Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Big Fish Eats The Little One

“If you’re losing you probably don’t bet your hands as well as your opponents”
-Barry Greenstein

Every once in awhile I come across a special player. A poker artist. A person who has a deeper understanding of the game than the rest of us. A player who bets his hands better than everyone else.

It's kind of like how I feel when I'm playing HORSE with a bunch of 1st graders who are just learning to play poker and read and write. I run over that game. They don't know what hit them. Heck they're not even sure what beats what.

I mean I'd probably run over that game. If it existed. I don't actually know if 1st graders play poker. In Nevada it might be legal to play poker with 1st graders as long as you do it outside of the Las Vegas area. I can't call this a fact. But the way the laws work here it sure seems possible.

The only catch is you need have a gun with you in order to play poker with 1st graders. I'm not positive why this is part of the law but the gun might be necessary in case the 1st graders try to cheat or rob you.

This could be true. It's well known that children can be mean to each other. And the word on the street is they apparently don't know what beats what at poker. So how in the world do you expect them to push the pot to the right player?

What was your question again?

So yeah that's what happens at poker. The big fish eats the little one. Then a bigger fish comes along and check raises the big fish.

This past weekend I sat with a great poker player. A young kid who played super aggressive. Raised too much preflop. No one approved.

At first glance he appeared completely out of control. Every second or third hand he'd raise it up 6x the big blind. Then he'd fire bullets on every street until everyone folded. Then he'd show his bluff and we'd move on to the next hand.

No one wanted to play back at him without a made hand so he controlled the table.

And somehow someway the couple of times that he gets all in, he's got the nuts. Of course he does. That's why he's so good.

He was awesome at bet sizing. Putting players into tough spots with some hard decisions. Forcing them to commit their stack, without he committing his.

And he showed so many bluffs I stopped looking down at the table. I didn't want to see his cards anymore. I wanted to be able to pretend that once in awhile he had ace king. Even if he didn't.

His actions convinced me it would be reasonable to call him down with ace high on the river because usually it was the best hand. It wasn't, of course, the one time I tried it. No that time he had the goods. Good for him for earning that river call from me. Credit absolutely goes to all of his advertising on prior hands. He couldn't possibly have had a lower credit rating at our table. The guy showed 5 high, multiple times. As you can see I was a huge fan.

The common strategy against a player like this is usually to tighten up and wait for big hands to play big pots against him. However I went the other way with it and played many hands against him when I was in position. There seemed to be lots of impending (dare I say implied) value knowing that he was gonna fire out a pot sized bet no matter what came on the flop.

This passive strategy worked for me a couple of times. I called him from late position and then let him bet the hands for me post flop.

Quite often players who play this loose aggressive style end up giving their chips away but this guy was the real deal. He had a real strong ability for sensing when to shut down and when to turn on the pressure.

It was tough to win his chips but he was a pleasure to play with and learn from.


Check Raise Chin said...

Super aggro players who know how to play that game are tough.

Do you think you can incorporate that in your game?

Also could it be that maybe he had a good session that time, perhaps the other times he might have lost big.

Not sure. Just wanted to see what your thoughts were.

Robert said...

I've been working hard all year on mixing up my game and getting better at this style. That's kind of why I posted about this guy. It was fun to watch someone do it well.

Obviously he had a good session in that he hit his hands when he needed to.

I'm sure there are PLENTY of nights he loses his stack.