Low stakes tournaments sure don't feel like real poker

deeznutzz

deeznutzz

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I've been studying and playing NLHE for the past 3 or 4 years. Although the ultimate goal is to make money that isn't what drives me to play. The reason I invest so much time and energy is because I enjoy the competitiveness and the complexity of the game. I like challenging myself to improve not only my play but my understanding of the game. If I had to guess I would say that I've spent several hundred hours learning and studying the game.
For a multitude of reasons I don't play in the high stakes cash games or mtts preferring instead to play mainly in tournaments with $20 or less buy ins. The issue that I find is that over time the quality of play in those games has deuterated to the point where I feel like I'm no longer playing poker and instead I'm merely gambling. The pandemic has brought with it a massive influx of new players. Many of these players have learned the game primarily from playing in either free money poker Apps or from playing freerolls and now these player types seem to make of the majority of players in the low stake tournaments.
My main problem with this isn't that I'm adverse to playing against players who aren't very good it's that most of these players have no interest in actually playing poker they're there simply to gamble. They play any two cards in any and everyway possible. You can forget about trying to put a player on any sort of range. You'll see guys limp pocket aces and then a couple of hands later they'll shove a 100bb stack with J4o. Theres no such thing as isolating players. You 3bet or 4bet preflop and hands like pocket 2s or 93o will jam and before it gets back to you 3 or 4 players are likely to have called. Postflop players either check or min raise that is unless they hit top pair or better. When that happens the snap shove all in. This type of play goes on hand after hand after hand. Sure its easy to exploit these kind of players but to me its mindless poker. Forget position, hand ranges, pot odds, bet sizing, bluffing. Just wait for a monster hand and get it in while folding everything else. You want to make a final table? Start folding your top pairs to big bets and get it in with sets, straights and flushes. Thats pretty the only strategy needed. Like I mentioned earlier, to me thats not poker
 
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ph_il

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The issue that I find is that over time the quality of play in those games has deteriorated to the point where I feel like I'm no longer playing poker and instead I'm merely gambling. The pandemic has brought with it a massive influx of new players. Many of these players have learned the game primarily from playing in either free money poker apps or from playing freerolls and now these player types seem to make of the majority of players in the low stake tournaments.
...i find this interesting because i've been playing the lowest stakes ($0 - $2) for many, many years and i've never felt like i was gambling against these players, except in situations where i purposely decide to take a big gamble. and i understand the spots where i'm purposely gambling.

i guess i don't understand how any player could make you feel like you're doing something you're not. if you're playing strong poker, with solid fundamentals, then it doesn't matter what actions weaker players take, right? you know what you should, what you shouldn't against them, and if you're making the correct +ev decisions against the weaker players, then is that actually gambling? because that's all poker is in the end, making more +ev decisions.

and if we're being technical, poker is a form of gambling but you're in charge of deciding the risks you take, not anyone else.

My main problem with this isn't that I'm adverse to playing against players who aren't very good it's that most of these players have no interest in actually playing poker they're there simply to gamble.
...that sounds like a dream scenario to me.

will you take more losses than if you play against players that don't 'gamble'? sure, but you also gain a lot more value. so, the reward outweighs the risk. against players that know how to play very well, you don't risk losing as often, but you don't earn as much value.

so, there is a give and take for both. the question is, what's more important to you: do you want to go for losing less often at the cost of less value, or increase the odds of you losing (while still being low compared to your preflop equity) at the reward of gaining more value. i like money, so i pick the latter.

They play any two cards in any and everyway possible. You can forget about trying to put a player on any sort of range. You'll see guys limp pocket aces and then a couple of hands later they'll shove a 100bb stack with J4o. Theres no such thing as isolating players. You 3bet or 4bet preflop and hands like pocket 2s or 93o will jam and before it gets back to you 3 or 4 players are likely to have called. Postflop players either check or min raise that is unless they hit top pair or better. When that happens the snap shove all in. This type of play goes on hand after hand after hand. Sure its easy to exploit these kind of players but to me its mindless poker.
...i don't get this. you know this is easy to exploit, but you think it's mindless poker? what exactly do you want to happen you play? some type of 'gentlemanly' game of poker where everyone players perfectly?

