Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Loudest Guy must be the Smartest

I hear poker players complain a lot about how much they hate to play with bad players. What these complainers really want is predictability. They want the better hand to win. They want the worst hand to correctly fold to a raise when not getting proper pot odds.

And of course when they get outdrawn by a bad player it's easy to understand why these people feel this way. However if you're playing thousands of hands you learn to love bad players.

They are where your profit comes from.

I think there are two types of bad players. There are people who simply don't know the game well. And there's nothing wrong with that. They have no clue what kind of hand or what kind of odds they need to call a bet. And so they play randomly. And that's fine.

But my favorite bad player is the guy who not only makes incorrect decisions, he's also the guy who lectures everyone else at the table about what they should have done. Sometimes these guys are so wrong, so insane, so utterly ridiculous that I assume they must be kidding. But most of the time they really mean it.

These guys are so damn entertaining that I've spent some time thinking about how emulating them might actually make me money. This type of player often puts people on tilt. (Think: Phil Hellmuth.) Other players get scared of his wrath and so they start playing tighter. And this is good for the bad player. Especially since he often has the worse cards and can only win the pot if you fold.

And there is method to his madness. Once in awhile the bad player hits the flop perfectly and takes down your monster and you're wondering what the hell happened.

My bad player character will play any ace in any position. My character will tell everyone they play poorly. My character will misquote facts. My character will always insist my hand was the favorite. My character will assume the role of table captain and tell the dealer how to do his job. And of course my character will tell everyone else how they should have played their hand whether or not I'm even involved in the pot. It doesn't matter. I might not even wait till the hand is over if there's something I need to say.

I played with one of these guys over the weekend and all I can say is "WOW."

Now it's one thing to do this sort of thing early in a session to give off the impression that you're a loose player. Then you can tighten up and trap the people who are paying attention to the crap you've been playing.

But not this guy. He played this way the entire time he was at the table.

He routinely came in for a raise under the gun with any ace. Ace 9 off was the best hand I saw him show. But he also played ace 8 and ace 6 from that position.

He reraised from the blinds 50% of the time. Not sure why he wanted to play all these hands out of position but that was his style.

I was paying close attention. And the more I watched him the more I was dying to play a hand with him.

Early on he won a big pot holding jack deuce suited. But more importantly he had raised this hand preflop. Unless he was trapping me, this hand showed that he'd raise preflop with any two cards.

He was seated to my left. In a perfect world he'd be on my right so that I could make my decisions after seeing whether or not he raised.

But being to his right I adapted by usually just limping preflop. Then I sat back and let him do the betting for me.

We played a bunch of hands together. And the best part was that our cards got progressively worse.

The first hand I called his river bet with two pair. It was a scary looking board (9, 10, jack, queen) but he seemed to flinch when the queen came on the river which made me think he was pissed off that perhaps I had hit a straight. And if he's scared of a straight then my two pair (ten jack) looked good. He had ace 9.

The second hand I called his river bet with top pair lousy kicker. Cards that I wouldn't even be playing with against a normal player. He had a busted flush draw.

The third hand I beat his ace high with bottom pair. This really pissed him off. He lectured me good after this one. And I took his verbal beating silently.

What was I gonna say? "Sir you keep betting when you miss. That's why I called."

The 4th hand I held 3 6 suited. The board was something like king, jack, 9, 7, 3. He made his usual river bet. I figured that one of these times he has to have it. So I folded.

Then he proudly showed me his bluff.

This guy was too good.

On our next hand I called a river bet with middle pair. It wasn't even that I was sure I had him beat but there was too much money in the middle and I was pot committed.

As I pushed my chips out he simply threw his cards into the muck.

And the final hand of the night I called his all in with king high.

Yes. Me. The tightest player in Las Vegas called a river bet with king high.

It feels crazy to type that.

And what did he show?

He didn't.

He threw his hand into the muck.


1 comment:

NYCBeekeeper said...

Thank you for the kind words on Mr. Hellmuth.