Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Beware of the passive raiser

Recently, I played the following 5/10 Limit Holdem hand:

I open raise with 99 UTG+2 and Mr. Weak/Tight directly to my left thinks awhile and cold-calls; the SB and BB call.

FLOP: 7h-5s-4d, I lead with a bet, Mr. WT insta calls, SB calls, BB folds. So far so good.

TURN: 5d, SB checks, I bet and Mr. WT insta raises, SB folds and the action is back to me - time to go into the tank. I rule out an overpair b/c 99% of LHE players would have raised the flop to protect their hand. Checking his aggression stats, they are pretty low (around 1.5) or passive on all streets. For this reason, I also rule out a flush draw such as Ad-Qd. Passive players aren't capable of semi-bluffing a draw like that. I figure that he must have a made hand such as A5s (although calling 2 bets preflop there would be horrible) or more likely 77. I let the timer run down and eventually fold even though I'm getting 8.5:1 to call. He shows...........77, the Scottro.

Some of my friends disagree with my decision to fold, but I stand by it in this situation. When a straight-forward, passive player becomes aggressive, get ready to duck.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Selecting juicy tables

One thing that I failed to mention in my previous post was how to select the best tables. If you like fishy tables, follow this process:

1)Open PokerTracker
2)Select auto import hand histories from hard drive
3)Start timer (60 seconds)
4)Open 10, full ring poker tables
5)Let it data mine for 30 minutes or so
6)Open PokerAce Hud
7)Look for tables with average VP$IP of 30 or higher, PFR of 9 or lower and pot size of 7X (or more) the big blind.

Typically, tables with these stats have 2 or 3 very loose/passive players. Happy fishing!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Use those poker tools!

If you are a serious Internet poker player and are not using Poker Tracker and Poker Ace Hud, you're missing out on extremely valuable information about you and your opponents' play.

Poker Tracker allows you to examine how many times you see the flop, raise, go to showdown and more. But the best feature, IMO, is that it logs the stats of every player you have ever played against! You can see how often they voluntarily pot money in the pot, raise pre-flop, check-raise, win at showdown and much more.

Poker Ace Hud is an incredible program that overlays player statistics from your database right on top of the table you are playing! This, along with a little data mining (auto-import hand histories) enables you to get instant reads on your opponents. You will know if they are loose, tight, aggressive or passive. The implications of this are significant. It could very well add 1BB/100 or more to your win rate.

Selecting a Table Position

To best take advantage of loose/passive players, try to get a seat directly to their left. When they limp-in, you can raise your strong hand and often isolate them.

On the other hand, it's usually not a good idea to sit directly to the left of a loose/aggressive player unless you like getting pounded with raises and battling back at them.

The ideal situation, IMO, is to have loose/passive players on your right (for reasons above) and tight players on your left who you can push around and steal from.

Pre-flop Play

If a player with a low pre-flop raise (PFR) percentage raises, get ready to muck AQo and worse in LHE. However, re-raising with AQo is likely +EV against a loose player with a high PFR. Of course, if you're playing deep stack NLHE, you can call with a wide range of hands becuase of your implied odds.

Post-flop Play

If you miss the flop, don't bet into players with a high VP$IP (voluntarily put $ in pot) and high WTSD% (went to showdown). These players are typically calling stations. However, if you miss the flop against a player with a low WTSD%, get ready to bet.

If a player with a low WTSD% and high W$SD% (win $ at showdown) calls your flop bet, you are often behind unless you have a big hand.

If a highly aggressive player with a low W$SD and high VP$IP bets, think about calling him down with a mediocre hand.

When you hit a big flop and the players behind have low aggression, make certain you bet.

The Bottom Line

Poker Ace Hud will give you the 'wrong' read on occasion, but overall the numbers don't lie and you'll likely increase your win rate while being more comfortable at the tables.

So what are you waiting for, if you don't have Poker Tracker or Poker Ace Hud, click on one of these links and get it!!

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Previous to this blog, I posted poker content in my Live Journal. I'm starting this blog to make additional friends and share ideas.

I've been playing consistently for over two years now. I started playing $0.50/1.00 Limit Holdem as a hobby, with a goal of gradually moving up in limits and turning $100 into $100,000. So far, I'm up about $6,000 and now mainly play 5/10 LHE with my eye on 10/20. As a change of pace, I'll play some tourney's on Party, including the $500K. I'm also learning PLO, O8 and Triple Draw, and will play some of those games on Ultimate Bet.

My nickname, "Never-Limp" speaks for itself. I hate cold-calling and will either raise or fold virtually every time in LHE. My screen names include nolimpin, No_Limpin1 and neverlimp.