QT. Are you kidding me?
September 26, 2006 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Which poker site has the best players? Or am I just a terrible poker player?

I'm about to become one of those people that swears online poker is rigged. I like to play no limit hold-em for $10, $20, and $30 sit-n-go's. I've had some of the worst beats of my life the past two weeks with totally donkeys who have no business being in the pot and then getting lucky. Real lucky.

(Warning, bad beat stories to follow.) For instance, tonight I had pocket Q's, raised 6 times the BB pre-flop. Got called by ATos. Flop comes 3 hearts with J high. After some betting, raising, and re-raising, I put him all in. He calls without a heart (I had the queen of hearts), a pair, or even a gutshot. He hits an Ace on the river. Now, granted he might have thought I was bluffing but I play very tight and very aggressive. I had played that hand almost the exact same as the pocket A's I had earlier in the night so if he was paying any attention at all would have put me on a hand.

Last night, I had pocket A's. Someone had already raised the pot and I decided to re-raise. I got two calls. Flop comes AK4. I check into the initial raiser because he was notoriously betting every flop. He bets, big. The other guy folds, and I raise. Again, I had been playing very tight the whole night, had re-raised the pot before the flop, and had check-raised him when an A hits. He re-raises me, I go all in, he calls. He had QTos. Hit the jack on the turn.

I've been playing at PartyPoker (I know, I know but I have tons of points I use for tournaments) and Titan. I've tried a couple of others but haven't stayed long enough to really feel it out. I know I should just go to higher stakes because they normally have better players, but at these sites I haven't noticed a real difference. Is there a site I can go to where I can play a $20 sit-n-go without players calling re-raises with QTos? Where they won't jeopardize all their chips on a gutshot when it's obvious they're beaten? I've actually seen players call on the river with pocket 4's when the board is QQ775 because they don't realize their pair has just become a really terrible kicker.

At PokerTips.org I see they listed Ultimate Bet as having some pretty tough competition (which I read as people knowing what they're doing). Does anyone have any experience with that site? Is there another one I should look in to? I welcome any criticism on how I played the hands as well.
posted by Ugh to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (31 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Bad beats are frustrating, but what is the logic of wanting to play poker for money against better players? Also, you are always going to remember the bad beat, instead of the "it happened as it should have". In your AA example, let's say you had a 90% chance of winning against a QT before the flop came. If you had won, you quickly chalk this experience as the time you won cause you had pocket aces, not the time you beat QT with AA. The 1 out of 10 times you get beat, it's very memorable. The other 90% gets written off as "life as it should be".

I have also been the "bad player" you describe a number of times (well not the QQ775 case), and I notice I play that way when I care more about seeing the cards than the amount being bet. To make that concrete, I'm a terrible player when playing a $30/3 sit and go tourny on PP, mostly because I don't care if I lose and if I'm going to win I'm going to do it fast with crazy calls and all-ins.

I'm a much better player when playing the $500/30 sit and gos. Guess what, so is everyone else at the table.

I find the same to be true of the different levels of ring games.

I would suggest site probably doesn't matter much, and I don't believe any of the big ones to be rigged. My advice, play less sit and gos, but at a higher buy-ins. I play a lot at Party and the "randomness of play" really flattens out the higher you go dollar-wise.
posted by ill3 at 7:26 PM on September 26, 2006

Your problem is the tables your sitting at. I know people who have enough money to come and sit at these tables and bet like no tomorrow as your describe. They're willing to bet money to chase and chase and chase. And, frankly, they don't care about winning or loosing. You'll find more reaslistic playing environments at your local bar with the in-house game tournaments and money games after them.
posted by jmd82 at 7:27 PM on September 26, 2006

I think you know what you are doing.. and you didn't really play the hands badly. But it would depend how much you bet in each round (which you haven't really detailed). Perhaps in hindsight you could have made your opponent pay more for the draw. Ace trips is a hard hand to beat - if a guy wants to try for the gutshot straight draw then you have to make him pay for the privilege.

Personally I don't really like Sit n Gos - because they encourage situations like the ones you have detailed. A person needs to be looser and rely more on luck to succeed in these type of games and bad beats happen more often. I prefer ring games.. both online and in brick and mortars.

But you are on the right track by trying to find some better competition. Your game will improve, but unfortunately i dont know enough about ultimate bet to help :)
posted by TheOtherGuy at 7:28 PM on September 26, 2006

Do these poker sites publish distribution statistics?

I play gpokr for fun and notice a pattern to river cards, where I'll see cards that make straights, then over to flushes, then over to 3s and FHs.

