Friday, December 30, 2005

Poker musings

Which is better? I've read countless posts over the months about how some people ALWAYS do better live, or online, and there seems to be no explanation for it. I've been experiencing this firsthand as of late, and while I don't think there's any real "reason" for it (I believe I can beat this game in almost any environment), there are some sizeable differences between the two.

1) Betting style

It seems to me that people online are a LOT looser than most of the people I see playing live. This of course isn't a universal truth, and it depends on the type of game (L vs. NL), but calling down a $5 bet isn't nearly as difficult when you're not physically handling the chips. All you're doing is clicking the mouse on a button. It's less.... real. Observation has shown me that people tend to bluff a lot more online as well. Especially in limit. -- Also, you have such a lack of information when you're playing online, in comparison to playing live, that when you've been doing one without the other for a while and then you switch it up, it's almost like a culture shock. Going from online to B&M, these waves of information flowing from every opponent at your table hit you like bricks; and they are things you might never have picked up on before. This brings me to my next point.

2) Tells

Online tells are much different than live tells. If you user PokerTracker (and you damn well should) with a few of the available plugins, you'll be able to keep an eye on your opponent's aggression level, how often they see the flop, how often they fold to a bet on the turn, or a re-raise. Other than that, all you really have to go on is how long they take to act. This in itself can be a powerful tool. -- Let's say for instance, you're involved in a hand with 1 other opponent. All other players folded preflop, but you and this guy have been getting into it a lot with each other. He's on tilt because you just took half his stack a few minutes ago when you drew your flush against his two pair, and he's getting super aggressive. The turn has given you the ultimate nuts, and the river is inconsequential, but he's been the aggressor so far in the hand. He bets about a third of your stack here. You have two choices. You could call down the bet, and hope he bets out on the river, or you can come back over the top right now. The object at this point is to extract the maximum amount of chips. Neither one of these choices is always correct, and I haven't given you nearly enough information about this opponent for you to make a valid decision. However, assuming we were going to call him down to see the river card, if instead of just calling right away you let the timer run down a bit... This may make him think that this is a very tough call for you and you're trying to decide whether or not to lay down the hand. This may prompt him to bet out on the river, in the hopes of taking down the pot without a fight, at which time you can then come over the top at him.

In live play there's always such a plethora of information flying around, but most people choose not to notice it. I make it a habit to watch people's faces as the flop comes down (or any card hitting the board). The way they shuffle their chips, the way they bet, or hold their cards; these are all pieces of information that an attentive player can fit together to form an idea of what said person could be holding (Yeah yeah yeah, it's like a fuckin' jigsaw puzzle. Christ.). I always feel more at home when I'm sitting at a live game, because I can really focus all of my attention on the people sitting around me, whereas with online play, it's a constant struggle to keep my mind occupied. I suppose multitabling would help alleviate the boredom, but the combination of watching fish play live, shuffling chips, splashing the pot, and pissing off other players by smoking can't be beaten.


I just lost my entire train of thought. More to come once I recover it.

At least I'm honest with you!
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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Getting back up on that horse

Trying another $20 NL tournament with 150 people. Wish me luck.
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It's so

Just trying out a new referencing system....Props go out to this joker.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Great news for the holidays

To my 1 reader out there, wherever you are, I'm sorry for not posting for so long. Been very busy lately with a lot of things, most of which are not poker related.

Very quick small tiny miniscule poker update.

Played in a $20 buyin at a local bar. 60 people. Made it down to the final 25, got all in with the chiplead at our table with A9 on a 359 rainbow board. He called with K9, spiked a K on the turn and I didn't improve. Yet another scenario where I get my money in with the best hand and then watch everything crumble around me. I should hang out with SirFWALGMan...

Onto other news

I asked my girlfriend to marry me late last week. To my joy and relief, she said yes. I never really logically thought I'd get a different answer, but my mind liked working up all these horrible situations that could foil my attempts to be a committed man.

Until next time.