Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Table Selection

Coach Boone : I don't scratch my head unless it itches and I don't dance unless I hear some music. I will not be intimidated. That's just the way it is.
"Remember the Titans"

I'll get the self-serving poker content out of the way early - played in one $5 SNG last night and took home first prize of $21. Play tight people, play tight. I waited for hands and eventually they came. I did have to fold a lot in the first two orbits, and then in one hand it was just me as the smallest stack and small blind and the second lowest stack as the big blind. I am happy to say I under-bet the pot beautifully and he tried to come back with a straight draw when I had already made my flush. That crippled him, and then I was able to knock him out the next hand when my Ace-rag paired up. He quickly posted the obligatory "Fuk u" in the chat window, to which I replied "cheers." I never looked back from there, but something terrible did happen. When another player was chopped down by me to 1.1BB, and in the big blind, I thought for sure they are gone. I had 53o so I folded. The small blind (and chip leader) called for the $100 big bet, then the small stack went all-in for a total of $116 - an extra $16. The big blind folded. Yes, with his stack of $3000+, he folded for the sake of $16. I don't care if you have that little card that comes in the deck with the instructions on it - you HAVE to call that $16...Unless you are trying to prop up that player. I convinced myself this was the case and then set about teaching this cheating beatnik's a lesson. Very next hand, I cut out the small stack and sent him packing. Thanks chip leader, all you did was make my win more worth while. When we were heads up against the massive chip leader - 4:1 over me - I was not taking no for an answer. With T8d, I raised. He re-raised back, but not enough to put me all-in. So, I went all in and he folded. Weak. We went back and forth, exchanged the lead a few times. Usually any pre-flop raise was met with a fold or an all-in. When I was chip leader I was dealt my best hand of the game, The Cowboys. Should I raise or go straight all in? I'll call for a change. Let him try and make a hand. This goes against everything I normally stand for, but I feel I had to adapt to the situation. The flop came 743 rainbow, not too bad. He raised, and then I pushed. He thought about it and called. The turn was a King and the river an Ace, and I showed my trips while he handed his cards back to the dealer. He was surprised to see the Kings I think, as his last chat post alluded to. This put my Pacific account to the $499.49 mark. I thought about that, as a $500 bank roll has always been a goal, I could just squeeze out a 50 cent win on some table and get it over that mark, couldn't I? No, not today, I walked away and left it there. Why? Because I had played enough poker for the day. This is the first time in a long time that I didn't let my bankroll dictate when I should stop. A small improvement in my overall game, I was quite pleased.

No onto table selection. I have read many blogs and poker articles about table selection specifically, because it is something that I know very little about. Everybody preaches that table selection is a must, be very careful who you are sitting down with and so on - but rarely does anyone say HOW to go about table selection. I guess the obvious answers are to sit and watch a few orbits and see how they play - perhaps look at the flop percentage or average pot. As I have said before, this is probably why I prefer tournaments because the table selection is done for me - that and you generally get more hands for your dollar. I have something to add to it though - don't confuse a maniac with someone that is on a nice run. If you look at a table and see four hands where the same guy over-bets the pot, massive raises and even pre-flop all ins. This one day in particular I remember seeing it, and all that happen was he had good hands. Pocket Aces, Jacks, hitting trips on the flop and so on. He might have looked like a maniac, but he was just showing strength. But then again I guess anyone that judges a player or makes their "informed" table selection after four hands really gets what they deserve.


DuggleBogey said...

I guess I don't understand your comment about just calling with KK and saying "This goes against everything I stand for."

Why not just call with KK? You are only afraid of AA and Ax, and Ax will be obvious if it has a chance at you. Why not slow play it? The only reason to re-raise big pre-flop at a full table is to isolate one player, and you already have your guy isolated. If no A falls, you are forcing him to hit two pair or trips. Very +EV.

I have no problem with this play. In fact, I do it often heads-up, against all kinds of players.

Heafy said...

Yeah, it was just a sweeping statement that I really don't like slow playing AA-JJ pre-flop. Heads up is a different story, as you said and as I did, but I will never limp with those hands - how many times have you seen AA get cracked because it was slow-played? Thanks for the (as always) informative comment.

Anonymous said...

Slowplaying a big hand is fine if you are already isolated. You want to avoid getting cracked, but if you're heads up it's up to you - if you have the discipline to let a hand like that go if the board and the opponent suggest he's hit something big (trips, straight or flush) on the flop then there's nothing at all wrong with it.

On table selection, I use my poker tracker database to tell me who to put in my buddy list. Then I check and see where the fishies are schooling and head on over for a little sushi.

Heafy said...

Thanks Anonymous, I agree and pretty much that's why I called. And yeah, I never really thought about following your fish as "table selection". It really is the best form of table selection I guess. Silly that I didn't think of it that way

Ryan said...

"I don't care if you have that little card that comes in the deck with the instructions on it..."

That was hilarious. Great Blog!