Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Today is settlement day on my new house, wish me luck!

Ironically, I had a post about min-raises, then I get an email with an article written by Phil Gordon from full tilt on min-raises.


Check it out:


Say you're playing in a low-stakes no-limit ring game. The blinds are $.50 and $1, and it's folded to you in middle position. You find a nice hand - pocket Tens - and bring it in for a standard raise of three times the big blind. It's folded around to a player in late position, who re-raises the minimum amount, making it $5 to go. I've seen this sort of play repeatedly in the past few months while researching my next No-Limit Hold 'em book by playing in low-stakes games. Every time I've been faced with a minimum re-raise, I've been up against a monster - pocket Kings or Aces. A player who opts for the small raise may think he's being crafty by getting me to put a little extra money in the pot while he holds a big hand. But this is not a profitable play. There are two major problems with the minimum raise.
I've already mentioned the first problem: My opponent has telegraphed his hand. And making good decisions is pretty easy when you know exactly what your opponent holds. The second problem is mathematical. My opponent is giving me 5 to 1 to call the additional raise. (In this example, my extra $2 will give me a chance win $10.) When I make the call, I know that I stand to win a very big pot. My implied odds the money I stand to make if I hit my hand - more than justify the call. If my opponent started the hand with a $100 stack, I could get paid at a rate of 50 to 1. So I call and see a flop. If there's no Ten on the board, I'm done with the hand. And if there is a Ten, I'm going to wipe my opponent out. As I said, poker is a pretty easy when you know what your opponent holds.What's the proper play when you hold Aces and a player has raised in front of you? Find the Bet Pot button and click it. Put pressure on a player who you know is starting with a second-best hand. Who knows, if he's got pocket Queens or A-K, he may be willing to put his entire stack in pre-flop. If he holds something like Jacks or Tens, your big raise will minimize your opponent's implied odds.You should be wary of minimum raises at other stages of a hand, as well. Say you raised pre-flop with A-K and one player called. You hit top pair top kicker on a K-8-4 board. You bet out the size of the pot and your opponent min-raises you. At this point, you need to be very concerned that your opponent has hit a set. You have to wonder why he'd be raising an amount that almost begs for your call.
I've already mentioned the first problem: My opponent has telegraphed his hand. And making good decisions is pretty easy when you know exactly what your opponent holds. The second problem is mathematical. My opponent is giving me 5 to 1 to call the additional raise. (In this example, my extra $2 will give me a chance win $10.) When I make the call, I know that I stand to win a very big pot. My implied odds the money I stand to make if I hit my hand - more than justify the call. If my opponent started the hand with a $100 stack, I could get paid at a rate of 50 to 1. So I call and see a flop. If there's no Ten on the board, I'm done with the hand. And if there is a Ten, I'm going to wipe my opponent out. As I said, poker is a pretty easy when you know what your opponent holds.What's the proper play when you hold Aces and a player has raised in front of you? Find the "Bet Pot" button and click it. Put pressure on a player who you know is starting with a second-best hand. Who knows, if he's got pocket Queens or A-K, he may be willing to put his entire stack in pre-flop. If he holds something like Jacks or Tens, your big raise will minimize your opponent's implied odds.You should be wary of minimum raises at other stages of a hand, as well. Say you raised pre-flop with A-K and one player called. You hit top pair top kicker on a K-8-4 board. You bet out the size of the pot and your opponent min-raises you. At this point, you need to be very concerned that your opponent has hit a set. You have to wonder why he'd be raising an amount that almost begs for your call.
My advice here is twofold: First is that you should all but eliminate the minimum raise from your game. In some rare circumstances when you hit a full house or quads, it might be appropriate, but that's about it. Second is that alarm bells should go off whenever you see a min raise. Your opponent probably has a big hand and you need to proceed accordingly.
My advice here is twofold: First is that you should all but eliminate the minimum raise from your game. In some rare circumstances when you hit a full house or quads, it might be appropriate, but that's about it. Second is that alarm bells should go off whenever you see a min raise. Your opponent probably has a big hand and you need to proceed accordingly.



