Slowplaying in 25NL?

dmorris68

dmorris68

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Reading BelgoSuisse's topic in the ring game hand analysis forum about playing 64s and drawing the straight in 25NL reminded me of last night's 25NL session.

I'm loathe to even play such hands at 25NL, primarily because I rarely hit the draw and people typically won't fold any made hand (hell, many won't fold high card) no matter how much you throw at them. To make matters worse, I also run into a lot who slowplay good hands (intentionally or not) with checks and min-bets, so I get a bad read on them. They don't extract maximum value, but they give me reason to stay in the pot and pay them off, bleeding my stack.

Last night, for instance, I'm playing 6-way 25NL and there's some stations calling with anything, so I'm loosening up a bit (I'm normally quite TAG). Once I was holding something like TT in LP and did my standard 3x or 4x PFR after it was called around to me. The flop hits something like 8 A 6, they check to me and I c-bet, thinking surely they would bet if they had an ace. The turn hits another ace and they again check to me, and now for some reason a little voice is telling me to beware of a trap (even though I don't think these players were that sophisticated), so I check behind thinking they'll surely bet the river if they hold trip aces. River comes up T giving me trips, so I make a pot sized bet and they call. Showdown comes and sure enough, this guy has ace trips. He never bet for value, he simple check-called the whole hand.

At first I thought he played me with a trap, but I saw this pattern of checking and min-betting with all sorts of hands several more times through the session, and not just from him but from others as well. I became convinced that either they just had no clue how to properly bet a hand, or had recently learned about trapping and were overplaying it but not cashing in on it. It really screwed up my game and caused me to tighten up a lot more than I probably should -- and even though I left the session ~$12 up, for the length of time I played that wasn't much of a profit.

Thoughts and strategies for recognizing and countering this are welcome and appreciated!
 
c9h13no3

c9h13no3

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Last night, for instance, I'm playing 6-way 25NL and there's some stations calling with anything, so I'm loosening up a bit (I'm normally quite TAG).
Back the truck up. Why are you loosening up when they're going to call you with pretty much anything? Hate money?

And you would do well to post some hands in the HA forum. Just from reading your post, you've got some holes in your game.

Yes, there's a lot of slowplaying & station type play at 25$ NL. But the way to beat those players is not to bet with marginal holdings.

Just keep in mind that the way you make money in poker is when your opponents make mistakes. So if they are going to let you draw cheaply because they're slowplaying everything, then take advantage of that fact.
 
WVHillbilly

WVHillbilly

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I love the habitual slowplayer. I just note it the 1st time I see it and assume their actions mean the opposite of what they have until they prove otherwise. It let's me see free cards when they check to me with their good hands and I'll often reraise when they do bet because they likely have nothing or they are scared of the board. Easy money.
 
dmorris68

dmorris68

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Back the truck up. Why are you loosening up when they're going to call you with pretty much anything? Hate money?

And you would do well to post some hands in the HA forum. Just from reading your post, you've got some holes in your game.
You're right, in hindsight that might not make sense, and makes me look impatient, which I'm normally not -- I'm happy to fold hand after hand, and my VPIP during a 100 hand session hovers around the mid-20's, sometimes as low as low-teens. Either that was a poor choice of words to describe the situation, or perhaps there was a bit of impatience in seeing them win pots with high cards that caused me to want to get involved with more marginal hands than I usually play. Which probably resulted in the weekend downswing where I netted about a $60 loss. At least it ended on a high note with this small profit and finishing a SnG ITM.

But in this specific example, I didn't think raising TT from LP to an unraised pot was loose at all, especially when getting no action on the flop (or turn, or river). I thought I was aggressively betting, and responding to their weak calls properly, but obviously I missed something. Then further observation revealed this pattern in their play, and I was trying to figure out if it was out of ignorance or was it overzealous trapping. It was unusual enough to throw me off my game.

And I'm certain there are LOTS of holes in my game, that's why I'm still at lower limits, and posting here for advice. ;) And I guess what I'm asking is what you alluded to -- how to take advantage of slowplaying at lower limits once you recognized it. But isn't it important to figure out *why* they're slowplaying?

I've improved greatly from my initial attempts and I'm doing pretty well where I'm at -- when I first started playing online a few months ago I wasn't prepared for the difference compared to live play (which I hadn't done in a long time anyway), and so I felted about $150 in deposits before I caught traction and started winning. As of this weekend I was up to well over $300, playing strictly single table rings no higher than 50NL, and SnG's at no more than $5-$6. No, I don't "hate money" and I've been aware of proper BR management too, but still tend to probably risk a little more than I should for my BR size; however money isn't really an issue so I can deposit as much as I need to (so my "virtual" BR is much bigger) -- it's just become a matter of pride now to grow my BR and not have to make another deposit. :)

Still, despite my thirst for knowledge and study of the game since then, from books, videos, and gleaning what I can from here and elsewhere, I'm fully aware there's still tons of room for improvement (which I'm reminded of every time I toy with stepping up in limits). So I'm throwing myself out there for ridicule and advice. Keep it coming. I'll dig up some hands to post in the hand analysis forum too.
 
Stick66

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Last night, for instance, I'm playing 6-way 25NL and there's some stations calling with anything, so I'm loosening up a bit (I'm normally quite TAG). Once I was holding something like TT in LP and did my standard 3x or 4x PFR after it was called around to me. The flop hits something like 8 A 6, they check to me and I c-bet, thinking surely they would bet if they had an ace. The turn hits another ace and they again check to me, and now for some reason a little voice is telling me to beware of a trap (even though I don't think these players were that sophisticated), so I check behind thinking they'll surely bet the river if they hold trip aces. River comes up T giving me trips, so I make a pot sized bet and they call. Showdown comes and sure enough, this guy has ace trips. He never bet for value, he simple check-called the whole hand.

