July 28, 2009

Playing Aggro Donks

Man, I used to get tired of playing against the nit regs at full ring (was I one too???), but at 6max it's the aggro donks that seem to think they're the thang and proliferate there. Quite incapable of playing post flop, obsessed with keeping their vpip/pfr stats as close as possible to each other, they think it's uncool to flat call preflop, and instead you can hear them saying "duhhhhhh......it's 3bet or fold with this small pocket pair. Can't set mine at 6max.....duhhhh" Flush draw? Oh.....Check raise all in regardless of the other guys holding, "fold equity" they say.

Post flop they have no dynamic, and its double barreling or folding etc etc. Hand reading isn't in the aggro donk's vocabulary, neither is varied bet sizing. They range from around 21/20 to 34/29 but always have a very high 3bet% and a lowish cont bet after 3betting (suggest you find that stat offline). If you can catch on, and be prepared for a somewhat higher variance style of play, they will pay you off handsomely.

The aggro donk can never understand why he can't get above or even reach 200nl, as they whine in the forums, but its because they can't play proper poker. They take tournament pre and post flop strategies and apply them blindly to cash.

I used to avoid locking horns with them, and did just fine, but as the month closes I have been experimenting with a higher variance style of play before I move back up to 100nl and try 6 max there. It's more out of curiousity to see what exactly they are playing with. It's brought my win rate down a bit, but who cares.

Here's a typical hand.
Aggro donk has position on me and I have been playing pretty tight at that particular table. His stats are 25/23 with a 13.2% 3bet stat, classic aggro profile.

$0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players

Poker Tools by Stoxpoker - Hand Details

BB: $56.05 (112.1 bb)
Hero (MP1): $145.35 (290.7 bb)
MP2: $63.15 (126.3 bb)
CO: $16.50 (33 bb)
BTN: $88.20 (176.4 bb)

Pre-Flop: Hero is MP1 with Q of spades J of clubs
sometimes I will throw this UTg but as I have been very quiet with a low VPIP, this is an excellent way to open

Hero raises to $1.50, MP2 raises to $5, 3 folds, Hero raises to $14.50, MP2 calls $9.50

MP2 aggro donk 3bets me, and I decide to rep AA-KK and 4bet, he's been 3betting everyone relentlessly, and guess he will have to fold unless he has JJ-AA, AK, in which case he will definitely shove (I hope) and I can fold. He surprises me by flat calling. The only hands that might do that are TT-QQ and maybe AK-AQ. JJ and QQ are unlikely (although possible) due to my holding and the fact that JJ-QQ are still like AA to aggro donks. I am very unhappy that he called however, as I have a weakish holding OOP. I just wanted him to fold.....

Flop: ($29.50) 4 of diamonds 3 of clubs J of diamonds (2 players)
Hero bets $18, MP2 raises to $48.65 and is all-in, Hero calls $30.65
Good flop for me, especially as I am surish he doesn't have JJ-QQ. TT more likely now, but AKs diamond very possible too in which case we are flipping. I am calling his all in 3bet.
Turn: ($126.80) 7 of hearts (2 players, 1 is all-in)
River: ($126.80) Q of hearts (2 players, 1 is all-in)

Results: $126.80 pot ($3.00 rake)

Hero showed Q of spades J of clubs (two pairs, Queens and Jacks) and won $123.80 ($60.65 net)
MP2 showed 9 of diamonds 8 of diamonds (high card Queen) and lost (-$63.15 net)

Aggro donk proceeds to complain in chat box how I could possibly 4bet there and what was I playing at, completely ignoring the fact that he 3bet bluffed with 98s from an UTG raiser (not the end of the world I guess, but still daft) and THEN called a 4bet with 98s against what looked like AA-KK.

They can't help themselves.

If he had just flat called pre, and 3bet my cont bet, I would have folded, even with TP, on such a bad draw board, as we were both deep and I wasn't committed, and was out of pos.

Edit: see aggro donks part 2 here

July 26, 2009

Best Time to Play at Microstakes

I played a meg session last night after I got home from my sister's barbecue. Its not something I normally do, and in fact I have only played twice before, late on a Saturday night.

The play felt more like 10nl than 50nl and it was an orgy of horrendous plays over horrendous plays. unfortunately I never ran particularly well but I still took 3 buy ins without having to think much. I would suggest if ever you wished to take a shot at a higher level, and had the stomach to take some weird bad beats by people playing Any Two Cards, 12midnight and onwards GMT is the time to do it.

I would also say I had had a good few glasses of wine, and played more laggy than I would normally, which is never optimal when surrounded my loose maniacs, when ABC TAG is the way.

