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View Poll Results: You are in MP2 with KJs, UTG+1 limps, folds round to you who..
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Old 12-07-2005, 11:22 PM
hobbsmann hobbsmann is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 483
Default Re: Specific preflop plays

So I don't fold a single one of these hands preflop and thought it is time for a blast from the past for all you tighties on here:


Hi, all. This is a public service announcement intended mainly for players in the Shorthanded and Small Stakes forums. Most of the folks in the Mid/High forum are exempt. I don't know about the Microlimits forum since I don't read it regularly, but I wouldn't be surprised if it applied to many of the posters there too.

You're playing too tight before the flop. You should not be putting money in just 15% of the time in a 10-handed game. You sure as bloody hell should not be putting in money just 19% of the time in 6-handed game. You should be defending your blinds more. You should be stealing more. You shouldn't be looking for excuses to fold your good hands before the flop; you should be looking for excuses to play them. I find myself saying this in response to more and more hand posts so I'm posting this in order to save myself some time in the future.

I don't know whether this is some sort of trend or not, or whether it's always been going on and I just haven't noticed it as much. In any event, I think it's caused by some combination of three things:

1) The Ray Zee factor. Sadly, I can't seem to find Ray Zee's seminal essay on the evolution of a poker player. But its main point is that a lot of developing players go through a phase in which they play too tight. This is only natural, since the primary sin of most bad poker players is to play too loose. And, indeed, playing too loose is usually going to be a lot more harmful to you than playing too tight. But playing too tight is still going to cost you a lot of value, especially against poor opposition whom you can outplay after the flop. I estimated in a recent post in the Mid/High forum that I've made about $6,500 in the past month from playing hands that an overtight player might fold. This translates to about 0.60 BB/100 given the limits and the number of hands that I'm playing. I hope you don't think this that amount of profit is trivial.

I also hope you don't think that this is a gross overestimate. While I've been running pretty well, it's easy to see how these numbers are well within the realm of possibility. If you're playing about 15% of your hands before the flop when you should be playing about 20%, that means that you're folding 5 hands per 100 that you should be playing. How much profit is that costing you? A good educated guesstimate is between .10 and .15 BB per additional hand folded. At that rate, five incorrect folds per one hundred result in a sacrifice of between .50 and .75 BB/100 in your earn rate.

Disclaimer: Ray Zee also notes that the overtight phase is usually proceeded by a loose aggressive phase. I have been through my loose aggressive phase and both me and my bankroll have survived it. In fact, it was pretty fun.

2) The multitabling factor. Let's face it: multitabling online poker games is a very good way to make money. I four-table, and should be adding a fifth table soon. A lot of people on here manage to play six or eight or even more tables at once, and many of them play them very well.

It is natural when you're multitabling to play somewhat fewer hands. It may even be +EV. If I can make a couple of cents by defending my blind with 76o when I'm fully attending to it, but I see that I've just gotten AA on my 30/60 table, I'm probably doing both of the hands justice by mucking the loose blind defense.

However, I think some of you are overcompensating. Your multitabling and making pretty good money doing it by being a rock-peddler, and you don't see much reason to change. But you're not merely sacrificing *small* EV plays in order to maintain your attention span and your sanity; you're probably sacrificing some fairly large EV plays as well. What's worse, being a rock-peddler may preclude you from future profits by preventing you developing a sense for how to play your more marginal sorts of hands as well as you could.

For what it's worth, I was a lot more eager to move up in limits than to move up in the number of tables that I was playing, and I think this made leaps and bounds worth of difference in the rate at which my game improved.

3) The Ed Miller factor. There seems to be an inverse relationship between weak-tight play and Ed Miller strategy posts. Ed isn't posting as much these days. Ergo...


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