Phil is addressing a difference aspect of the min-raise, but still very usefull information.

Friday, May 12, 2006

I apologize for the lack of updates recently, I have been very busy with finalizing details for the new house (settlement on tuesday!!) that I haven't had a whole lot of time to play or post. That will change soon. I have been thinking about poker though, so I do have some stuff stored and ready to fire. I want to address an issue here that has been on my mind recently. Min-Raises. I will be the first one in line to the "Min-Raises Are Stupid and Pointless" camp, but I am going to attempt to rationalize a couple situations where it might be a good play.

First things first, if you do not have experience, or you dont understand what you hope to accomplish, you should never be min-raising. I see it time and time again by people who just dont have a clue. You should never min-raise with AA. Let me repeat that, because some people love to do that. You should never min-raise with AA. If you are going to min-raise with AA, dont cry when my K9suited cracks your hand, hell dont cry when I crack your hand with 97suited from the BB. You have done nothing at all by min-raising, except build the pot a little bigger.

Lets look at a situation here
Blinds 25/50
person 1 (2000) - Kh2c - SB 25 - fold
person 2 (2500) - 7s9s - BB 50 - ????
person 3 (1200) - AcAh - raise 100
person 4 (3200) - Ks10c - call 100
person 5 (1500) - KcJc - call 100


Ok, lets look at the BB. He has a pot of $375 in front of him and it cost $50 to call. 7.5-1 odds on suited one-gappers. He is probably going to make this call 9 out of 10 times.

Let's assume he makes the call.

What has been accomplished by the person holding AcAh? He did not raise enough to take out K10,KJ,79. He is going to the flop with 3 other people, and he is no longer in a dominant position. Change the situation and say he had raised to $300. He maybe gets 1 caller (KcJc). He can dominate KcJc heads up. He can not dominate K10,KJ,79. He is 57% favorite to win this hand, where heads up he is a 82% favorite. By min-raising he brought more people into the pot and lost 25% off of his odds to win the hand. That is not a good way to win at poker.


Ok, so now I am done with the duh-nick-I-already-knew-that-information and ready to provide some insight.

I am going to claim that it may be a good idea to min-raise if you are in the following situation:

In the BB, SB or one the button AND
Have 3 or more callers in front of you AND
have a hand that holds up against a big table AND
the small and big blinds are not hyper aggressive players

In other words the planets need to align.

But if they do, lets look at the situation above, but with new cards...
Blinds 25/50
person 1 (2000) - Jd10d - SB 25
person 2 (2500) - Ks9s - BB 50
person 3 (1200) - Ac3h - call 50
person 4 (3200) - 5s6s - call 50
person 5 (1500) - KcQc - call 50


If it is your turn to act here I am going to suggest you min raise to 100.
Why?!?!?!?
Lets look at some odds, then act out the rest of the hand..
Before I reveal the odds, who do you think is favored to win this hand?
The Jd10d is ahead slightly right now..

Jd10d-27%
Ks9s-12.5%
Ac3h-22.3%
6s5s-15%
KcQc-22.3%

That being said, you need to raise here. Ideally you would like to make that Ace go away. But remember you dont know the cards here. You arent really concerned about a lonely ace, because you can walk away from a hand that doesnt hit you here. Remember when I warned that you needed to have experience? That is where this comes into play. You need to be able to throw away your hand on a flop like AJ3, or 237, or Js10s3s. These flops will hit, and will get action, but you dont want this action. Lets look at what you would be doing with a min-raise, verse a normal raise, verse a call...

We already outlined the odds going to the flop with a straight call.
If you min-raise you can assume you are getting called by everyone. In fact it would be the right play for even the lonely 12% hand to call, because he is in the big blind and it will cost him only $50 to see $450 pot with bigger implied odds. Lets assume everyone makes the mathmatically correct play of calling. We can argue that the right play would be for KQ to make a move here, but lets not get into that for this discussion.

