Temporary Game Size Variation Changes at the $1/$2 NL or $1/$3 NL Level

BoilerAceBoilerAce Red Chipper Posts: 400 ✭✭
As I’m still acclimating myself to $1/$2 NL casino poker while working my way through core, I’m seeing a pattern and want to understand how to navigate my way through it. This is one of my general discussion questions, not a discussion on a specific hand.

My main issue in the past at playing at the casino was the amount of money that can be thrown around compared to my smaller home games. To review, I’m not in a situation where losing 2-3 or more buyins affects my life and I am properly bankrolled for the $1/$3 game. But the money does mean something to me and it has taken awhile to understand that it’s okay to throw stacks around when it’s correct to do so. I was once apprehensive every time I sat down at a casino poker table, now I sit down with confidence. I’m getting better every time I play at a casino, although my time there is limited. So now onto the situation and question….

Let’s say I’m sitting at a table that is playing a pretty tight $1/$2 game. The game is playing nitty and small. Preflop opens are small, the C-bets are small, everything is small. Most of you seasoned Redchippers probably would be looking for a table change for a better game. After a couple of hours, a reckless players come into the game with $20-$50 straddles, inflated preflop bets and even maniacal $500+ postflop bets and so on. This once would make me really uncomfortable (and I would fold away or leave) but now I force myself to stay put, keep topping off, and look for good spots to grab some of his cash. I watch the maniac grow his stack to $1500 pushing everyone around as all of us other players know the cash is coming right back out given enough time. Now is the time to make some money. For the next 2 hours, I sadly watch other players take advantage of great situations against the maniac gigging him for a couple of hundred at a time until he’s felted. I tried like hell to get involved and all I did was lose about $600 in the process of being card dead and just trying to find a good spot that never came.

So now the maniac leaves and the table instantly goes back to the regular nitty game with no straddles and small preflop raises. It then sinks in that I have about 2 hours more to play in the session and there’s really no way that I’m going to chip into that $600+ I just lost by hanging in when the game got crazy. I realize that 10-15 BB/hr is a great rate at this level and now I’m sitting there with a huge loss that was more caused by the temporary size change of the game than anything else. I’ve seen this same situation play out several times now and I’m not sure how to handle it.

How do you guys react to such a situation? I’ve never been one to change tables, etc but maybe I need to start that. I don’t see it being good to force a game to play larger than what it is. Maybe that’s a mistake? Mentally this is a kick in the teeth because if I would have got up from the table like in the past, I know that I wouldn’t have had an insurmountable loss like that. I don’t have the opportunity just go back to the casino the next day like many of you do, I get to wait for a month or two before I get back to play. I’m curious of your thoughts here from all skill levels.

Comments

  • Jordan PowerJordan Power Red Chipper Posts: 429 ✭✭✭
    It sounds like you just need to adjust to higher variance situations. If a player truly is a maniac, you'll probably just have to start calling down lighter. So when you say you're looking for a spot, I would re-evaluate based on watching your opponent play what strength of hand vs. pot size and bet size you need to have a "good spot".

    I'm not advocating just calling off huge bets with weak holdings, of course; I think you just need to evaluate the definition of a good spot in terms of your opponents and then base your decision off the math: how often do I need to win here to make a profit long term? Can V be bluffing X amount of the time to where I can make this call profitably?

    The more you can get your mind thinking about the math of it all and the player profile, the better off you'll be. Also embracing the times when you are wrong and realizing that it is 100% okay to be wrong.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,004 ✭✭✭✭✭
    1) yes it is possible for scenarios such as this to occur, and do. Sometimes you are just that guy.
    2) it's also possible your strategy for dealing with the situation is wrong.

    Which one should you really focus on?
  • BoilerAceBoilerAce Red Chipper Posts: 400 ✭✭
    It sounds like you just need to adjust to higher variance situations. If a player truly is a maniac, you'll probably just have to start calling down lighter. So when you say you're looking for a spot, I would re-evaluate based on watching your opponent play what strength of hand vs. pot size and bet size you need to have a "good spot".

    I'm not advocating just calling off huge bets with weak holdings, of course; I think you just need to evaluate the definition of a good spot in terms of your opponents and then base your decision off the math: how often do I need to win here to make a profit long term? Can V be bluffing X amount of the time to where I can make this call profitably?

