Need some advice for my weekly live game, please help

Beriac

Beriac

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Heya folks,

Excuse the long post!!! I just wanted to add as many details as possible.

So I play in a weekly live game with friends. Low stakes, super casual, ie people using have a coupla beers and we have a good time. Sit 'n' Go format. Now, the thing is, I do about as well as anyone else in the group, about average, but I feel given the books I read and my participation on the site and such, I should be doing a little better. Here's everything I can think of about our game. Ideally, I'd like some help formulating a basic strategy to use in this specific game and maybe some general advice on where I'm going wrong.

Facts:

- No Limit Holdem, Sit 'n' Go format, usually 4-7 players
- Start with 360 in chips, blinds start 1/2 and rise every orbit if 6+ players and every 2 orbits if 4-5 players, as follows: 2/4, 4/8, 5/10, 10/20, 15/30, 20/40, 25/50, 30/60, 40/80, 50/100
- The other players in the group are pretty good but far from perfect. Most of them have been playing about a year, and have read ~1 book (a copy of Phil Gordon's Little Green Book made the rounds awhile back), for example they have an idea of pot odds but don't go through the motions every time and so make periodic strange calls/folds
- Player by player: Of the most regular players, Player A is extremely aggressive but sensibly so. It's not that he bluffs all the time, but with both medium strength hands and strong hands he raises/re-raises large, putting the pressure on. Player B is a great hand-reader, often calling your hand within a pretty good range when you're heads up against him. He likes to alternate bluffing and trapping with value betting. Player C is new to the game and is extremely conservative, but has had some success. Player D is a wild card, switching gears often between bluffing at everything versus value betting or trapping. I find him very hard to read and often find myself doing the wrong thing against him. The other players are generally weaker and do the usual strange newbie things.
- Oh, and we use a primarily 1st place prize distribution, with just some scraps for 2nd and sometimes 3rd depending on the prize pool. We do use re-buys.

Game tendencies:

- Unless hands are very strong, the game goes from conservative to aggressive as the game goes on. Case in point: things get much more aggressive at the start of the 2nd game, if we play one, than the start of the 1st game, simply because it's later and people are loose and relaxed.
- Pre-flop is fairly aggressive, and it is difficult to see a lot of cheap flops.
- Post-flop, one quirk of our game is that people often bet too small, especially when the pot gets big. They tend to view bets in isolation rather than relative to the pot, eg someone might bet 50 chips into a 200 chip pot and this would be viewed as strength. I look like a yahoo sometimes when I mostly bet the pot.
- People will call down to the river with questionable hands with some frequency, especially when the bets are smallish.
- I would say there is a slight tendency to call straight and flush draws without odds.
- Oh, finally, I would say their calling ranges when the blinds gets pretty high is fairly low, that is to say it's difficult to steal too many blinds without getting called.

The problem:

- When I get down to heads up, I usually do pretty well, winning more than half the time, generally getting my chips in when I have the best of it and letting the cards decide the rest.
- My problem is I don't get heads up as often as I should. I often lose some chips mid-game to a failed bluff, a bad call, or some bad luck.

So:

What do I do? There are a few options:

- My typical strategy is to play very tight/aggressive early on, then loosen up late to steal and win on aggression. The flaw here is that stealing has not worked for me too well in the past.
- I could play a generally very aggressive strategy.
- I could just play tight the whole game.

What should my basic strategy be? What should I be spending more time on: reading other players, playing a tighter/looser/more aggressive game, etc?

Any advice generally?

Much appreciated folks!!!

Cheers
Beriac
 
twizzybop

twizzybop

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Basic strategy is everything.. if you aren't in a pot, watch the players(see if you can actually get a tell) betting patterns, what they tend to bet with and where do the like to bet, do some fold instantly on the flop when a bet is made?

Tight aggresive is always the best way.. they'd probably look at you very very very strange cause your folding alot of hands.. but that is where you can take advantage of table image cause you won't be in many hands and then later on you can become looser... even get an occasional bluff in because of this image.
 
Stick66

Stick66

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Beriac said:
I often lose some chips mid-game to a failed bluff, a bad call, or some bad luck.

Tightening up a little should help with the "bad call, bad luck" issue. As far as bluffing, try not to do it to more than one player at a time. I learned this and it helps immensely. (Sometimes you can bluff 2.) I guess this means you'll have to try to get heads up more often. Isolation is a tough one to explain. I know Harrington touches on it.
 
