Lucky Straights

The ramblings and mumblings of a wannabe poker pro

Thoughts on My Sit-N-Go Play and Switching Games

Maybe its just because I’m having a bit of a rough time with the game a the moment, but I’m starting to question myself and how I’m doing things. Not in a panicky, desperate way like I seemed to do the last time I was in a bad run, but still I’m beginning to pose some questions to myself.

Maybe its just because of lost rather a lot of games since I got back into it, far too many in fact, but then again, maybe thats the reason why I’m able to see these things, we don’t question ourselves too much when where winning do we?

I’m finding myself in lots of situations where I feel torn between how best to play it, and I’m not talking about moves or read based plays or even about math based plays, I’m referring to basic strategy.

I’m consistently, of late anyways, faced with situations in the Sit-N-Go’s, where I believe in theoretical sense I should take one course of action, but also acknowledge the opposite course, which seems to have left me sometimes doing one, sometimes doing the other, almost at random, without no real sense of it at all. All of these situations relate to the stages of a Sit-N-Go, where I’m adjusting my play based on how deep I am in to the tournament and how big the blinds are relative to my stack.

A basic tenet of my Sit-N-Go play, as been pieced together from the NL section of Lee Jones book ‘Winning Low Limit Hold’em’, which I wholeheartedly agree with, but I’m begging to face lots of situations where I feel this isn’t working for me, and may actually be costing me pots, and with that tournaments cashes.

These issues are beginning to affect me so much that I am starting to consider moving to cash games once I’ve achieved my bonus, at least for a while. I have a copy of Skylansky’s NL Hold’em Theory and Practice which I could use as my guide, and can I give the Sit-N-Go’s a break, maybe just playing the occasional two table or a larger “bargain tournament” scheduled on Poker Stars and try and build up my bankroll via this route, returning to the Sit-N-Go’s with enough funds to rejoin them at the higher, $5 level.

A closing thoughts, should I be aware of playing hands according to the stage of the tournament I am in, but be willing to play the hand as if in a vacuum when the situation warrants it?

These are two recent hands that seems typical of this dilemma I seem to have put myself in :

Here in the BB I find AK and with a raise to 4xBB and two calls, I elect to call instead of re-raise, as a re-raise would commit a large portion of my stack very early in the tournament.

I did the complete opposite of what I feel I should do, because of the “early stage” game plan I have developed, based on the Lee Jone’s txt, whereby I would only re-raise with kings or aces so early. I was fortunate here, as if an ace fell I would likely have gone broke.

Treating this hand as if the stage of the Sit-N-Go didn’t matter, perhaps in a cash game, I would re-raise around $400. After watching this player throughout the rest of the match, he would likely go all-in at this point, then I would likely fold with no information about the player to suggest otherwise.

I limped in here with AQ in MP with some a call and two folds in front, because I felt it was too early to raise. Though this is something I mentioned not long ago, I’m willing to call a standard raise with AQ here, so I should be willing to make a standard raise here with AQ, correct?

Everyone else calls and the big blind checks. On the flop I hit TP. There are two checks and a bet of 3xBB in front of me, so I raise him $140 more, to put him to the test and to chase out any draws. I get a call behind me. Then the raiser comes over the top for a further $400. I fold, and I fold because its the 1st level, and I didn’t felt my AQ wasn’t strong enough to play for all of my chips against a caller and a re-raiser. Its unlikely he held AK, but with me not raising pre-flop he could certainly have had A8 or A9.

This is a problem I’ve faced before in the $1 Sit-N-Go’s, where ego-minded players tend to play back at you, because the assume you must be bluffing in these spots because you didn’t raise pre-flop.

Playing this without consideration to how early this hand occurred in the tournament, I would make a standard raise to around 5xBB pre-flop, and on the same flop, be prepared to go all the way with it, depending on the individual and is betting action.

Any thoughts on this?

January 24, 2008 Posted by | Sit-N-Go's 2 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Rocky Start

I think I’ve had what could be termed a rocky start so far. Was in profit from my first game, and remained so for the following four games, then I hit a relatively large loss, thankfully absorbed by my previous profit which was then followed by an inconsequential win. Next however came another relatively large loss, putting me bellow my deposit amount for the first time.

Both losses where a big blow, especially the latter, where I wasn’t trying out multi-tabling. However after a nice, albeit small win I have recomposed myself a little and are starting to think that a break from play, even just a day (probably all I could bare) would do me some good. It will give me time to analyze how I’ve played in more detail and to look for areas of improvement, time also to get back to Lee Jone’s book ‘Winning Low Limit Hold’em’, which as been on the shelf for the past week, then with any luck / skill I’ll be able to return to the tables in a more focused and disciplined frame of mind and begin to start increasing my bankroll once again. Hopefully my cold will be out of my system by then too.

October 10, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Change of Focus

When I first started playing around with poker online, I naturally favored the NL (no-limit) tables as this is what I have always played off-line, however far too many all-in moves by other players annoyed me so much, instead of staying and winning big pots, I moved to the PL (pot-limit) tables and quickly became accustomed to them, netting several thousand each day in play money.

Now though, I’m at the start of another more radical change in focus, I have begun to concentrate on the fixed limit tables. This is for two main reasons:

  1. When I get back to the “real money” tables limit games will help keep my variance down.
  2. I expect that becoming good at the limit games will greatly improve my abilities on the no-limit games.

This move has presented me with two problems I didn’t face on the other games:

  • Not being able to force players off a drawing hand so easily
  • It is harder to work out an opponents holdings

Thankfully though I have two aids at my side, Jennifer Harman’s chapter on Limit Hold’em in Super System 2 by Doyle Brunson and Lee Jone’s, Winning Low Limit Hold’em.

September 29, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment