Observing microstakes play
I think too many players at this level have it in their minds that the 'James Bond' style of playing poker is the best way or coolest way to play and are more concerned about looking good or better yet, making your opponents look silly.
Take your ego out of the equation because you have to risk looking silly a lot of times in order to win at poker. Say you always fold your four card draw to the nutflush for all in as you are concerned you will lose, or say you will always fold to a big bet on the river worried what your opponent might have. You might even always slowplay big hands like sets on the flop to extract money or even say you love to check behind or limp in preflop with those aces or kings to 'trap' your opponents. You wouldn't be the first on Pokerstars, a lot of players do it.
This month's Bankroll catch up:
So after some much needed self belief and discipline I have finally managed to reach the 38%-40% profit margin again, after a bad run about five days ago reduced much of my previous winnings. It's taken a lot of grinding it out but it's also made me realise that everything is possible with hard work! It's been a bumpy road ofcourse and I think while building up the bankroll it will continue to be. Correction...in poker it will regularly be a bumpy road, sometimes you'll get your bad runs, sometimes it will be all smooth plain sailing; that's gambling. It's a law of averages. It's maths.
Although I came out a winner in a 2 hour early morning session today, one hand versus a short stacked player annoyed me a little bit, and at times I really have to 'hold my tongue' by commenting in the chat box. Although I realise that it is the numerous bad players out there who help generate profits, so let them continue making huge devastating mistakes, I just couldn't resist to write something about his method of play. This is an urge I'll have to try to curb if I can; best not to let these players know their play is well just, truly bad!
I held A ♠️ J ♠️ in late position and re raised to 40c and the only limper involved called (mistake number 1). The flop came 9 ♠️ Q ♣️ 8 ♠️ giving me the nutflush and gutshot straight draw. He checked I bet about three quarters the pot, he called. The turn came something blank like a 3 ♥️. He checked, I bet again about $1.79 three quarters the pot. The river was the 2 💎. He checked (I sensed he would call) but I decided to fire a third barrel of $2.69 effectively putting him all in. He called with A ♣️ 2 ♣️. I just found this ridiculous play on his part. Sure in the end, I'd been semi- bluffing, but I held a very strong hand and he basically had no reason to call after the flop and yet, despite my betting big, he did to the river showdown and embarrassingly called to win with a pair of 2s. Absolute nonsense, which I proceeded to tell him so.
Slowrolling those aces and kings (raising pre flop rather than limping in)
I've observed the players at the microstakes time and time again 'just call' with their aces or kings and I would say that 50% of the time they win. Ofcourse it makes them look good when they do, and while this James Bond-esque style of play can be fun, say they beat their opponents who hold top pair, it's not sound poker because you are missing out on a lot of your hand's expectation. At the same time, you're opponents are left to wonder what on Earth had happened when the player with aces reveals his or her winning hand. While the other 50% of the time this strong pre flop holding and post flop holding gets outdrawn and leaves them to look silly when they should have raised. I'd say the last 6-7 players have played their aces this way, from what I've seen, and I've seen it on other occasions as well. In my opinion, if you get aces or kings, raise! Raise as much as you can before the flop. Usually you'll get called and win - I've had massive success playing them in this aggressive way so far.
Take this one for an example;
Atleast three times I can think of I've been involved in an AA v KK scenario and got paid off big. Once the reverse happened to me when I held KK. Doesn't matter. If you get either of these two hands, raise...raise big before the flop!
Another reason why it's silly to try to be James Bond and 'play it cool' is that slow playing big hands even in small pots can make you enemies. If you beat your opponents fair and squarely, generally they'll accept it, but if you purposefully try to be sneaky like this all the time you'll make enemies unnecessarily and ultimately make things harder for yourself in the future. Better to have less enemies and keep encouraging players to play badly against you.
When is it a good idea to slowplay and when is it better to build a big pot?
- Slowplay when the game is tight and players aren't calling raises much before the flop. Against tighter, better opponents.
- Build a big pot when you have big hands as much as possible in loose games where many players regularly are involved in many hands. If you have a big hand, you'll have a bigger chance to win, so build a big pot where you're likely to get paid off where players are likely to hold weaker hands!
Overall, don't try to play like James Bond in micro stakes poker. Play a sound sensible strategy; that's all you'll need to do.
Startup bankroll: $170
Thanks for reading - good luck on the tables.