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Limit Texas Hold'em >> Small Stakes Shorthanded

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theriverwild
journeyman


Reged: 10/08/03
Posts: 76
Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO
      #601668 - 03/29/04 05:13 AM

I've made a lot of money playing full games but short handed as always yielded me much more than 1 BB per hour playing 10/20 or 15/30 due to the fact that i play much different that how most successful short handed players play. This strategy has worked extremely well for me and i believe it to be better than the way most players currently play short handed (which is quite poorely in my oppinion). This is why the below strategy works so well most players are horribly and overly agressive shorthanded. It's been built into their system u need to be more agressive short handed. The thing with raising preflop is that a lot of your profit comes from getting the blinds to fold which in my oppinion almost never happens. And you put yourself in an odd position on the flop and turn when it misses u as it often will or you have 2nd button. I like to limp a lot short handed. If the guy keep raising I'll limp rr so he knows I'm gonna punish him but I limp and call quite a few raises shorthanded heads up or maybe 3 way. Also the other problem with raising is it makes your hand so much easier to figure out as long as u aren't doing with just randomly. When u limp with A J and the flop comes with that ace and it's check to u 60 percent of the time I'll check it through and will get pair off by all hands that are probally drawing to runner runner or a 5 outter since i checked the flop, or i'll bet and no one will believe me because i didn't raise prelop they will never know if u have that A and when it flops, it creats a great bluffing opportunity. I limp so often because I find my self getting paid off all the time by someone with ace high or nothing who keeps trying to bluff at it as long as i check it to him. I'll check call the flop and the turn possibly check raise the turn and just bet out on the river or likely check raise. The only time this strategy is trouble is when you run into overpairs but as long as they aren't more abundant than dirt you'll make a lot of money watching the guy with 3 outs bet every time as long as it's checked to him. If u check raise the flop he'll often be done with his hand right there or on the turn but it's honestly amazing how much most players will keep attacking with no hand when it's check to them assuming u have some kind of draw or something. The ideal is to let them hang themself which they will often do. Limp with ace something and watch that ace flop and check it to the raiser he'll keep representing it but will rarely show it down as long as u check he'll try and run u off of your "draw." This strategy works best for those extremely agressive players which i believe to be overabundant in shorthanded games. You see you're risking another 10 or 15 bucks preflop when u already have 1/2 of that plus the raisers 2 small bets preflop laying u 3 to 1 just to call preflop and that's if no one else is in the hand plus the 1/2 bet from the sb. but when u hit you'll get paid off all the way to the river as long as you're willing to let the preflop raiser keep the reins. I sure many will disagree and go with the age old never limp or whatever but i've been making a lot of players like that. Give it a try if u don't like the results go back to your old style, but against agressive opponents (which are very abundant shorthanded) this is the optimum play in my opinion.

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kiddo
enthusiast


Reged: 12/02/02
Posts: 335
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden, Europe
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #601717 - 03/29/04 06:25 AM

Quote:

short handed has always yielded me much more than 1 BB per hour playing 10/20 or 15/30 due to the fact that i play much different that how most successful short handed players play.




How do you know that your winrate is bigger then "most successful short handed players"? I think a decent shorthanded player is making 2-3BB/hour and table, at least at the level where I play, $5/10.

You like to limp preflop and slowplay on flop much more then "normal". This is good against players that is aggressive and cant let go of a hand when you play back at them.

If most of the players you play against are excatly this type of player, you maybe can use this as an overall approach to the game. But when you are up against players that isnt that agggressive or isnt that loose - or are decent enough to understand that you limp with a lot of good hands - you will get problems of different kinds.


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stripsqueez
old hand


Reged: 05/29/03
Posts: 1055
Loc: Adelaide , South Australia
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #601860 - 03/29/04 09:01 AM

its only pre-flop and its a post flop game - what you do pre-flop should be linked to what you do post flop and that accounts for much of your argument

i dont limp and it works for me - my background probably explains this - i have played a lot of draw and in that game limping before the blinds is an enormous crime because the value of your hand before the buy is far more static than after when compared to other games - compare omaha where the value of your hand before the flop is only measured in potential and after the flop changes dramatically - hold'em lies somewhere inbetween

i've only ever played hold'em seriously short handed because i know i have an aggressive nature at games - the shorter the hold'em game the more correct it will be to raise pre-flop because the bigger the chance you might steal the blinds and because there are fewer players the bigger the opportunity to protect the value of your hand pre-flop

poker like most good games poker accomodates different styles so i'm not anxious to tell you that your chosen style is wrong - i wish i could play ring games better and have resolved to get around to doing so - after i do that i could probably give you a more rounded perspective

the problem with stating that something is right in poker is that its not a game that is played by people at the same level - at least not in the context of us discussing beating an average on-line short handed game - if you gathered the 6 best short handed players and put them around a table would they limp a bunch ? - i suspect not

stripsqueez - chickenhawk


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Schneids
old hand


Reged: 09/08/03
Posts: 1084
Loc: Eagan, MN
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #602059 - 03/29/04 11:08 AM

Have you played at least 20,000 hands of 6-max at these levels?

