I had a couple of revelations yesterday.
I spent a lot of time reading the forums over at 2+2 and DC. I came across this classic Ed Miller post which made me realize I am not paying enough attention to how large the pot is before making decisions. You should definitely read the entire post, but the gist is to be more aggressive when the pot is large, and less aggressive when it is not worth fighting over. Elementary, yet something I wasn’t implementing at the tables.
I also watched the first episode of “Real Life: Microlimit Grinder” at DeucesCracked. The episode wasn’t earth shattering – it is just laying the groundwork of a coaching relationship (learning the player’s history, looking at a few sample hands, making some assumptions based on stats) – but the comments opened my eyes to another concept: putting less importance on the cards you are holding and more importance to the results of your actions.
The example used was a hand like 98s and whether to over-limp or raise. To quote Entity, the video’s trainer/author: “The box you want to get outside is thinking about what you’re holding, and thinking about regardless of what you’re holding, what the likely outcomes of your action will be. Then figure out how your holding plays into those actions and what you should do with it according to that plan.” Again, simple, obvious, yet brilliant and overlooked. I have high hopes for the rest of this video series, and can’t wait to watch episode two tonight!
Finally, the biggest revelation for me yesterday came from a 2+2 newb’s guide to microlimits. The author mentioned that at these levels, you need to just play fundamental poker and look for “fat value” as opposed to “thin value” (deceptive play, bluffing, representing hands, etc…).
BING BING BING!!!!
This resonated with me immensely! I’ve been studying Theory of Poker, Harrington’s books, all kinds of forum posts with these advanced strategies and techniques that are ABSOLUTELY WASTED at the tables I am sitting at! The vast majority of people playing micro limits don’t care about what hand I am holding – only the two cards in front of them. They call down to the river with crap. They chase draws like their lives depended on it. And here I am, trying to push them off hands and bluff?
After I realized this, I sat down at a $0.10/$0.20 LHE table @ FT and played basic, fundamental poker using the three revelations above. I looked at my opponents and what their stats were like when deciding what I should do. I played mostly decent starting hands, chasing draws when the pot was large and the odds were in my favor. It came naturally – sure, I lost a few pots when I called and didn’t complete my flush or straight, but it was outweighed by the number of times I won.
I banked around $3 in 60 hands or so last night – not an epic win by any means, but a positive addition to my bankroll and my confidence. My new pledge is (at least until I move up in levels) to keep it simple and play ABC poker. It should be enough to beat these micros.