Friday, 12 January 2007

When to bet???????

As a follow up from my earlier article entitled "Pot Odds versus Pot Commitment"
I thought I would write about when to bet.
When do I bet?
Funny Question!!!
Not really

If You have read SSHE (Small Stakes Hold em which you can purchase from amazon by clicking here), you will quite quickly find out that Poker is gambling, Blasphemy I hear you say.

Not really any time you place money on an outcome that is unknown you are gambling whether it is a pension investment or a lottery ticket. The smart gambler knows a good bet that is all, a smart gambler gets his money in with the best hand or in the surefire investment.

Now That instantly makes you think I will just play tight with Positive EV and I am not gambling, WRONG you are still gambling. At the microliimits a raise will get 5-6 callers so your Pocket Aces lose a lot.

Then I will just call preflop and "Fit or Fold" would be the next logical conclusion. WRONG You are leaving money on the table if you do this. As usual I will give you no maths as I am lazy but I have looked up my stats on Pocket aces and they win 70% of the time.

What does this mean?

It means I am getting 6 or 7 to 1 on a bet preflop that I am 2-3 favourite to win. Why would I not bet on this?

In fact any hand that wins more than 20% of the time and gets 5 callers is a good preflop bet.
What does this mean?
It means we can loosen up when the table loosens up. It means that marginal hands become profitable the more callers we expect.

They won’t win more often but when they do they win more.
So back to the point WHEN TO GAMBLE we gamble in the early rounds preflop and before the turn.

  1. Well firstly the outcome is unknown so it must be gambling.

  2. We might get the better hand to fold when we are aggressive.
  3. We build a big pot to scoop because people don’t fold in the early rounds.

  4. We build a wreckless image that the more observant players misunderstand.
Now please reread everything I wrote above and understand the following before hitting the tables.
I advocate loosening up on a loose passive table (NOT Playing loose) I play a semi loose game at these levels that varies between 25-35% vpip.
Still play tight in early positions, Position is always important in poker.
Read my starting hands post linked on the right to get an idea of what sort of hands to play.
After the turn play even tighter – check your pot odds etc – do not become a fish.

Micro limit Poker is an amazing game that most people misunderstand , they think how can you win when everyone calls (This is why you win). They think that it is a lottery. No the rules of Poker still apply and Good play takes the money in the long run. What you have to do is adjust and play in a way that maximises the mistakes of the other players to take maximum money.

The beauty of this is Micro limit poker is so much fun because of it. You become the aggressor a lot you take down pots that at higher levels you wouldn’t have looked at, You get lots of bad beats. It is a roller coaster but an uphill one low risk great reward for a good player.
Anyway that is me for now I hope you have found this useful.



razor ramon said...

razor "blade" ramon here again :)

SORRY for all the words :), just had to free my mind by typing what i think, you dont have to read it all ;)

nice article and logical thoughts, btw. just recived the book you told me to buy today :) hope it is not that difficult kind of english poker language so i am able to understand everything :)

btw. here is some of my bankroll history

start - 50 $ total BR

0.25/0.50 $ tables 2 days -> 140 $ total BR

then some 5 $ and one 10 $ tournament + multiple 0.15/0.30 and 0.25/0.50 tables within 10 hours -> 25 $ total BR LOL

then one 5 $ tournament and 0.50/1.00 and 1.00/2.00 tables within 8 hours -> back up to 70 $

then another 5 $ tournament and NL 0.25/0.50 tables within 6 hours -> 100 $

after that i wanted to slow down and sit in at a 0.15/0.30 $ table with 3 seats just for fun, but figured out that playing on such tables is very very profitable, i won 28 $ within some hours that way and what you said worked all well, still the 10 seat tables never work out for me, i lose all the time and also at the 3 seat tables, i won 15 $ within some hours then lost all of this within 1 hour or so, i guess its the players im up against, and i leave soon then ..... but still im not able to be a winner on a regular basis, i win the lose win then lose, its not like i win 100 and then lose 15 or so, its just like i win 50 and lose 70 then LOL, i dont see the mistake, i just play the same way all the time, do everything right, how can it be i first win a lot and then lose even more with the same method ???

nethertheless rightnow i have a positive monthly winning amount in january, i started with 30 and now im at 110 or so, so im plus 80 $ which is cool, still it looks like ill never be able to get above 130 .... and i dont understand my mistake .... well of course the mistake is i lose again after winning LOL :)

just the last hand i played some minutes ago

AQ off starthand

raise preflop, bout 5-6 callers

Q K Q flop

A turn

10 river

so i had a great full house just after the turn, potsize at the end was at 9 $ at 0.15/0.30 table ....... the some other player showed KK