I suspect that even if you are winning, you aren't winning as much as you could be. However, I don't really feel like debating the merits to raising PF, for I thoroughly did that many months ago in a post called "Loose Games."

I estimate a large bulk of my profit comes from raising from the CO or button against a weak EP limper, getting HU with them, and them folding to my flop bet or check/calling me the whole way with a worse hand.

How do you play hands like when you limp with AJ and someone behind you raises, then the flop comes KJ5? I cannot imagine playing a flop like this having limped and facing a raise behind me. You really are in the dark.


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Catch of the Day
member


Reged: 12/15/03
Posts: 133
Loc: Mammoth Lakes
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #602133 - 03/29/04 11:58 AM

No offense intended, but I don't really think that you know what your talking about. I think, with table texture in mind, that the type of play you are describing can be profitable given the right type of opponents. Sure, a good player is able to mutate to the texture of his oponents and extract the most amount of money. There are certain things (i.e. PF Raising standards, %of flops seen, VP$IP etc...) that a player should try to remain somewhat standard. Especially in short handed, I think a player needs to switch it up, not only to meet the needs of the specific table, but to be unpredictable. If you played the way your are promoting (passively) at a table of solid, tight/agressive players, you would be eaten alive. But in the same respect that play at a table full of maniacs (LAG's) can be at times profitable. Who doesn't like going along for the ride (cold-calling three) while two idiot go to town with 2nd best hands...

But...The thing is that, really, your wrong...Check the post that Rharless put up awhile ago in the general forum. It was about the EV of different playing style's. Tight agressive is the most profitable style of play by far. Passive play (generally) looses, and in a big way.

I just think that your giving bad advice...

Catch-


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theriverwild
journeyman


Reged: 10/08/03
Posts: 76
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #602203 - 03/29/04 12:39 PM

well i know how much i'm making because of poker tracker and yes it's over 20,000 hands. As I said in my post this is for overly agressive players which are abundant shorthanded. And a lot of the time they will find themselves raising preflop with the worst hand against me. Once again you aren't going to steal the blinds in my experience which is what makes raising from the cutoff and button correct with many hands you normally wouldn't. If you think tight agressive is how to combat an overly agressive player sorry to say but you don't understand the game. U let the agressor do the betting with nothing, raising will only stop him from bluffing. You would never play against a rock this way but these overly agressive players are so prominent. As someone posted raise preflop and bet the flop I call now what, bet the turn most likely when i check to you. you've begun wilfully investing more money in the pot with a hand that has a max of 6 outs. The idea is u keep getting paid off by hands that shouldn't be giving u a dime because they raised preflop and well it was checked to them so they wanna bet. In a full game someone always has a hand, but shorthanded the edges people have preflop on you are often much slimmer maybe 10 percent or less unless they have your kicker beat. How many players have u run into that raise preflop about 80 percent of the hands and bet the flop and then bet the turn if they don't encounter a raise on the flop. I believe i'm naturally more agressive than 90 percent of the people in this forum. Losing is unacceptable to me and check calling isn't my nature, but sometimes u have to give a little up to gain a lot. Anyway you keep raising preflop when rags hit i'll wait till the turn to steal it from u with a check raise you won't be able to call since that's how i play after you already raised preflop bet the flop and the turn and you won't get paid a dime when u hit unless I hit too. At a 5 person table playing 10/20 or 15/30 it would be nothing unusual for me to walk away with somewhere between 1 to 3 grand after i'm done which would never happen in a full game because people don't bet with nothing typicall but short handed it's a different story allowing you to make a lot of money.

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kiddo
enthusiast


Reged: 12/02/02
Posts: 335
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden, Europe
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #602234 - 03/29/04 12:56 PM

Quote:

If you think tight agressive is how to combat an overly agressive player sorry to say but you don't understand the game.




If you think that we tell you that tightaggressive is the best strategy against an overly aggressive player, sorry to say but you havent read our posts.


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kiddo
enthusiast


Reged: 12/02/02
Posts: 335
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden, Europe
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #602238 - 03/29/04 12:58 PM

Quote:

If you think tight agressive is how to combat an overly agressive player sorry to say but you don't understand the game.




