Betting in Loose Games
[A poster wonders how raising in a multiway pot can make sense if your hand is not the most likely to win the pot]
A raise in the given example would be the right move. If you raise, you *are* getting the best of the situation. It is a profitable
move. However, you are not getting the very best of it. One of the other players is more likely to win the pot than I am, so a person
could say he is getting the best of it, and would be right, but I also am getting the best of it. I suppose it's like dating the first
runner-up in the Miss America pageant. It's a fine thing.
Of course the player with the made straight should reraise. His situation is even better than mine. I have a great situation. He has
an even better one. As long as all those other schmucks are calling while drawing dead, he and I both are getting a great opportunity.
Windows - Mac
This is how to look at it... I'm getting 7-1 on my money and will win 42.5% of the time. I couldn't care less if my seven opponents
have the remaining 57.5% split between them, or if the whole 57.5% is congregated in one hand! Think about that. That's exactly part
of what is wrong with the thinking regarding that QQ (not the specific so much but the general thinking). SO WHAT if one player has a
higher percentage chance of winning than we do? That is nothing. Nothing nothing nothing. What matters is that our percentage chance
of winning is profitable.
If you are playing an 8-way pot, and have an easy-to-calculate situation like how I described, and see that you will win 25% of the
time, it doesn't matter at all how the other 75% is parceled out to your opponents. A player who wouldn't want to play if 70 of that
75% was in the hands of one of your seven opponents, just is thinking poorly.
Position and Betting in Limit Holdem
VegasGunn wrote ...
> I find this to be less important on the online games, because players
> tend to call more with ANY pair or draw, thus
position betting becomes
> virtually useless (to me anyway). The majority of hands are won in
> showdowns, where it requires you to show the best hand to win. This
> is why I don't often play the button, or even hands in late position.
I don't think you are correctly thinking about the value of position. In loose games position may not be as critical as in a tighter
game, but it is still extremely important in Holdem, and not because hands go to the showdown. Don't think in terms of pots, and
winning hands and losing ones. Winning limit poker, especially Holdem, is about *bets*. Position gains you bets sometimes, and saves
you bets other times. You should be constantly trying to limit your losses in hands where you don't have significantly the best of it,
and aggressively maximizing bets when you have way the best of it. This information is easier to guesstimate in position.
It's an old saying that the button is worth a bet. I think that's an exaggeration, but the idea is not that you can call the a raise
with a weak hand because the button somehow magically is worth half a bet, it means that over the long haul of hands, having the
button gives you many small edges over the other players. The closer to the button you are, the more small edges you have... which
means the further you are, the more small edges your opponents have.
Anyway, the point is not that position helps with showing down winners. It helps you make better bets, and bets is where the money is.
Preflop Betting and Schooling in a
> So, that leaves you trapped, betting all the way. Hopefully,
> your one pair will hold over the long run,
it just might hope
> up enough to make it worthwhile. Maybe.
I think you are missing the point. AKo wants all the money it can get in the pot from a bunch of players before the flop (assuming
nobody has AA or KK, or another AK). Now, if you get 8 people for 4 bets, and the flop comes A or King, and people fold poor draws,
then fine. We lose some bets when we lose, and win some when we win, but there are 16 big bets out there already. That before the flop
money is the profit. We can even lose a little after the flop overall (unlikely), and still do terrific from our share of those 16 big
bets put in before the flop.
Now suppose the flop is K72, and nobody has us beat at this point, but every one of our seven opponents calls the flop with
underpairs, backdoor flushes and backdoor straights. That's fine too. We still will get a bigger return on our money than any of the
> I'd rather play the suited Aces and pairs so that I know exactly
> where I stand after the flop.
The point of the game is not to know exactly where you are. The point is to make money. Sometimes/often an uncertain hand is far more
profitable than a certain hand. Don't restrict your game to simpleton, no-brainer hands. Don't wait only for the fish to jump in the
boat. If you do, you are giving away money.
Jak Hall wrote...
> Am I wrong for thinking that the majority of my 10/20 raising situations are
> better to just wait for the flop and then wait for the smoke to clear before
> raising in order to protect my hand (which never works! LOL)?
This is doomed to be a losing strategy. The point of low limit poker, and the simple strategy to win, is to get the money in *before*
the smoke clears when you have way the best of it. You aren't protecting your hand, you are just putting in money with hands that are
more likely to win than your opponents. Do it enough times to overcome temporary bad luck, and you win. In low limit, limping in with
a good hand is worse than limping in with a bad hand.
Beating Wild Low Limit Games
Scott Brady Drummonds wrote...
> To generalize my point, the low limit games that I've been seeing
> have too many people playing hard into the flop with atrocious hands
> (very low pairs, low suited cards, medium unsuited cards). Granted,
> I'm very much of a novice, but this type of play seems to take the
> strategy out of the game. If I early raise my two aces in the hole
> to a 9-person table and seven people call me what am I to do?
The first thing to do is smile. This is a good thing. Next, you seem to have a non-helpful view of "strategy". You have already done
the main strategy involved in a game like this -- play a quality hand for as much as you can pre-flop against people giving you
positive expectation by playing against you. It may seem super-simplistic, but that is pure strategy. You may be thinking of tiny bits
of tactics as strategy. Don't focus on trees, look at the
The next basic thing you should be doing strategically is thinking "how can I get people to fold." Normally any money these folks put
in after the flop is good for you, but it will often be the case that it is better if they fold. If somebody decides to hand you a $5
bill or a $10 bill, there really isn't much point in worrying about which bill it is. Just take it.