AAQQQ my hand

KKKQQ his hand

i couldnt belive it, it really looks like its like that all the time, everytime i got some great hand, someone else really got something better, every time ....

i really try to minimize mistakes, but there is nothing i could do about that, who should have know the other guy had KK ... it was just bad luck

somehow the problem is:

i want to win, not rounds but big pots, what happens is i win rounds but only small pots ..... if i slowplay to hide what i got i raise into a better hand most of the time

so the problem is, i want to win much on the one side and dont want to lose much on the other side .... but if i bet early having a good starting hand most often the others fold even at the supermicrotables, so i win rounds but no money ... i just dont understand it

looks like to work for you perfect :) just dont know whats so different then in my play

razor ramon said...

just figured out a mistake i make i think

maybe i raise and bet too often when i have nothing, for example

A 9 suited starthand

flop brings K Q 8

then i bet 0.15 and make the others fold most often, sometimes i lose ... thats how i win many rounds but not a lot of money .... on the other hand i win 0.15 to 0.45 $ or oven more if there was a preflop raise

sorry im just confused

Peter said...

Hi Razor

Poker is not simple as do this and you will win.
Smetimes you will lse I have lost my last 2 sessions but my graph in the long run is always up, track your results and graph them.

You need at least 50000 hands to see whether you are a winner


razor ramon said...

just started reading the book, im on page 33 now, it perfectly describes me and what i do wrong LOL, dont know where the author knows me from or if they watched me play LOOOL ;) it's a good book which makes me understand the game bwetter, and im pretty sure ill make less mistakes after reading it ! *happy*

page 17: "The random nature of poker fundamentally frustrates most people; their learning process get so confused that they just give up. From that point forward they do not improve. they play their same game, full of terrible mistakes, forever." *hehe*

razor ramon said...

hi again, i went on reading the book, but there is one fact im really confused about. the book says to respect early raises cause they indicate strong hands and to fold your own hands like K 10 off or so ..... but espacially in low limit poker bad playing people not only raise high suited cards, but also 7 7 or 9 10 suited or other weaker hands just to bluff or just because they have to much money. whats your idea to handle this situation, since the book always tells to fold to a raise even with K 10 which might be dominant to 7 7 ?!!

razor ramon said...

it even tells to fold A 10 suited to a raise preflop ... which makes no sense to me, since it is suited, one straight possible and top pair, even if the other guy may have KK or KQ or AK it would make sense to me to take a look at the flop for a flush draw or so ??? !!!

JJS said...

OK I'll jump in here and Peter can correct me if I get anything wrong...

Razor you are showing exactly the kind of thinking that has caused you so much trouble - namely throwing lots of money into the pot because you "might" make a good hand.

If you were playing heads-up then your thinking might be correct - Ace-10 is a good hand preflop heads-up. But when you are at a full table, you have to look at the chances of having the best hand against all of them. The odds of making a flush are not as high as you think, even if you start with suited cards.

The book you are reading was written by a person who has a strong background in physics and mathematics, and he understands the odds and the statistics behind them much better than the average poker player does. If he tells you ace-10 has poor odds preflop, you can be pretty sure that it does...

razor ramon said...

ok so it is that you lose more often with that cardcombination than you win in the long run right ? ok this makes sense to me too now, so i just have to adjust how many people are in the pot and then make my decision, ok

btw. i figured out another bad mistake i made in the past LOL, i just played my hands too far in small pots with only 1 - 2 other players, since there is not a lot of money in the pot it makes no sense to play half made hands but just the very best strong hands where you can absolutely be sure to win, otherwise you just pay max in the pot if you lose but get nothing out of it when you win, this just helped me stop losing money over night :)

btw. i hope you are fine peter, havent seen you at a table or so recently !

Peter said...

Hi Razor

Firstly well done, you are reading learning, thinking and asking questions.

The question about cold calling you asked earlier is a good one, and needs some time in answering.

Now lets look at 2 situations

1, You have A10 suited and someone in early position raises you are on the button.

There stats are 45% vpip and 30% PFR.

What do you do?

second example you are on the button with 77 and someone in early position raises with stats vpip 15% PFR 10%.

Now to me the first example we are up against a loose raiser and the first rule of poker is capitalise on peoples mistakes, however cold calling can get us in a lot of trouble. So we look to see how many callers there have been and go from there. If none I would play this is because I have the loose raiser isolated. If 2 or 3 I would fold simply because they may be obeying the gap principle and slow playing a monster as many do at this level. If a lot of callers I would play because the pot odds are worth taking a look at the flop.
Where I had the player Isolated I would raise.

