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Change is Good

I had been increasing my stakes generally, playing 2/4 and 3/6 HORSE at Stars, while I tried to finish my reload bonus there. When I was done, I was going to withdraw a large amount of the money left on Stars, in an effort to curb my online play and reclaim some money for the real world. It wasn't going to cripple my bankroll, as I had just deposited several hundred into Full Tilt in an effort to lock in their 50% reload bonus. Unfortunately, while I tried to reach the raked hand requirement at Stars, I also saw my bankroll dwindling.

There were at least two times last week when I was playing when I shouldn't have. It wasn't anything particular, but I just felt like I wasn't playing my top game. In those two (or more) instances, I generally forced myself to stop playing, whether behind or not, and tried to listen to that inner voice. I also decided that it was time for a change.

Enter 2/4 Limit Hold'em. For the NL players out there, Limit Hold'em can be an alternatively boring and frustrating game. On one hand, its boring, since you really can only bet, raise, call, or fold. There is no all-in, bluffing is often difficult if not impossible, and play can be a bit robotic. On the other hand, it can be frustrating because players will call you down with bottom pair, only to hit a set on the river against your flopped top two.

For me, it was a pleasure. Cash games have been tricky for me overall. I like to play in stakes that "matter" to me, ideally .50/1 and 1/2, but at those stakes, a single mess up (by me) or suckout (by them) can stack me. Invariably, at that point, I get upset about losing $100 or $200 on a stupid hand I should have never played in the first place. And much like Yoda would say, "Upset leads to fear; fear leads to anger; anger leads to the Tilt-side."

With limit, I don't have to worry about my bonehead bluff play. It'll cost me a couple of BBs, but not the whole shebang. Also, I'm less inclined to make moves like that (although my aggression is generally at the same level). In short, I play better because I am limited.

Hence, I finished out the Stars bonus on Friday by playing 2/4 shorthanded limit Hold'em. Next stop on the bonus whore tour was Full Tilt. I started with some 2/4 shorthanded limit there as well and made some headway on Friday night. On Saturday, I spent the day with wifey Kim, and then back on LI staying with her friends (where I whooped ass at Monopoly, finally getting that capitalist monkey off my back).

Sunday was wifey Kim's day to go bridesmaid dress shopping with the gals, so I had the day to myself, my laptop and the Unit first season (hey Speaker, its from the creator of the Shield, and while it isn't as good, it's still pretty damn sweet). Throughout the day, I tried to follow Barry Greenstein's advice of short sessions, and overwhelmingly, I was successful. My game of choice was 2/4 Limit Omaha 8 or better, a game that I hadn't played much aside from in the Stars HORSE games. I rocked the freakin' house. Part of it was definitely hitting cards, but I also find that I have a good grasp on outs, and once I've played a while I can characterize my opponents. One guy in particular didn't seem to realize that one should go for the high. It was all low for him, and not necessarily the nut low, so I punished him repeatedly. In one of my late sessions, the shorthanded tables were full except for one, where a solitary player waited for competition. I usually don't play hi/lo games heads-up, since chopping means that the most likely winner is the rake. But I hoped to attract other players and I had time to kill. We both started with $100. Within 10 minutes, he was reloading. I had stacked him. When I eventually walked, the table had filled up, and I gave back about $11. But overall, it was a kick-ass day, to the tune of $188 profit, after two $20 MTT losses.

The Big Game was also last night. I went out 12th, having held the top spot for a good while when we were down to about 23. I played well, generally, but late in the game I made one or two ill-advised semi-bluffs, and had to lay down my hand to re-raisers who tried to put me all-in. I'm confident that they were likely just applying pressure, but I didn't want to push my whole stack on a draw, so I had to let it go. I was shortstacked when I raised with 33, and was re-raised by GCox. I called his all-in, but his A8o rivered an Ace, and I was in desperation mode. I eventually pushed (or called) with KJ or T9 or something, but with my stack, it didn't really matter. Pushing was the only option. I had a great time, but I'm semi-hesitant to play in the next one, to take place in 2 weeks time. It's not that it isn't a great tournament. It's that I was so focused that I was mentally exhausted by the end. A day of poker probably had a little to do with it.

I guess this post was mostly rambling. Well, too bad, 'cause that's all I got for you. Now earn your frickin' $24+2 tokens, because DADI X: Fight the Power is only a month away, and I'm working on some interesting bonus prizes.

Until next time, make mine (limit omaha 8 or better) poker!

posted by Jordan @ 2:23 PM,


At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Big Game was fun. I was on cold medicine so hand history is a bit hazy, but I remember doing really well up until the break. I was winning almost every pot I was involved with.

Then, I think my concentration waned. I wasn't really impressed with anyone's play at my new table after the break, but I spewed chips through bad decision making. I could have done much, much better. Kind of annoying, but still fun.

At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must be crazy, but I do enjoy Limit games. Bluffing is difficult, but sometimes I do get away with it at really tight tables. Th crappy thing is, I end up only stealing blinds. Sometimes I can steal after the flop if the blinds show weakness. My general pattern is like you said. Have a strong hand and get called down to the river and end up getting sucked out on. All that ends up doing is make me just a wee be resentful. I end up wanting to isolate the luck-box and take there stack in the end.

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It can be a little hard to bluff in limit. Flop raises don't do much. Check raising the turn and then leading on the river is probably one of the better maneuvers but you need to know who you're doing that to. Most crappy players tape the call button down and hope for the best.

At 3:36 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

There's definitely spots for bluffing but they require knowing your opponent and exactly what they'll lay down vs. call down.

Be careful, O8 has a deceptive variance factor.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Using PokerTracker to know your opponent's VP$IP is really helpful if you have a good amount of hands saved.


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