"ah, i see you have re-raised me raise preflop. i do not hold a hand that is strong enough to call such a bet, therefore, i shall fold and give up the pot to you. well played, sir."

Forget position, hand ranges, pot odds, bet sizing, bluffing.
...position is still important. hand ranges is still important. pot odds are still important. bluffing (or a lack of against bad players) is still important.

so...not sure what you're trying to say. just because weaker players don't follow it, you shouldn't care about it?

Just wait for a monster hand and get it in while folding everything else.
...well, yeah. bigger hands will do much better than weaker hands.

You want to make a final table? Start folding your top pairs to big bets and get it in with sets, straights and flushes. Thats pretty the only strategy needed. Like I mentioned earlier, to me thats not poker.
...well, if you have a big hand, you should be getting it in, right? especially against players that'll pay you off. so, i agree with you there and that's a pretty solid strategy.

but i don't understand how you don't think that's poker. do you not want bad players to pay you off when you have a big hand? do you expect or want to make finals in only cooler situations because you only want to play against opponents that make the best decisions against you?

that doesn't make sense.
it sounds like you'd rather player against much better, stronger opponents than weaker ones and i just don't understand that. you're basically saying "i don't like easy money, please make things harder for me."
 
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fundiver199

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it sounds like you'd rather player against much better, stronger opponents than weaker ones and i just don't understand that. you're basically saying "i don't like easy money, please make things harder for me."

I also cant help but feel, that statements like those of OP are somewhat exaggerated. Maybe they would fit some 50c or 1$ tournaments, but OP talk about up to 20$ tournaments. And where do people play, that they find such soft tournaments at that level? It frankly sounds to good to be true.

From my experience on 888 Poker 20$ tournaments are mostly played by fairly good players. If I look some of the opponents up on sharkscope, they have a profile, which makes me assume, they are probably professional players playing on multible sites with buyins up to maybe 109$ or more.

To be brutally honest there are many players in these tournaments, who are better and more experienced than me. I am probably a "bad reg" to them. And as for the COVID-19 induced poker boom, that is largely over. Volume on online poker sites are pretty much back at, where it was before the lockdowns.
 
mariale_1990

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I think you are right in what you say, but if you do a good analysis you can see that this problem exists long before the pandemic, that now you can notice a little more it is something else, for a long time I have seen players bet everything and then do buyback as if nothing, it's as if they thought ok the money hinders me, and I'm not talking about freeroll tournaments or low stakes, I just think these people what happens to them, they bet with whatever and they keep paying entry after another as if nothing

If it is true that this situation of the pandemic has attracted more players to the poker rooms and you see more players who only play to play, but in my opinion the number of players who play with whatever has only increased
 
perrypip

perrypip

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You get a lot more variance playing the 'gamblers' game. You can also make a lot more exploiting them.

You can be sure that when Negreanu said "that's not poker" in the video above he was already thinking how to exploit them. That's poker.
 
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blix177

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I've been studying and playing NLHE for the past 3 or 4 years. Although the ultimate goal is to make money that isn't what drives me to play. The reason I invest so much time and energy is because I enjoy the competitiveness and the complexity of the game. I like challenging myself to improve not only my play but my understanding of the game. If I had to guess I would say that I've spent several hundred hours learning and studying the game.
For a multitude of reasons I don't play in the high stakes cash games or mtts preferring instead to play mainly in tournaments with $20 or less buy ins. The issue that I find is that over time the quality of play in those games has deuterated to the point where I feel like I'm no longer playing poker and instead I'm merely gambling. The pandemic has brought with it a massive influx of new players. Many of these players have learned the game primarily from playing in either free money poker apps or from playing freerolls and now these player types seem to make of the majority of players in the low stake tournaments.
My main problem with this isn't that I'm adverse to playing against players who aren't very good it's that most of these players have no interest in actually playing poker they're there simply to gamble. They play any two cards in any and everyway possible. You can forget about trying to put a player on any sort of range. You'll see guys limp pocket aces and then a couple of hands later they'll shove a 100bb stack with J4o. Theres no such thing as isolating players. You 3bet or 4bet preflop and hands like pocket 2s or 93o will jam and before it gets back to you 3 or 4 players are likely to have called. Postflop players either check or min raise that is unless they hit top pair or better. When that happens the snap shove all in. This type of play goes on hand after hand after hand. Sure its easy to exploit these kind of players but to me its mindless poker. Forget position, hand ranges, pot odds, bet sizing, bluffing. Just wait for a monster hand and get it in while folding everything else. You want to make a final table? Start folding your top pairs to big bets and get it in with sets, straights and flushes. Thats pretty the only strategy needed. Like I mentioned earlier, to me thats not poker