> It just seems that more often I've got
big slick (unsuited) or a high
> pair when I think I am in a commanding position and want to drive
> out those players that are drawing to a flush or a straight. But, two
> or three players have their 9 or 8 cards to make their flushes or
> straights and I need 2 out of 4 cards to make my high pair a full house.
Games like this are mostly about making complete hands, flushes, straights, full houses. You better not be "liking" top pair/top
kicker. It will make you a few bucks, but you should only start "liking" much stronger hands.
> Maybe I've just gotten real unlucky in my short
amount of local play.
> I'd kill to take the nut flush or high straight to the river. What I'm seeing
> a lot more of is trips or two pair that win in "normal" (more tight)
> games that get me clobbered in these games.
Those aren't complete hands. To beat 8 players, you need a strong hand.
> My general impression with people that will play two suited cards to
> a four flush to the river is that they are not playing poker to play a
> game of STRATEGY, they're playing it for a game of CHANCE.
This is simply wrong. In a game like this the proper strategy is to seek to make a hand that beats a whole table full of players. The
big money hand in super-loose games is the flush -- and more specifically the big or nut flush that you can pound the pot with. This
is not "chance". This is math. If you commonly get in situations where you have a hand that is a 5-1 dog, but you are getting
8-1 on your money, that is consummate strategy. Against eight players, every single hand is a dog including AA. But correct poker strategy
is getting the best of it, getting a good or even outstanding price on your hand.
> So, to be perfectly clear, I'm not interested in another game of chance.
> I'd go back to counting cards at blackjack if I was. Will this book introduce
> me to a new type of strategy that is played in ridiculously loose games
> or will it just help me maximize my expectation in a game of chance?
Assuming an honest game, if you have the chance to flip a coin where if it comes up heads you get $5, but if it comes up tails you pay $1, this
is a "game of chance", but obviously a game that you should play. Good low limit poker strategy helps you make this bet time and again.
> Say I am a highly skilled pro. I sit down at a $2/$4 table with 10 players
> and 8 preflop callers on average. I play 4 1/2 hours, and play 12 hands
> out of 100 dealt to me. I win 2 pots and $16 net. Did I 'dominate' the table?
> Did I 'destroy' it? This is a very plausible scenario for a top-notch player.
You surely are not a highly skilled pro in this example. You are playing like pure crap is you play 12 hands (unless you
coincidentally get an awful run of cards). This is not at all a plausible scenario for a top-notch player.
I don't think "dominate" is a useful word. If the point of playing poker is to make money (and that seems the context here),
"top-notch" players will make more money in these kind of games than pretty much any other type that you will commonly find.
> What would be an proper % of hands to play in this game? 18- 20%?
> I believe that 25% would be too high to maximize EV (that's a matter
> for another post), so let's say 20%.
Eight opponents taking the flop every time... if the game does not have much pre-flop raising, you should be playing 17% or so from
the blinds alone! With a lot of pre-flop raising that number should go down somewhat. However, regardless of the passive/aggressive
nature of the game, if you are playing ten-handed, and your eight opponents are playing 100% of the hands dealt, and you are only
playing 25%... you are playing poorly -- especially if you are a "highly skilled pro". With eight of nine opponents playing every hand
(or all of them if playing nine handed), then a highly skilled pro, with thusly highly skilled post-flop ability, should surely be
playing approaching 50% of the hands dealt -- including the 17% out of the blinds -- unless it is a really aggressive game where you
are being charged too much for your most speculative hands.
In such a dream game, eight players playing every hand, a "highly skilled pro" is going to be playing every 54s that comes along. And
be smiling as wide as the Pacific.
A "playable" hand varies from game to game. With 8 players taking every flop, a lot of hands become playable that wouldn't be in a
game where three or four take the flop. Axs goes from being a piece of crap to a raising hand.
> Incidentally, I do not believe a player who does play 12% of hands
> in this game is playing like "pure crap", though I don't think they are
> maximizing EV. Playing 100% of hands would be "pure crap", playing
> 50% would be very crappy, 35% would be crappy.
So we disagree. Playing 12% of your hands is like saying you only play your big blind plus two or three or four other hands out of
100. That is just terrible poker.
Most people with experience in these games advocate playing just "somewhat" or "a little" tighter than your opponents. I don't
know what "somewhat" would be in relation to 100% (80%, 65%...), but anything less than 35% is ridiculous -- especially since you used
term "highly skilled pro."
> I claim an otherwise highly skilled player who does play on average
> 12% of hands at a loose, 10 handed low limit Holdem table *could*
> be a break-even player, or close, and that your statement that such
> a player is playing like "pure crap", is, dead wrong. Incorrect. Invalid. False.
A highly skilled player breaking even in a game where they should be winning a few big bets an hour is playing bad, and in effect they
are not highly skilled if they choose to play that way.
> 50%? Am I the only one who disagrees with this? That seems like
> a really high percentage. What is the median hand in low limit Holdem?
> And would you play it in this game? Why?
This is easy to simulate to draw conclusions from. You can enter whatever hand you want to test in Poker Probe or Turbo Holdem and see
how that hand does against eight opponents going to the river. You set up a ten handed game where one player folds pre-flop, so this
simulation would not be exactly correct, but any hand that wins about an average percentage should (in the hands of a "pro")
make money. Hands like 54s and KJo should be clear winners. Of course such games are not very common.
> I would like to see someone who regularly beats 10 handed, 80% preflop
> 3/6 games and plays 80%, 65%, or even 50%, and has the records
> to back it up.
The universe of people privileged to play in games where 88.9% of the opponents are in every hand (not 80%, but 8 of 9) is pretty darn
small to begin with. It's not much of an example. The thing to think about is how to play in games approaching this level of looseness.