FORTY DOLLAR NO LIMIT TEXAS HOLD'EM RING GAMES by Kim Isaac Greenblatt, copyright August 2007, All Rights Reserved
THE $40 APPROACH
When you sit down to play the $40 NL game, you buy in with $40. In a lot of major cities, you can barely take a date out to a dinner at a nice restaurant and a first run movie on $100, leave alone $40. That means that you will be playing with generally six types of people at the $40 table in different percentages:
1. The money person (guy or gal) who figures it is only $40 and probably has another $120 in his or her pocket. The money person may have moved down from a higher limit game or just lost a tournament and is killing time, etc.
2. The gambling addict who plays poker because he or she wants ACTION, ACTION, ACTION! This mainiac of a person is a wild card and their chip stack reflects their mood - sometimes high and sometimes low because they want ACTION, ACTION, ACTION. They can infect a table. Infection can occur pretty easily at a $40NL table.
3. The numbers person (again guy or gal) who plays what we would call if he were a chess player, "book" poker. He or she plays tight or tries to be a percentage player. Normally a good strategy but might be too tight for this level of play.
4. The starving student (who can also be the starving grandfather), who comes to play with his or her last $40 trying to make money the "easy" way.
5. The club fixture. You see this person a lot at your casino or club. This person plays too much poker and may or may not be a good player. A lot of times they will have bad habits because they think they have seen it all at the tables. Sometimes these people have frighteningly good intuition though! Similar to animals that are use to their surroundings in the woods, I guess...
6. You or I. We have various combinations of the above attributes.
These are over simplifications but you get the idea if you've played any amount of time at the poker tables.
Now that we can generalize the type of person that may be at the table, don't put TOO much emphasis on it.
What I take away from this type of stereotype generalization is:
1. You want the money guy to stay at the table as long as you can.
2 You steer clear of the addict until you have a hand that can take him down.
3. You bluff the numbers person but run away if he or she raises back.
4. You expect the starving student to play premium hands till he has some money.
Then the person gets cocky and tries to go after you with less than premium hands.
Sometimes they get lucky, often they don't.
5. You watch the fixture's style and see if he has been playing tight and he goes into the pot, be careful.
If he is a talker, just play your game and ignore any advice he gives you. If he is a raiser and gets into it a lot with the gambling addict, pick your shots carefully and don't be afraid to go after him if you have a high pocket pair preflop.
These are all VERY VERY rough generalizations but they are gleaned from watching people at poker tables. Remember, your experience may vary and the complexion of the player may change depending on what is happening at the table. In other words, if everybody starts tightening up, you can try to play a little looser. If everybody goes on tilt, pull back on the reins and play a tight game.
First order of business - that is a LOT easier said than done if the pots start getting huge and you get borderline hands like 9-T (T will be the shorthand for ten) suited. Hands like J-J are VERY dangerous because if there are a lot of callers, you need the flop to either hit you with another Jack or be ready to leave if a Q,K, or A appears. You may comfortably assume more times than not that at least one player as at least a higher pair than you and somebody else may have made a set. Who knows.
When playing in a $40NL ring game, you need to remind yourself that there is ALWAYS another hand. You will get your shot at a decent hand. You may have to wait for it but it WILL happen.
In a situation where there are three callers and you are the fourth and you have a borderline hand- be ready to fold. The questions I always ask myself are:
What is the best hand I can build from this?
What could the other players have?
Can I beat all three of them? Am I drawing dead?
What happens if I raise them to thin the field?
Is there a table vendetta going on and should I steer clear of it?
In my example of pocket jacks( in the $40 NL game)it is one of the toughest hands to play successfully (in my opinion) One should decide whether to play or not based on the number of players and what the flop shows, and if you are playing a tournament - what would the resulting decision be if your stack of chips dramatically goes up or down in terms of your chances of winning money in the tournament!
Let us say preflop you have Js Jd. By the way for the purposes of this book, we are using s for spades, h for hearts, d for diamonds and c for clubs. A ten card will be represented by a T so the Ten of Hearts would look like Th. If I am representing the dealer I will use a capital "D".
JS JD - Preflop, if you are playing decently tight (maybe playing only 35% of your hands) you might say that out of nine opponents if you have four in the hand with you preflop you have roughly 42% chance of winning a showdown against the 3 opponents. If you are up against two players, you would have approximately 53% chance of beating both of them and if you are one-on-one you are the favorite preflop with a 71% chance of winning a showdown based on thousands of cards through computer simulations etc (unless of corse the person has pocket queens, kings or aces). You could have a worse hand.
Let us say that there is a lot of action preflop. Raising and reraising and there are four people, yourself included in at the time of the flop. I would not be too thrilled at this point but statisitcally, you have roughly a one out of three chance for beating four people. I would comfortabty say at this point that at least somebody has at least a queen through ace, a possible pocket pair and you may even be drawing dead to something like pocket queens.
Let's look at a flop.
Js Jd The flop comes: 5s 9c 2d
Good news: Your pocket pair is hidden and I would feel comfortable raising if there were four players to try to shake out at least two players to become the theoretical favorite of 61%.
There is a remote chance somebody is on for a gutshot straight however there isn't a chance for a flush so far.
Bad news: Somebody could have a pocket pair of fives, deuces or nines or the pocket queens through aces.
If you do not discourage people from dropping out by your raise, be prepared to fold on the turn.
How much would you raise to try and thin the herd and win it right there? I've gone all in with the understanding that people will stare at the board and try to figure out what your set of trips are:
fives, nines or deuces. I have won that way. I've also been clobbered because somebody has had pocket nines in $40NL as well as other games.
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10 DIGIT ISBN/SKU: 0977728277
13 DIGIT ISBN Complete: 978-0-9777282-7-5
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