Explaining why a 1/2 NLHE casino game is beatable to a friend.

Chris_VillalobosChris_Villalobos BoiseRed Chipper Posts: 20 ✭✭
Say I want to explain to my neophyte friend, or wife who doesn’t play, what makes a poker game “obviously” beatable? If you looked at a 1 / 2 NLHE casino game that rakes 10% to $4 plus Bad Beat drop of $1 what would give away that it was still a beatable game?

Here is what I think but would like opinions:
1. Obviously limping players.
2. More than 2 players per flop.
3. Passive play (lots of check calling and not a lot of raising except for nutted hands).

It seems this is something that can be gleaned in less than 10 hands. These players are playing too many hands, playing them almost face up, and that’s what makes the game beatable after the house takes it’s cut.

Now where I have problems explaining:

Not that I have seen much of this in 1 /2 live NLHE, but what if for some reason the game is tighter and there is a lot of preflop raising? (More of an online phenomenon.) How then can I tell if the game is still beatable? I think this shows where I’m limited in my hand reading skill set. I believe that in a tighter game the money comes from getting more bluffs through and not paying off the tight passive players (nits), but how do I spot this by standing at the rail for a few orbits? I’d probably tell my friend not to play this game, and I’d probably feel uncomfortable playing it also.

Here is what I think I need to look for though I’m not good at doing this yet:
1. Are players still playing straight forward? Can I find the tight passive players who fold too much and also only get aggressive with nutted hands.
2. Even though the game looks tighter are there still one or two loose players who pay off.

This former game just seems tougher and smaller pots seem to amplify the rake, drop, and tip.

Looking forward to comments!

Comments

  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,095 ✭✭✭✭✭
    All profit in poker comes from inefficiencies at some point of the game tree, no matter what the stake. All you have to tell him is where you think those are. A loose game has too much passive and aggressive dead money preflop - for example, limping to overfold pre or post, 3betting and having to fold too much to 4bet or action post.

    A tighter, say even more skilled preflop 1/2 game will nearly always still have dead money on turns and rivers, ie. players using weird rules like "not calling the river with less than two pair" or "if I xr I have to bet the next street," rather than rational construction ideas.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,402 -
    edited September 8
    The helpful thing about live $1/$2 in this regard is that the most common type of beatable game is the one that is easiest to spot. The table VPIP is essentially a measure of the "average range" and because $1/$2 players tend to play too many starting hands, this is readily observable.

    A lot of limping is also a sign that the players are weak; again another typical $1/$2 characteristic that jumps out at you.

    All that said, even for this typical game type, if all the stacks at the table are short, that generally reduces the profitability of the game. You don't want every pot you win being max raked, but with shorter stacks that is more likely. Also people who buy in for the minimum and let their stack dwindle without topping off frequently have decided that their initial buy-in is what they're prepared to lose today. And while this attitude indicates an almost total lack of understanding of how big bet poker should be played, it also tends to indicate someone who will not be throwing chips around for you to acquire.

    There are a couple of pitfalls to this tho, that should encourage you to be constantly reassessing the situation once you're sat. Let me set up the first as a thought problem. Suppose there are N players at the table with VPIP of 60% and M players who play exactly like you do. (By assumption, as a RCP member you are a winning $1/$2 player.) How big do you suppose M can get before the game ceases to be profitable?

    A second issue is that you may find a profitable table, but that isn't the same as the open seat being profitable. I know our local geniuses claim you can "fight" from any seat, but for mere mortals there will be a player distribution in an overall soft table which makes some seats unprofitable.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • Chris_VillalobosChris_Villalobos BoiseRed Chipper Posts: 20 ✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    There are a couple of pitfalls to this tho, that should encourage you to be constantly reassessing the situation once you're sat. Let me set up the first as a thought problem. Suppose there are N players at the table with VPIP of 60% and M players who play exactly like you do. (By assumption, as a RCP member you are a winning $1/$2 player.) How big do you suppose M can get before the game ceases to be profitable?

    Well I don't know if I set this up correctly but here it goes. To be conservative I'm keeping the rake the same even when the win rate drops.

    I figure me playing against 8 terrible players in a 1/2 game is worth $40 per hour ($5 per player). Less rake of $10 per hour leaves $30.
    Add one of my clones we both get half of the seven players dead money. That leaves me with $17.50 per hour, less rake, is $7.50.
    With me and two of my clones in the game it seems like I'm now playing for comps. We each get a third of the remaining 6 players money leaving me with $10 per hour, less rake of $10, that equals Zero.

    So if I see a couple people who play as well or better than I do the game is probably not profitable? Sad!
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 2,402 -
    At $4+$1 I think your analysis is about right.

    At $5+2 I suspect 2 good players may show a small profit. With 3 decent players and 6 poor ones as described I'm pretty sure the 3 good players would all lose.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • Chris_VillalobosChris_Villalobos BoiseRed Chipper Posts: 20 ✭✭
    edited September 8
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    At $4+$1 I think your analysis is about right.

    At $5+2 I suspect 2 good players may show a small profit. With 3 decent players and 6 poor ones as described I'm pretty sure the 3 good players would all lose.

    Thanks for showing me that equation. There's a Poker Club about an hour away from me in Ontario, Oregon that regularly spreads 1/2 NLHE and the seat rent is only $4 per hour. I never played much there because it isn't as nice as playing in casino. But after doing the analysis with the same givens that game could handle me and three of my clones before it became a -EV game. That's a huge difference! I mean on the surface that game would seem very tough.

    I think i need to be hitting that club up more often.

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file