Profiting in Micro-Limit NLH.

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ph_il

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:Warning: This is a bit long. I also suggest checking out Joose/Storm's Micro-Limit video because Im sure they have a lot better stuff than this.

I've been working on this for about a month now and I've been having great results, so I decided to share this with everyone. One way to profit in these limits is to exploit the mistakes of bad players.

This is for micro-limit [.05/.10 blinds] NLH.

As a player, these are some things I suggest you do and keep in mind:

1. Play solid, smart poker.
Try not to chase cards if you are getting improper odds, for example.

2. Position is key.
Try playing the button and late position very strong and aggressive. Having position over your opponent(s) is very important.

3. Dont become too predictable.
You dont have raise the button 100% of the time. Mix it up and raise in early position.

4. Pay attention to the players and take notes.
This is very important because you will want to know who the bad players are and these are the players you want to go after. You dont have to be in hand with an opponent to get an idea on how they play.

The opponents you really want to go after are:

1. The call stations/chasers.
These types of players frequent the micro-limits, so it shouldnt be too hard to find them. The reason why you want to target these types of players is because they practically feed money to you.

Playing hands:

1. How much to raise.
There have been times where Im in late position with QQ and 2 limpers ahead of me. I raise 5x the BB and still get half the table in the hand with me. And then to make things worse, an A or K will flop and I have slow it down/let my hand go.
So, why does this happen? Surely, not everyone had a hand worth calling, right? Look at it this way-with blinds at .05/.10, a 5x BB raise is only .50. Most players at these limits can afford it and thats what most of them are thinking. "its only .50" where as they should be really thinking "its a 5x BB raise. He has/he's representing a big hand." You are more likely to get called, especially by loose players, because they're willing to lose .50 here or .35 there.
So, I have found that the best thing to do is to raise suited connectors and small pairs 3-4x the BB. Its even better if you have position over your opponents, but its also nice to out of position as a way of mixing up your game. This has potential to work in your favor because:

A) You're raise represents a strong hand preflop. Say the flopped is check to you, you now have a chance to steal the pot by c-betting.

B) If you flop a monster, like a set or a straight, you have an excellent chance of getting paid off. Especially if you're in a hand with a few call stations.

C) If you dont hit or you get bet into, you can lay it down without risking too much of your stack.

Playing big pairs or big hands like AK is different because you dont want a lot of callers in the pot with you. So, what do you do if your table doesnt respect a 4-5x BB PFR? The best thing to do, depending on how many players are in, is to overbet.
If you're on the button and only the blinds are left to act, a raise of 4-5x is good because you want some action with your AA or KK hands. If you're on the button and the whole table has limped, the 4-5x BB raise might not get as much respect, so you'll want to consider overbetting. 10-15x the BB. Sometimes even 20x depending on how loose the table is. This has potential to work in your favor because:

A) Even if you're opponents all fold, you pick up a decent pot.

B) Its likely you'll get called by 1 or 2 opponents, but thats ok because its a lot easier to play 1 or 2 than it is 5 or 6.

C) If your opponent is a call station and they hit the flop, you are in great shape to take most of or all of their chips.

Your opponents:

1. Exploiting the chasers.
Say you have QQ and you're in a hand with an opponent who you believe is on a flush draw. Well, you want to get them off the hand so you decide to bet the pot. Is this reliable? If your opponent is a decent player who goes by odds, then yes. They know they're not getting proper odds to call and they fold. What about players who like to chase? The answer is no because you are risking too much money when you know they'll call. Most people might say to "push all in and make them pay for their draw." IMO, its too risky to put all of your chips against an opponent who will have no problem calling you in hopes of hitting that draw.
Bet out half the pot against players you believe to be on a [flush] draw. The reason for this is:

A) You're giving your opponent improper odds to call. Even if they do hit the flush, mathematically and in the long run they will lose money.

B) If you have to slow it down or fold your hand, you have lost a very little amount.

C) You still profit from this on each street, but without risking a lot of your stack.