It's not always reliable, but after hundreds of hands there definitely seems to be "waves" of certain types of hands that can be made.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:29 PM on September 26, 2006

You asked a few questions, I'll take them in order: (felt the need to un-lurk to answer this one...)

Which poker site has the best players?
This depends on what games you prefer. It sounds like you like small buy-in single-table tournaments, and you prefer a very conservative style of play.

In that case, you might enjoy playing the non-turbo SNGs at pokerstars or possibly the non-turbo SNGs at UB. One nice thing, if you play them at stars, you can clear their bonuses fairly quickly.

am I just a terrible poker player?

Probably. If you can't beat people with obvious and easily exploited strategy flaws, then you are going to be in a world of hurt against people who play "correctly".

That said, there is some extremely small chance that you are just on a significant downswing.

You posted bad beat stories about hands where you may have played reasonably. This hands don't matter at all. You can't fix it if some guy calls with a gutshot and hits.

What you can fix are your other hands, that resulted in a short-stack that was vulnerable to a bad beat in the first place.

I welcome any criticism on how I played the hands as well.

You didn't include stack size, blind size, position, number of players or reads in any of your hands. As such, there is nothing I can criticize. This also indicates that you aren't considering all relevant variables when thinking about a hand.
posted by mosch at 7:51 PM on September 26, 2006

Do these poker sites publish distribution statistics?

No, but almost every semi-seriousplayer uses software to track their hand histories. This can be easily queried to look for discrepancies or non-randomness.

lots of people have done this. Nobody has ever found a problem.
posted by mosch at 7:53 PM on September 26, 2006

Aggressive play is risky in the short S&Gs at PartyPoker. I'm not saying it can't be profitable in the long run, but the combination of quick games and irrational players means that big bets get called frequently. So if you're in these big pots, you'll be losing them sometimes. It's frusting when you deserve the pot and ultimately lose, but it happens to everyone. Luck plays a role, particular after everyone is pot committed.

If you're playing a consistently tight-aggresive game in the sit ang gos, you might try adjusting to play tight-passive until about half the players are out, and then switch to aggressive play after that.
posted by blue mustard at 7:57 PM on September 26, 2006

You're asking the wrong questions. You *want* to play with people who will risk all their money with gut shots and call re-raises with QTo. If you don't understand why, you will not win.

Educate yourself, get lots of practice. You probably have not even played anything resembling a statistically significant # of hands of poker (think, 100,000 for a start). Read poker books, www.twoplustwo.com, get and use pokertracker and a HUD. Bonus whore like there's no tomorrow (www.bonuswhores.com). Bonus whoring is good for $1000 a month easy (cash games though, not sngs really). It's a good way to start a bankroll. Party and empire have 2 bonuses each worth $100 so that's a good palce to start, and they're easy to clear.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:57 PM on September 26, 2006 [3 favorites]

Mosch knows what he's talking about, fwiw.

For tournaments I recommend Harrington's books if you have not read them already. Sklansky has a tourney book but it ain't all that.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:13 PM on September 26, 2006

What everyone else said. Here's the thing: the guy who hit the ace on the river, and even more the other guy, will not get the card they need in the vast majority of hands. You want them to play this way; it will pay off for you in the end, and if it doesn't pay off for them at least occasionally they wouldn't do it.

Don't be results-oriented--you played correctly, and they didn't. This is good for you in the long run. It doesn't matter what card comes up as long as you make the right decision before it does. It seems to me that you are at precisely the right tables to beat people, which is what you should want.

twoplustwo is a good resource, as others have said.

Incidentally, though I know all this, I find it difficult to play correctly online at the stakes I'm willing to risk. It is so colossally boring that I would find myself making dumb plays just to see what would happen. This is why I don't play online so often anymore.
posted by lackutrol at 8:15 PM on September 26, 2006

In my experience, the skill of a poker player is generally proportionate to the limits they're playing. That is, better players tend to play for higher stakes. Not always, of course. There are certainly some delectable, rich donkeys out there...

I guess I don't know the answer to your specific question regarding the site with the "best" play (and I suspect Rusty is on the right track in saying that you're probably not really asking the right questions). However, I feel compelled to repeat my normal response to people who suspect online poker is crooked: Poker sites make plenty of money without stacking the deck against you. Furthermore, if someone was to notice that the deck wasn't sufficiently random (and I guarantee there are paranoid programmers paying attention), their entire business model would come crumbling down. Why would they risk that to rob your $3 entrance fee or several dollars an hour in rake? It just doesn't seem plausible to me.
posted by maniactown at 8:20 PM on September 26, 2006

This is not an answer, but I find this all very interesting. I've played poker among friends and always did well, but I have no idea what all the jargon you are using in this thread means. Would someone enlighten me? Thx.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:28 PM on September 26, 2006

Kickstart: Anything that isn't on this list that you're curious about?

