Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Fuck 'Em and Their Law

YTD: +$27516.80

Well it’s been an interesting time since we last spoke. Interesting as in the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

As 2+2ers may be aware, I have had a momentary digression into the world of No Limit holdem. Very momentary. After a good early run, I found myself at almost exactly a breakeven point. So I stopped. Why?

• I was too loose. Up to the 5-10 level, ring games, the standard of play was mostly snug. Most games had 2, at most 3 people, seeing the flop and I found having to play so tight quite dull. What made it worse was that even if you found a good hand, you often had to abandon it if a nut peddler woke up. Quite often I stacked myself, normally with QQ, getting frustrated against an obvious AA.
• The obvious solution is to play short-handed. The problem then was that the game requires too much judgment. One of the beauties of PLO is that unless you have a complete brainfart, it is rare that you are drawing terribly thin. If you are off your game at NL though, you can find yourself looking down the throat of 2-3 outers quite often. Unless you are playing super tight, you really do need to know your foes tendencies. Some guys, if you massively over-raise and they call, they have a set; others, well they just have TPMK.

So I went back to PLO.

For a while.

It struck me, really for the first time, how little action and how small the prospects are for a PLO player once he gets to the 2-4 level. At prime playing time there are maybe 5-6 400 games, 0-2 1000 games, 3-7 2000 games and some bigger shorthanded games here and there. But that is it for the entire of the net. And to be frank, some of those games aren't that good either.

Coupled with this, where are the new players going to come from? They are all hitting the holdem games. As a slightly tangential example, if a higher stakes plo8b game starts up on Stars, 4-6 of the players will be old faces, one of whom I have been playing since the long gone UB game at the turn of the millennium.

So I have taken up knitting instead.

Or at least, the poker equivalent of knitting...limit holdem. Early signs are encouraging. I am not a complete fish. I am not going on tilt (yet). I am 6 tabling without losing my sanity. Let's see what happens.


Gergery said...

Good god.

I can’t believe my eyes. Limit holdem and PLO seem very dissimilar to me.

Thanks for your post in my blog, btw, good advice.


Big Dave D said...


There is no doubting they are. But I was always a passable holdem player, despite my origins.

If a noob was to ask you today, what would be the games to learn, you would no doubt say NLHE and Limit HE. I'm taking the same advice, s'all.



Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

You are touching on a couple points discussed both here and on 2+2 in the past. Regarding nl, the full tables with low pot averages are horrible places to be, with every rock only playing pairs and AK and waiting to flop a set on someone with AA. And given the max buyin, you can't often make anyone laydown AA-QQ when there is any kind of big drawing board and you are pushing a draw (although that is the best time to pound with a set and have them put you on a draw IF you have been seen to play hands other than pairs). But like you said, the solution is often to play shorthanded. The 6-max 5/10 games and the shorter 10/20 are very good many times. The faster blind action simply means everyone has to loosen up a notch. But like you said, you do have to pay attention. That is one reason I only play 3 tables max whether plo or nl.

Regarding plo, I have said before what you are outlining, and that is that for those just starting in plo, it is awfully hard for them to build a roll there. Once they hit the $200 tables, there often just aren't many good games until the big 2K tables. And on those tables as we all know, we are playing with many well-known players from all over the globe. And the lags there are much better than lower level lags and can be extremely hazardous.

Since I "only" play 3 tables, often mixing nl and plo, and mixing differnt sites, I don't often find myself not being able to find 3 decent tables. And I shudder at the very thought of going back to limit. Also knitting won't pay my bills.

I would strongly urge you to look at shorter handed nl games, even if you only play 2 tables so as to be able to pay better attention and make notes. I don't think the plo will ever dry up because of its popularity in euroland. But nl is in my opinion a necessary backup game.

The only other game, and the only limit game I like to play is triple draw lowball on UB, but there isn't squat for game selection and even 1 game at 30-60 or above often isn't available. However, Lee Jones said in a thread on 2+2 a month or so ago that they are planning to spread draw games in the near future. So I look forward to that, not just 3D, but also hopefully 6-max pot-limit high draw. I've played that some on 24h and like it a lot, but it doesn't go there regularly enough where the game is good.


chaos said...

Don't listen to the Sirens of NL Island, I need the LHE content.

ps I'm glad I don't post when I'm pissed, those verifications are getting tricky.

Drizztdj said...

I hear you about PLO8, past the 2-4 game there's no games going on, unless you hop over to Party *shudder*

Wintermute said...