I late reg for the reason you put out. I like to start with under 15BB. Sometimes even 4BB in satellite.

There are no 4 bets. No turn, no river play lol
 
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1nsomn1a

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If you want to improve your playing skills and be a strong poker player, you must be able to beat such players. If you don't hit the fish, you don't hit anyone.:)
 
Poker Orifice

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I late reg for the reason you put out. I like to start with under 15BB. Sometimes even 4BB in satellite.

There are no 4 bets. No turn, no river play lol


I try to reg. at the very beginning for the very reasons OP wrote about.

I LOVE the covid players. I'm feeling a bit sad because I feel like I've really missed out on the most profitable online poker scene in many years. (have had many life circumstances that has kept me away from the tables :( - illness, family members dying, etc.)

Adjusting to bad players is about as easy as it gets.
No doubt it can be frustrating when he are getting it in for massive pots while way ahead & then losing to the hugest fish on your table as they spike some insane suckout. BUT this is a good thing!!! It keeps them coming back for more! This is one of the best things about the game of poker... bad players feel they have just as good of a chance at winning as others.

Working on one's poker mindset is another part of learning this game and might be one that requires work for yourself? (I don't know.. it's just a guess on my part). Along with this, I'd suggest working towards playing as many tables as possible vs. fields such as the ones you are describing here & be willing to re-enter too.

I too have been amazed (I mean 'AMAZED') at lots of the play in the micro/low buyin tourneys this summer. This is a great thing!!! (I only wish that next year's wsop series will be held online again.... or predominantly online. I hate feeling like I've missed out on the best thing to happen to online poker in years. How ironic that it came with a pandemic)
 
mushthebush

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I kind of have to agree. It is so annoying when players donk, shove, jam with trash. In micros even a bottom or middle pair on the flop goes all in. 22 all in preflop is the norm. It's a bit of a gamble. I too despise it and most of the time I feel like I can't play. Sometimes I doubt my kings and aces wondering what could they possibly have in order to justify an all in. Answer is not much, so most of the time it's worth calling. There's times when I hardly play any hand because of it. Luckily, in these micros, as long as you double or triple your stack before registration closes, you will get itm without playing another hand. So, volume makes it worth the effort

I read so much about all the ins and outs of poker, strategies, tactics, maths, bluffs etc. Not as useful as I'd imagined in these tournaments.
 
nimburkx

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Low stakes its random poker gonig to suck like a black hole and never coming out from there)))
 
Rahatis

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It's always poker. You have to love the game.
 
partz

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Low stakes games can be good preactice especially as a beginner. It make sense hopefully that if you not profitable into low games, hardly to bealive someone can make it with big dogs
 
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zipocool

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of course, at low limits, there are many more players who make erroneous decisions and can play 5-bet push preflop with 72) but this is good, since he will always lose his money to you at a distance, while at high limits such gifts will rarely be given to you since the level of players there is already much higher and completely different money is being played
 
mina271

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I find it very difficult to call someone a fish if I haven't played against them that often, but I definitely find it a challenge to play against them. you have to pay more attention to how you play and, to be honest, people who play so ruthlessly are rarely successful with it for a long time. I've been playing poker for a number of years and I can't remember it was much different before. Almost everything is allowed in poker and if you expect everyone at the table to play after the book then you will be seriously disappointed. you have to learn to deal with every situation against both good players and bad ones.
 
