You know something I never need to hear again (re: poker)?

“Yeah, that kind of player will get lucky and beat you but in the long run they’re the ones who pay you off.”

You know what? I’m really fucking ready to skip the “will get lucky and beat you” part and start up with the “pay you off” part. Sitting online playing tonight/this morning and orbit after orbit I sit patiently waiting for playable cards. I wade through more 8-4 and 7-2 and Q-6 and K-3 than anyone should have to endure until finally there’s a glimmer of hope that I might be able to play something. And every single time I pick up something either at least one other player has me beat before the flop, I get murdered by the flop or sucked out on the river by a hand that had no business being in the pot to begin with. Flat calling, raising, re-raising, these people don’t care, they marry their shit and suck out over and over and over again. AKs? Loses to the pocket 99 who calls a big bet with overcards on the flop. AJos? Have to muck it against what turns out to be another AJ and an AK who battle it out pre-flop and then a K hits. Pocket QQ? An A and a K hit the flop and I have to let them go. Pocket JJ with an 8-high flop? Runs up aganst pocket KK. Another AK? Runs up against pocket 77 and another AK. Pocket AA? The one time no one calls my raise. Yet another AKs? A7os goes all in pre-flop and catches a 7 on the river (and he immediately calls off all my money with a T9os after missing the flop). Personal favorite I’m sitting with pocket 77 and catch trips on the river. Trips which lose because the two-outer 7 gives the jackass who called before the flop with 98os and calls a huge re-raise on the T6x flop with a gutshot straight draw makes the straight (and I couldn’t bet the turn or river because there were three spades on board on the turn and four on the river and I held no spade).

But you know, they’ll pay me off in the long run.

So ready for the long run please…

Two things:

  1. It sounds like you’re playing at too low a level. Increase the stakes.

  2. You need to adapt your play to the level you’re playing at.

I’m no expert, but here are my observations, assuming this is a low blind NL non-tournament game:

  • Never bet big on AK, AQ, AJ pre-flop. Check/call the BB and wait to see what the flop brings. If someone else bets, as long as it’s not a big bet, call.

  • Flush draws hardly ever pan out. When they do, it’s nice, but the odds aren’t worth it most of the time.

  • When you get a KK or AA pre-flop, bet big. Do not ever slow play with these cards, you’ll end up getting sucked out. Your goal should be to get everyone to fold.

Regarding your OP, it is true that loose players will burn out in the long run. However, you’re worried about YOUR stack not someone else’s, understandably. It’s a gambling game, and 90% luck. There are a lot of strategy books out there because they sell well, but don’t let it fool you into thinking you’ll somehow gain an edge luck-wise.

Otto, over the long run (like last 6 months) are you up or down on the bank? IRL, I’ve walked away from a table up after playing shit cards based on how I bet and just hoping for good flops. (I rarely take it to the river on shitty pockets) If I try to bluff with large checks or raises, I tend to lose. I think that’s where the idea of eventually beating a “bad” player comes from. Often you will go up on someone else’s lucky dog. And someone else will, in turn, go up on yours.

If you can afford to stake, say, $50 to lose, try playing the same rules, same type of table, and same limits the same way. Over long term you’ll lose, but for the short term, you have as much chance of beating people playing the same way.

Ever heard the phrase, “Too smart for his own good?” That’s you when it comes to playing poker against amateurs. Dumb it down and grab some easy money. Save the good stuff for when we see you on ESPN. :slight_smile:

Wish I could tell you something different, but I can’t. You know that.

Just keep coming here to gripe about it, and don’t let it get into your game. If you get your AA cracked three hands in a row, when you get AA that fourth time, you have to be able to bet like you’ve never been burned.

If you’re playing online, are you using PokerTracker? Well worth the investment. It helped me figure out that I wasn’t playing nearly aggressively enough before the flop.

PokerTracker? OK, I knew Otto took it seriously, but wasn’t aware of DocJ being this far down the rabbit hole.