If you think we are telling you tightaggressive is the best strategy against an overly aggressive player, sorry to say you havent read our posts.


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kiddo
enthusiast


Reged: 12/02/02
Posts: 335
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden, Europe
Forget these 2 posts, I replyed wrong post. [Re: kiddo]
      #602241 - 03/29/04 01:00 PM



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Gramps
member


Reged: 02/08/04
Posts: 124
Loc: Oaktown
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #602668 - 03/29/04 04:35 PM

I think you're correct about how to combat overly aggressive players in the shorthanded game posflop - many of them will keep betting into you with nothing so long as you don't show strength...so don't show strength right away when you have a good hand and let them keep paying you off.

However...if people are cold calling your raises with junky hands, you're losing a lot of PF equity by limping in with your stronger hands. There's no law that says that, "if you raise a lot preflop in shorthanded play, you must always follow it up with betting until you're played back at." Good aggressive preflop play, followed up with logical postflop play is the best combination IMO.

And while it's nice when you have AJ, don't raise, an Ace comes on the flop, AND the other players are giving you lots of action with hands with few outs to beat yours...what % of the time does all of the above happen? Not very often.


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theriverwild
journeyman


Reged: 10/08/03
Posts: 76
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #602770 - 03/29/04 05:31 PM

It's not just the fact that there is equity preflop in raising, but your edge is slight most of the time and it's easy to get stuck investing more money with the hand. More than half the time you'll miss, but the biggest problem is the fact that u won't get paid off when u hit because they will have a good idea what you're holding. If you don't raise preflop you will find people calling you down to the river much more often with weak hands.


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Schneids
old hand


Reged: 09/08/03
Posts: 1084
Loc: Eagan, MN
Please address these 7 points, I am curious [Re: theriverwild]
      #602777 - 03/29/04 05:33 PM

I have a few more comments to make, in general:

1) I bet your checks end up giving away a lot more free cards than is desireable.

1.5) Along with those free cards, I bet you get turned/rivered a lot more than the rest of us.

2) I hope you scout out your games well beforehand and are very accurate on the looseness of your opposition. Some people play a very loose game PF but WILL notice you check/calling all day long and wise up and mix it up.

3) (slightly related to two) A PFR from a tight-aggressive player (AND ESPECIALLY a LAG) doesn't necessarily mean two faces or a decent PP (though a majority of the time it will). If you limp in and I raise beind you, you are going to be very wrong to assume that the 865 flop missed me. Just ask Strip about how well I play 97s for a raise. The point is, I don't think your assumption of "they raised PF, and the flop is lowish cards so I'm going to check raise them since they missed" is going to work as well as you claim it does. And plus, many of them are laggy enough where they'll three-bet you with overcards. Now what? Maybe they fold instead if you open raise.

Maybe they actually have cheese, and they did hit the board. You're out of position and in a tough spot that may have been avoided with a PFR of your own.

4) What law says that the following can't occur:
You raise good cards. LAG reraises/calls (take your pick). Flop hits you. You get tons of action from LAG the whole way. I think by limping you are not getting maximum equity out of your good cards, because overaggressive players provide even MORE aggression as the pots get larger. Unless, that is, you are just absolutely scared shitless about the possibility of putting in multiple bets with anything but the nuts -- and therefore are afraid of building a pot large enough to be worth battling for.

5) I frequently get away with stealing blinds. I really don't know what you are talking about, other than the high possibility you've exaggerated your claim to make it fit your argument.

6) It seems like with your approach, you more or less HAVE to hit a flop. You are letting extra players into the pot who wouldn't have played had you raised -- and multiway pots are won by flopping hands. In addition to being able to win because I hit a flop, I like the power of raising and getting the hand down to HU/3-way and often being able to win a pot because my opponents missed (whether I hit or not).

7) Limit hold'em is about PF play, first and foremost. Tight, disciplined players always have and always will possess an advantage over their counterpoints who play many more hands. Why don't you look at this as being just another street where you are value raising BECAUSE YOU ARE PRESENTLY WINNING and WILL WIN MORE THAN YOUR FAIR SHARE? You are, essentially giving up preflop equity in hopes of extra post-flop equity.

To that, I will quote Dynasty from a Mid, High Stakes post. The topic is slightly different but it totally relates to PF equity, and what is given up by not raising JJ:
Quote:

Another problem I have with the idea is that very few winning players (I estimate less than 10%) are skilled enough to give up the pre-flop equity of raising with JJ and get it back post-flop. There's no doubt that raising with JJ is a bigger pre-flop EV play than just limping. In order to make limping worthwhile, you've got to get that money back post-flop. I think it's too hard to do.



