Sunday, February 13, 2005


How much ?

How much ? The great edge you have playing No-Limit, at this level, is not that you can vary the size of your bets to your advantage. It's that other people, who don't know what they're doing, vary the size of their bets to their disadvantage.

If you want to make an unusually large (or small) bet in NL Hold-em, then you'd better have a good reason for it. And most people don't. The classic on-line profile of minimum raise pre-flop, all in on the flop is a road to the poorhouse. People don't play quite that badly live - or do they ?

Luton's resident cash-game captain may be coining it in at 6-card Omaha (or he may not - anyone who chases fish out of the game with as many rub-downs as this guy does is missing at least part of the plot), but his tournament play leaves much to be desired. Last Friday, he bet 7000 into a 700 pot when the river came a third flush card. His opponent, an aggressive but thinking, aware player, dwelt up and passed, later claiming two pair (and that sounds about right). All in boy shows him the nut flush. Very next hand, I make it 300 with ATs. Bang, all in for 8K (about the same as what I have). Of course I pass. Shows me Aces. Way to go.

Needless to say the analysis was forthcoming - apparently this worked in a cash game when he flopped quads. You'll be alright. If we had been playing Pot-Limit, and he had been forced to bet a sensible amount, he would have had his flush paid off and ok I would still have passed my AT, but I would have been given a big problem with AK/QQ/JJ and the like. Using his sledgehammer approach, he's only going to get paid by the second nuts, and even if his opponent is that strong he has every chance of winning most, if not all, of the chips anyway by betting reasonably and inducing a raise.

Just because you can go all-in in No Limit, doesn't mean you have to. It's the biggest myth in the game - overbetting all in is a strong move. In truth it's usually a weak "I don't want to make any more decisions / I don't want to be outdrawn" cop-out.


I think you are talking about a style of NL that is basically an old-timer style, which in my limited forays on the Net in NL games I just don't see that much. Their mind set, the old style, was based on, as you rightly say, not being confident in making decisions through the streets. The NEW NL style seems to be ultra aggressive with very very weak offerings for a different reason - they think that is how the game should be played. That is why the phrase *dead* money is inappropriate for a lot of bad NL guys online, and I guess in B&M. In the old days, dead money was toothless. Nowadays, dead money may implode in insanity, but now it may take you with it.


I think that's right Dave, especially in tournaments in the US. Word has it that players like TJ and Hellmuth used to clean up because all the weak-tight players were terrified to enter a pot with them, and even better, could frequently be bluffed after investing a lot of chips.

The new generation of players could care less - if they like their hand, in it goes. And quite right too. Or at least it gives them some chance. And the faces have to adapt or implode themselves. Some do it better than others.

In fact I think that the defining moment in this sea-change of tournament poker was when Varkonyi gave Hellmuth a spin with QTs, beat his AK, and went on to win.

... or CarlosM with his Q8s re-re-re-raise the year before.

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