Could I pose a mini-GQ and ask what sites you guys use? I play real money at one casino and one Sports Book but haven’t fount a poker site that I trust my cash with.

I play at Party Poker and Paradise Poker. Never had a single cash in/cash out problem with either.

Man, tell me about it. I had pocket KK, got trips on the flop, and this guy who should never had stayed in past the flop (I can see staying in to the flop with TJs, but when the flop comes up rainbow and only one card helps you at all by getting you to three to the flush, which is basically no help at all, get the hell out) pulled out a flush on the river.

Now, I did get lucky with another guy later (this was all tournament play). I knew I had to play the hand pretty aggressively (my chip stack was running really low for the round we were in), so I felt pretty lucky pulling pocket JJ. Not great, but at least I’ve got a chance. Other guy has pocket KK. Flop is all spades, which also puts me four to a flush. Turn is no help, and the river is the king of spades, giving him trips and me a flush.

Oh, and I finally got the software working nicely with my system. Hopefully, you’ll see me on Thursday.

I’ll skip my usual lecture about odds and expectations, because I know you know it. I’ll just offer my sympathies. My luck as been abysmal in my ongoing lunch game with friends from work. I cannot catch cards, I cannot bluff them, I cannot bet hard enough to keep from being outdrawn. We’re all on roughly equal level, so it’s not like I’m losing to fish, here, but still.

I sympathize. Hang in there. The only advice I’ll give is to walk away from the computer when you know you’re tilting. Take a shower, and come back.

I play at the level I can afford, and I play correctly for the stakes. I have excellent pre-flop hand selection, I get my money in when I should, lay it down when I ought to, but I keep getting smacked by people who think any Ace is a monster and any suited cards are must-plays. I jumped up a level for a short time a week or so ago (to clear points for a deposit bonus) and found the play there to suck pretty much as hard as the lower levels.

I find this to be really bad advice. Depending on position, raising pre-flop with the hands you mention is pretty much a requirement. These are not the sorts of hands I want to play multi-way. And if I raise pre-flop to represent strength, it sets up betting on the flop, even if I miss, and possibly picking up the pot right then.

Oh, I’m comfortably up. I pull profit off the site on a regular basis. I just had a bad night (although I did win a chunk of it back from some fool who though QJs was a real good hand to go all in on; it really wasn’t) and have just generally gotten really sick of lackwits outdrawing me and then congratulating themselves on their fine fine play.

I’m on a Mac and AFAIK there aren’t any stats programs that work for Macs. But my feeling is if I played any more aggressively before the flop it would have to involve physically assaulting my fellow players.

I play on PokerRoom, since it and its skins are the only ones I know of that are Mac-compatible.

Sorry to hear you have had some bad beats.

What is this Poker Tracker of which you speak?
Sounds like a useful advantage, if it records the betting styles of your opponents…

Otto, I’m going to recommend [this book]( Stakes Hold’em) again. With a flood of newbie players out there on small (and micro) tables, many of them have no idea what respecting a big bet and position means. It drives a seasoned player nuts when they get bad beats more now than in the past. I can’t claim to be a newbie, but I’m not a seasoned vet of 20+ years (well, not seriously at least). I read this book to TRY to regain some advantage, and some of the advice does work. And you do have to adjust when new players come in as others leave…at least when money is bet. Ah, well…good luck anyways.

I had these same frustrations playing NL. Several months ago I started playing limit exclusively and found it more satisfying, and my variance is much lower. I still get sucked out all the time, but with the aid of Poker Tracker I know my opponents and I know when I am beat. Because I can only bet a certain amount at a time I am never sucked out for large amounts.

Limit is a very different game though and it takes a lot of getting used to. With so many people seeing the flop you are often the one attempting to do the sucking out. For example you are often correct to raise with a gutshot, a backdoor flush draw and an overcard against top pair in a multiway pot. The 2/4 game at Party is fairly easy to beat and no single hand can really hurt you.

“Many good players get upset when a sucker draws out on them. While it’s never pleasant to lose a pot you were favored to win, you should nevertheless welcome these beats. Encourage them so they play even more sloppily.”