Bare in mind that JJ is one of the stronger hands you'll receive. If you can't gain back the EV you lose by not raising it PF, then, what hands CAN you? How about none. The blunt truth of it is Dynasty's opinion holds more weight than mine or yours, so, there's probably some credence we should give it.


Thanks for giving me reasons to spew more words, theriverwild.

Your response is anticipated.


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Schneids
old hand


Reged: 09/08/03
Posts: 1084
Loc: Eagan, MN
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #602782 - 03/29/04 05:38 PM

Quote:

More than half the time you'll miss



They miss, too. When you raise, you'll often buy the button and be in position to win with a flop bet. It's stylish to bet into a raiser when ya flop a hand, yo.

Quote:

but the biggest problem is the fact that u won't get paid off when u hit because they will have a good idea what you're holding.



Open up your raising standards a little bit. Make J9s a raise occasionally from the button. The same with 76s. That's your own uncreativity if your raise tells everyone else "that flop of AJ8 more than likely just hit me."

Adding to this, most people are still stubborn enough to call you down even when they are pretty sure they are beat. The general populace calls too much and goes to showdowns with too weak of hands too often. Plus with a bigger pot you're giving them more reason to.


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Gramps
member


Reged: 02/08/04
Posts: 124
Loc: Oaktown
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #602871 - 03/29/04 06:34 PM

That's part of the benefit of open-raising with hands like QTs, QJs, KJs, JTs, KJo, etc. If your opponents "don't pay you off when an Ace hits," well...you don't have an Ace, so you want them to fold to your unimproved hand. If your raise says "I probably have a big pair or a Ace," then the problem in part is that you're giving away too much information by not raising enough.

Edited by Gramps (03/29/04 06:37 PM)


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stripsqueez
old hand


Reged: 05/29/03
Posts: 1055
Loc: Adelaide , South Australia
Re: Please address these 7 points, I am curious [Re: Schneids]
      #602916 - 03/29/04 07:00 PM

Quote:

If you limp in and I raise beind you, you are going to be very wrong to assume that the 865 flop missed me. Just ask Strip about how well I play 97s for a raise




i think there should be a cap on gloating - bring that suited crap to play with my JJ more often

i think that one advantage of aggressive pre-flop play is that it aids in making you look aggressive post flop - i try very hard to look like a super aggro and only playing for multiple bets pre-flop assists that image

it would only take for you to showdown an unraised AJo pre-flop for me to get the gag

stripsqueez - chickenhawk


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Ulysses
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 09/02/02
Posts: 5519
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #602928 - 03/29/04 07:07 PM

Quote:

When u limp with A J and the flop comes with that ace and it's check to u 60 percent of the time I'll check it through




Here's what I do. I raise pre-flop. They know I raise a lot, so they call w/ garbage. Then I bet the flop. They know I don't need an Ace to bet here, so they call w/ any pair or draw. Then I bet again and they call again. Then I bet again and they call again. My strategy makes more money than your strategy.

The key to maximizing your profit against overaggressive opponents is to go crazy with the betting when you have a better hand than them and to release your hand or pay the minimum when they have a better hand than you, not playing passively hoping that your hand is best.


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TheMaroon
stranger


Reged: 03/30/04
Posts: 8
Loc: Ohio
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: theriverwild]
      #603491 - 03/30/04 05:37 AM

I would say thats the dumbest thing I have ever heard, but I can't since the English in it was FAR too poor to even get half way through. But what little I read shows how little clue you have. Take an English class, then read some good advice on short handed you dufus.
Quote:

When u limp with A J and the flop comes with that ace and it's check to u 60 percent of the time I'll check it through and will get pair off by all hands that are probally drawing to runner runner or a 5 outter since i checked the flop, or i'll bet and no one will believe me because i didn't raise prelop they will never know if u have that A and when it flops, it creats a great bluffing opportunity.



Seriously man, what the hell is this? A combination of piss poor English and clueless poker strategy. Stop wasting peoples time with this crap.


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naphand
addict


Reged: 06/16/03
Posts: 550
Loc: Bournemouth, UK
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: Schneids]
      #603497 - 03/30/04 05:48 AM

Ah yes, I remember the "loose games" thread. From my earlier days playing SH.

I think the overall conclusion was that, in certain games limping with some hands that were not really playable on aggressive low flop % tables, was profitable. Hands such as JTo, QJo even T9o, could be played for a limp against players that had little post-flop ability. I think, in the end, there were a few more hands that could be played for profit in these games, but that probably were not worth a PF raise, but which, if the flop could be seen cheaply (important), could be +EV.

