Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Remember how the other day I commented that playing more than two tables at once has a distinctly negative effect on my EV?  Well, I decided to test out that theory tonight.  Yeah I was right.   I got destroyed.   The funny thing is I don’t necessarily think I played any different than normal, although adding another table to my routine did seem to amplify a couple of leaks in my game.     Here are three of the leaks that I think are killing my game.  I’d be interested to hear if anyone has any advice for overcoming them, other than “stop doing that moron”.  Although that may very well be the best advice.

Leak #1.  Bonus Chasing

Trying to earn a bonus is definitely not good for my overall bottom line.  You would think that whatever money I lose trying to catch a bonus would be recovered by that bonus but I’m sad to say it is not the case.  

The problem is I’m more concerned with quantity over quality and I tend to play too long at too many tables, more often than I should, and when I’m not in the best state of mind to adequately concentrate on what I’m doing.  I also have the tendency to continually check my points/bonus/raked hands/whatever status at the expense of focusing on the tables at which I’m currently playing.  Its kind of hard to get a read on someone when you’re checking how many raked hands you played in the last hour instead of watching them.

The best solution to that is obviously to stop trying to chase bonuses, but it seems like such a waste to pass on the chance for free money.

Leak #2  Failed Blind Stealing

I hate it when I have crappy cards on the button, or in the small blind, and the action gets folded to me.  I honestly root for a raise so I can fold my rags and wait until the next hand.  When it’s folded to me in those positions, I feel like I’m obligated to try to steal the pot.  

The problem is when I get raised during those steal attempts.  I automatically assume that the big blind sees an obvious blind stealing situation and thinks he can catch me in a bluff.  Since I want to show that I really wasn’t just trying to take advantage of my position, I actually have a hand, in hopes that I can win on the flop, I re-raise.

Now I’m stuck.  I have no idea where I am in the hand.  He could be putting me on a steal, as I would be in his position, or he could actually have a hand.  And I have to try to keep up the charade on the flop, in hopes that his bet was just a feeler to see if the flop missed me, or if I really do have something. I just can’t shake the feeling that one more raise might convince him to fold. Usually I give up on the turn, but I’ll have bled quite a lot of chips by then.  

These situations are quite costly.

My question here is, in general, when do you start to back off when your steal attempts are met with resistance?  I’m hesitant to automatically fold because then I fear I’ve shown an exploitable weakness and I become afraid to try it again, because I’m worried about getting raised.  I think folding is probably appropriate in some situations, as is calling and hoping to hit a flop.  After that its probably wisest to just let it go, and hope that next time I really do have a hand in that situation because he’ll probably pay me off.  

Oh, I should note that these are low stakes limit games, although I do occasionally have the same issues in the no-limit tournaments I play.

Leak #3 Preflop raise puts me out of position.

The third leak that I really noticed today is when I have a reasonable, but not definite raising hand in earlyish position.  If its folded to me,  I’ll raise, and usually end up with a caller or three.  The problem now is that I’m out of position because everyone before me folded, and a few players after called.   When the flop misses me I feel like I need to make some sort of continuation bet to see if perhaps it missed them as well.  Of course I’m pretty limited in the amount I can bet, and it isn’t enough to reliably give me any information on where I stand in the hand.  Anything they could have called with preflop they can probably call with on the flop, even if it missed them.

Often I get called by one or more players and then repeat the exercise on the turn.  Where I’ll get raised.  I guess I have trouble knowing when I should move out of aggressive mode, and into check/fold or check/call mode in these situations.  

One option that I rarely use is the check raise on the flop in hopes of getting the free card on the turn.  I burned myself many times attempting this trick at the micro limits, so I’m hesitant to try it.  Fancy play doesn’t get rewarded all that often at my chosen limits.  Maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe I’m worrying too much about who has control of the hand, and if continuation bets are appropriate or not.  Maybe I should simplify my game a bit and remove any form of bluffing.  Or maybe I should try it every once in a while.



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