Prior to the flop the pot is now $500.
Lets look at three flops

Js10s3c
Bingo you hit two pair. You do have an issue here because the board has 2 spades. You dont know that there are two people sitting on 2 spades in there hand, and that one of them has a gutshot to go along with it. Here are the odds now:
Jd10d-38%
Ks9s-35%
Ac3h-4.5%
6s5s-3%
KcQc-17%

You are still ahead, but the two spades dont help much. Tread carefully here and dont get into a pissing match. If you do, and get all in against player 2 and player 5 you are going to loose more often then you like. If you can trickle out some money here you can go for the kill on a later street.

As9d5d

Jd10d-41%
Ks9s-14%
Ac3h-29%
6s5s-13%
KcQc-1%

Do you see how hard this flop hit you? You are a 40% favorite to win in a hand where top pair/middle pair could easily be taken out of the hand. In fact you can slow down a bit here and call the small bet made by player 2 or player 3 and make your move on the turn.

Kd2h7c

Jd10d-12%
Ks9s-10%
Ac3h-12%
6s5s-5%
KcQc-58%

This hand didnt hit you hard at all, but yet you are still in a position to either see another card to a small-moderate bet, or fold to a moderate-big bet. With this many people in the hand KQ can not think he is almost a 60% favorite. K9 can not like his hand without any spades on the board. You are in a position where KQ will probably throw out about 1/3 to 1/2 pot bet if he were first to act. But wait, K9 is before him. He needs some information on this pot quickly. Assuming you check (which may not be the right decision either) K9 is probably going to throw a small bet out. player 3,player4 will probably fold, and KQ will determine your action. If KQ simply calls you now are in a good situation to make a call and make a suckout. If he raises, get out of the hand and let them fight it out. Lets look at what types of bets you can call here...

you with implied odds you probably need 10% money to call. Your implied odds arent great, because KQ and K9 are probably going to play this with caution. They may not though. KQ may decide that no-one has K7,77,22,K2,AK and throw his money into the pot. If he does it now, like we have already discussed you are folding. In order to get 10% money you need 10-1 pot odds.

Lets assume K9 follows the preflop betting and puts $100 out there.
If KQ calls, you are looking at a pot of $700 and it cost you $100. Not good enough.
What if he bets $50. Now you are looking at a pot of $600 and a cost of $50. Thats enough. Where is your cutoff line? About $60. Anything over it you are getting into fold territory, anything under you will be happy to stay to the river with.


Ok, so that is that. Lets go back to preflop and assume you had made a bigger raise...
Remember our odds..
Jd10d-27%
Ks9s-12.5%
Ac3h-22.3%
6s5s-15%
KcQc-22.3%
and it is at you with 3 callers and a pot of $375. Lets assume instead of min-raising or calling you raise to $200 (a 4x BB raise).

K9 has a pot of $550, and needs to put in $150, he should fold here..
A3 has a pot of $550, and needs to put in $150, he should fold here..
6s5s has a pot of $550, and needs to put in $150, he should fold here..
KcQc has a pot of $550, and needs to put in $150, he should probably call here with implied odds.
Now you are two handed to the flop, and a slight favorite.

Lets look at the 3 flops again:

Js10s3c - you are a big favorite, but not winning without a fight here. Have to be carefull not to bet too much or two little. This is a tricky situation to play right two handed.

As9d5d
You are ahead here, but he is folding to any action


Kd2h7c
You are behind here and should fold to any action

My point in running this situation out is that you have limited your action on hands you hit hard, and the ones you will get action on are sometimes tricky to play heads up.

I feel like I am cutting this post short (yea right??) because I could get a lot more analytical on it, but I just dont have time right now. Any thoughts?




(sidenote: after writing this post, I played a SnG and was involved in this hand which was all to ironic not to post it... notice how bad min-raising with AA is?)

Monday, May 08, 2006

I am a winner!!!

Ok, maybe not really, but it feels really good to report my first +$$ session in a long while. Hopefully this will turn my luck around. You may remember my bad luck spell, well I took a couple weeks break from cards... hit the tables tonight and at first I thought it was going to continue (see my aces getting cracked)













After that lovely hand, things started to turn around a bit. I played a little loose preflop (a lot more then I usually play) but was able to outplay my opponents after the flop.