That thread was some time ago, and at the time I was playing a lot of hands for a limp. Typically I was raising around 8% PF. I was making plenty of money on the low limit tables, and my variance was very low. By keeping my post-flop game tight and just playing solid PF it was easy pickings and I, too, had reason to doubt the "full-on aggression" recommended by many here. With some justification....

Over the last few months, since my original post/thread, my game has evolved considerably. My aggression factor is way up, PF raises typically around 12-20% (depending very much on the cards, obviously) but average now very close to 14%. My steal-raising has gone up from 10-15% to 26%. My PF playerd % is down from V$IP28-30 to 22%. In short, my game has become tighter and more aggressive, in line with a lot of the figures that people were talking about around the time of the "loose games" post.

My profit has increased from 2.5BB/hr to 3-4BB/hr (smaller sample size). PLAYING THE SAME LIMITS. But also, aggressive games are by far the most profitable. I prefer not to play the more passive games as they are just not as much fun.

But this is not all, I had a lot of problems adjusting my post-flop play to my tighter/more aggro PF game. For a while I experienced some hefty swings and frustrating games (I still do, but they are more controlled). What our friend here is essentially talking about is getting "married" to pots when they get raised - as so many people do. Tight/aggressive goes beyond PF play, and is especially important on the flop. He misunderstands that, even though we may only hit a flop with our AJo 35% of the time, when we raise PF and get 3 callers we are getting a return of 3:1 (approx.) to 2:1 odds. I won't expand the argument as it will surely get very complicated, and I think this is a thread more based on "principle and practise" than "theory". Raising also DOES knock out players (game-dependent) and we further increase our chances of winning by taking one or both the blinds out, or players playing cheese from the blinds.

If you get "married" to the flop with your PF raise, you are playing as badly post-flop as the players coming in from the blinds with cheese and catching 3rd pair (or TP no kicker) who won't let go either. The aggression has to be well timed but, I think the real point is:

"Short-handed play gives skilled players more opportunities to outplay their opponents."

This is NOT just because more hands are played per hour, but it is a direct consequence of the more marginal plays that players constantly face (such as when to raise with 2nd pair, when to fold pocket KK etc.). It is a much more skilled poker arena, and players who can be bothered to develop a full skills-set will consistently outplay their opponents, the skill-gap is wider. But this requires developing those skills. Playing a more passive/waiting/trapping game is one skill set that can be developed. Crushing a table of hyper-aggros is another, and consistently out playing a table of full-table style players every hand you play by raising correctly, using the CR and mixing it up, plus knowing when to let go by learning to read your opponents are all further skills that need to be developed.

There are different ways to play short-handed. Most are -EV, some are +EV. But simply making a reasonable profit (and 1+BB/hr could be called reasonable) over 20K hands does not in any way imply that +EV = Optimal. In other threads here on the forum, the possibility of making 3-4 BB/hr per table has been discussed. I can now see that this is possible, but it needs a lot of work, which means a lot of work on ourselves.

To state that the regular posters on 2+2 have "got it wrong" is pretty brave (or stupid), certainly arrogant (though that is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to playing poker). Ultimately the test will come on the tables, and I, speaking from personal experience, would certainly prefer the position I am in now in terms of aggression, dominance and profit, than my previous position. I likely say the same thing a year from now, but I am betting I will not be returning to a default limp/call position from my current attack/raise/fold. My game is not perfect, and clearly needs considerable refinement, but for certain is is much STRONGER (I also think more profitable, but only time and sufficient sample size will confirm this).

There are merits to the style of play RiverWild talks of, one of which is that it probably has lower variance, but this style is highly game-specific and certainly sub-optimal as a default play. If you think that the aggressive style of play most 2+2'ers talk of is "wrong" you may be right some of the time, but certainly not when you are sitting at the same table as them, as many have found to their cost.


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naphand
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Reged: 06/16/03
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Loc: Bournemouth, UK
Re: Short handed play the optimum strategy IMHO [Re: TheMaroon]
      #603514 - 03/30/04 06:21 AM

Perhaps more eloquently ( ):

RiverWild is quite happy to let cheese take a free card and draw to their run-runner straight/flush because over-aggro has no A. Thus improving their odds to win from 26:1 to 5:1 when they catch one of the cards they want, at no cost. Not including those holding low PP who also get to draw free to their set.

Also:

The flop comes A high, and by NOT raising PF you create a better bluffing opportunity? Just how is that possible? By RAISING PF you create bluffing opportunities. Bluffing opportunities are very rarely created by CALLING!

It is very hard to convince anyone that is making money, that their game is not very profitable. As our friend will soon disover....


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