There's a bit too much to define it all.
posted by mosch at 8:36 PM on September 26, 2006

thanks mosch.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:41 PM on September 26, 2006

Thanks for all the advice so far. I write a note on every person I play in a sit-n-go which details their playing style, how they played big pocket pairs, when they're likely to bluff, etc. I try to use it to my advantage as much as possible, but I will admit that a lot of times I don't do what I know will win the pot (raising big with a so-so hand against a tight player in late position), but I am trying to get better at that.

I have Doyle's, Sklansky's, and Harrington's books on poker. Most of them do suggest a tight/aggressive playing style like mine in tournaments, but I also try to mix it up so as not to be too predictable.

My justification in wanting to play better players is simply because I have found that I place more often against them. I keep running into people that play only their hole cards, pay no attention to the board, the player they're up against, their odds. I was also under the impression that one of the reasons you raise pots PF is so you can run out hands that can out-flop you. Yes, it's great when people call huge raises with A4 and you have AK. But I keep running into situations where they will call my bet with any face card no matter how much the raise is. Great when I have pocket A's, but terrible when I have pocket J's and have *several* people calling with A5 and K9.

Same thing with the gutshots and runner-runner draws. I like it when they invest their money with terrible odds. However, people who call with terrible odds will also call bluffs. If I can't raise them out of it pre-flop, can't get them off their draws when I do hit, and can't bluff them out when I don't, then I feel i'm at a severe disadvantage.

It appears as if I probably do need to try higher limits. Unfortunately, i'm not in a position where i'd be willing to risk a significant portion of my paycheck on one buy-in so it will have to be something I work up to. If I can't beat them at $20, I don't need to be in a $500 anyway.
posted by Ugh at 8:57 PM on September 26, 2006

Be glad your opponents refuse to fold: if they didn't, you might just go broke. If you do not win in the long run, it is not because your opponents are making too many mistakes: it is because you are. Bad beats do not cause you to lose in the long run. Playing passively does.
posted by poodlemouthe at 9:07 PM on September 26, 2006

Ugh, I think I have a better handle on what you're saying now--you're playing on tables where everyone is getting in with a draw or some random crap, and someone is bound to make their draw oftenish in that case. My advice might be to loosen up a bit preflop and look for a reason to fold when it appears someone has hit. Of course this doesn't apply to your two examples, but it might work better generally.

And then you want to be really aggressive when you have the nuts or close.

I don't know about higher limits. You have got to be able to beat these people to compete at all. But keep in mind that losing streaks do happen, and that you will face higher variance at these crazy tables.
posted by lackutrol at 9:12 PM on September 26, 2006

It appears as if I probably do need to try higher limits.

Probably not. $20 sngs are an OK place to start. What's your bankroll? I'm not an SNG player buy I seem to recall recommendations between 50 and 100 buyins, so, $1000-$2000. These things are high variance. Winning at SNGs using Harrington-type play is tough and I think most people don't do it. Again I don't do the SNG thing but I do peek into the 2+2 forums a bit and successful players push a LOT preflop.

Yes, the reason that you raise preflop is to fold worse hands, but paradoxically you actually want them to call - folding is the correct thing for them to do. You want them to fold because it gives you a greater chance of winning, but when they call, they are making a mistake, and you profit from it. Theory of poker goes into this in great detail.
You are also raising for value - you probably have the best hand and over time you will win more than you lose, no matter how many people call with trash. This means a bit less in SNGs than it does in cash games, where the long term means something quite different.

Don't bluff unbluffable players. Bet for value more, slowplay less (because they are calling anyway). Develop your hand reading skills, try to figure out what garbage they're calling with this time. Develop the skill of putting players on a range of hands preflop, and figuring your odds against those hands. Narrow the range as the hand progresses.

The people you win against, who you perceive as good, are people who are probably a bit like you, and you understand how they play. This makes it somewhat easier for you to beat them. However, these players are probably not good either, and are playing either a weak-tight style, or a tight-aggressive style that isn't working for them (TAG is the way to go, but there are shades to it. Bad TAGs don't automatically get to win just because they're tight and play their hands fast). In full ring cash games I make a lot of money from (bad) tags. In short handed games I make more from LAGs and passive players.