Who cares if big-bet poker is going to die? It's alive and breathing *pretty* well right now, why not just wait until it's over to switch to limit? Sure I suppose you might have a leg up on the flow back to limit, but the opportunity cost of leaving big-bet is too high IMO.

Out of curiousity, we have been discussing the imminent death of PLO8 in particular for some time now. I'm wondering what you think will mark it's utter death, and when you think that will happen? There are fewer idiots already, to be sure, but some have stuck around and new ones jump in the game from time to time...

Personally, when the big bet games are done, so am I. Limit games, and limit HE in particular, are such a painful grind. Maybe it just seems that way because my natural tendencies run so opposite of what's needed to beat limit HE.

Big Dave D said...


Solid points as always. I may go back to NLHE 6 Max...but I just felt it would be much too swingy for me. Also, sadly, I struggle to pay attention nowadays :(

A dream game would be hilo draw, PL, with a declare, no qualifier. Real old school stuff.

You might want to give Badugi on Doyles room a spin...they have some 20/40 running sometimes.



Big Dave D said...


If I wanted to make the most money in the smallest hours available as a part timer next year, the obvious answer would be some kind of holdem. Unless I wanted to play short handed. Which I dont. I could grind it out at plo8b ring, but christ, thats even more boring than limit. And again there is the problem of finding enough games, as Drizzt also highlights.

Let's say Caro's eponymous Genie appears and gives me back the 50k I wanked off. With it I could play fairly comfortably at 1k PLO and very nervously at 2k games. But the 1k games no longer exist, of course. Or if I was skilled enough, play 40-80/50-100 with shots at the 100-200 - assuming I knew how to play the game of course. Here I would not only have a better winrate, but more flexibily and choice about how I played.

On the death of big bet...PLO will always survive. You could always try that. NL will mostly survive, although I can't see it being at these insane levels forever. As for PLO8b, well Party's weight of numbers will always have "shot-taking" players. But I dont see a flare up anywhere else.



Peter B said...


Is Badugi triple draw on crack, or triple draw on valium?

I keep meaning to practise it at home. Maybe it will be something to do on the plane. Any "primitive" tips (i.e., just basic strategy like starting hands, whether a three-card badugi is ever any good)?


Anonymous said...

Like everyone else, I am quite surprised to see you are playing LHE, as you had complained about NLHE being too boring, I think the LHE is even worse. For some reason, I don't see you grinding out 1-2bb/100 even at 500/1000. I know that Doyle does it, but just to kill time.

Regarding middle PLO games, I usually see plenty of games (3-6) running regularly at Stars from $200 all the way up to $2000. And I don't play at Ladbrokes since I'm in the US, but I would guess they have plenty of games too.

NLHE is definitely the premier game right now, but I am surprised that you don't like the big games because they are too rocky. It seems clear that rocky games are ideal for somebody who is LAG like yourself. Just look at the results of playes like John Phan and Gus Hansen,


Lord Miros said...

If I were you I'd give the limit omaha 8 a spin. Far less frustrating than limit hold'em and potentially more rewarding. Then again I never play these shitty limit games so what the fuck do I know?

Big Dave D said...


The maths of Badugi are fairly simple, its the psychology of it that is a killer especially played pot limit. I guess two tips: position is massive; good flushes are worth more than you think if you can get headsup vs a one card draw.



Big Dave D said...


Well said.

Anyway, Limit Omaha is the only game that gets me into a frothy tilt, and then He With An Ego As Large as Yours picks me off short-handed. Ugly.



Big Dave D said...


You are mixing your metaphors. The guys you are describing are tourney faces. As Kido Pham seems destined to prove, any chimp with a willigness to go allin can do well there. And the kinds of lineups that Doyle describes in SS do not in anyway resemble the games online now. People are either very super tight aggressive. Or insane.

I may look at NL again, but the truth is, Im too much a fish at it at present.



Anonymous said...

Can't wait to hear how the knitting is going for you!


Big Dave D said...


I did a body swerve and tried the 2-4NL 6 max...not played a lot, 2500 hands, but running goot, 16PTBB/100...time will tell. I dont imagine a lot of play over the festive period.


Anonymous said...

On the contrary, I expect there to be a spike in NLHE and LHE players during the holidays as a lot of people get poker-related gifts and college kids get money gifts that they are happy to "donate" . Over turkey day, I played in 2 home tourneys (won 1, my wife the other!).


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Dave said...

You write very well.

Big Dave D said...

Youre sweet,Dave

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