2. Pay a little to win a lot.
If you're in a hand with an opponent who you think is on a flush draw, has been calling you down, and they hit it on the river. If they value bet the river, call them. Its a lot better if you have position and they check their flush to you (in hopes you bet) because you can just check behind. Either way, its worth a call because this is information you can use. They may or may not have been on a flush draw and your read could be wrong. So, you really want to make sure you get an idea how an opponent plays.
This goes along with paying attention to the table/players because most of the time this information is already given to you when you pay attention to how other players play their hands.

Another way to pay a little to win a lot is to let your opponents do the betting for you. Say you raise with 77 and you get a caller. The flop shows under cards to your 77, but has 2 suited cards. Your opponent, who is out of position bets out the minimum. Now, most players here might raise to win the pot, but your goal here is to gather information. A raise here could scare the opponent off, so the best idea is to call. Also call a bet on the turn, and then just check the river if they check. You dont want to bet the river because if they fold, you still arent getting the information you are looking for. What you're interested in is the hand your opponent is holding. This will give you an idea of what he is holding the next time they do similar bets. Say they were holding a flush draw. Well, the next time you're in a pot and they bet out the minimum, now you have a good idea of what hand they're holding and you can raise it up.

Keep in mind that no matter how smart or safe you play, there is always a chance of you losing a hand. Whether its a suckout or a bad beat or a player calling on a draw. Just remember that in the end, playing solid and smart poker will benefit your more in the long run.
 
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bw07507

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Nice post, the only thing I really have a problem with is this:

Say you have QQ and you're in a hand with an opponent who you believe is on a flush draw. Well, you want to get them off the hand so you decide to bet the pot. Is this reliable? If your opponent is a decent player who goes by odds, then yes. They know they're not getting proper odds to call and they fold. What about players who like to chase? The answer is no because you are risking too much money when you know they'll call. Most people might say to "push all in and make them pay for their draw." IMO, its too risky to put all of your chips against an opponent who will have no problem calling you in hopes of hitting that draw.
Bet out half the pot against players you believe to be on a [flush] draw.

If u have a player that is willing to call an all in on only a flush draw, by all means put him all in and hope he calls every time. You cant be scared of someone drawing out on you in a ring game, exploit any edge you have at all.
 
Swanny

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Nice post, the only thing I really have a problem with is this:



If u have a player that is willing to call an all in on only a flush draw, by all means put him all in and hope he calls every time. You cant be scared of someone drawing out on you in a ring game, exploit any edge you have at all.

He was exploiting him by giving him incorrect odds to chase. I hardly play NL at all but your still making him make a mistake by giving incorrect odds to call down. Why risk an all-in?
 
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ph_il

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He was exploiting him by giving him incorrect odds to chase. I hardly play NL at all but your still making him make a mistake by giving incorrect odds to call down. Why risk an all-in?

Beat me too the punch, but yeah, this exactly what i was going for. No need to push and risk your whole stack to give your opponent improper odds. Especially if you know they're going to call you anyway. This way, you can let go of the hand if they do hit. Say the pot is $1.50 and you have a $7.25 stack. Is it really worth pushing all in to win that $1.50?
 
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bw07507

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Beat me too the punch, but yeah, this exactly what i was going for. No need to push and risk your whole stack to give your opponent improper odds. Especially if you know they're going to call you anyway. This way, you can let go of the hand if they do hit. Say the pot is $1.50 and you have a $7.25 stack. Is it really worth pushing all in to win that $1.50?

I would never really shove 7.25 into a 1.50 pot, but Im saying if hypothetically we knew he was on a flush draw only and we knew that he would call any bet, then we should go all in every time. You will win more money in the long run doing this. By shoving, you are giving him the worst possible odds to chase the flush, giving you the best long term profit. If you give him bad odds to chase u will still win money, but if u know he will call the all in why not do it? If you give him bad odds and he doesnt hit, u dont get anymore out of him on the river. Obviously there is never a time when your 100% positive someone is on a flush draw and will call an all-in so its not really applicable. Hypothetically though, the correct move would be to shove if all the things you said are true (on only a flush draw, will call any bet)
 
4Aces

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Great post, thanks alot for sharing!
 