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graholskis

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Poker is poker, you can lose on any stake. Depends on your luck.
 
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cornedbeef

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i don't play high stake games... i like the low stakes game . i feel like i got a better game all around
 
Pokerpoet2

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Playing against weaker, less experienced players is a dream come true for me, and I relish taking their chips of them, Sure they are unpredictable and will gamble on any two cards but you get hem playing Live games in Casino's as well as on-line,
I once came up against an Old Woman playing in a Cash game in a Local Casino and she would play every Ace she was dealt, no matter what she had with it, calling bets down to the River simply because she was holding an Ace in her hand.
I felt like I was mugging her every time I took a pot off her, because I knew she would only play an Ace hand, if you made the bets small enough she would come along hoping to pair her Ace, even when it was obvious someone had a better hand.
The only bad point is sometimes, weaker players will hit the nuts with J/4 off and you do have to be a little cautious when playing against them, but it is not impossible to beat them, you just have to wait until you do make a Nut Hand, and raise them to the limit, because they will often call, even with top pair and a decent kicker.
Poker player's come in all different shapes and sizes, with different experience and quality of playing skill's, On and Off-line, your job is to identify the weaker player's an take advantage of their lack of ability, and take their Chips.
Wait a Minute, that sounds like a good game to me, should we call it POKER!:):):)

When the fun Stops, STOP!
 
jsnake716

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Well, this is another one of those weird threads. The game of poker is kept score by money, winning and losing money. I have to disagree with this idea that "I play better against really good players than fish" . I hate to tell you this, but bad poker players have been saying this about as long as they have been saying online poker is rigged. The bad reg says "they don't respect my raises" cause the stakes aren't high enough!

The game of poker is played in different amounts (stakes) and the players in those player pools are different and they have different ways of looking at poker, if you want to be a winning player you must beat the player pool. If you are studying sims and attempting to play a perfectly balanced strategy, but are playing microstakes well, the problem is NOT the players in the pool
 
I Live Poker

I Live Poker

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I've been studying and playing NLHE for the past 3 or 4 years. Although the ultimate goal is to make money that isn't what drives me to play. The reason I invest so much time and energy is because I enjoy the competitiveness and the complexity of the game. I like challenging myself to improve not only my play but my understanding of the game. If I had to guess I would say that I've spent several hundred hours learning and studying the game.
For a multitude of reasons I don't play in the high stakes cash games or mtts preferring instead to play mainly in tournaments with $20 or less buy ins. The issue that I find is that over time the quality of play in those games has deuterated to the point where I feel like I'm no longer playing poker and instead I'm merely gambling. The pandemic has brought with it a massive influx of new players. Many of these players have learned the game primarily from playing in either free money poker apps or from playing freerolls and now these player types seem to make of the majority of players in the low stake tournaments.
My main problem with this isn't that I'm adverse to playing against players who aren't very good it's that most of these players have no interest in actually playing poker they're there simply to gamble. They play any two cards in any and everyway possible. You can forget about trying to put a player on any sort of range. You'll see guys limp pocket aces and then a couple of hands later they'll shove a 100bb stack with J4o. Theres no such thing as isolating players. You 3bet or 4bet preflop and hands like pocket 2s or 93o will jam and before it gets back to you 3 or 4 players are likely to have called. Postflop players either check or min raise that is unless they hit top pair or better. When that happens the snap shove all in. This type of play goes on hand after hand after hand. Sure its easy to exploit these kind of players but to me its mindless poker. Forget position, hand ranges, pot odds, bet sizing, bluffing. Just wait for a monster hand and get it in while folding everything else. You want to make a final table? Start folding your top pairs to big bets and get it in with sets, straights and flushes. Thats pretty the only strategy needed. Like I mentioned earlier, to me thats not poker

Hi, thanks for your post.
What site are you playing on?
I also understand this but in micros it's even worse in the lows from $11 to $20 the field changes a little, although I haven't played that much on the low, I made some advances and noticed that the field improves a little.
But I understand perfectly what you say I have also repeated this phrase several times: It's not poker. If you bluff you get called with any third to fourth pair and when you have value you may also be broken by the river, then you end up limiting yourself to playing only value hands very aggressively. However we have to adapt to the situation we find ourselves in so what remains is to study the trend of the field we are in and explore what they have to offer and play the +EV for that field.
 
