Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pure Poker Posting

My first in a while!

The return to limit hold em seems to be going ok so far, despite one session where I ran into a table of doom. Fishes who couldn't miss, and sharks who loved to tear chunks out of my stack.

I've been playing on Crypto for the last few days, and there's been a remarkable variation in the table quality. It's definitely tighter and more aggressive than Full Tilt, but not unbeatable.

When a quick glance around the table shows six other rocks or moneybags, it's clearly time to move on. Yet at the same time, there's a fair smattering of calling stations and the occasional maniac.

One person I enjoy reading is Peter Birks. He spreads his time around a variety of sites, and seems to understand how his style needs to adapt to differing environments.

That's something I'm still getting the hang of. My aggression factor has been amped up a little too high on some tables, when more subtlety is called for. Albeit I could argue the aggression factor has been overly suppressed by some of my opponents.

A case in point being the number of times I ran AJ/AT into people open limping AK/AQ and check-calling scary Ace high flops.

The better players managed to find a check-raise on the turn. Some just called me down.

Which gets confusing. Cunning players calling with vulnerable made hands. Fishy players calling with dubious draws. Discriminating between the two is key.

Frustratingly just as I was getting to grips with the variation in styles, the prime exponent of the limp-call with A-big managed to trap himself.

Holding AQ on a QQ3 flop with two diamonds, he check-called a bet and check-raised the turn only to run into a rag flush draw getting odds to call and hit on the river.

Which reaffirmed the argument that aggression is crucial in limit hold em. AQ losing to a hand that should never have seen a flop.

He was upset enough to leave the table almost instantly, probably bemoaning a supposed fishy win. Yet he'd let in a speculative hand cheaply to hit a big flop, and hadn't acted to price them out of a good draw.

So, aggression is essential, but it needs to be tempered with awareness of the environment and the nature of specific opponents.

There's a time to hammer home an advantage, and a time to let caution be your ally.

Unfortunately my poker watch isn't 100% accurate yet.

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