Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Posted by Junelli 4:34 PM
Some quick and rough comments for my online strategy. I mainly play $5-$10 tables.

First, have enough bankroll to survive the swings. I've found that you need at least 600-700 to play 5-10, and hopefully more. Let's say 100-150 times the BB.

Starting Hands:
Obviously you have to play very tight at the limit tables. Here's what I generally try to follow:

Avoid Ax (where x lower than 9) from early position. You can however play it from late position, on the button, or in the blind. Generally I want to have AT or better to play, but am more liberal about this the later I am in position.

I almost always raise preflop with AJ or better. Not so much as a value bet, but more to drive other players from the pot. Remember that your odds of winning increase expontentially if you can drive people out. Preflop raising is very important in this respect.

Small Pocket Pairs (99's or lower). I always raise with these hands unless I am late to act in a multiway pot (button, blinds, etc.). In other words, I always raise with small pocket pairs from early position. My hand needs protecting and cannot win a multiway pot. However, I stand a decent chance of winning with 1 or 2 people in it. If there are 5 or 6 limpers and I am last to act, because I'm on the button or in the blinds, I will usually just check/call and see the flop.

If the pot is multiway and 1 or 2 overcards hits on the flop, I usually fold. Sometimes I will pay a small bet to peel off the turn card, but that's it. It pays to fold these hands and not chase your 2 outs. I will only go to the river with an underpair if there are 3+ players in the pot and I'm getting good pot odds.

AA, AK, AQ, KK, QQ, JJ, TT - I always raise with these hands no matter where I am. However, I only reraise with AA, KK, or sometimes QQ. I never reraise with AK.

From middle to late position (cutoff or button), I will play marginal hands such as KQ, KJ, KT, QJ, QT, etc. I may even call a raise to see a flop. However, I rarely call a reraise or capped pot unless I have AA, KK, QQ, AK. I've gotten to where I love folding hands like KQ and QJ, because I smile when I see how much money it saved me.

Small suited connectors (67s, 89s, 45s, etc.). I like these hands but will only play them on the button. I will fold to any raise.

Essentially, I play very tight, but loosen my requirements as I get closer to the button (that is where all the money is made).

Moves I like making:
1. If I am first to act on the button, I will almost always raise with any 2 cards. Sometimes you steal the blinds, sometimes you get called and still win, and sometimes you lose. You make money in the long run though. You have to be disciplined enough to fold if you miss. However, if the flop is checked around to you, you can often win with a quick bet.

2. When you want to take down the pot, click auto-bet or auto-raise. It generally shows strength if you bet instantaneously and is often respected. Be careful using it for bluffs though. If you show down once, it'll be worthless.

3. When in position and on a draw, raise the flop. This only costs 1 small bet more, and will usually save you a big bet on the turn when everyone checks around to you. This is a fail safe way to get a free card. Note, you should take the free card when you get it. Don't be fooled into thinking that those 4 players are weak enough to fold if you bet. You will rarely win the pot right there. They just don't want to pay more than 1 bet to see the turn.

4. If I have a pretty good made hand (top pair/top kicker, bottom 2 pair, etc.), I usually decide I'm committed to a showdown. I will bet if it's up to me. If it's raised or there are players behind me, I usually check/call all the way to the river. It only costs you $25 (if unraised) and you'd be surprised by what you win with. People will bet busted draws.

5. When to raise a monster. If I flop a monster hand, I usually check/call the flop, and will set a trap on the turn. I try to make it 2 (or 3 bets if possible) on the turn. Then bet out on the river. That way I'm ensuring 2 bets on the turn (they've already made one bet, so they'll almost always call the extra bet). Plus I'm getting a bet on the river. For example,

I hold JJ, and the flop is J88. I check. 3 others check, and the button bets $5. I smooth call along with everyone else. I check raise the turn and get additional bets from all remaining players. I lead out on the river, or act first if it's checked to me to pick up an additional bet.

6. Raising (or checkraising) the flop to see where you are. This is a good move. A strong player will reraise you back, giving you the information you're looking for. You should fold to a reraise if you're hand isn't strong. However, this is still a good move because, you're driving out other hands. Also, if you're in position on that player, he'll almost always check to you on the turn. You can check, save a big bet, and get a free card. If he bets on the river the total cost of the hand is 1 small bet cheaper than it would've been if you hadn't raised on the flop (i.e. you're getting turn for free when it would've cost you 1 big bet).

7. I never chase a gutshot, although I may peel off a turn card if I also have other outs. I will sometimes chase a flush or open ended straight draw but I have two requirements: 1. There has to be a good pot (several players and/or lots of money) and 2. If I hit it, my hand figures to be the best. I won't chase 9 high flush draws or straight draws with a 3 flush on the board.

That's all I can think of now.

4 Comment(s):

Posted by Blogger Dr Fro, at 9:33 PM, February 08, 2005  

1. I play baby pockets differently, but have never found a terribly profitably play

2. “I never re-raise with AK.”
Do you mean you don’t re-re-raise???
I re-raise, but never re-re-raise w AK.

3. “If I am first to act on the button, I will almost always raise with any 2 cards”
A long run profitable strategy

4. “I usually check/call all the way to the river.”
Read enough poker literature and you eventually come to believe that if you ever check/call, the poker gods cut your nuts off. There are many situations where the c/c is the right approach.

You described this all as tight, but I think that compared to advice in poker literature, this isn’t tight. Cynics call it loose-ish. I would call it opportunistic.


Posted by Blogger Morris, at 10:49 AM, February 09, 2005  

"if I am first to act on the button"

WTF does that mean?


Posted by Blogger Junelli, at 3:13 PM, February 09, 2005  

It means that it was checked around to me on the button. I'm first to act = I can make the lead-out bet. Go back and re-read Helmuth's book!


Posted by Blogger Johnnymac, at 4:07 PM, February 09, 2005  

One of the best pieces of advice in Sklansky is to always raise into the pot if you are first to act pre-flop. You are right, there.


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