At first I thought he played me with a trap, but I saw this pattern of checking and min-betting with all sorts of hands several more times through the session, and not just from him but from others as well. I became convinced that either they just had no clue how to properly bet a hand, or had recently learned about trapping and were overplaying it but not cashing in on it. It really screwed up my game and caused me to tighten up a lot more than I probably should -- and even though I left the session ~$12 up, for the length of time I played that wasn't much of a profit.

Thoughts and strategies for recognizing and countering this are welcome and appreciated!
- The T on the river gave you a boat, Tens full of Aces.

- Maybe the guy checked down his Ace because he thought his kicker was bad.

- C9 is right. Don't loosen up just because they are loose. Let them win the small pots and you win the big pots with your premium hands since they will call down with crap and pay you off.
 
dmorris68

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- The T on the river gave you a boat, Tens full of Aces.
You're right of course, but I lost the hand so I must have misremembered. Artifact of old age. I guess I was thinking my 10's improved when I wrote that, but it was from the 2 pair due to the aces. Duh. So really I was only playing the pocket tens, but still getting no action I was suckered into betting the river.

- Maybe the guy checked down his Ace because he thought his kicker was bad.
Possibly, but as I said he didn't seem sophisticated enough to realize that. He (and others) seemed to be slowplaying *every* hand, whether high card or trips, all the way to the river. I saw VPIPs higher than 50 for several, including one who hit 88, but with no aggression.

- C9 is right. Don't loosen up just because they are loose. Let them win the small pots and you win the big pots with your premium hands since they will call down with crap and pay you off.
Right, I stand chastened and reminded of that basic tenet of play. :eek:
 
c9h13no3

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Plus, you have to realize that there's a difference between the two situations that you're describing.

1) Players who call everything are calling stations. You should bet just about every street for value against these players when you make a hand that's TPTK or better. If he's calling players down for multiple streets of betting with bottom pair, or ace high, then that player is a station. You should play tight, make hands, and then value bet them.

2) Players who are habitual slow players, or always slowplay big hands. This is a different player altogether. If this player is showing down big hands, but playing them passively, then you have yourself a slow-player. Against this type of player, I don't mind loosening up and playing drawing hands (suited connectors, suited aces). Since these players will give you free cards, you can capitalize on this by playing more drawing hands against them.

Also, against habitual slow players, its easier to get away from hands like TPTK. If they c/c you on the flop, a lightbulb should go off in your head. Especially if their line goes c/c flop, c/c turn, bet river or c/r river. That should pretty much be the easiest fold of your life :p.

PS - On the A high flop, when you're holding tens, you should be checking behind in a heads up pot (or even 3 way).
 
vanquish

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if your opponents are loose, just valuetown their balls off
 
dmorris68

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Plus, you have to realize that there's a difference between the two situations that you're describing.

1) Players who call everything are calling stations. You should bet just about every street for value against these players when you make a hand that's TPTK or better. If he's calling players down for multiple streets of betting with bottom pair, or ace high, then that player is a station. You should play tight, make hands, and then value bet them.
Right, I'm well aware of that strategy and have been working to try and capitalize on it, my poorly worded post earlier notwithstanding.

2) Players who are habitual slow players, or always slowplay big hands. This is a different player altogether. If this player is showing down big hands, but playing them passively, then you have yourself a slow-player. Against this type of player, I don't mind loosening up and playing drawing hands (suited connectors, suited aces). Since these players will give you free cards, you can capitalize on this by playing more drawing hands against them.
Thanks, that's what I'm looking for, and what I was trying to explain in my justification of loosening up against them in this game. So it sounds like I had the right idea, I just executed poorly.

What I'm getting at in this case though is that these 2-3 players were exhibiting signs of both: calling with everything, but then slowplaying when they actually had a hand. I'm very familiar with the concept of slowplaying as a trap to build a pot and price them in until you drop the hammer (have been on both sides of that equation many times), but these guys just limped along until showdown even with monsters. Which is kinda what led me to believe they were totally green as to the whole concept of betting, and kinda stumped me as to how to proceed. Chalk it up to not having tens of thousands of online hands under my belt yet, I guess. :)

Also, against habitual slow players, its easier to get away from hands like TPTK. If they c/c you on the flop, a lightbulb should go off in your head. Especially if their line goes c/c flop, c/c turn, bet river or c/r river. That should pretty much be the easiest fold of your life :p.

PokerStars - On the A high flop, when you're holding tens, you should be checking behind in a heads up pot (or even 3 way).
Thanks for the tips. I did get timid after the A flopped, but felt compelled to fire my c-bet anyway, hoping to get them off their hand (which was dumb considering their previous loose play). Then when the A hit the turn and they still didn't bet, I checked behind. When they checked the river I got a little more false courage, figuring they were maybe playing K high again as I had seen them do previously. And it was 3-way in this example hand, and both villains were of this strange loose+extremely passive style. In fact, the 3rd guy actually did go to showdown with high card Q IIRC, but I was so zonked by the trip A's that I barely noticed.

There was a 3rd guy at the table who played similar, which also added to my frustration because while I'm fairly new to online poker, I've played a lot of hands in the recent months and had never run into a situation quite like that, with so many players of this type. Makes me wonder if they were in cahoots (*tin foil hat*). More of that pesky "player variance" as opposed to card variance I suppose. :)
 
PokerVic

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I come across an awful lot of these habitual slow-players at NL(10) as well. They can be pretty frustrating to play against, even though it's usually a losing style. There are so many of them, it seems, that I've shut down my "firing at limped pots nobody seems to want" plays, because so often there's some goober sitting there with TPTK or AA.

The most important thing is taking notes on them. Once you know who the slow-players are, you can easily clean them out.
 
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