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ph_il

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I would never really shove 7.25 into a 1.50 pot, but Im saying if hypothetically we knew he was on a flush draw only and we knew that he would call any bet, then we should go all in every time. You will win more money in the long run doing this. By shoving, you are giving him the worst possible odds to chase the flush, giving you the best long term profit. If you give him bad odds to chase u will still win money, but if u know he will call the all in why not do it? If you give him bad odds and he doesnt hit, u dont get anymore out of him on the river. Obviously there is never a time when your 100% positive someone is on a flush draw and will call an all-in so its not really applicable. Hypothetically though, the correct move would be to shove if all the things you said are true (on only a flush draw, will call any bet)

I understand what you are saying and I agree with you when you say you're giving your opponent the worst possible odds and yourself the best long term profit.
I just dont like putting my whole/majority of my stack on the fate of 2 cards to come. im also leaning towards not having to risk your whole stack in order to do so, especially for those with short BRs or those trying to manage their current BRs. Guess it wouldve been nice if i mentioned that earlier.
 
vanquish

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I understand what you are saying and I agree with you when you say you're giving your opponent the worst possible odds and yourself the best long term profit.
I just dont like putting my whole/majority of my stack on the fate of 2 cards to come. im also leaning towards not having to risk your whole stack in order to do so, especially for those with short BRs or those trying to manage their current BRs. Guess it wouldve been nice if i mentioned that earlier.



If this is occuring in ring games, you should NEVER be afraid to push your entire stack in on positive equity situations. This is the basis of ring games, and if the only reason you aren't pushing your entire stack in with your opponent drawing to relatively slim odds is that you're afraid of losing that amount, play lower stakes.
 
NineLions

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Nice post.

Others have already pointed out the +EV of getting your money in when the pot odds are with you, so enough on that.


Some other thoughts: How to identify the calling stations. Look at the hand histories when it goes to showdown. Even if you have PAHUD, it's good to go back through each hand that goes to showdown to see 1) what everyone played preflop and from what position, 2) what the bets were at each round, which will tell who led and who called, and what odds they had when they called. For example, say someone won with A4 on a A7Q24 board. Someone with a AJ raised preflop and bet properly at the flop, turn and river but lost, then your A4 players is an Ace lover that overvalues weak Aces and can be exploited. The fact that he rivered two pair is the kind of thing that psychologically will encourage him to continue to overvalue his weak Aces. And there are other kinds that will call to the river with their bottom pair, especially if they have an A/K kicker, or middle pair with no kicker.

And there are other expliotable players that can be found from examining the hand histories too, like people who will call down with gutshot straights (but watch out if they hit), or people who can't give up on their pocket pairs even though 2 or 3 higher cards are on the table.


These players will get lucky, and will suck out on you sometimes, but keep trying to get in hands with them and eventually you'll get a chance to get your money and theirs into your stack.
 
Effexor

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Nice post.

For example, say someone won with A4 on a A7Q24 board. Someone with a AJ raised preflop and bet properly at the flop, turn and river but lost, then your A4 players is an Ace lover that overvalues weak Aces and can be exploited. The fact that he rivered two pair is the kind of thing that psychologically will encourage him to continue to overvalue his weak Aces.


This is an excellent point made. I won a SNG last night due to this exact situation. It ended up being heads up with me at a 4-1 chip underdog, but I had noticed that this person really really over valued top pair. It was as if he didn't ever consider the kicker, it was an instant all-in every time. The hand that turned the tides ( I had just about evened up the stacks by this time, he only had a slight lead) was when he once again overbet top pair and I outkicked him.

Just another example of why paying attention closely is so important.
 
bhasin

bhasin

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i fyou have QQ why dont u just raise like half/ a third of everybody elses chips .so when they call they willl hopefully b calling with a strong hand. or just go all in . lol
 
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