and played there for about ten minutes before they started a new 6/12. Long enough to get my aces cracked, but my friend did the cracking and I was able to read him for a flush easily on the turn and get away from my hand, losing only $9. I also flopped top pair in the big blind with 62o (653 with two hearts was the flop). I checked it, UTG bet, a bunch of callers, and I didn't like my chances against 5 other players, so I mucked. After all, what safe cards can I really expect to hit? Well, the 6 on the turn would have tied me to the hand. And the 2 on the river was a pretty good card too. You know, if I was still playing... Sometimes I'm a bit too tight for my own good. The raiser ended up having K7o (he bet the whole way???) and the lone caller on the river had Q5s. Oops, shoulda called there.

Gotta say though, the 3/6 players are horrendous. Like cold call three bets cold with K3o horrendous. Or the guy on my left who raised before the black granny UTG acted. Of course, it took her two minutes to realize she had cards, and by that time it had called around to the cutoff... and she raises! I had already folded by that point ("Hey, she hasn't acted yet! Time? Please? Oh, forget it." ). It was pure hilarity, because now the guy on my left three-bets! Still, a few others called, flop of QQ8, she bets, he raises, maybe a caller. Turn blank, check-bet-call. River, check-bet-call. He's got Q7s and her KK. Yikes. Good luck reading these people, but there is a ton of money to be made.

Yet, I don't think 3/6 is a good idea for me. First, yeah, the table was ramming and jamming on Wednesday night, and I'd say the win-rate on 3/6 would approach the win-rate at 6/12 even with the rake doubling in relation to the stakes (Rake and toke a big bet in almost every pot? Don't mind if I do...). Yet, the swings will be brutal as you watch hand after hand go down in flames. Even more brutal was the fact each hand took twice as long because THE PLAYERS HAD NO CLUE ABOUT THE RULES. Clueless players are a double-edged sword: they make tons of mistakes but you can't get as many hands in against them to exploit your edge. Also, if 6 people call every bet, it actually makes their calls slightly more correct, something I like to call the schooling of the fishes (maybe I read that somewhere). For the record, I still think tons of players calling bets and raises with few outs increases your expectation, but the result is more variance. And crazy nasty runner-runner beats while hands go by at the speed of molasses.

But if you get a tight 3/6 table (which I've seen more often than you'd think), good luck beating the rake. 3/6 can definitely be profitable, but table selection is important.

Needless to say, as soon as I could get a seat in a new 6/12 table, I moved.

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Our new 6/12 table was deliciously passive and I really felt in control the whole night. Not getting outdrawn once will help you feel in control. On the other hand, I got very few good hands, they just all held up (or flopped a set or trips).

On my left I had 4-5 really passive regulars who called to the turn with very little but only raised if they had a good top pair or better. On my right, I had two pretty experienced women who actually raised draws and read hands pretty well. There was also a tricky guy in the 9 seat, but he was playing tight enough that I never tangled with him. And there were two-three guys in revolving seats who paid off pretty much everything with any pair.

So, at face value, the table was decent but not great. But the passivity (passiveness?) of the table made me so much more comfortable than 3/6. I could read these people; one time I folded top pair weak kicker on the flop because there was a bet and a raise ahead of me. Another time, a guy who won a bundle of chips after he sat down raised me on the flop and lead again on the turn -- he had to have my second pair beat.

Again, I'm starting to get an idea of the average 6/12 player: someone who has graduated up from 3/6, knows the rules, but doesn't have the aggressiveness or hand-reading of someone who plays higher. They'll typically miss raises and semi-bluff opportunities, rarely raise or check-raise without two pair or better, and call a few too many bets on later streets. While these are different (and less serious) leaks than those the 3/6 players have, I feel like they can be exploited for more money than 3/6 (but less big bets) with less risk. I expect that the variance at 6/12 is only slightly more than 3/6, maybe 200 big bets ($2400) is a good bankroll. Of course, I may feel like an expert with 5 sessions under my belt, but I'm far from it.

That's another post entirely -- I need to keep working to stay sharp and keep progressing. But I'm definitely getting better and gaining confidence.

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Back to that whole chickening out thing.

Once I sat in 3/6 (and subsequently 6/12) I didn't leave my chair until my friend left at 9:30. At that point, I was feeling in control and I had no real fear of losing money back to the table: there were three good players but the rest of the table was passive enough and loose enough that I didn't see a problem.

Still though, I debated about staying for physical reasons. First, I had been up pretty early that morning and I knew fatigue would set in soon. Second, I had had nothing to eat or drink since dinner over three hours ago. Third, I was getting a head-ache. So I got some water and watched the table for a few minutes while I debated. The dealer eventually noticed me and let me know that I had 5 minutes left before my 20 minutes of sitting out was up -- and also recommended that my tablemates would get angry at me if I sat out too long. So I made the quick decision to take off, and I don't really regret it. Sure, I could have played for another half an hour, but I don't think I gave up too much (once I got home, I was exhausted).

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As far as strategy, I've really learned nothing. I did play a ton in the UB $.5/1 bad beat tables, and I've decided that those games are unbeatable with the extra bad beat rake (it makes the rake approximately 15%!). But, I logged a bunch of hands and I hope to spend a little analysis on them to check my results. I've also got some conclusions on the difference between the online game and the live game.

And I'm definitely heading back to GC this weekend. The games are running hot after the holidays and I've actually got time to play, so I need to take advantage.

1 comment:

Thuan said...

I like that you sit out when you're not feeling solid... that's one of my weaknesses... I just have to be dealt every hand.