In the second example I would fold every time, Cold calling a Tight Agrresisive is suicuide and a major leak in anyones game.

So to sum up, my play depends more on my opponents and the money in the pot than on what cards I hold. in the A10 example I would raise if playing against an isolated maniac, call if many callers to see if I hit and fold against a few callers as I am unlikely to hit and the pot isntbig enough.

Make sense?

The essntials for this type of play though are a working copy of PT and PAHUD or a very good memory.


razor ramon said...

thx for the answer ! :)

pt and the other tool look ok, but there is way to much data and numbers for me to understand, i just dont know what essential and what can be overlooked, right now im using the databasetool the comes with the pokerroom software, it is not great, just shows that played hands, played time, and money you lost or won

would like to use the pt, but hjust dont know how, is there a useful and short manual ?

razor ramon said...

ive just had a new losing streak a big one this time, lost all i got plus 80 more .... i play by the book ..... still its a gambling game ... loose everytime to the river .... now totally lost my belive in this game .... just frustrated because i dont know what i do wrong ..... maybe im just a natural born loser ... i never make my hands ..... sorry im crying right now .... nervous breakdown cause i dont get it ..... it looks like i play poker the right way but the others just get the right and better cards all the time .... nothing i can do about ... maybe i try just to play AA, KK, QQ and AK, AQ suited and no other cards ... maybe it will work that way :((((( i feel totally mistreated by the game LOOOL ... sorry again for the spam

Peter said...

razor my first year felt like that.

I played right so i thought butby the book is not right. Poker is a game of experience and that is why i advocate micro limit.

lots of experience very cheap.

if you get emotional about losing it then u shouldnt play but i think u are more emotional about the unfairness of it.

you feel you have aright to win.

but serve your time stick at it and learn. You will not be good overnight.

Put it thois way i play twce the hands you do and win that is experience that is all. You will get there.

By the way won came first in a tourney last night $224 from 5 quite happy.

will be posing again soon.

Been keeping an eye on you and my best advice is move back down to 15c less down side and i make more at the 15c than the 50c as they play infinitely worse there. get a bankroll of 1000 dollars cash half in then move up to 25c etc.

JJS said...

Razor I would like to ask you a question if you don't mind - How old are you? Are you a college kid?
You don't have to answer, I'm just curious to know...

JJS said...

I was going to wait for your answer to my question Razor before I posted next but I just can't - what I am about to tell you is too important to wait.

First and foremost, you are in great danger right now of wrecking your entire life. I am speaking of "problem gambling" here. There are many thousands of problem gamblers out there - people who literally ruin their lives through excessive gambling - and you don't want to be one of them.

Now listen to this please - under NO circumstances should you attempt to win back the $80 that you lost. And I mean NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATEVER. Attempting to "chase losses" is what leads to the problem.

Ed Miller, the author of the book you are reading, took 6 months to become successful at small stakes poker. And we are talking here about a guy who graduated from MIT with not one, but two degrees - Computer Science, and - Physics(!)

Now I know a little about Physics, and I can tell you that anyone who gets a degree in it has to be a pretty smart guy.

And anyone who can get ANOTHER degree at the same time - especially in something like Computer Science - just has to be a brilliant guy.

In fact, I am convinced that Ed Miller's intelligence is at genius level.

So think now, it took this genius 6 MONTHS to do what you are trying to do in a week or two! Does that sound right to you?

Please Razor, slow down. Do not play poker with any amount of money that is important to you. Drop down in limits as Peter suggested. Get a job, if you don't have one already, to pay back the money you lost. Play poker for fun, NOT to win money.

Peter said...

Hi Razor, JJS

This is very good advise. I make 5-6 times more money at work than i do at poker per hour and expect will do for a long time to come. I lost money for a year before I started to win consistently and I still have bad runs and always will. Poker is a game that takes the following.

1. Study
2. Bankroll
3. Good tempriment
4. Bankroll
5. Experience
6. Bankroll

as you can see bankroll is the key I lost 180 dollars over 3 days last week but am up 600 this month, I have a banktroll that is huge compared to the stakes I play at, that is the key. By all means build teh bankroll slowly from a small amount but if you lose it , don't moanyou should be able to afford it. If you can't afford to lose it don't put it on the table. scared money is dead money.

By the way in my distant past I was a croupier and this gives me an insight into the gambling mind, chasing is very dangerous, moving up should be done in line with your bankroll and your skill, not one or the other but both.