    The more you can get your mind thinking about the math of it all and the player profile, the better off you'll be. Also embracing the times when you are wrong and realizing that it is 100% okay to be wrong.

    I get it and and I think this is solid introspective advice. My main point is that it's tough to play a 6 hour "normal" session with only 2 hrs of high variance volatility knowing there's a slim chance I'll make up any of the losses in the other subdued "normal" 4 hours. Also, I don't have the ability to just "go back the next day and try again" due to where I live.

    So the bottom line is that I need to adjust and be more comfortable. I need to trust the math and quit worrying so much about win/loss graph and let the graph be the output and not the driver. The first step is I'm going to sit at the table instead of leaving...that bridge has been crossed. The next step is to get better at picking my spots while I am there.

    In this session I was referring to, the guy was the most maniacal I've ever seen. he would straddle $50 and his post flop bet would $500+ and that was no exaggeration. I watched him do it over and over. He ran the table for awhile until people started flopping sets and straights against him...and his chip stack started to decline. During this decline I started a hand OOP with AQ and flopped to pair. I was ready to go...at least I thought it was. He his preflop bet up against me isolated with smaller less than 1 stack bets. It confused me because he radically changed gears...now betting a much lower amount....almost like flopped well this time and didn't want to lose me as a customer. By the turn, I was on high alert and folded. I think that was my spot but his betting shift really concerned me. Was it because he was playing me? Or was it his hand? Or was it the board? I'll never know but that was my spot in a low SPR situation to just reraise and get it in....and I didn't take it.

    This is great advice that I need to just count this as part of the session and bet better equipped to let the math guide me while calling down lighter, even if it is for stacks. Much appreciated.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,140 -
    Couple of points that stuck out to me. The first is this issue of being stuck $600, realizing you're now in a game where you can't get that back, and fretting over an avoidable loss. This is a perfectly natural reaction, but probably not a helpful one.

    As a winning player, I think the way to look at this is: I average $X/hr in this game, I sat for Y hours, thus I just made $XY. That said, also be aware of @persuadeo's point that maybe your adjustments to the wild dynamic are not optimal.

    Second, once the dust has settled you note you're back in a game where getting unstuck from $600 is never going to happen. Is that really the game you want to be in in general?

    All that said, when I was grinding freeroll hours I frequently had to play when I was not 100% and under such circumstances I would avoid wild games. That reflects an error in broader life strategy tho.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • BoilerAceBoilerAce Red Chipper Posts: 400 ✭✭
    I think its much easier to know that you are going to be able to recover if you have more game options to get into. That day, I had about 2 hrs left to play and the table I was at was not going to let that kind of money out easily in 2 hours. I continued to hope for that two hours but the writing on the wall came true.

    I really wanted force myself to stay in the game because I have to get accustomed to everything. I can't just walk at the start of a wild dynamic game because that wouldn't have even pushed me to the point of writing this post. From what you said, it almost seems like I need to learn to switch table and pick the optimum seat like others do instead of just letting hoping the right action comes my way.

    Back to persuadeo, I do need to focus on my strategy more and my play. And I'm in the process of that. When you are growing up in the ranks, its not easy just to "get a strategy." Maybe Level 2 of Core will help me build that. Stay tuned.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,140 -
    I guess my point was winning players lose 1 in 3 sessions and getting used to that allows you to play better when stuck. As to the broader point of switching seats and tables, as you point out some will tell you to get good wherever you're sat. I've always preferred to find profitable spots.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • BoilerAceBoilerAce Red Chipper Posts: 400 ✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    I guess my point was winning players lose 1 in 3 sessions and getting used to that allows you to play better when stuck. As to the broader point of switching seats and tables, as you point out some will tell you to get good wherever you're sat. I've always preferred to find profitable spots.

    I understand. Much appreciated.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,004 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Back to persuadeo, I do need to focus on my strategy more and my play. And I'm in the process of that. When you are growing up in the ranks, its not easy just to "get a strategy." Maybe Level 2 of Core will help me build that. Stay tuned.
    That's fair. As you understand the strategy/theory, you'll both do better and get away from trapping/just calling down lighter, and make more winning decisions versus such players.
  • BoilerAceBoilerAce Red Chipper Posts: 400 ✭✭
    I worked through Math II last night.

