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Ebb and Flow Poker and You Decide #10

Congratulations to me! After reaching about +$61 in the limit challenge, I moved from the piddling .25/.50 to the .50/1 game last night at about 11:55pm. Even though there are much more tables, the tables with players were all full. So, I put myself on every wait list, and entered an empty room hoping for the action to come to me. Shortly after, a player sat down with about $5. Here is Joe Schmo with his $5 at .50/1, a stack that is way too small considering the blinds. I consider 10x the small+big blinds to be short stacked. In .50/1, that means $15 is shortstacked. This guy wanted to mess with the bull, packing my full $140 or so? Puh-lease. It could have gone badly, admittedly, but I played what I like to call my "Ebb and Flow" game. It was amazingly successful.

The Ebb and Flow is like the tide. You control the game by alternatively playing weak then strong, like the tide coming in and out at the beach. Mostly, its intuitive, but I've gotten it down to a loose art.

The Ebb and Flow is simple, really. First, it usually only works heads up, and it seems to work extra well in limit. Usually, I'll hit a string of bad cards. 29o, 38o, J2o, etc. Or I'll have limp-able cards heads like 97s, JTo, Q9o, etc. If its a limp-able card, I'll limp in the SB, but automatically fold if I miss the flop. If its an unplayable hand, I'll fold in the SB, something I usually abhor heads-up. In this way, I really just play a tight game. I almost hope to hit a string like this, because thats the ebb of the Ebb and Flow. My opponent will probably feel pretty good. He's won a majority of hands, and he thinks I'm a doormat. And then the flow starts.

I'll switch play once the mood and the cards are right. I don't need much in the way of cards, but once I get those hole cards, I'll limp, followed by a raise on the flop. I can't really explain it well, but often, I'll get my guy to bet only to fold on the turn. Then I switch to fast and hard. The player usually thinks that I can still be run over. Often, they'll pay off my pre-flop bet and fold either on the flop or turn. Their memory tells them that they are safe; after all, they've been playing against a doormat and they've already won a bunch of hands. But the hands they won for me were all SBs or BBs. I get them to pay me 2 BB preflop, or even 3 with the flop. The result is a net gain on my behalf.

When I see that 29o again, I might slow down, and hence return to the ebb. Or I might stretch the flow for a bit. Regardless, I'll eventually return to the ebb, if only for a few hands. The ebb or flow usually lasts as little as 3 and as many as 8-10 hands in a row. The key is to play fast the entire time. The other player doesn't have time to really think things through. Meanwhile, you are switching it up as needed.

Now, this won't always work. But sometimes the planets align and you can make some magic happen. Of course, my explanation is oversimplified too. When its all said and done, its an organic process.

Quick Limit Challenge Update. Its hours since I started this post. I've played some of the limit challenge and lost a quick $10 at one table. I immediately got back on and won it back. Which leads me to the return of You Decide!

You Decide #10
I haven't been doing much You Decides because I find that limit is a bit stinted in choices. But here goes.

I am the BB with 9T suited spades. The table is four-seated. UTG raised, UTG+1 re-raised. SB, me and UTG called.

The flop was Jc8sXc. I had an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw. I bet. UTG called. UTG+1 reraised. SB folded. I called, UTG called.

The next card was Ks. I hit the flush. I checked. UTG checked. UTG+1 bet. I raised. UTG called. UTG+1 called.

The river was an blank. I check raised again, as the other guy only had $1.50. I took it down with a flush, to his KJo.

So, should I have check-raised at these low limits. Would a raise have been just as effective? I don't know. You tell me.

Thanks for reading people. DNasty is in trouble, considering my big success so far. I'm up a whopping $90 as we, as I type. Love that Poker!

posted by Jordan @ 6:03 PM,


At 9:08 AM, Blogger GaryC said...

Congratulations on your success, Jordan. I am not much of a limit player, except for Omaha 8B. It sounds like you have a nice game plan and are following it closely.

I think a check raise is a great tool, as long as you are reasonably sure you have the best hand. Alot of people, especially at these limits, look at a check-raise much like an overbet in NL. It appears to them (and me, sometimes) that you are bluffing at the pot and trying to steal. I think as long as you are confident that you have the best hand, it is a great move, because they are still going to call you down most of the time.


At 1:57 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Thanks for posting GCox. Let me just say that GCox has been sending a lot of readers my way, so everyone, check out GCox's new blog at

I don't know how I feel about my check raises. At the low limits, players will call you down with anything. So, I may as well raise, rather than give him an opportunity to check with an inferior hand when he would otherwise call.

I was actually a little concerned about a higher flush, though (you wouldn't know it by my check-raises). I would've been happy to check on the river, but at that point his raise left him with a mere .50, and I figured that I'd rather break him or lose an extra .50. I don't know if I'm making any sense. The point is, I found this hand to be a tricky one, and I played it kinda half-assed.

Luck works too though. Ka Ching!


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