Monday, February 4, 2008

Micro-limit Cash Games

As you all are aware, I've been focusing on learning to play the cash games. I am happy to report that I'm starting to have some short-term success.

While many very good poker players believe a TAG style is ideal for micro-limits due to inexperience and the "i-don't-give-a-shit-and-just-want-to-gamble" attitude of many of the micro-limit players, I actually have found a relatively LAG style to work best for me, depending of course on the table.

In "Super System 2," Doyle Brunson advocates an aggressive style of "attacking" pots. Raise or fold in most cases. Limping is not ideal in most cases. His main idea is that he is going to win a lot of small pots and probably be behind on the big pots. But he'll always try to leave himself with outs. He also loves the double belly busters (essentially two gutshot draws, hard to see straights when they do hit) and the low suited connectors.

On Cardrunners, many videos feature the advantages of position, utilizing reads to determine play, and, once again, aggressive play. These have been an immense help to me so far.

What has happened, is that my micro-limit cash game sees me raising a lot from position with a wide range of hands (small suited connectors, pocket pairs, suited aces and suited kings depending on table). The problem I had (and many players at this level) is that they get tied to their $$s invested in the pot. If I raise 40cents and get re-raised, I think I need to call with my Kh10h when, unless I have a very strong read on the player, the hand is an obviously easy fold.

And this is a point Doyle makes very strongly in his book. As soon as the money is put into the pot, it is no longer yours. Therefore you should NOT be concerned with how much you have invested in the pot. Instead, you should remain focused on your hand and your reads. If your hand/read dictates that you fold, then fold.

I have found myself continuation betting a lot more often, and as a result, I am picking up a lot of pots off the flop. I'm winning more small pots while also keeping my big pot losses to a minimum. This aggressive style of continously attacking pots causes a real funk for my opponents. They can't tell if I have a made hand or not and they are typically too scared to 3bet to find out.

As a result, I'm no longer losing full buy-ins on a regular basis. Instead, I'm actually having more winning sessions than losing sessions at 10NL.

Do I still make mistakes? Oh hell yeah. What I'm happy about is that my mistakes are costing me less, I'm learning how to identify the weak/passive players and stack them on a more regular basis, and my bankroll is slowly going up.

I'm working on a post/article about the importance of adaptation in poker. It's a topic I've had to learn the hard way about. I'm actually spending some time on it so I hope you all enjoy it once I have it completed.

See you at the virtual felt,

FT: $352 ($60 downswing from my recent high of $420 due to donking in MTTs and some really bad luck in $10 SNGs).
PS: ~$105 ($65 uptick at the $10NL (.05/.10) 6max ring tables)

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