Monday, July 11, 2005

Strategic conerns

Lately I feel that I'm making substantially less mistakes in my live limit hold'em play. I'll still spend a great deal of effort in this area. I'm making this generalization based on my last 10 session hours. However, it is entirely possible that the situations in my last 10 session hours were so easy to play that mistakes would inherently be rare. Time will be the judge.


My live play and results have been respectable lately, and my online play is possibly questionable with awful results. I'm trying to objectively determine if my live experiences are affecting the way I play online.

Generally I don't like to discuss actual results because it usually serves little purpose, but in this case I will try to give some context. The sample size is small, but I don't want to wait until I have 10000 hands behind me to determine a major strategic flaw.

Lately, my plan has been to play live at $20/$40 and online to multitable between 1-4 tables at $5/$10 depending on the availability of good games. My general feeling is that I should be able to have an earn rate 3x-5x times higher online (see my analysis on this in an earlier post)
As a general rule of thumb, online players are better than their live counterparts at the same level. However, perhaps my thoughts from the $20/$40 live are too strongly influencing my play in the $5/10 online.

My current run rate is about +1.7BB/hour live over the last 15 hours. My current run rate is about -4.3BB/hour online over the last 1500 hands. Yuck.

I've really been trying hard not to curse, swear or even grumble during my online sessions because I know how much it upsets my wife. I haven't come close to mastering this yet. (perhaps I should record myself playing an online session to see how bad this is.... serenity now, serenity now....)

The question I am pondering is if I'm being too liberal in making value bets on the river. I'll give 2 examples, and I'm honestly not posting them because they are bad beats but rather questioning whether I made incorrect value bets on the river (an area I have been really focusing on in my live game).

hand #1
10 seated online $5/10 limit hold'em
opponents: 3 tight aggressive, 1 tasmanian devil, 1 calling station, 2 gamblers, 2 loose passive
- preflop: tasmanian devil (TD) limps UTG, folded to Loose Passive1 (LP1) who limps, Gambler1(G1) raises, folded to me in CO. I reraise with KdKh. Folded to LP2 in BB who calls, everyone else calls (5 players, 15.5 small bets)
- flop: 4c7dJs, checked to me and I bet, LP2 folds, TD calls, LP1 folds, G1 calls. (3 players, 18.5 small bets)
- turn: 4c7dJsQs, checked to me and I bet, TD calls, G1 folds. (2 players, 11 big bets)
- river: 4c7dJsQs3c, TD checks, I bet, TD check raises, I call. TD shows 3s3d and wins a 15 BB pot.

hand #2
I don't recall the details as well.
- preflop: I raise UTG w TT and get called by 5 players including the blinds. (6 players, 12 small bets)
- flop: T62 with 2 suited cards. SB checks, BB bets, I raise, 2 cold callers and folded to BB who calls (4 players, 20 small bets)
- turn: T62A still with only 1 flush draw: BB checks, I check, 3rd player checks, 4th player bets, BB raises, I reraise, 3rd player folds, 4th player calls, BB calls. (3 players, 19 big bets)
- river: T62A8 no flush: BB checks, I bet, 4th player folds (nice bet on the turn buddy), BB check raises, I call. BB shows the nuts 97 offsuit and wins a 23BB pot.

In hand #1, I believe TD is capable of paying me off with a large range of worse hands and is even capable of bluff check raising on the river at least 20% of the time. I readily acknowledge there are quite a number of hands that beat me.
By the way, should I consider checking this safe flop to increase the probability of being able to get a raise in on the turn?

In hand #2, I have 3rd nuts, and I had trouble putting BB on either AA or 97. Reviewing the hand some more, AA is really a reasonable hand for BB to have. However, my analysis is still similar to hand #1, where I believe my value bet would get paid off by a very large range of hands and that my call will also win over a still sizable range of hands (smaller set, 2 pair, big A, etc). BTW, given that I have 3rd nuts and the way the hand is played, is there any value in 3 betting the river (forget about what BB actually had)?

Again my primary question is: am I being too loose in value betting the river? I have lost 2 extra big bets on the river a moderate number of times in these kinds of situations (though I haven't kept good statistics on the number of times I successfully value bet the river).


On another note: I think I also need to more strongly remember that table image has very little weighting online. One exception to this may be an opponent that likely has me in their poker tracker database - the likely candidates for this are the tight agressive winning opponents for which I have a huge number of hands (indicating their are likely to be online pros who are very likely to be datamining). The relatively large amount of live play lately has probably subconsciously affected me into thinking more often than is correct that my opponents might consider my playing style in their situational analysis.


I have an upcoming trip to Vegas in about 2 weeks. My current plan is to spend a moderate amount of time at $15/30 and/or $20/$40, and take a shot at $30/$60 if the game is decent (particularly if the $15/$30 or $20/$40 games are not good). If conditions are poor and/or I am somewhat tired (but not sleepy), I may play elect to play $8/$16. Anything above $30/$60 is beyond my current bankroll.

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