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Three Simple Things An Average Small Stakes Live Game Regular Can Try To Make More Money

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The great thing about poker is that nearly all of us have room to improve our games. Many players who beat small stakes live games at a decent clip could win more money if they tried these three simple things more often.

Taking Control Of The Game

Many small stakes live games are relatively passive. The players are mostly just pushing small pots back and forth, each hoping to cooler someone. A lot of winning regulars are content to mostly play along, limping into pots and waiting for those cooler hands. But you can often do much better by taking control of the game.

What do I mean taking control? I mean raising preflop with marginal hands to isolate limpers. I mean reraising preflop with marginal hands to isolate loose raisers. I mean firing more barrels on the turn and river. Overall I mean ramping up the aggression significantly.

Taking control of a game by using aggression does two positive things:

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3 Responses to “Three Simple Things An Average Small Stakes Live Game Regular Can Try To Make More Money”

@ Wed Nov 05, 2008 04:22:44 PM

My thoughts:

Taking Control Of The Game – the players at my local casino will play with you quite quickly. I say “with you” but not “back at you”. For every 100 times there is a bet, 1there will be 10 reraises, and 1 re-reraise that isn’t all-in. Usually it turns into a call or a fold. So, yes, I would agree that is the case around my game. Aggression gets you a fair bit or respect.
2 recent hands come to mind:
1 raise, 1 caller before me, I reraise from MP with 87s. 1 caller after, and other 2 also call. Flop comes KT4r. Initial raiser bets half the pot, 1 fold, and I raise the full pot. All fold.
1 limper, I raise with 65s in LP. Button call, both blinds call. Flop comes KQJ. 1 check, I bet 2/3 pot, all fold.
Those 2 hands both made me smile.

Value Betting On The River – I definitely don’t do this enough. Check this hand for some discussion on this: http://www.notedpokerauthority.com/board/all-poker/small-ace-in-lp/page-1/post-3044/#p3044

Varying Bet Sizes – That is the one thing I have noticed at my casino. If someone is going to play their hand, they generally call for 3x BB or 8x BB. Doesn’t seem to matter. They et the money in the pot, and fold too often on the flop. Just like the 2 hands above.

@ Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:07:23 PM

Let’s say the game is just like you describe. “Runover-able”. Full ring 1/2. 2 are short stacked, 5 have $100-$200, and you have around $200, and 2 have $250+.

When you leave, but only because the games isn’t juicy anymore, how do you gauge success? What kind of stack would you end up with after say 4 hours? I know, I know, variance. But you repeat this 100 times … obviously leaving with $300 isn’t a good night. It’s OK. Is it enough to have stacked another good player one time? Or are we thinking upwards of $1,000?

These are ideas outside of the game itself, but still a big part or if overall, that I am trying to get a handle on

@ Thu Nov 20, 2008 02:06:04 PM

Great post, but I have some questions about when “taking control of the game” is appropriate versus when it isn’t.

I’ll try to formulate those thoughts into a forum post because I don’t think many people will see comments on an old thread here.

Summarizing my questions about this (from an email to a friend):

To me a lot of semibluff PFR is just going to lead to more donkey calling, big pots on the flop that no one can get away from so you can’t bluff with your CBets, etc. I could be looking at this all wrong.
But I’ll elaborate in the next day or two when I find time.

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