Anywho, feels nice to report a +$50 session...

Next action...Back to the SnG challenge !!!

Things you should expect to see on the virtual felt

10) QQ,JJ (or similar) loose to AK when all three are all in
9) A2 crack AK
8) The Tilt. The guy who takes a bad beat (see #9) and then starts pushing his chips in the pot with any Ace.
7) The Idiot. The guy who overbets every hand. You know the kind, AJ all in preflop without a raise in front of him.
6) The Idiot who thinks he is smart. The guy who min-raises with AA,KK because he thinks he is outplaying everyone.
5) The limp-raise all in. See #6 & #7. Usually has a good hand. At first decided to slow play, then got a raise and now is ready to push all in.
4) The gambler. This is the guy who is willing to put all his chips in the pot with 2 overcards, a flush draw, a straight draw, middle pair, basically anything for the thrill.
3) The smart player. Plays optimal hands optimally. Doesn't make too many mistakes. Bottom line, stay away from him and concentrate more on #8-#4.
2) The guy who talks about how much money he makes, but yet is a horrible player.
1) Two people have the same hands, get into a bidding war, end up splitting the pot, and then type LOL into the chat window... As if something is funny

Friday, May 05, 2006

Go out and read this post from wired pairs, then read the comments. Add in your two cents, either over there or here. I am interested in other points of view...





Here is the hand in question at his blog....


This is the first 2k NL hand history I'm posting without results. Please feel free to discuss my play and what you think my opponent had.

In this particular hand, there was no showdown (I folded), but my opponent showed his hole cards after I folded. I will be posting the results of the hand as a comment in a TBD time.

$2000 NL Texas Hold'em - Saturday, December 31, 17:40:41 EDT 2005
Seat 6 is the button
Seat 1: captZEEbo ( $2007 )
Seat 3: WherezMyNutz ( $2662 )
Seat 4: IG2609 ( $4133 )
Seat 5: twylla ( $10315.50 )
Seat 6: madphly ( $2201 )
Seat 7: keeper00 ( $3578 )
Seat 9: calmjackal ( $1655 )
Seat 8: fluxer ( $1957 )
Seat 2: LeDozer ( $2122 )
Seat 10: Sydni_N ( $1487.25 )
keeper00 posts small blind [$10].
fluxer posts big blind [$20].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to fluxer [ Kc Ac ]
calmjackal calls [$20].
captZEEbo folds.
LeDozer folds.
WherezMyNutz calls [$20].
IG2609 calls [$20].
twylla calls [$20].
madphly folds.
keeper00 raises [$115].
fluxer calls [$105].
calmjackal calls [$105].
WherezMyNutz folds.
IG2609 folds.
twylla folds.
** Dealing Flop ** [ Ks, Th, 2h ]
keeper00 bets [$450].
fluxer calls [$450].
calmjackal folds.
** Dealing Turn ** [ 7s ]
keeper00 bets [$1400].
fluxer folds.
keeper00 shows ?
keeper00 wins $2732 from the main pot with ?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

April Stats..


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Month of April

Top Referrer: Alan 19
Visitor Breakdown: 57% returning 43% new
Total Visits: 232


top 5 keywords
1. Nick+Christy google me, get me!
2 Nick Christy weird, aint it?
3. sngs fill out this form and get free $$ to play sngs at Noble!
4. lederer+"All-In+Camp" Think this is what you are looking for
5. Billirikas,+Steve+-+MrSmokey1 - Yes...he is Steve MrSmokey1 on PokerStars

Monday, May 01, 2006

Took a night trip to Atlantic City Friday night. A spur of the moment night trip (they are the best). Went with a real good friend (it happened to be his idea, and he has never been there before) . We ended up leaving from his house around 6:30ish, getting up to AC around 9ish, we didn't make too bad timing considering we had to avoid 95 north for the first 30 miles of the trip because of a bad accident and Friday rush hour, and add to that the fact that we completely missed the AC expressway and ended up taking rt 40 through NJ.

