October 11, 2009

Key to Success at the micros?

I don't think there is any great secret to win at 100nl and below. Actually I would say it's simply down to one thing, extracting maximum value with your key hands. Forget about the pre flop all ins, the set over set type cooler/heater, and having your aces cracked, missing with AK etc. It happens to us all, as I have said before. But your winrate will show a marked increase if you are able to get that additional 10bb or so when you know you have the best of it, and play accordingly versus the particular player type.

To illustrate this I want to post a hand that I think I played badly in this respect, where I lost value by lazy hand reading. Villain here is a 10/7 ubernit in the blinds over 42 hands, never having 3bet so far.

$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
Poker Tools by Stoxpoker - Hand Details

SB: $168.20 (168.2 bb)
BB: $172.60 (172.6 bb)
UTG: $147.70 (147.7 bb)
MP: $111.45 (111.5 bb)
CO: $100 (100 bb)
Hero (BTN): $100 (100 bb)

Pre-Flop: Hero is BTN with Q of hearts Q of clubs
3 folds, Hero raises to $3, SB folds, BB calls $2

Flop: ($6.50) Q of diamonds T of clubs Q of spades (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $3, BB calls $3
Nice to flop quads, sad to flop it against an ubernit. Nevertheless I always cont bet here, and I think many players always make the mistake of checking here. Just look at the board, one of the wettest out there. If ubernit has 22-99 I doubt he will put much more into the pot, so as well to take it down right there and move on. However, as he clearly only 3bets KK-AA, AK, we must think about what else he might have. A myriad of Broadway combinations also comes to mind, with gutshot and open-ender possibilities, as well as bottom pair ATs type hands. We want to entice these to call. But the other important reason to bet here is because I am also always going to fire a small bet with air, as well as the nuts. Ubernit times for a bit, then calls.

Turn: ($12.50) A of clubs (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $7, BB raises to $22, Hero calls $15
Ok, so here is my first mistake. When I was raised here, I was so busy licking my lips, I didn't actually narrow down his range. What would CR me here? AT? unlikely, check call more from this guy, Axclubs? possible I guess. KJ? very very likely. TT very very likely. So at this point I SHOULD have been thinking about how to extract maximum value on this hands, as AT is putting nothing more into the pot, and only Axclubs will give up on river if it misses. So a simple min raise would have done the job, where he will either call for deception (in his eyes), shove, or insta fold (the least likely).

River: ($56.50) 7 of spades (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $34, BB calls $34
River bricks, and I make my final and most important mistake. He is either check folding his weak hand, or check calling with a boat or a straight, and the check seems more to lean toward the straight. Either way a bet close to pot would have done it, and he still would have called. And had I min-3bet-raised the turn, a 2/3 pot bet on the river would have got all the money in.

Results: $124.50 pot ($3 rake)
Final Board: Q of diamonds T of clubs Q of spades A of clubs 7 of spades
BB mucked K of clubs J of hearts (a straight, Ten to Ace) and lost (-$62 net)
Hero showed Q of hearts Q of clubs (four of a kind, Queens) and won $121.50 ($59.50 net)

So here, through lazy play sparked by the fun of flopping quads, made me lose somewhere in the reason of 30-40bbs.

This is an extreme example, which I use because I had the absolute nuts on the flop, therefore every bet was always going to be a pure value bet, but this applies equally to your tptk hands where you think you have your opponent outkicked, and of course there is far more skill to that, in terms of hand reading and self confidence, but nevertheless, that is where your win rate will be at.


  1. Its a good point but are you being a bit hard on yourself with this hand? It's a paired board so I think he might have found a fold if you shoved the turn. I think a guy like this needs the absolute NUTS before he feels really comfortable. The slightest suspicion that you have AQ, QT, TT he's probably happy to win a medium pot or minimise his losses. Maybe you actually got the maximum with this guy?

  2. Yes, thats possible, but he would have called a near pot bet on the end, had I just thought through the only 2 hands he would call anything with in that spot, so at least 10bbs "lost".

  3. nice blog man. I liked a lot. keep the good work and gl

  4. i will looking forward 4 a new post