    So in regards to strategy against the maniac in question, if the post flop pot is $100 and the villain is betting $500 into it heads up to me, I calculate the pot odds to be 1.2 to 1 (45%) on a call. That means my min equity to call must be above 45%. So my strategy against this villain would be to find any situation that’s more than 45% equity and call him...over and over. Basically top pair wold suffice big time. My strategy would just be to “call down” or in my shorter stack (low SPR situation), basically jam....and let the percentages work their magic. Also, since the villain is bluffing a lot of the time, I could probably get away with calling even lighter as you say.

    Is that what you mean by a “strategy?”
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,004 ✭✭✭✭✭
    not really but you are looking at some math and that is good, especially if all you have left is that bet. Good starting point.

    What I'm really talking about is understanding that you should be capitalizing on his weak range and jamming on him/raising him/isolating him more.

    This accomplishes many great things at once:
    1) you stop sharing equity with other players, players who are essentially each taking a lottery ticket on his stack.
    2) You cease cutting off your own ways to win the pot, which actually in the misconception of trapping him as the primary way to win, is very likely reducing your EV, not adding to it.
    3) and this might be more important than anything you do, you give action to a player who came for action, who came to play the game as he sees it and not just be, literally, nit-picked. He's going to like you and give you action in future: total strategy.
  • Michael EMichael E Red Chipper Posts: 122 ✭✭
    The biggest thing that has helped my game....and this is not new advice....is don't worry or think about the sessions as a losing session.

    Each cash session is just one long session. You don't need to get unstuck in the next 2 hours...you need to be unstuck over the next 1,000 hours!

    Look at your play in 20 or 50 or 100 hour blocks preferably.

    You have to let yourself just leave down $600 and not worry about it. Come back the next session and play your best. The cards have no memory and neither do sessions.

    As for the maniac....

    I've personally done both. It depends on how long I've been playing....so to avoid that feeling of being stuck...if a complete maniac comes in...I might just leave. I did this in Vegas one time because I was super tired and just wasn't feeling it.

    Yes, maniacs will cause variance...but...they will also be some of your biggest wins!!! Just now every single time.

    Don't worry about being stuck. Be fine with losing sessions...I personally try to have winning months. And to be honest....it doesn't help my game but it is better than focusing on winning sessions!!!
  • EazzyEazzy Red Chipper Posts: 955 ✭✭✭✭
    I think one problem your having is unrealistic win rates in any game.

    If your stuck $600, and your going to play for 2 more hours, what game do you play in where you win $300 and hour on average.

    I often play in reg fest nitty games....I make something like $10 to $15 an hour with pretty low variance these games as they often play like the deck is marked for me.......sure in late night drunk fest I might make $25 $30 on average (1-2 game)...(Like you I dont feel I make all the right adjustments, but I do make many and am working on it..) ......

    Sure if I'm stuck $600 its more likely in the high variance higher return game I might get lucky and end out even....but I also might get unlucky and loose a lot more money...on average over 2 hours all I'm going to to is make $60 back....if my average win rage is $30 an hour...

    Trying to get even is not good poker.....or a good mind set. In fact one could make an argument that once you lost $600 of your stake...staying in a hi variance game, might be a bad decision.....as it increased your risk of ruin however you define it.

    If I loose 1200 in a short time span, it does not financially hurt me (well I'm not happy) but it may mean I'm taking off some time. of (a form of ruin in the short run form me)..which does hurt me because I'm now not makeing my hourly poker return...and or enjoying the game.

  • Dean MDean M Red Chipper Posts: 183 ✭✭✭
    @BoilerAce Make sure you understand what Persuadeo is saying in his post.

    Also, there are strategies you can use to ‘open up’ the nitty games so you don’t need to rely on a maniac sitting down
  • BoilerAceBoilerAce Red Chipper Posts: 400 ✭✭
    Dean M wrote: »
    @BoilerAce Make sure you understand what Persuadeo is saying in his post.

    Also, there are strategies you can use to ‘open up’ the nitty games so you don’t need to rely on a maniac sitting down

    His and everyone's advice is VERY interesting. It's definitely a different way of thinking about it....and a more correct way too.

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