First home game. Holes?
I played my first home game last night. There were 15 people playing in a tournament format, standard increase in blinds with deep stacks. Two tables evenly split until there were only 10 left, then we went to one. Last 3 get payed. I have a few thoughts and questions about the experience.
Just for background purposes, I mostly play 180 man 4.40 buy-in MTTs on PokerStars
, and have cashed out about 8 or 9 times so far at the final table and many other times in the low money. 5 of those times at the last table I ended up as second, none as first. Of all those times I made it to second I believe I only deserved first once or maybe twice, since my heads up play is atrocious (I fold too often postflop.)
I went in with a 'wait and see' attitude for the most part, since this is a game that I will regularly attend (it's twice weekly) I figured it would probably be more valuable to get a general idea on each players playstyle and try to narrow down their ranges a bit. I know this is a losing set of mind, but I figured it would be worth it if I gained even a bit of knowledge for later games that I might miss due to complacency at a later date. Assuming I play with the same people regularly in the future, do you think this was a waste of my buy in, or was it worth it to get a feel for an in-person game (this was my first time not playing online) and play more on these observations in a later game?
I played tight, until I thought I would be ahead, then I would usually come out firing if I thought I was ahead or had a great starting hand. The table usually had 2-3 players in on every pot when it was early-mid game and only 7-5 players at the table. An example of a play I employed often was when the blinds were 50/100, I had a stack of about 4000, I would raise 200 in mid or late position if I had say, a9o-ajo. I often got 2-3 callers, no one re-raised ever. I'm thinking for next time I should just tighten up and play a narrower range, and press it harder when the cards do come, since this seems like a few too many callers on average. I ended up folding a lot of hands because I didn't think my top pair was good when I did make it. Perhaps I should place more value on position, since, like me, they would very often fold with a cbet of half the pot or more? I'd especially appreciate thoughts on this since I bled most of my chips on relatively large preflop raises that I didn't follow through on later since I didn't get respect. Also, right in the beginning, I made a full house and two pair, so my table image wasn't one of a guy who bluffs a lot.
Later on, when there were only about 8 or 9 left on the final of two tables, there was a LOT more folding going on, which surprised me. Sure there are about 50 percent more people, but the blinds were much higher, 400/200 mostly. There were even a few hands that got folded all around. At this point I was aching to try to steal some blinds, but had such a tiny stack even one call could have been disastrous, around 2-5k. What kind of range would you guys have shoved, and what position would you do it in this case? Would there ever be an occasion just to call? If I had a mid-large stack, when and how often would you have tried to steal?
Late on, when I had 1800 left, blinds were 400/200 still, and I get a7o on the big blind. There were two callers, one of them had an aggressive table image, and I shoved. They both called. They flipped over KQo and J9o, but a king turned on the river. I believe this was my playing correctly, but am not sure. Was the kicker too low? If a7o had come to me when it wasn't my blind, should I shove then? I think I probably should, but it's difficult to transfer what little I know of large MTTs to this small 15 person, two table MTT. Thoughts on this small tournament type of game in general are also appreciated
In summary, the players were quite loose in the beginning when we had about 5-7 players on two tables, and quite tight later one when there were 8-10 people on one table with blinds being at about 400/200 or 800/400. Would playing very tight on the first table and very aggressive on the second been a solid strategy if I got respect on my steal attempts and had a decent stack?
Also, I had tried to pick up some tells
on a few people, but found it much more difficult to keep an eye on everyone than I had thought it would be. I noticed one woman likes to stroke her chips when she has a hand she wants to play hard, and a man who did a half-blink sometimes when he raised (I think it was a bluff, but I never got to see his cards when it happened.) But with none of these did the time seem right to call, as I would have rags. I had been tempted to call, even though I always had rags when this happened, just to see if my suspicions were true. For those of you who play in person a lot, how much weight do you put in your tells, and when do you use it? Should I wait until a relatively sure tell is confirmed before using them, since this will be a game that I play with the same people often? Do you tend to pay more attention to their face or what they do with their hands, or general body language? I had the best luck spotting anomalies when watching either their eyes or their hands, and wasn't able to spot differences in body posture or bet sizes.
Lastly, were there any stickies that come to mind that may be of particular use to me? I'm a bit lost as to what my priorities should be right now for learning.
There was so much more to pay attention to than in online poker, it was great fun. It was a bit disappointing in that I wasn't able to get more than one or two fairly solid reads, but that just makes me want to play more. I even got an adrenaline rush for awhile, but that nervousness will go away after one or two more sessions I'm sure.
I finished 8th.
This is my first post of substance, so if I left any information out that would have been useful in analysis, please let me know.
Thanks to anyone who goes through this wall of text .