July 21, 2009

Running bad/good or just natural variance

I still consider myself a new player, do they call it noob??, as I think, from reading 2p2 and the like, you really need around 500k hands to start to know when you are playing well online (live and/or mid/high stakes is different) and when you are just getting lucky. Then it also figures that the reverse is also true, that you need to know when you are playing badly versus when things are just going against you, ie variance. I think that ingrained knowledge can only come from experience, and that in turn can help you stay away from tilt. The feeling of thinking the world is against you is what it can be like to a new player, and can really bum you up. The knowledge that this is part of the game, has happened to you before, and that as long as you keep playing your game things will turn around is invaluable, and is the key to avoid tilt, and staying cool.

Given that many small stakes winning players play up to 30k hands per week, through the year they may have dips and troughs in their graphs that can last 50k or more hands, and that would last over a whole month worth of a small volume player, its really important to keep perspective on your own mini swings.

July 13, 2009

Full Tilt update and HUD

Full Tilt have updated their software, and I am not impressed.

Aside from the bugs within the new re-player, my AHK scripts no longer work, and they have stopped allowing observed hands to be viewed within the HUD, unless you are actually active and posting. (Fair enough I suppose, although I have never understood the whole data mining thing, it only takes about 50 hands or so to determine the basics of how someone plays, and do we really have any more time to dissect their leaks? If we play against them very often, we get that info anyway?). I just like the idea of seeing players stats who are already in my (legit) database. It's somewhat contradictory to my last post where I noted that I use the HUD less and less, but the VPIP/PFR stats are pretty vital for multi-tabling.

So still playing 6-max and staying down at 50nl for the month. Its been a bit swingy this week, but I am still confident in the game structure and player standard, which still continues to amaze me with the amount of strange plays/CR-all-in-with-air and such.

I will end the post with this hand, up against a 32/3 guy who fell into the typical bad player trap, slow play your big (but very vulnerable) hands, let your opponents catch up and have you crushed, and only then get it all in. Note we are playing 200bbs as I had just doubled up, as had he. No check raise on the flop, and note also the staged re-raising on the river. I mean, what else could I have had??

$0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players

Poker Tools by Stoxpoker - Hand Details

BB: $99.80 (199.6 bb)
UTG: $44 (88 bb)
MP: $37.75 (75.5 bb)
CO: $50 (100 bb)
Hero (BTN): $97.15 (194.3 bb)
SB: $50 (100 bb)

Pre-Flop: Hero is BTN with Q of hearts A of hearts
2 folds, CO raises to $1.50, Hero calls $1.50, SB folds, BB calls $1

Flop: ($4.75) T of hearts 5 of hearts A of spades (3 players)
BB checks, CO bets $3.45, Hero calls $3.45, BB calls $3.45

Turn: ($15.10) 9 of hearts (3 players)
BB checks, CO checks, Hero checks
For my part, I am taking a small risk here giving the free card with the nuts 3 way, but I have position. I am in a difficult spot if board pairs as I won't want to build a big pot probably.

River: ($15.10) J of spades (3 players)
BB bets $15.10, CO folds, Hero raises to $41.50, BB raises to $67.90, Hero raises to $92.20 and is all-in, BB calls $24.30

Results: $199.50 pot ($3.00 rake)

BB mucked T of spades T of diamonds (three of a kind, Tens) and lost (-$97.15 net)
Hero showed Q of hearts A of hearts (a flush, Ace high) and won $196.50 ($99.35 net)

July 06, 2009

Using the HUD and understanding stats

I am noticing my using the HUD stats that come with Holdem Manager less and less these days. In fact the only stat I place real attention to is VPIP. That makes the appeal of moving to sites that do not integrate into HEM data analysis and display somewhat more appealing.

That’s not to say I understand all those bloody stats. Truth of the matter is they bamboozle me. But when deciding whether to call his river shove on what could be a busted draw, relying on a HUD to help you is pretty risky actually. Am I really gonna make a decision based on his “won when went to showdown stat”? I wouldn’t know what it should be.

I know there are vids and discussions out there explaining what is optimal ranges for these stats, but I am not going to base a decision solely on them. Would it sway me at all in the above example? Would it make 10% difference, 20%…..?

There’s no right answer here but my instinct is certainly to try to move away from relying on a HUD

I certainly find that cards appear less important in 6max, where the game has more of a rhythm to it. I know a guy’s going to 3bet me in the blinds before he has even done it often, and sometimes I have made my mind up about what I am going to do when an inevitable bet comes, regardless of my own cards. Stats I use here are STEAL, CONT BET and 3BET, and this is the other end of the HUD that still helps me. There’s a Zen like tranquillity when you have this state of mind, where getting stacked doesn’t seem to have any bearing in proceedings…….although I promise it doesn’t happen to me often! (being in a Zen like state that is, I get stacked all the time..)