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fundiver199

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Well, this is another one of those weird threads. The game of poker is kept score by money, winning and losing money. I have to disagree with this idea that "I play better against really good players than fish" . I hate to tell you this, but bad poker players have been saying this about as long as they have been saying online poker is rigged. The bad reg says "they don't respect my raises" cause the stakes aren't high enough!

The game of poker is played in different amounts (stakes) and the players in those player pools are different and they have different ways of looking at poker, if you want to be a winning player you must beat the player pool. If you are studying sims and attempting to play a perfectly balanced strategy, but are playing microstakes well, the problem is NOT the players in the pool

Very well said. While this post was made during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, the theme is as old as poker itself. CC ambassador Evan Jarvis made this video about it 8 years ago. The person posting this question was a live player, so its not even an online phenomenon either.

 
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mclay

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I sometimes qualify for more expensive tournaments via satellites, and there are always players who play very poorly, but of course there are much fewer of them than at the low limits.
 
nuttea

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I've been studying and playing NLHE for the past 3 or 4 years. Although the ultimate goal is to make money that isn't what drives me to play. The reason I invest so much time and energy is because I enjoy the competitiveness and the complexity of the game. I like challenging myself to improve not only my play but my understanding of the game. If I had to guess I would say that I've spent several hundred hours learning and studying the game.
For a multitude of reasons I don't play in the high stakes cash games or mtts preferring instead to play mainly in tournaments with $20 or less buy ins. The issue that I find is that over time the quality of play in those games has deuterated to the point where I feel like I'm no longer playing poker and instead I'm merely gambling. The pandemic has brought with it a massive influx of new players. Many of these players have learned the game primarily from playing in either free money poker apps or from playing freerolls and now these player types seem to make of the majority of players in the low stake tournaments.
My main problem with this isn't that I'm adverse to playing against players who aren't very good it's that most of these players have no interest in actually playing poker they're there simply to gamble. They play any two cards in any and everyway possible. You can forget about trying to put a player on any sort of range. You'll see guys limp pocket aces and then a couple of hands later they'll shove a 100bb stack with J4o. Theres no such thing as isolating players. You 3bet or 4bet preflop and hands like pocket 2s or 93o will jam and before it gets back to you 3 or 4 players are likely to have called. Postflop players either check or min raise that is unless they hit top pair or better. When that happens the snap shove all in. This type of play goes on hand after hand after hand. Sure its easy to exploit these kind of players but to me its mindless poker. Forget position, hand ranges, pot odds, bet sizing, bluffing. Just wait for a monster hand and get it in while folding everything else. You want to make a final table? Start folding your top pairs to big bets and get it in with sets, straights and flushes. Thats pretty the only strategy needed. Like I mentioned earlier, to me thats not poker
One of my favorite ways to beat modern low stakes is to constantly confuse other regs. The point is, once you let your opponents read you, it will be very easy for them to play against you. This is why I constantly make an effort to mix my play against good regulars and balance my ranges.
For example, one day I can play TAG-style, another day - in LAG, the third - generally as a nit, the fourth - with a short stack! All this, mixing, will give out false information on me by my opponents in their HUDs. As a result, at best for them, they will not be able to use the HUD, at worst, they will receive incorrect information from it. With this approach, opponents will never be able to have iron reads on me.
at the same time, at low limits, you can really learn to play well, having weak opponents is a huge experience and profit. I don’t know why many deny this
 
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seraxel

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Having a preconceived notion of how an opponent "should" play is going to set us up for disappointment.
 
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