Razor I would advise you to take a month off, I actually took 3 months off last year and my game improved during that time, I had 4 days enforced absence at christmas due to my internet being down and played better when I returned.

Poker is not life, it is a GAME where a skilled player CAN (not will) win money. A very small percentage become experts and make a living at it but the figures they speak about $100,000 a year I wouldn't work for that little with a guaranteed income so I play for fun and enjoy it, which probably helps me win.

make it a hobby not an obsession or don't play


Peter said...

Hi Razor

I just thought I would post once more on this as it is important.


Take a break.
if you want to make poker a part of your life plan to lose until you win consistently, set aside a budget for it the same as you would to go out at night or to buy food.
With this approach and teh right attitude you will win.
Money comes with good decisions and a clear headif you can afford to lose you are more likely to win



razor ramon said...

wow thx for the replies of you two !!!

the money is not the big problem, i can afford it, it is not that much that i lose, id be cool if i dont need to transfer any more money from my bank account to the poker account, so if i have 500 $ at my pokeraccount and lose 200 $ of those this is no big deal then .... still i have lost about 1500 $ the past 6 or 8 months or so, this is much for me being a 25 year old college student and athletic coach at the university, still i had the money and was aware that i will use it for gambling and take the chance to make some money with it, well it did not work the way i wanted it to, due to some mistakes i did .....

so the money is not the biggest deal, but i just cant stand losing, espacially when i think i do pretty good make no mistakes .... ok poker is gambling .... ok .... still i think you also can win at gambling ... its just that i look for success ... i want to be a winner, in life in sports and in poker .... somehow i have a feeling of a loser which makes me even more want to be a winner .... and i think that attitude is very good for sports and life but will absolutely not work at poker and gambling !!!

i made that chasing mistake the time i lost the most of the 1500 $ ... i lost something and thought uhm i have to get it back and lost even more ... thats the classic gambling mistake and im aware of that now i think and hope :)

taking off a week or month is a good advice, im pretty sure i will play better and more focused since i then missed poker so much and will be able to focus since it is not a daily business then, on the other hand it will be hard to stay away :(

i have set a monthly budget of 100 $ to lose, im glad i did not lose that much so far in january, still have 20 $ left to gamble with :)

and i think you are also right with the folowing, the problem is not how i play poker, but how i deal with it, espacially when i lose, its the overall mood im in when playing poker and my perspective to gambling may still be wrong and i have to work on that !

nethertheless i have captured a video of one of my sessions, i only recorded the hands i played, its about 20 min duration, just if you are interested to see how i play, just another way to show you my hand history *hehe* since i had no better way of showing it, i think such thing is really good, i also wrote comments to the video while playing, this is good i think, just like explaining someone standing next to you while playing why you fold and bet and do the things you do at a table

you can download it on rapidshare clicking this link

maybe you can also record one of you sessions, would be fun to see !!

razor ramon said...

ok finished the day well, went back to the 0.15 / 0.30 $ tables and won 79 $ i couldnt belive that, withon some hours, the people play really bad, they are not aware of the value of their cards, dont raise even if they have a full house, and only see their own cards and not what else might be out there, if they are sitting on a straight draw they are only aware of the cards they need but forget about they flush that may beat them !!!!

also i noticed again, that i play much better at 4 tables at the same time that on a single table, because i fold much more bad hands and dont lose that way !!

btw. peter, in which turnament did you participate ? i noticed you playing one yesterday, but it said it had a 5 $ buyin, but you won 220 $ right ? so was is one with more than 10 players and multiple tables ?

turnaments are really fun, but you have to play a totally other way than ring games i think, time for a article ;) *hehe* if i can continue winning my motivation to do my own blog webpage grows :) i hope i can make one soon :)))

so far enough said for today :)

Peter said...


Well done on winnng the $79 on my best days that is about what I win. The tournament was at ladbrokes not eurobet I have a different username there. I like tourneys there because they have a deep stack.

I play tourneys with 10% of my wins i.e. if I win $100 I will play $10 tourney or satellite, mainly because it helps hone the tight side of my game.

My big error in the micro limits is still loose preflop play, but my post flop play has got to the point in limit where this leak is covered because everyone else plays so much worse.

Anyway as I said well done, can I advise do not cash inyour winnings your aim is to have a self funding hobby for a year I did the same as you and had daily loss limits.

I now never fund my poker account because I went 4 months without cashing in anything I just built $30 to $1500.

I now cash in half my winnings each month.
Quarter to me quarter to wife and half to my bankroll.

This is tough as a $200 win means I get $50 but my bankroll grows and fast.