Beriac

Beriac

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twizzybop said:
Basic strategy is everything.. if you aren't in a pot, watch the players(see if you can actually get a tell) betting patterns, what they tend to bet with and where do the like to bet, do some fold instantly on the flop when a bet is made?

For some reason, I am finding it difficult to get a live read on players and spot too many tells. Think it's worth reading Mike Caro's book? Betting patterns I am better with.

twizzybop said:
Tight aggresive is always the best way.. they'd probably look at you very very very strange cause your folding alot of hands.. but that is where you can take advantage of table image cause you won't be in many hands and then later on you can become looser... even get an occasional bluff in because of this image.

Yeah, I agree. Where this tends to unfold against me is later on when the blinds get larger and I use my SNG-tested use-my-tight-image-to-start-stealing gear change, and that tends to screw me up. Maybe I should just play tight-aggressive until I get to heads up?
 
Beriac

Beriac

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MrSticker said:
Tightening up a little should help with the "bad call, bad luck" issue. As far as bluffing, try not to do it to more than one player at a time. I learned this and it helps immensely. (Sometimes you can bluff 2.) I guess this means you'll have to try to get heads up more often. Isolation is a tough one to explain. I know Harrington touches on it.

It's true that occasionally I am guilty of trying to bluff a multi-person pot, but I subscribe to Harrington's view that you can only reliably bluff 1 person -- and even then, not necessarily and certainly not often.

The more I think about it, I think most of the elements of my game are proficient enough to beat these guys. I mean, I do make mistakes, but more often than not when I leave after an early exit I had my chips in with the best hand. Which tells me that a change in general strategy is in order, to best match my opponents, rather than tune-ups in various minor elements of my game...
 
RiverNoHelp

RiverNoHelp

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It seems that you have taken the time to get a read on all of the players involved in your game..That's great that you have payed attention and learned something about each player..Now you just have to identify how you would play each person.. If you're involved in a hand with the table maniac just call him down, don't raise him at least until the river.. If you are involved with a tighter player throw in a bluff when the board appears scary.. They more than likely will fold.. Above all identify the calling stations at your table and do not try to bluff them, it's not possible.. However calling stations are the best when you've got the nuts because they will keep chasing while you accumulate their chips.. In terms of starting hands and strategy.. I would play tight aggressive especially at a full table.. Let the donks give their chips away (hopefully to you) and let your skill comparative to the rest of the table take effect.. Be confident in your game, If you believe you are one of the best at the table then don't second guess yourself.. Get your money in with the best hand like you've been doing and the cards will take care of themselves eventually..Good luck!
 
Beriac

Beriac

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Thanks for the advice.

Let me ask you this: when it comes to watching the other players, for physical tells but mainly for betting patterns, what are the 2-3 things you look for? I'd like to focus my observations a bit more rather than watching for a mish-mash of everything.
 
Stick66

Stick66

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Beriac said:
Thanks for the advice.

Let me ask you this: when it comes to watching the other players, for physical tells but mainly for betting patterns, what are the 2-3 things you look for? I'd like to focus my observations a bit more rather than watching for a mish-mash of everything.

I would consider myself a very perceptive person. I start out by trying to take a mental snapshot of what a person does when they play their first shown hand and I remember the cards, too. I keep those together in my head until I see the person play again. If different, I can try to interpret that to the contrary of their last play.

It's not really 1 or 2 things they do. It's an overall feeling. You gotta be ready for anything. You can practice by watching the WPT or something. I have DVR, so I can compare the same player's actions by backing it up and seeing the difference between his actions with good hands and bluffs. It's pretty fun.
 
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ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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Tells-wise, the biggest things to look for are eye movements (glancing at chips after looking at cards--->strong), hand movements (shaking can mean strength or weakness for certain people - try to get a read and figure out which one it is) and the biggest thing IMO is that strong means weak and weak means strong. A guy reaching for his chips out of turn in an obvious way is probably trying to get people ahead of him to rethink playing their hands. Conversely, a guy looking away like he has no interest whatsoever in the hand probably reeeeally wants to play his strong hand.
But like Mr.S. said, sometimes it's just a feeling you get, and isn't a specific tell at all.

Good luck Beriac; this post made me miss the home games me and my buddies used to have :D
 
Beriac

Beriac

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Nice tips, guys. I'm gonna try to incorporate them tonight, I'll let you know how I do.
 
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