How many SNGs have you played total? How many hands? What's your ROI (return on investment)? How often are you defending your blinds? How often do you cold call preflop? How often do you check-raise the turn? These are all things you need to know about yourself, and something like Poker Tracker will help you find them out. You need the help of a forum like 2+2, though, to make sense of what range your numbers should be in. These people can also help you figure out the liklihood that you're a winning player (mathematically) given a sufficiently large number of hands (50k+ is a good start, 100K is better)

Lastly there is a phenomenon called "schooling" which is where several fish will each make a bad call, which is good for the "school" but bad for the individual players. An example is one fish calling with a gutshot needing a T, one calling with a gutshot needing a 9, one calling with 2 overcards, needing an A or a K. Seperately they have 4-6 outs, together they have 14, which is even money on the flop (that is, the 3 of them are even money against the one of you, when you have something like QQ). It's important to recognize situations where a bet is not going to get the first fish to fold, and the second fish is then going to call (pot odds!) and then the third. In some situations a bet is not the best move when you have the best hand. This is probably less the case in no-limit than in limit, because you can size your bets accordinglingly.

One nice thing about poker tracker is that it lets me ignore some players entirely regarding note-taking. If someone is in 70%+ of hands and raises only 5% of the time preflop, I don't really need to take notes of what they call with (Any A, any K, any pair, any suited, any broadway and generally any connectors) or what they raise with (AA-QQ, AK and sometimes AQ, and SOMETIMES if they get a wild hair, something crap like A6s or KQs). If someone is only in 20% of the pots and they raise 15% of them, I don't need to keep that great of notes either although I need to keep tabs on their post-flop aggression factors, the %age of time they go to showdown, and how often they fold to a bet on the river - but poker tracker keeps track of all that for me.

It's good that you're keeping notes, but make sure you keep the right kind. Knowing how a player plays big pairs might not be that helpful in an SNG. You don't have enough hands to get a good feel for that. You should be taking notes on how often they play in and out of position. Do they vary bet size preflop or do they have a standard system (I do something similar to Phil Gordon in NL tournaments, where I have sort of a "formula" based on the number of players who called before me and the number left to act. Based on the gap concept. If I'm raising, and I usually am, then I raise the same no matter if I have ATo, 66, KK or TJs). Do they semi-bluff draws? Do they peel the flop with overcards? What do they raise with preflop? What do they cold call with?

One last comment: Phil Hellmuth is not the worlds best poker player, regardless of what he thinks. However, he IS regarded as one of the world's best players at playing against amateurs and bad players. His style is unique to say the least, he drags players along with him into the pot with small bets, plays loose, and generally knows when he has the best hand. He induces people to make mistakes against him.
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:43 PM on September 26, 2006

I play a home game with a bunch of computer programmers, who swear to a man that most poker sites seem to run an algorithm to throw you cards that you always fold.

When you think about the rakes, etc it is a huge money generator so I don't think there is much incentive to cheat on the randomness of the deck. I wouldn't be suprised though, if they used bots or paid players to make sure there was a lot of money on the table.
posted by Deep Dish at 10:10 PM on September 26, 2006

I play a home game with a bunch of computer programmers, who swear to a man that most poker sites seem to run an algorithm to throw you cards that you always fold.

They're retarded.

When you think about the rakes, etc it is a huge money generator so I don't think there is much incentive to cheat on the randomness of the deck. I wouldn't be suprised though, if they used bots or paid players to make sure there was a lot of money on the table.

Most of the crappier sites use prop players, which are technically house players who are payed an hourly rate by the house, or have their rake reduced or eliminated substantially (which at low stakes is a big incentive). The prop players are playing with their own money, and are subject to rules that vary from site to site. Mostly they will be called on to help fill tables that are very short handed, and leave tables that are filling up and getting good. If you are playing on Party Poker, Poker Stars, Ultimate Bet, Full Tilt, Empire Poker, most of the PokerRoom network, etc, you are probably not playing against prop players because these are big sites with plenty of games. Smaller sites like Interpoker/CryptoLogic will sometimes have prop players. One of the ones I've been to (interpoker?) offers anyone the option to prop, any time. Basically you sort of sign up for it and if a table is short handed they will offer you $X to play at it for the next 1 hour or something like that. It's not a lot of money but it's a little extra.

