Advice sought on playing with erratic live players

Beriac

Beriac

Guest
This might be a rare problem, but I play a casual live game of NL Texas Holdem (1-table tourney format) from time to time with friends who are poker enthusiasts but not especially solid players for the most part. My problem is not the typical guilt-ridden "I feel bad about taking money from my friends", but rather the opposite: I feel bad about them taking mine! None of the strategies that I have learned playing online poker or live poker elsewhere seem to have worked.

The problem isn't that they play a typical loose-passive beginner-type play, that I can deal with just by being tight-aggressive most of the time. The problem is their style tends to be highly erratic, almost random, and no strategy on my part seems to work. No reads are reliable.

My question is this: what kind of strategies/techniques do you recommend when playing in such an environment? It doesn't have to be an all-encompassing game plan, any tips will do.

As of now my game plan is just to play tight/aggressive, but so far that has led to me bleeding away my chips slightly in the early rounds and then finishing on the bubble when I am finally forced to play hands and the cards just don't come. I know eventually they will and I'll win my share of games, but I feel like I should be winning much more than that.

Any thoughts? Thanks!
 
JeeDub84

JeeDub84

Visionary
I play a game kind of like yours also. Half of the players in my game are loose, wild and erratic. I usually play a bit looser than a tight game and i only use aggression with solid hands on the flop. I take a few more chances with drawing hands, as long as its cheap and move in if i hit. With the wild players involved they tend to call with mediocre hands so you can double quicker and tighten up a bit.
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
Thanks for the advice. That fits with the strategy I was formulating for next time -- get into the pot cheaply as often as possible (position matters for this), and do most of my playing from the flop when I know a heck of a lot more about the odds rather than pre-flop. EG, fold if I outright miss (no bluff), check/call cheaply if I am drawing, bet huge if I hit...
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

HELLO INTERNET
Good players of course will "change gears" regularly for the exact reason that it makes them difficult to read. But you imply that they are poor players, in which case they are most likely not randomizing their play because they want to make themselves difficult to read, but for more basic reasons. Take a mental note of anything that might prompt these changes in their playing style, from having a few drinks to talking about a certain subject to seeing someone win the hand before with a flopped full house with 93o in the BB to playing differently when they're in a hand with a certain player. Everyone has their own 'patterns'.

If they are really bad players, they may just appear to be playing "randomly" because they have no idea what they're doing. In that case, I usually tend to treat them as I would calling stations, value bet where possible and hope they fancy-play themselves to a quick death.
 
Xandit

Xandit

Guest
We have a couple of players like that in my home tourney also. I've found the best thing to do is a lot of check/call they rearly seem to try and push you off the hand you have. I refuse to bluff these players as they will call down with 3rd pair. As Dorkus stated about value betting and pushing hard when you hit and hope it holds up!.
 
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