-David Sklansky, The Theory of Poker

You realize, neuroman, that that’s just a fancy way of saying exactly what I said I didn’t need to hear again right?

Does Sklansky have anything in his book that explains why some brain damaged FUCK would call a raise out of position with J2os and why said brain damaged FUCK is then allowed by the gods of poker to catch their fucking Jack when I’m in with pocket TT? I literally knew better than to call a raise with J2os before I ever played a hand of poker.

And fruitbat, play limit? Are you mad? At least at NL I can evry once in a while raise one of these fucking morons off a hand by, say, betting exactly his remaining stack. Limit is the land of “I’ll call it, it’s only another (quarter, dollar, whatever).”

Yeah, I’m sorry for needling you. But I believe in the mantra of learning how to handle bad beats well. I probably bitch as much as the next guy (still working on it), but I think the pursuit of being able to handle bad beats in a calm, zen-like manner is a noble one that can embiggen the soul of any poker player.

I’d recommend looking at Poker-Spy (disclaimer: I consulted informally on the development of this program, but get no financial benefit from it at all - I just use it). It’s very good.

As for always getting drawn out in loose games - I wrote an article for Poker Digest a few years ago in which I described the mathematics of multi-way pots and showed how even very bad calls can actually hurt you if you have a weak, but vulnerable made hand (say, top pair). This is one of the hard parts of playing loose games, and why you have to adjust your hand selection. Just remember, for every guy who hits his 2-outer on you, there may be four other players who missed their 2 and 3 outers, and a couple of guys who missed some big 8 out draws. Put them all together, and your best hand on the flop may have only had a 10% chance of winning anyway.

If anyone wants to read the article, I’ve converted it to HTML and put it on my web page. You can read it here:

The Mysteries of Multi-Way Pots

This is almost all bad advice, sorry to say. Let’s look at it:

There’s some truth with this in loose games, if many people are already in the pot. But you go too far. AK is too strong a hand and has too much pre-flop equity that you should never limp in. In addition, a hand like AKo plays best against a small field, so if you are first in or there is only one or maybe two callers behind you, you should always raise hands like AQ.

Worst advice you can offer. Flush draws ‘pan out’ roughly a third of the time, and as a result you almost always have the odds to draw to them, even heads-up.

No, with AA your goal is to build the biggest pot you can, since you are the overwhelming favorite to win it. Also, AA is unique among big pairs in that its equity grows as you can more callers, assuming you have made them pay the max. Nonetheless, your basic advice is correct, because raising usually gets you the biggest pot. The exception is if you have a wild player behind you who is guaranteed to raise, in which cause you may want to just call, get the wild player to raise, have a bunch of people call what they think is a weak raise, then re-raise him. With AA, you should always be thinking, “How can I get the most people to put the most money into this pot?”

In the long run, there is no luck. Saying “It’s 90% luck” is meaningless without considering the length of the trial.

Normally in a high stakes pro game, this would be bad advice. However, if you’re playing micro limits online, it’s much more difficult to represent strength. You complained about being sucked out in your OP a lot, so I presented tactics that help when facing loose players. Using textbook strategies will bite you in the ass if you’re playing on a table with loose players who have unlimited bankrolls or who don’t care about stakes. It works well for me, but like I said I’m no expert.

I dunno, Otto. You seem to be complaining about the structure of poker. You acknowledge that in the long run you’re “comfortably up”. And you’re bitching about the fact that you lose some hands to bad players. Well, that’s the way the game works. In any given hand, the winner is largely determined by the luck of the draw. It’s only in the long run that skilled play gains the advantage. Sure, the skilled player has a small advantage in each hand, but the guy who pairs up his ace on the river has a much bigger advantage, even if he made bad plays getting to that point. It’s a game where it takes no skill to win battles, but a lot of skill to win the wars. If you don’t like losing battles to bad players even though you’re consistently winning the wars, I have to think you’re playing the wrong game.