Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A little bit of poker in my life

As you may have noticed, this is still a poker blog, but only in the technical sense.
I still write about poker, and I still play poker every night, and I still even consider myself a poker blogger.
But as you may also have noticed, when I'm writing these days, poker doesn't get near as many words as running or the twins or Jayden. There's a lot more there with a pair of newborn ladies and a toddler than writing about how I screwed up A,J in EP yet again and how I suffered yet another bad beat and poor me and I hate our government.
You have, after all, read all that before. Much more eloquently, in fact.

The last thing I do these days is offer poker advice. Let's face it. I'm a good player. I've never deposited past my initial foray of $200 in (man, that was another world ago), and through a series of withdraws, I've funded Full Tilt, Poker Stars, Bodog and Ultimate Bet accounts from that initial $200. I'm one of the leaders on the Mookie board and won one this year.

But I'm hardly as good as many of you. My thinking rarely travels beyond third level. My highest level of cash games are $50 NL, and I'm currently enjoying three tables of UB at $25 NL. I still play low-level SnGs, and even those lately have sucked. I don't ever expect to win a MTT, and though I have a healthy bankroll, a win in the Full Tilt $26K would probably surpass it.

Yet here I go. If you think this tip is somewhat like trying to teach Miles Davis how to play the blues in B-flat, then by all means, have yourself a chuckle and skip over it. But it's a good tip, and it seems to play out again and again, without fail.

I have KK and $30 in front of me in a $25 NL game. I raise 3x, and I get one caller from a lady who has a $13 stack. She typically buys in short. This, as we'll see later, is important.
The flop is a decent one, Q,9,3, all rainbow. She has position on me, however, so I bet the pot, $2.
She smooth calls. At this point I'm not too worried. I suppose she could have J,10 or maybe a weak Q. She could also have a set but I can't worry about monsters just yet.
The turn is a harmless 2, and I bet $4.50 into the $6 pot. I wouldn't mind a call here but I don't want to give odds out either.
She pushes all in.
What's your move?

• • •

I don't mind it when other blogs make you wait for a day or so to get comments, but what I'm saying here isn't really all that amazing, and in many cases, it probably won't be much of a decision for many of you. So I'll continue here.
What do you think she had?
At that point I was fairly sure I knew what she had.
I put her on Q,J sooted, and that's what she flipped over when I called.
I was sure because of the tip that's coming, and it's a strange trend, in my mind, yet it plays out over and over and over, and I'd be willing to be it plays out at all but the highest levels.
When a player is on the short stack, they are far too willing to gamble with a marginal hand like top pair.

I know. "Wow, thanks Peaker. You're amazing. I'll bet you raise in EP with AA, too, don't you? You should write a book on poker stragety."

But here's the thing. This is a cash game, remember? It's not a tournament. And the "short stack" is relative. Let's say this was a tournament. With the blinds being .10/.25, her M is 37. That's hardly a time to be pushing with only a decent hand.

Yet what I've found, over and over, is if a stack has less than 60 percent of a buy-in, that person will gamble with anything, and usually that means top pair, weak kicker. Sometimes it even means a pair in their hand with overcards on the board, or it could also mean an overpair.

You should call these players more often than not if you have a good hand, but not a hand you would normally blow half your stack with, like just a pair with a great kicker or an overpair that can be beaten by higher overpairs. I doubt this is true at the higher levels, but at $25 NL up to $100 NL, this seems to be the case.

It really amazes me too. It seems like such a dumb play. Apparently there's a school of thought out there that OTHER players are going to be willing to gamble with much less, too, and I do think that's true. If she shoves with $40, totally covering me, I think twice before calling with KK, and unless I've got a good read on her (which I did in this case, she wasn't a good player), I fold.

Yet most of the time, what I've found is I wait for those players to make those mistakes and shove their stacks and I pick them off. I've made more money off these players than any other except for spiking sets or big hands with sooted connectors against a big overpair.

Reckless short stack cash game poker is rarely profitable, it seems to me. But if there are shortstack players who make money off this strategy, I'm willing to listen.

After all, as we've just seen, I'm no poker author.


TripJax said...

Short buy-ins are goobers. I call that push there just like you did.

Nice post!

slb159 said...

You're exactly right. They're just looking for a quick double when they buyin short.

As trip said, I call that all day every day.

Also as he said, nice post.

Schaubs said...

I've just experienced it from both sides... Good post peaker.