Monday, February 14, 2005

Holdem Hater

YTD: +$23750.50

I hate Texas Holdem.

I must admit to a slight fondness for the limit version of the game, but the mindsets between it and PLO are so vast and varied that I find it hard to switch from one to the other, as a disappointing Party session taught me last month. I passed to a classic underpair value bet/bluff just because there was 4 to a straight and a caller - even though I had drove all the action with my top pair, good kicker - even though I was getting laid more than 10 to 1!

But back to the subject at hand, hating holdem, of the NL and tourney variety.

Of course it hasn't always been this way. Like most Brits, I grew up playing tournament holdem, small buyins and pot limit. And I was good at it. However now the world has tilted on its axis and the world of NL tourney play is vastly different from the one I cut my teeth on. Back in the day, and it seems now so very long ago, to be a winning player you simply had to be intelligently aggressive. Most dead money, as it is labelled, was tight passive and could only really cause you harm if it got hit by the deck. Of course now the so-called dead money is ticking away like a time bomb. Sure they don't play "properly"; they grotesquely overplay all their hands on almost every street; having to call or bet on the river is unknown to them - they are already allin. Maybe playing this way is deadly for their bankrolls, but they don't care, they're just having fun doing what their "heroes" do on ESPN. But you can be sure that it can be deadly to you, if you don't make the right adjustments to your game or you are just plain unlucky.

It probably doesn't help my mood that my timing and luck is way out of kilter. I make a move in an unraised pot with 22 and then suddenly, bink, bink, bink, out pops a whole raft of slowplayed pocket pairs. I've got someone drawing to 4 outs for a big pot, and not only does he hit it, another runner comes to ensure someone else beats me too. Depressing.

Some examples of mild madness that you could see every day now on the web. We are playing the 215 tourney on Stars. There are three limpers to the button, with the blinds at 50, so 225 in the pot. The button goes allin for over 2000. Yum. Playing a winner-take-all 1-tale satellite, a guy limps for 50 UTG and I raise with 99 in the CO to 150. Everyone folds to him and he goes allin for 900+ more. With KJo.

These and many, many more are just standard moves in the NL world now. The game I used to enjoy, where you could outwit each other through the streets has fairly much gone, at least online. I'm sure there are sensible and strategic adjustments you can make. Dan N seems to have made them, along with some others. But I don't seem to have the heart or the will to make them, which is foolish considering how much money is flying around in these things.


Andy_Ward said...

Hi Dave,

A couple of months ago I might have said something very similar. But having made some adjustments to my game, I feel like I'm now playing with a big edge. It's fair to say that all I'm doing 99% of the time is playing my hand, getting busy around the bubble and knowing how to play a short stack, but that puts me a mile ahead of most of the field. That's live though - online you can make even less moves, but playing ABC and taking advantage of the errors you describe should be profitable even if it is almost as boring as a real job :-)


Andy_Ward said...

Of course that should say even fewer moves. I know, I'm ashamed.


Milkybarkid said...

Hmmm i am hating online Holdem recently as my recent blog entry will testify. The play you would think on a NL £5/£10 table one would imagine would be a sensible/reasonably tight game with mostly players who know how to play. Not so.... i witnessed one hand on the table i played where 5 players put £200 each in to the pot pre flop. As the hand transpired with side pots e.t.c. i got to see what three of the players were holding JQ, AQ and 67 suited. The problem with taking these types of players on is that they are so crazy that they see a part of a flop... such as a straight draw, flush draw, middle pair top kicker that they are willing to commit a huge bet to the pot and even put you all in. The major problem in taking them on is that you can never put them on a hand... give me a table full of average/good players over a table full of fishy maniacs any day of the week.

Big Dave D said...


I guess the trouble is, loathe to admit it as I am, is that I still like to enjoy playig poker. I do it for the money, sure, but I like to enjoy it at the same time. I just don't enjoy ABC holdem and I never had. I used to be the loose I am compelled to be the rock.

Maybe it will come...I do have to keep plugging away for the $ sake :(


Big Dave D said...


I never liked ring holdem...I played it too loose even in the day. The thought of playing it now makes me very queesy...I would either win or lose a bucket.



Lord Miros said...

Another 'yum' moment:

$360 multi-table sat for Vienna, the 2 big stacks see a raggy-looking flop together, BB check-calls a 100 bet with a gutshot. Check-check on the turn, river he hits his gutshot which is also a flushing card. BB goes all-in for 5000 to win the 450 pot. Other man calls him with flush. Cue Benny Hill music.

If Andy Ward reckons he's playing with a big edge, it must be Christmas for the rest of us!

Andy_Ward said...

Silence Miros !

Stick to touch roulette, that's your best game.


Big Dave D said...

Miros and Andy,

Its clear that we need an adjudicator, someone respected by both and with a great grasp of how to play a skilful, considered game, as opposed to this new-fangled allin monkey business.

Someone I know that Andy has spoken highly of in the past...

...cue drumroll....

Tim Flanders!

And didnt he play that semi well in that UK open thing.