First stop - Taj Mahal. It was about 9:30 when we finally got parked and into the Taj. The place was packed. My buddy Carter sits down at the very first slot machine he sees (overwhelmed at this point by the urge to gamboool). I figure, why not and sit next to him then proceed to blow $20. I get up, irritated at myself for sitting down and the "stupid old-school slots" that I swear to stay away from (only video slots for me!). We head over to the money wheel, and end up +$10. Then back to slots for a bit. I get a royal flush at video poker, but being an idiot I only had 2 coins in the machine instead of 4. The royal flush had 2 wild cards so it wasn't the top jackpot but I woulda taken home $250 if I had it fully loaded. Instead I cash out for like $50. Now I am warmed up and ready to hit the tables. Carter and I decide to meet up at the ATM machine at 10:45. I go over to the poker room only to find the smallest table they got going is $2/4 limit, and $3-6 no limit and they have 20 people waiting list right now. No worries, I put my name on the bottom of each and head around the room. Quickly I spot an opening at the Texas Holdem table game. I wrote a blog about it coming out here... Well its out, and very popular.

Here is how it works..
I first sat at a $5 min table... but dont expect like I did that $80-$100 is good at a $5 min table...

Here is how to bet at a $5 min table:
Before the hand - You must put at least $5 on the ante, and you have the option of putting up to $300 on the bonus.
Dealer then deals out 2 cards to everyone including himself.
You now decide if you like you cards and want to stay. If you want to stay you must put in double your ante ($10) in the preflop section of the table.
After everyone takes their turn the flop comes out.
Now you decide if you want to bet or check. If you want to bet you must bet the size of your ante (in this case $5).
Dealer flips over the turn and you decide if you want to bet again. This is your last chance to bet at this hand. If you want to bet you must bet the size of your ante again ($5).

After that round of betting the river is dealt.
Now the dealer shows his cards, and announces what he has.
Then the dealer will go to each person to see if they beat him (you do NOT have to beat the other people at the table, just the dealer).
If you beat the dealer he pays off each of your bets 1-1 and you keep your ante. For example/
if you bet $10 preflop, $5 after the flop, and $5 after the turn he gives you $20 and you keep your $5 ante.
If you have a flush or higher, the dealer will pay your ante off as well. So in the above example if you won with a flush he would pay you $25.
As previously mentioned there is a bonus section on the table. This gets paid off based on starting hands. Here is the chart
AA 30-1
AK suited 25-1
KK,QQ,JJ 20-1
AQ suited 15-1
AK off suite 10-1
AQ,AJ off suite 5-1
1010-22 3-1

You do not have to play the bonus section, but most people do. In fact I saw a Japanese lady play it like 30 straight hands without hitting, give up on it then get dealt AK suited, AQ off, and AJ off in 3 hands in a row. She was furious, and started putting chips in her bonus section after she was dealt cards (this consequently made the floor manager come over and ask her to stop) She was also a real pain because she kept arguing for pushes whenever someone was outkicked by the dealer.

Oh one more thing, the only bet you have to make is the ante. Once your cards are dealt you must bet in the first round of betting if you want to stay in.
Ok, now that you know how to play it, would you?

I figured I would give it a shot and bought in for $100 at the $5 min table.
Quickly I was down to $60, then won a couple and was back at like $120. Before I new it, it was time to meet up with Carter. I asked the dealer to mark my spot (hold it for me) ran over and got him, and we both sat down. When I got back the min had been pushed to $10. I was doing well so I figured we had enough. We both played for a little while. I was dealt a couple bonus hands and was up $300 at one point. Carter was up $320. Then the cards went bad. Quicker then I made the $320 I had lost it. Two pairs where loosing to straights, A8 was loosing to 28, etc... This was just bad luck. Here is the thing about this game... it is luck. They have eliminated all the skill from texas holdem, given the house the advantage and it is just as addicting.

Overall we had a great time at AC and looking to go back again soon so I can actually get on the card tables.

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