I highly doubt casinos are running bots. They just don't need too. They are hauling money in hand-over-fist. Consider 1 $1/$2 limit holdem table. The rake maxes at $0.50 at most sites (which is good, most B&M casinos rake more). Short handed tables consistently make 100 hands/hour or $40/hour (not ever hand is raked at the full amount), full tables regularly also make $40/hour because more hands are raked even though they play slower. Party poker has something like 60 $1/$2 tables so during peak hours they make something like $2400/hour JUST AT 1/2 LIMIT. They have just as many 2/4 limit tables so there's $4500/hour. And so forth. They make so many shitloads of money it isn't even funny.

There IS incentive for players to run bots, because even bad bots might be programmed to make small amounts of money multi-tabling, clearing bonuses and earning rakeback. Most poker sites do what they can to prevent this (which is honestly not that much, but they do try). Given that I'm a winning poker player, I don't fear bots. Either they suck and I'm beating them, or I'm avoiding them via table selection, or they're taking money from me but it's not enough for me notice. Given that every table at the big sites has 3-4 clueless loose players and on a good night, party poker has lots of tables with 6 terrible players, I just don't think there are that many bots, or if there are, it isn't relevant.
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:28 PM on September 26, 2006

They're retarded.

And bad at poker.

Every time somebody claims that online poker is rigged I am reminded why it is that I can keep winning. The fact is that there are many people who are unable to admit flaws in themselves, so they make outrageous and unsupported excuses.

Online poker would be a much tougher game if people first looked at themselves, when asking why it is that they lose.
posted by mosch at 10:50 PM on September 26, 2006

Dude, reread what mosch said. He's got it.

If you can't beat bad players, what makes you think you'll beat good ones? Seriously, why not just sit down with Phil Ivey?
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 11:12 PM on September 26, 2006

My favorite thing to say in live games is "Live poker is so rigged" when something happens that people usually point to as being rigged in an online game. Flopping set over set, or flopping the nut flush when your opponent flops a set and makes his full house. Neither of these is usually a "bad beat" but since both players rightfully want to get a lot of money in, it stings to have the losing hand. The other day I flopped the nut flush and lost to a gutshot straight flush. To make matters worse, another guy in the hand has a K high flush so we pretty much got it all in on the flop. But I digress.

When I say this in person, one type of person sort of nods their head and agrees. Another type realizes I am joking and making fun of people who think online poker is rigged. A third type begins to lecture me about how live poker is, in fact, NOT rigged, that these are normal statistical variations, etc, etc. No shit! I pretend to be clueless though. "Those mechanical shufflers", I say, "I don't trust them. They could be arranging the deck". I also claim to not trust ATMs. "I don't want some machine knowing how much money I have or what I spend it on". To me, it's hilarious. Yeah. Poker is kind of boring. There, I said it.

I lost online for a solid 8-9 months before getting my shit together. In the end I did move up in stakes, right or wrong. I moved from .25/.50 not to find better players (they aren't better at 1/2 and they aren't much better at 2/4 and 3/6, where I'm at now) but to make it worthwhile to devote a lot of time to it. If I kicked everyone's ass at .25/.50 and 4-tabled I'm still only making $4-6/hour. At 1/2 I could at least make $16-20/hour for my asskicking trouble. Although I didn't, I basically broke even for 3 months getting my shit together and learning to be good enough to make money playing short-handed limit. I tripled my bankroll during this period by NEVER playing a hand of poker unless I was earning a bonus (which means that I have accounts on something like 12 poker sites and I switched to whichever one had the best bonus at the time. You can make $25/hour clearing bonuses, easy). I made a modest amount along the way and moved up.

I'm in a tough spot now which most players eventually get to. I'm working on my game and trying to play through it, but it's *hard*. Playing cash, you'll eventually get to the point where you go 10K, 20K, 30K, 50K etc hands without making any money. I'm not quite there yet and I hope it doesn't get to that point. It's at least 20K right now though and it sucks bad. In tournaments every player eventually gets to the point where they lose 20 or 30 sngs in a row (or nearly, with just a few wins in there). It just happens. If you get all your money in as a 4.5:1 favorite, after 3 times you're only even money to win all 3 of them. Do it often enough and you'll lose 3 in a row like that and then lose several getting it all in as the underdog and not improving and then lose some more as the favorite until you think it's just not possible to lose the next one, but you will. This is why you have a big bankroll. And if you lose enough in a row, you have to have the discipline to move down.
posted by RustyBrooks at 11:23 PM on September 26, 2006

Mosch: coach me ;) I'm only half joking!
posted by RustyBrooks at 11:23 PM on September 26, 2006

lots of good suggestions above.

I don't think i'd move up to a higher stake game to find "better" players.

If you aren't adjusting your game to beat the lower stakes games, you'll just as likely find some other style of play(er) at the higher stakes that'll give you fits (but at a higher cost).

As previously mentioned it should be a function of bankroll what stakes you play at -- and feel comfortable at.

Most places suggest, beating the lower stakes and then moving up gradually, building up your bankroll as you go.

Bad beats will happen on any level/stake.
posted by rampy at 8:05 AM on September 27, 2006

The people you win against, who you perceive as good, are people who are probably a bit like you, and you understand how they play. This makes it somewhat easier for you to beat them.

Wow. That is exactly what I needed to figure out. I hadn't thought of it that way before and now I realize that is definitely one of my biggest problems.

Thank you everyone for the advice. I plan on trying it all over a period of time and checking in to all the sites you've mentioned including Poker Tracker. My email is in my profile if anyone has any further comments or suggestions. Thanks again!
posted by Ugh at 10:48 AM on September 27, 2006

The low buyin party STT's are very beatable. Top players can achieve 20-30 % ROI in the long term, most who can do that move up to the higher buyin STTs.

From the tone of your post and the level of dismay you have from bad beats I can guess you are probably not a winning player. It's not a dig, most players aren't.

Check out this forum, its the best resource on the web for STT strat.

posted by clubfoote at 11:25 AM on September 27, 2006

All the advice above is good, but I'm going to play devil's advocate anyway. I've read some poker theory that tis similar to the situation that the OP is describing known as implicit collusion. Consider the following two scenerios:

1. You are at a table of 10 with a couple or three people that chase longshots and play loose/agressive to the river whereas everybody else plays more "normally". You can play these loose/agressive players heads up when you are the statistical favorite and extract money from them since over the long run they will miss more than they will hit.

2. You are at a table of 10 with 7 or 8 people that chase longshots and play loose/agressive, seeing a bunch of flops and rivers. At tables like this, it is no longer your odds vs the individual odds of the other players--instead, it becomes your odds vs the collective odds of the entire field of loose/agressive players hoping to outdraw you. The more players that see rivers, the greater the odds of one of them outdrawing you on a given hand.

It seems appropriate to me to think of it like this, since you don't care which one of the field beats you. IMO, at tables like #2, you don't have the ability to push players out of pots with raises, which cripples you and seriously affects your odds of winning in both the long and short term. The sum of a bunch of small probabilities can be greater than a larger probability.

This is all theoretical, as far as I know. It would make a neat simulation if somebody were so inclined. As far as what to do about it--harder to say. Move up in stakes? Maybe. Probably the best solution is to be highly selective as to where you sit. Keep stats and only sit at tables with a few loose/agressive players, so you can focus on beating them heads up.
posted by jtfowl0 at 2:18 PM on September 27, 2006

Implicit collusion means that bluffing in loose games has little value, because somebody will call you and catch it.

It does not mean that you should fold, or fail to bet strong hands on the basis that they will often lose, or that large, loose fields are unprofitable. The exact opposite is true.
posted by mosch at 3:23 PM on September 27, 2006

What I'll say to this is that I know that on higher limit games I play better. I play a lot tighter, and generally put more effort into guessing the other players' cards, etc. At lower limits, it's just too easy to piss away hands under the "It's only $5, maybe I'll hit" theory.
I win about the same amount of money as I do at lower limits, because the other players are also better (and I've come to realize that I should only really play poker for fun, because I tend to make less per hour than I do if I'm actually working).
posted by klangklangston at 6:17 PM on September 27, 2006

I know that on higher limit games I play better. I play a lot tighter, and generally put more effort into guessing the other players' cards, etc. At lower limits, it's just too easy to piss away hands under the "It's only $5, maybe I'll hit" theory.

In tournaments this cuts both ways.

Often the correct move in a tournament is to raise with any two cards, or with an extremely wide range of cards. I know I used to find it hard to raise with 32o after paying a significant entry fee.

Additionally, sometimes you get a read that an opponant is bluffing, and the correct move is to call or raise with an extremely weak hand. This can also be more difficult if they money seems substantial.

For what it's worth, I know my favorite thing to hear at a final table of a casino MTT is "lets make a deal". Not because I want to make the deal, but because I know I'm playing against scared money. I can then proceed to steal their blinds with impunity, knowing that they will rarely re-raise, and when they do, I should probably fold.
posted by mosch at 11:01 PM on September 27, 2006

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